The Taleout is a collection of fishing stories from folks that have spent their lives on the water.
Oregon Field Rep, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership
Owner/Guide, Little Creek Outfitters
When our daughter was three, she watched Dad harvest a hatchery steelhead; it was the first time she had ever seen one of us take a fish out of the water and kill it. Horrified, she almost cried. We had to console her and explain that it was OK, that the fish was from a hatchery and was produced for take. In her mind, all fish should be kept in the water and she still believes that to this day.
As an outfitter and angler that cares deeply about our resources and fish it’s our duty to educate other anglers and practice the best ethics on the water we can. That is to respect others, the environment, wildlife and fish we are so lucky to encounter. To respect the fish we practice keeping them in the water, minimize air exposure to increase survival. We need air to breath and fish need water.
Catch and release is about healthy returns for future anglers. I believe every fish returned and handled respectfully to minimize stress is an opportunity for another angler. Returning fish to the water gives them a chance to spawn, and more spawners contribute to more angling opportunity and healthier runs.
World Fly-Casting Champion
Fishing is an intensely personal experience; the connection to something wild is something I have found no substitute for. It's wonderful that in our lives filled with things that society judges as correct or incorrect, we have a sport where we can “play” like we were a child and no one thinks less of us.
If we plan to release what we catch, I feel it important to do the best we can to insure the fish has the best possible chance to survive its experience with us. I know I have injured fish that probably died as a result of damage during the fight and release process. The feeling I have when I have caused irreparable damage kills any buzz I had when I hooked and fought the fish. Helping people understand fish mortality during catch-and-release fishing is one small way to heal the scars I have caused from 50 years of fishing. Fishing should be fun and the feeling of holding a healthy fish underwater and letting it swim away can be the most rewarding part of connecting with our environment. For me, a fish that leaves my hand healthy is more important than a "grip and grin" photo.