Why catch and release on Fridays and Mondays of Sp
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Posted on Tuesday Mar 26, 2013 at 5:51 AM  
I have heard rumors but would like to hear the facts.
I don't believe in Miracles, I rely on them.
Dave Clark Hybrid/Striper/Sandbass Guide
 Fishonok.com
YETI Pro staff,
Pro Staff Baitbuster Cast nets 1.5lbs per foot and six panel
Posted on Tuesday Mar 26, 2013 at 5:52 AM  
Of Spoonbills.
I don't believe in Miracles, I rely on them.
Dave Clark Hybrid/Striper/Sandbass Guide
 Fishonok.com
YETI Pro staff,
Pro Staff Baitbuster Cast nets 1.5lbs per foot and six panel
Posted on Tuesday Mar 26, 2013 at 8:10 AM  
I'm not Kurt but I know what I was told. The out of state anglers were bringing a boat load of folks over and spending a week. Five people in a boat with one per person per day. Do the math. That's a lot of stress on the fishery. I remember being at Twin Bridges and seeing a campground full of guys with freezers. I understand if you're feeding your family but what I saw was borderline ridiculous. So if you can't keep a fish on Friday or Monday, it's the ODWC's hope to deter the above mentioned "weekenders" situation from happening.

I'm up for correction.
Posted on Tuesday Mar 26, 2013 at 11:19 AM  
Falcon pretty much nailed it. This paddlefish fishery is mostly a single year class of fish (from 1999) which cannot last forever. Every year a certain percentage of fish are harvested from the 1999 year class making it smaller. ODWC put a lot of thought into allowing acceptable levels of harvest while at the same time reducing the overall harvest on the fishery. The Monday and Friday catch and release days prevent the "weekenders" as falcon mentioned from taking too many fish over a single weekend. Making the Spring River a "sanctuary" where angling is not permitted also helps the fishery. But anglers are still allowed to harvest a fish 5 of 7 days of the week. So while we still want to allow some weekend harvest, the current regs provide some relief to the fishery.
Posted on Tuesday Mar 26, 2013 at 1:20 PM  
Kurt, thank for chiming in. Eric was at the last OSBA meeting and mentioned the 1999 year class being stressed. He also mentioned a new regulation coming up next year with regards to the number of poles out snagging. Please clarify this upcoming regulation with regards to paddlefish for the fishing-notebook.com members.
Posted on Tuesday Mar 26, 2013 at 5:25 PM  
I guess that's my cue. The M/F catch-and-release reg was basically my idea (if I recall correctly). I'll take the praise and ridicule alike.

The reasons were pretty well outlined above, but here is some more background. We experienced a pretty shockingly-high harvest in 2009 and that scared us a bit. Did we create a monster by opening the Paddlefish Research Station in 2008? We made the sport more available to new anglers, no doubt. Our survey results indicate that the angler motives haven't changed because there was free fish cleaning now available, but a logical person can make the connection that the growth was due to ODWC's advertising campaign which accompanied the research station.

We had a heck of a harvest in 2009. The fishing pressure grew by an estimated 25% in one year and the harvest nearly doubled. I crunched some numbers and looked at the daily creels to see where we could trim this down. Typically, our weekday harvest was dominated by "local" anglers. These anglers aren't necessarily residents of OK, but live in the region. Weekend harvest, as mentioned above, was dominated by larger groups of anglers visiting on multi-day trips. Typically, these groups were comprised of nonresidents from other states with more restrictive paddlefish regulations.

These multi-day anglers could legally possess four fish, and dammit- they would take four fish if at all possible. Like Kurt said, many of those fillets were probably wasted and it was likely taking a toll on the population. We had to put the brakes on somehow.

We knew weekend harvest was the greatest and Monday was the lowest. I decided that Monday and Friday were the best option. Friday was our 3rd highest harvest day. By book-ending the weekends with catch-and-release days, we could potentially reduce the harvest of those multi-day anglers by up to 50%, depending on how they scheduled their trip.

Our surveys also strongly indicated that being able to harvest a fish was much lower on the list than the ability to catch a big fish, the fun of snagging, etc. Therefore, by implementing catch-and-release days, we were allowing the recreation to continue while conserving the population the best we could.

The Spring River sanctuary was a bit of an add-on to the catch-and-release regulation for several reasons. 1) We know that anglers can adjust their behaviors to fish on harvest days, therefore, we didn't expect our theoretical harvest reductions to work simply by prohibiting harvest on M/F. 2) We know that fish utilize both rivers (Neosho and Spring) for spawning activity. 3) Law enforcement noted that working both rivers simultaneously was a logistical nightmare. 4) White bass fishermen were in constant conflict with paddlefish snaggers on the Spring River.

Therefore, the simplest solution was to put all the paddlefish snaggers in the Neosho River. Easier to monitor, easier to manage, etc. And it provided safe passage for any paddlefish making a spawning run up the Spring River. We know they use both rivers, and sometimes in the same year.

That was long-winded, but I hope that answers some questions.

Now for 2014...
Jason ODWC Paddlefish Biologist
E-Check your paddlefish harvest HERE
Posted on Tuesday Mar 26, 2013 at 6:54 PM  
quote:
Originally posted by falcon

Kurt, thank for chiming in. Eric was at the last OSBA meeting and mentioned the 1999 year class being stressed. He also mentioned a new regulation coming up next year with regards to the number of poles out snagging. Please clarify this upcoming regulation with regards to paddlefish for the fishing-notebook.com members.




Yes, this is true. New for 2014 will be a re-defining of "snagging" as stated in Title 800 - OK Fish and Game laws.

The basics are these:
"Snagging" will now be specified as one hook with one rod or pole per angler. Currently, the fishing regs allow for up to 7 rods per angler for all types of hook-and-line angling. In context of snagging from a boat, that is a pretty serious advantage when legally dragging 7 hooks (per angler) through a pile of paddlefish.

The spirit of the "one hook per rod" regulation for snagging didn't foresee the popularity of boat snagging that we experience today due to better sonar technology. The fishery was traditionally a bank fishery, where an angler can only manage one pole at a time when snagging.

Snagging with multiple rods per angler allows for culling, over-limit violations, multiple hooks in a single fish, additional stress on fish, among others. Furthermore, bank anglers can logistically only use one rod, therefore boating anglers had a distinct advantage and this has resulted in conflict.

It made sense to fine-tune the definition of snagging to match the spirit that the current regs were intended.

Here is a scenario to illustrate our motivations:
Four anglers are on a boat, each with one rod. Three anglers hook, lands, and keeps a fish. They are done snagging for the day. The one remaining angler can still legally fish with four rods. They plow through a school of fish and hook more than one simultaneously. Now what? No matter what happens in this scenario, there will be a violation. The three anglers that already kept a fish- if they touch a rod, they are snagging.

This isn't a far-fetched scenario. The solution was to specify the definition of snagging. In this case, it minimizes the risk of violation.

I'm sure for many people, this regulation change will be unpopular. It has passed muster with our body of fisheries biologists, supervisors, the commission, and the public comment period. I put a lot of thought into my actions regarding regulation and I do my best to consider the impacts- both good and bad. Paddlefish populations are sensitive to over-harvest. Therefore, we do our best to construct proactive regulations. Sometimes, things need to be tweaked a bit because the times change. This is one example.

I hope that clears any confusion.


Jason ODWC Paddlefish Biologist
E-Check your paddlefish harvest HERE
Posted on Thursday Mar 28, 2013 at 7:49 PM  
Well, I guess I completely disagree with your theory about the weekenders from out of state. I think anglers from out of state that come to Oklahoma and spend there resources from license fees to motels to food and tackle are being singled out by the wildlife department. I believe if you were truly concerned about the harvest of the Paddlefish you wouldn't of built the million dollar cleaning station to promote the harvest. They are not the easiest things to clean and I think the department is promoting the harvest with that station. But of course the all mighty dollar comes into play with there eggs. I just returned from a out of state fishing trip. I hope other states don't start singling out, out of staters the way Oklahoma does.
I don't believe in Miracles, I rely on them.
Dave Clark Hybrid/Striper/Sandbass Guide
 Fishonok.com
YETI Pro staff,
Pro Staff Baitbuster Cast nets 1.5lbs per foot and six panel
Posted on Thursday Mar 28, 2013 at 8:41 PM  
So the class of '99 was a biggie? And this one year accounted for a huge increase in the overall population?
And if there's not a series of events that gives us such another spawning success, is there a chance there'll be a crash?

I'm not sure if the paddlefish sport has erupted into a bigger event or if I just see more of it on the Notebook,
but I'm amazed it's held up the way it has. Especially with the sidescan shots we see on here.


http://drw.50webs.com/fishing/fishing.html
Posted on Thursday Mar 28, 2013 at 9:10 PM  
Interesting stuff. Reading how some of these anglers choose to be meat hoarders kind of repulses me.
Posted on Thursday Mar 28, 2013 at 9:49 PM  
I agree with you on the meat hoarders. We all see it on every species of fish.
I don't believe in Miracles, I rely on them.
Dave Clark Hybrid/Striper/Sandbass Guide
 Fishonok.com
YETI Pro staff,
Pro Staff Baitbuster Cast nets 1.5lbs per foot and six panel
Posted on Friday Mar 29, 2013 at 12:08 PM  
Dave, if you think other states don't "single out" non-residents, then you must not get out much. Compare the cost of a resident versus non-resident license (fishing, hunting, anything) in any state and see if they are equal. All state resource agencies charge more for non-residents to participate...period. Just try to go elk hunting in Colorado for $600 versus the $50 or so a Colorado resident will pay.

You are certainly free to have your own opinions about the paddlefish fishery and how it is managed, but I can tell you that the biologists managing that fishery are focused on the health of the population, not the income. Just look where the money is being spent...on more management tools, research projects, and enforcement for that fishery.
Posted on Friday Mar 29, 2013 at 1:12 PM  
You are right Kurt about the licenses fees. But what other state sets fishing or hunting limits targeted at out of staters? Maybe they do. And if they do I don't think that is right either. I have not ran into it in any of the the states I go fish. There probably are some but I don't know of any. I really don't have a dog in this fight. It really doesn't matter to me much. I just don't think it is right. I had customers last Monday all from Oklahoma that couldn't keep a fish, because of a reg the department has put into place to limit the harvest but, has set up a million dollar cleaning station to harvest the fish. It's just not right no matter how you try to explain it.
I don't believe in Miracles, I rely on them.
Dave Clark Hybrid/Striper/Sandbass Guide
 Fishonok.com
YETI Pro staff,
Pro Staff Baitbuster Cast nets 1.5lbs per foot and six panel
Posted on Friday Mar 29, 2013 at 1:34 PM  
I think the Friday/Monday catch and release idea is great.

The rule doesn't target out of state anglers just because they are from another state. In this case, some who are from out of state were taking advantage of the liberal regulation that Oklahoma had in place. When you see freezer loads of fish being taken from our waters, something has to be done to limit that. If they just turn a blind eye, then eventually the department may be forced to completely eliminate harvest when the resource is depleted.

With that being said, I still have to question the cleaning stations...

Would eliminating the cleaning station have the same results as limiting harvest on M/F?

Did having the cleaning stations increase the amount of fish that the "hoarders" took or did they continue to clean their catch on their own? Or is a matter of the cleaning stations increased harvest combined with what the "hoarders" were already taking that was too much for the fishery?
Posted on Friday Mar 29, 2013 at 1:49 PM  
Basser, I think you missed something the department said originally. It was put in place for out of staters coming here on long weekends. They say they put the reg there to limit harvest, but then they build a station to promote the harvest. My question would be,how many were being harvested before the station was put in place? And how many are being harvest now? I doubt that anyone can answer the first part, but I am sure they know how many now and my guess(of course) is that it is way more now. And we all do benefit from it(I guess) Please don't anybody take me wrong on this. I think our wildlife department does a GREAT job here in Oklahoma. I just disagree with this reg(even though it did keep me from having to clean fish).
I don't believe in Miracles, I rely on them.
Dave Clark Hybrid/Striper/Sandbass Guide
 Fishonok.com
YETI Pro staff,
Pro Staff Baitbuster Cast nets 1.5lbs per foot and six panel
Posted on Friday Mar 29, 2013 at 8:48 PM  
What I said was that we identified a segment of our anglers that were harvesting the most fish and crafted a regulation to limit this harvest for the conservation of the resource. This was not done with prejudice, but a simple limitation added which was aligned with the motivations of paddlefish anglers indicated in two years of angler surveys. Those motivations have been consistent both before and after the regulation changes.

Yes, I have some local/resident anglers that keep more than four fish in a season. In fact, I questioned one on Wednesday (from Lawton) about why he and his wife were keeping so many fish during their two-week stay. I said that "there is no legal limit, but there is a sensible one". Sensible harvest is the best kind.

The fact is, while our regulations are relatively liberal now and have been even more liberal in the past (especially compared to other states), it is a resource in decline. Therefore our regulations are unlikely to ever be relaxed- only progressively tightened. American paddlefish have experienced range-wide declines due to habitat loss, overfishing, siltation, and pollution, among other threats. Oklahoma has been afforded a luxury of a healthy, self-sustaining population in the Grand River lakes. Our research has shown (namely through information gained from the Paddlefish Research Center 2008-2010) that a large segment of the Grand Lake population was spawned in 1999. The discrete variables contributing to this epic recruitment event are not fully understood... my statistical research provides evidence that there was some sort of hydrological anomaly in 1998-99 which allowed for amazing spawn, hatch, and survival. Our genetic research backs up this assertion, but that project is not yet complete. Do I ever EXPECT this epic spawn to happen again? Unfortunately, no. Historical evidence suggests that the adult population (with harvest) should be somewhere around 1/3 to 1/5 of what we reached due to the 1999 recruitment boom.

So where does this leave us? We have experienced paddlefish abundance of epic proportions in Grand Lake (even trickling down to Hudson and Ft. Gibson, but most of my work is on Grand). The population is/was so abundant that their growth was limited by density and resources- i.e. the Grand Lake paddlefish were potentially stunted in growth when compared to other lakes within OK.

What does Kurt suggest that you do with a stunted crappie population? He encourages harvest. Therefore, the timing was basically perfect for a Paddlefish Research Center. We had the opportunity to learn a hell of a lot about paddlefish while allowing easy harvest for anglers. Anglers would provide specimens that we could essentially dissect and allow for untold research investigations, both large and small. The decisions were made to "get while the getting is good"... both for anglers and for ODWC. Such a large endeavor (the PRC) couldn't have happened at any other time.

As you can imagine, the 1999 year class won't live forever. In fact, the end of the liberal harvest era is upon us, as this huge year class reaches the end of their lifespan. (Age data from Grand lake indicate that fish over 15 years old become increasingly rare due to senescence and natural mortality.)

That time is upon us, therefore the regulations will change significantly in 2015, if not sooner.

Of course, I have omitted the aspect of $$$ from my discussions above. It does not factor into my decisions, except in a cautionary sense. I know it will be difficult as a biologist to convince administrators and politicians to cut back the caviar revenue stream. That's why I have to know what the hell I'm talking about, and I'm doing my best.

This summer, we will have a conclave in respect to future paddlefish regulations in OK. The paddlefish research committee includes ODWC biologists, administrators, university consultants, and respected paddlefish experts. Our decisions will be based upon what is the best action for the resource and the anglers.

As you may have noticed, I can type for days. If there are any specific questions, I'll do my best to remain transparent and answer them to the best of my abilities. But again- my job concerns the ecology, biology, physiology, and conservation of paddlefish in Oklahoma. Not caviar sales. Those questions are better funneled to my supervisor.
Jason ODWC Paddlefish Biologist
E-Check your paddlefish harvest HERE
Posted on Friday Mar 29, 2013 at 8:54 PM  
quote:
Originally posted by Danny.Williams

So the class of '99 was a biggie? And this one year accounted for a huge increase in the overall population?
And if there's not a series of events that gives us such another spawning success, is there a chance there'll be a crash?

I'm not sure if the paddlefish sport has erupted into a bigger event or if I just see more of it on the Notebook,
but I'm amazed it's held up the way it has. Especially with the sidescan shots we see on here.




(I can't take full credit for it, but I am diverting some angler traffic here via the website in my sigline.) Paddlefish angling has indeed become more popular over the last 6 years. I referenced this growth earlier in this thread... hence the reg changes.
Jason ODWC Paddlefish Biologist
E-Check your paddlefish harvest HERE
Posted on Friday Mar 29, 2013 at 9:07 PM  
quote:
Originally posted by BassSER

I think the Friday/Monday catch and release idea is great.
...
Did having the cleaning stations increase the amount of fish that the "hoarders" took or did they continue to clean their catch on their own? Or is a matter of the cleaning stations increased harvest combined with what the "hoarders" were already taking that was too much for the fishery?



Our survey responses said that the presence of the PRC did not affect the harvest habits of anglers. We have asked several key questions aiming to address this concern.

I find this difficult to believe as well. We made it easier and more accessible to amateurs. We advertised the fishery. We subsidized the park fee at Miami. Yet, the survey responses don't align with those assumptions.

quote:
Originally posted by dave Clark

You are right Kurt about the licenses fees. But what other state sets fishing or hunting limits targeted at out of staters? Maybe they do. And if they do I don't think that is right either. I have not ran into it in any of the the states I go fish. There probably are some but I don't know of any. I really don't have a dog in this fight. It really doesn't matter to me much. I just don't think it is right. I had customers last Monday all from Oklahoma that couldn't keep a fish, because of a reg the department has put into place to limit the harvest but, has set up a million dollar cleaning station to harvest the fish. It's just not right no matter how you try to explain it.


Dave- My retort to you is two-fold...
1) It is an angler's responsibility to know the regs. A cursory glance at the paddlefish regs on page 28 would tell them that there is no harvest on M/F. I'm amazed that so few anglers read the regs before investing their money and time.
2) As a guide, you have a responsibility to make sure your customers know and abide by the regs. Too many times have our guided anglers been found to be fishing/harvesting paddlefish without a permit. This is unacceptable. I can understand how if you get a call from some anglers wanting to book a spoonbill trip on a M/F, you'd be reluctant to remind them that they wouldn't be keeping any fish for fear of losing the business.

The fact that we have a research station seems irrelevant in this conversation. And again- the reg targeted the segment of anglers keeping the most fish during multi-day trips. Those people were largely nonresident, yes. A true majority of our anglers harvesting fish from Grand/Neosho are nonresident, therefore ANY reg could be construed as targeting nonresidents, no?
Jason ODWC Paddlefish Biologist
E-Check your paddlefish harvest HERE
Posted on Friday Mar 29, 2013 at 10:04 PM  
I could agree with you, but then we both would be wrong.
I don't believe in Miracles, I rely on them.
Dave Clark Hybrid/Striper/Sandbass Guide
 Fishonok.com
YETI Pro staff,
Pro Staff Baitbuster Cast nets 1.5lbs per foot and six panel
Posted on Saturday Mar 30, 2013 at 12:02 AM  
I wanted to chime in here and thank everyone for the response. JDS has been great to give us a wealth of information. We owe him
a big thank you! Nowhere else can you find direct biologist feedback.
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