Podcast: When Catch-and-Release Doesn’t Work, with Tim Traver

[Interview starts at 38:50]

Catch-and-release fishing for trout is not a conservation tool. It’s a way to manage trout populations for larger fish, based mainly on sociological or even political pressures. Sometimes it doesn’t even produce larger fish, and it can backfire when it inflames local anglers. Tim Traver, author of Lost in the Driftless, has spent years studying the effects of fishing regulations on both fish and human populations, and I think your eyes will open to the limitations of regulations like “fly-fishing only” or “catch-and-release”.

In the Fly Box, we have lots of interesting questions and comments from listeners, including:

  • What can I do to avoid crowds on a heavily pressured eastern trout stream?
  • What is the best way to carry a net when using a sling bag?
  • A listener has some great comments on why bamboo rods are so special.
  • Why am I consistently breaking off large brown trout using 6X tippet?
  • If I don’t have a fishing backpack or vest, how can I carry a net?
  • How can I fish very fast water effectively with a dry dropper rig?
  • If most fish food is dull colored, why do we use so many wild colors in our flies?
  • A listener makes some great points on why fishing close to home is desirable.
  • A physicist weighs in on what a trout can see from underwater.
  • Can I effectively Euro-nymph with my 9-foot, 5-inch Blackout rod?
  • What are some good uses for squirrel tail in fly tying?
  • What is everyone doing in the northeast for fly fishing during the drought?

2 thoughts on “Podcast: When Catch-and-Release Doesn’t Work, with Tim Traver”

  1. Lost in the Driftless is a must read. Very thoughtful and provocative. Tim raises a lot of valid points worth considering.

  2. Wisconsin never went to a “blanket catch and release” on Driftless streams unless you are including the aftermath of the massive drought in the late 1980’s that caused unbelievable natural mortality and angling mortality became additive. A relatively small percentage of streams are catch and release and a good amount of special regulations encourage harvest (10 fish, no size limit; 5 fish under 12 inches).

    I think much of the drop out came from wild trout management rather than supporting fisheries with stocking. As recently as the late-80’s and early 90’s, even some of the better known streams were mostly stocked fisheries and the fish were larger, dumber, and easier to catch. Then it changed with wild trout management.

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