Our fishing philosophy is “eat the small to medium sized fish and release the big ones.” Small to medium sized is defined as bass and walleye up to about 16″. However we don’t frown on taking a single fish for trophy mounting but do encourage having replicas being made so that the fish may be released. There are several very good reasons for this philosophy. The larger fish represent great survival and growth genes and have much greater breeding success and growth rates. The larger fish are older and thus have accumulated far more environmental toxins than the young ones. They’re stronger tasting and could be bad for you. Our area is still pristine and remote, yet airborne pollution is a worldwide problem. Its an unfortunate fact we must recognize.
The Canadian Ministry of Natural Resources tells us that an average 19”- 4 pound smallmouth bass in our area is about 22 years old! A 20″ – 4 pound walleye is about 25 years old! The bigger fish are normally females so they represent a particularly valuable resource. It is obvious that if we take the large fish it will be years before the population recovers if ever. It takes only about 5 years for a bass or walleye to get to an edible small to medium size. The smaller to medium sized fish are milder and thus better tasting. It is far more fun to catch larger fish. So let’em go so you can catch them next week or next year. They’ll be even bigger!
We believe that the above philosophy can be summed up as a general sportsmen’s credo – we should pursue our sport with direct regard to minimizing any adverse impact our activities may have on the resource we are utilizing and make every effort to act as a beneficial influence on that resource. We’ve owned the camp for 26 years and Jack has been coming to this area since he was around 7 years old. Over the years that we have owned the camp and instituted this release policy we’ve seen the size of the “trophy sized bass rise from 19 and 4 pounds to 22 and 5 pounds! There are several trophy” sized bass caught by guests each week. Jack catches one of these monsters one out of three times fishing. It appears our release policy is bearing significant fruit.
We love to see stringers of small to medium “eating sized” fish. Don’t worry about anyone belittling your catch. This policy however does not extend to pike, which grow very quickly and can reach 20 lbs. in as little as 13 years, and to some of the outlying lakes that are overcrowded with Bass. A case in point is Elkhorn, a remote lake that has a vast over-population of smallmouth bass. You could conceivably catch a bass on each cast. To avoid a possibly stunted population we recommend that a full limit of bass be removed from this lake each trip.