Selective Flathead catfish harvest? Whats your thoughts?

Discussion in 'Flathead Catfish' started by Shawn, Feb 3, 2006.

  1. Shawn

    Shawn New Member

    Messages:
    408
    State:
    Illinois
    I was reading an article which mentioned keeping 10-20# flatheads taken using setline methods for the table.

    I know legally taken fish are the property of the fisherman who caught them, and to each his own.

    However, I'm very stongly against the idea of keeping any flatheads above several lbs. It's true I fish mainly for the fun, and usually don't keep any... but where do people think those 25-30 lb flatheads come from. And besides, those pcb and mercury contaminants concentrate in the larger, older fish. It makes me wonder who they're feeding those fish to...

    Shawn

    I could see a case for keeping bigger fish where introduced non-native flathead populations have moved in and taken over, though.
     
  2. flathunter

    flathunter New Member

    Messages:
    5,723
    State:
    Ohio
    I release all flatheads regardless of size, I want the bigones to spawn, and the little ones to grow bigger.
     

  3. Dreadnaught

    Dreadnaught New Member

    Messages:
    5,444
    State:
    Henderson,Ky
    I have often wondered myself, as to where these big fish a going when caught by commercial fishermen out of these contaminated water systems!!! Maybe they are being pressed into fishstix and being fed to our children at school or in your grocers freezer without our knowledge, Who Knows for sure!!! The poisoning of people for profit is plain immoral in my oppinion and should be stopped at all cost. I don't care what other people think of the way I fish,but I will remain a CPR guy for a long time to come. There are people that won't fish with me because of my stance on the subject, LOL!!!
     
  4. dinkbuster1

    dinkbuster1 New Member

    Messages:
    2,272
    State:
    Ohio
    where i fish there are oodles and oodles of "dink's", and i have thought in the past about (and done a couple times) relocating the small ones to public lakes to try to thin them out a little so theres more room/food for the bigger ones. i actually ate quite a few 5-8lb flats. but after remembering an article on "selective" breeding on fish (where they breed the largest fish from one hatch with the largest fish from another to produce a strain of big fish) i got to thinking that i might be taking out a few of those "special" fish. it might have been 3lbs but it could be the freak of the whole litter! as much as i'd like to remove a bunch of those runts i'll just leave them be.
     
  5. Catfish_Commando

    Catfish_Commando TF Staff Member

    Messages:
    7,005
    State:
    Georgia
    Shawn,

    There has been a big educational "Promotional" awareness movement for several years in the South East, "Georgia".

    Take the Altamaha River for example, Flathead Catfish were illegally introduced, and they thrived. The Pan-fish community became upset that their main-stay fishery balance was upset, and wanted it to be rebalanced.

    Over time, it has been slowly shown that Flathead Catfish eating the Pan-fish is a favorable food conversion, both nutritionally, experience of catch, and effort expended.

    Its simple math, out of state residents wont drive hours to catch slab bluegills. But they will drive hours to catch a 30-50 Pound Flathead, buy that out of state resident license, get a hotel, buy gas, eat, hit the Walmart, etc etc.

    In this situation, in a river with reduced health hazards, it makes sense to them. Don't take my post as an agreement for harvest, only one of many twist needed to ensure the squeaky wheel receives a positive message for the reduction of a previous fishing environment that once existed. For one group to come into power, one group has to loose power.

    It just so happens, this rivers main population "City" is organizing an annual 3 day catfish festival, which the BOC will play a big part in. I will be at the event as a VIP representing the BOC, spreading the catfish love.
     
  6. Shawn

    Shawn New Member

    Messages:
    408
    State:
    Illinois
    good point, Paul.

    There's probably some rivers that can support more harverst than others. I fish one smaller river where fish much above 20# is special, and a true 30# is very hard to come by. Everything i've ever heard, suggests there's a ton of flatheads in that Altamaha (and the Cape Fear river too.) I guess since they weren't originally there, when they moved in the populations really took off. Who knows.

    Again, it's up to the angler. One thing to keep in mind too, in a lot of states there wasn't a lot of study about the flathead populations until the last several years. They aren't sampled too well with electrofishing, and I think only recently have they specifically sampled flathead populations. (So they don't know what they had before...)

    As far as rivers without pollution, a lot of it does come from agricultural run-off. It seems to make a big difference what state is doing the flesh sampling too.

    Shawn
     
  7. jim

    jim New Member

    Messages:
    2,579
    State:
    Jacksonville NC
    The ideal situation would be if Flatheads were designated gamefish by all states that way they could be managed by the Game and Fish depts.On the Cape Fear there is even an electro shocking section authorized as a legal fishing technique.Each eco system has its specific management needs.Jack in Ohio releases to build and preserve the stock in the system he fishes,while here in NC attempts are being made in the Cape Fear to reduce the flatheads to allow the brim stocks to recover.I don't have a problem with people keeping fish in those circumstances because they are contributing to the over all management policy for that body of water.Even the biologists at Santee are encouraging the removal of as many smaller catfish as you want.As the big boys are taken out the biomass becomes "smaller" and more in number lessening the chances for fish to grow to trophy status.As I have grown older the value of life has become more apparent to me.I'm reluctant to remove something that has taken so long to grow and is such an exception to survial odds.I do understand the need to harvest and manage populations however and support management requirements.I do not believe that excessive harvest of flatheads as an attempt to eradicate them from a system is a workable solution.First off it usually fails completely and a 50 lb Flat will as Paul has said draw people that a 10oz brim will.The catfish festival is an excellent managment technique which will be a win/win for everyone.When is it Paul.:)
     
  8. river scum

    river scum New Member

    Messages:
    3,474
    State:
    hooterville indiana
    i practice selective harvest. because it takes a long time to grow a 30#+flathead. another reason is the contaminates. im not going to feed that crap to my family. i dont buy fish from the store either for the same reason. our state does allow comercial fishing in certain waters. the waters that it happens in are all down stream of polluted streams. im sure those big fish make it to the market and local resurants. i keep fish in the 2-6# range and not many each year. at least the smaller ones are less toxic(i hope lol).
     
  9. Salmonid

    Salmonid New Member

    Messages:
    1,833
    State:
    SW Ohio
    All good points so far guys, and I agree with about everything. I am strictly a CnR guy and more so because I enjoy the "Sport" of fishing then any other reason. If folks enjoy eating a few and are within the limits of the regs. I say fine but then it comes down the selective harvest part of the equation. If people are properly educated then research would say that taking a few smaller fish might be ok, depending on the poulations in your area.
    Our local river has a "fair" poulation of flatties,so because of that, Id suggest releasing all the flatties and eating a few channels as its one of Ohio's premeire channel rivers with lots of nice sized channels. The chhannels can spare it but eh flathead poulation can not.

    As far as removing some fish because of high numbers, just remember that mother nature puts as many fish into a system as it needs to keep the population at a perfect balance. If there are lots of smaller fish in an area, then that may be a spawning area and as the bigger the fish get, the more they move to other areas so it all balances out. This small area with lots of small fish might be providing flats in other holes throughout the whole system, remember, spawning areas are few and very unique.

    Mother nature will provide throughout the lifetime of a large fish, enough spawn/fry to fill that one big fishes loss when it dies. In other words if a 40 lb fish dies, the natural order of things will allow that 40 lb fish to provide 25 million eggs over his career so that just 1 could replace him in the ecosystem. This is enough argument to ever keep me from keeping fish, big or small when it comes to naturally based systems. ( IE: rivers where flatties are part of the native system) Obviously when we introduce species like in farm ponds, we are not letting nature take its natural course which is why introduced nuisance species are such a problem.
    Does that make sense?

    Salmonid
     
  10. David Knotts

    David Knotts New Member

    Messages:
    2,569
    State:
    Bossier City, La
    just wanted to add in on this. if it is legal and a man wants to keep some fish to eat be it a small one, or a large one that is up to the person that caught the fish, and not any body else to say, after all you don't go hunting and see a ten point buck, and let it walk becouse it took so long to grow that big, and there are a lot more 30# ops than ten point bucks, remember we are all in this together, and we dont need to fight among our fishing family, that is what the anti's want to show to every body that are not sure about fishing, hunting , and other outdoor sports that we love, and want to pass on. At the end of it all God gave us these fish, and others to EAT, and enjoy, so lets go fishing. Thats all I have to say.
     
  11. blackwaterkatz

    blackwaterkatz Active Member

    Messages:
    3,659
    State:
    Andrews, SC
    My opinion may not mean much, but it makes me feel better to express it:
    I think Jim made a good point earlier: "each eco system has it's specific management needs". In the Santee Cooper lakes where I am, I think there needs to be stricter management practices on the larger fish, and there is some work going on to partially address that by law, now.
    I don't try to push my views on anyone, but it bothers me when I see all these photos of fishermen with their catches of large fish hanging on a board at the fish camps. That is a lot of big fish going home if you total up the ones caught in a year around the lake system.
    However, in the local rivers, recreational catfishing probably has very little impact at all on the fish population. There seem to be plenty of fish of all sizes there, and the fishing may not need regulating. We have the same problem with flatheads, which are not a native species, that was mentioned earlier by Paul. They are blamed for decimating the panfish populations in some of our rivers, and I understand why those panfishermen are complaining. After all, if those bream started eating all of our catfish, we'd be crying too. LOL We catfishermen aren't the only fishermen out there. Like it or not, we must share with others and respect their views, too.
    Every area has it's own needs, depending on geographics, fishing pressure (both commercial and recreational), resident fish population, etc. If someone chooses CPR on all fish, that's great! If someone chooses to keep smaller fish to eat, and only what they can use, then that's fine by me. I only keep what I can use, whether it's catfish or any other species, and I release most all of the bigger fish of all species. I do the same when hunting. I am fortunate to have good hunting available, and could take many deer each year, but I seldom take more than 2-3 for myself and family.
    I do wish there were better management practices (gamefish status included) on the catfish, but as stated, each area has specific needs that need to be addressed, and careful consideration needs to be given in order to enact laws that are as fair to everyone as possible.
     
  12. SangamonCatKiller

    SangamonCatKiller New Member

    Messages:
    488
    State:
    central illinois
    I agree with flathunter one hundred percent. If you want to keep you want to keep but, I am not one of those people. I fish strictly for fun and would like to preserve this for my kids and their kids. Lets not talk about the beating I put on the bluegill population though......:eek:
     
  13. Shawn

    Shawn New Member

    Messages:
    408
    State:
    Illinois
    I hear you David... And you're right... it is up to the individual to decide what they should do with their legal catch.

    However, there is a limit on how many a bucks a hunter can take, right? And, deer season isn't open year long. Is it? That's the real issue here.

    In many states, you catch as many catfish as you want, of any size that you want, with just about any method you want - rod and reel, jugs, trotline, bank poles, limb lines, etc IMHO, catfishermen are allowed freedom to harvest cats equivelant to being allowed to kill as many Ten Point Bucks as possible using automatic weapons all year long.

    Based on at least one survery, a majority of catfish anglers are in favor of managing populations to support a "trophy" catfishery.... the following quote is from American Fisheries Society survery "Most catfish anglers (71%) take at least one trip annually to pursue trophy catfish, a majority (66%) suggested that management direct more attention toward catfish fisheries and they supported regulations that are more stringent. Biologists responded that a single-species approach to management for self-sustaining populations could produce more trophy catfish."

    I don't expect flathead or blue catfish to gain "gamefish" status in most states anytime soon, and protection of wintering populations is unlikely. While some states have moved to institute creel limits on catfish species, many states still have no restrictions or only site specific regulations.

    Shawn

    ps here's a link to the AFS survery about catfish angler opinions, if anyones interested... it's a pdf file 12 pages... http://www.fisheriesconservation.org/fisheries/F0205/F0205p10-21.PDF
     
  14. griz

    griz Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,744
    State:
    Murray Ky.
    Very interesting survey, it shows there is alot more research that needs to be done. Of the 7960 subscribers to Catfish Insider magizine that were sent surveys only 4028 responded. The surveys were sent to 74 biologists, of them 59 responded. When the biologests were asked if harvest regulation were an effective managing tool for trophy fish, 63% said they didn't know, 15% said it was, and 21% said it was not. The survey also said that because of the group selected for the survey(subscribers the Catfish Insider) that the survey may have been biased.
    As for comparing fish managment to mammal managment, if a doe dropped 15,000 fawns each year we would be hunting them year round ;) .
     
  15. Sinker

    Sinker New Member

    Messages:
    216
    State:
    Missouri
    Seems to me it's as fruitless to compare mammals to fish as it is one fisherman to another. One guy feeds his kids, the next guy feeds his ego! I guess the difference is that the guy feeding only his ego isn't ingesting the pollutants he's worried about. I stay out of most political arguments because of the bashing that goes on in lieu of intelligent fact comparison. It's non-productive and leads to hard feelings. That's one of the things about fishing, and I thought catfishing in particular,that always appealed to me. I didn't hear that crap all the time. Bashing each others methods just ain't the way to draw people, especially kids into this sport. This thread is more based on facts than many, and that's why I chose to speak here instead of one of the others. It seems to me it depends on the cooler heads to make the swing away from the bickering and back to some productive involvment. Sorry if you think this doesn't fit here, but it seemed the best course. Jim
     
  16. slimcat

    slimcat New Member

    Messages:
    952
    State:
    marion kentucky
    The way I look at is that BIG Flatheads are hard to come by. It angers me to no end to see these brutes in fish markets and being hauled off to pay ponds. I fish for yellowcats almost exclusively, Around here they are hard to catch because of there nature. I am like the other guys post. They need to become a gamefish. They truly are a sportfish. They remind me of muskie. These other states need to find a solution to what they are doing to the fish. I can see there point in removing some but relocate these fish to another state or river. Don't just kill the fish. Maybe some the DNR's in neighboring states can start helping each other.
    I am with J. W. on that what are they doing with the big fish??? I have my ideas.
     
  17. Shawn

    Shawn New Member

    Messages:
    408
    State:
    Illinois
    The one thing we all agree on is that we're into catfish!

    Ok, I probably over exaggerated to make my point before...I've never told someone they should or shouldn't keep any fish. And like a lot of us, I've done some setlining for catfish to cook up too.

    One of the great things about the BOC (and the USA) is that we can all express our opinions, and you know we won't always agree. Trying to get Catmen to all agree on anything would be a pointless task. Definitely some independent spirits. Look at how passionately discussions guys can get into about which baits work best....



    Shawn
     
  18. David Knotts

    David Knotts New Member

    Messages:
    2,569
    State:
    Bossier City, La
    You ask one man what is a big op, he may say 35#, you ask another he may say 45#,you ask one more he may say 20#. The point is that if you take any fish no matter the size you are killing what would be a big fish. I stand by my deer coment, you hunt a lift time to get a shot at a big buck, you are going to take it. Some men may only get to go fish once or twice a year, if they wish to keep what they have caught there is no problem, I know that you can't hunt year round, and you can fish year round, but if a man returns all his big fish, but he keeps his small fish, and he keeps say 25 or 30 a year thats 25 or 30 fish that would have been 30 or 40#, in a few years.
    Has anybody done a study of the big fish that die each year from a hook that was to deep, and I have hooked a lot of em that swallowed the hook so fast that it was in the throte, no one talks about that, I know this happens, so do we stop fishing, or what.
    And lets not forget about all the bluegill that die every year from being bait, you talk about a waste, now don't hit me with but there are lots more big gill's than ops, waste is waste, and killing is killing. That is why I said God gave us these fish to eat, and enjoy, and remember something has to die in order for us to catch a big op.
     
  19. Catfish_Commando

    Catfish_Commando TF Staff Member

    Messages:
    7,005
    State:
    Georgia
    Jim,

    There will be a release about the festival soon on the BOC. It is being held by Jesup Georgia, will be a very fun time. Its a 3 day event, VIP Tournament "TV-News etc", catfish tournament, then the actual eat and greet for 2 days.

    Paul
     
  20. FS Driver

    FS Driver New Member

    Messages:
    2,323
    State:
    swansea,illinoi
    its early in the am and i cant say i read every post completly so forgive me if this thought was allready posted but in a few posts here there was mention of declineing panfish populations in some waterways right?
    doesnt the dnr stock bream perch shad etc.
    seems like they can replinish from trucking in a few tons of these
    periodically .
    i love catfishing but i love to gill and bass fish too,
    that gill fishing i will do to get our bait is the iceing on the cake
    when you get a catfish off that bait thats like a couple heaped plops of icecream to go with it!!!!!!!!!!:p

    yeah i can see the panfishermens delima some anglers flyfish for em
    a mess of gills is hard to beat.