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Do you cull your panfish for frying the big ones?

  • yes, its easier to filet them

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • No, I keep the little fellers for potato chip frying and hope the others breed into GillZilla

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • I dont eat fish, I just drink the batter before the flour and corn meal goes into it.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Was catching up on my favorite fishing show, Lindners Angling Edge
www.anglingedge.com today.

This would be more of a conservation issue question but who actually reads the topic anyway, so please forgive my liberty in putting in general topics.

So, the crux of the program today was Minnesota DNR putting slot limits and 5 per on crappie and bluegills on the smaller lakes with BIG slabs of both species.

Just an informal poll, but how many guys toss the big ones back for breeding? Etc..... I never really considered it except to cull the little stunted ones in a few of my ponds.

I guess it would more of a passsing on of the sentiment from Big Al on the topic of slot fishing for genetics.

I love eating both of them especially little stream trout and when I fill the creel I tend to keep the biggest as they filet out nice. I am reconsidering that today in light of waht I learned from the show and it would be nice to know how to determine which of the IL lakes need this type of effort to support more of the bigger ones passing on the genetics. I don't have a clue on how to get that fish census data to be informed on a particular lake.

Food for thought. Please do not misconstrue this as a shot to the guys who take their limits it just was thought provoking to hear it From Al Lindner. I keep some fish and others go back depending on what I think the chance of them livingto fight another day is.

I respect anyone who enjoys their catch and it leaves me with one lingering question, how many little gills or paper mouth does it take to make fish a fry for 4 people and how the heck do you know how long to cook a 1 ounce filet. :lol:
 

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On the rare occasion I do keep a few panfish, I just keep a few nice ones for the wife. Just the other day, for the first time in many years, I kept 6 nice Bluegill for my wife. The biggest one was close to 8". My wife does not filet fish, she just guts 'em and gills 'em and into the pan they go. She likes to lick those small bones ;) . If I were lucky enough to catch the mythical 10" Bluegill or 16" Crappie, I would let them go, as they are too lucky and beautiful to eat.

jmho

None of your poll responses really fit my situation. In general, the vast majority of times, I am a BIG C&R guy.
 

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The only fish that I ALWAYS keep are rock bass and only from lake geneva in the spring. Whether they are 1.5 oz. or 1 1/2 lbs. and I only keep 12 each time I go. And they all go "IN MA BELLY" They are really great filleted, breaded and fried. Other than that a few perch and trout.
 

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on the south suburban lakes where there are so many bluegill that their growth is stunted I normally kill the small ones for food, and throw the big ones back for reproduction.

edit: fixed mistake that makes my post confusing
 

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............
 

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Fonzie said:
She likes to lick those small bones ;) .
OH MAN! :eek:
TOO EASY!
WHAT A STRAIGHT MAN!

Explains why she's your wife, huh Fonz? :p
 

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Raptor said:
Fonzie said:
She likes to lick those small bones ;) .
OH MAN! :eek:
TOO EASY!
WHAT A STRAIGHT MAN!

Explains why she's your wife, huh Fonz? :p
I made that same "small bones" comment the other day while fishing with Augman69 and Walleye_71, and they made fun of me real good :oops: .
That's why I put it in my post...to give those two a chuckle.
 

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It really depends on the lake. I will keep Crappie and Whites throughout the year if needed and generally will keep the larger fish. Fish grow at different rates depending on their habitat and available forage. Crappie and White bass are like rats, they produce well in most of our local lakes and would have to really be pressured in my opinion to have any ill effects. I believe that releasing pan fish in many cases does more harm than good. Many of our lakes have smaller fish not because of anglers taking the big ones but rather over population. Year classes fight for the same forage so the better the spawn survival rate is in any given year, the more that years fish may struggle with growth rates during their lifespan. Removing some of the population will ultimately increase their available food and increase their growth rates. On the Chain, Crappie will normally grow to 12-14 inches. I've caught and seen some up to 16 over the years but, a 16 inch crappie on the chain has little chance of hitting 17 or 18 inches if it is released. This fish is at the end of it's natural lifespan and will be turtle food within a short time. It is also no longer at it's prime spawning age. I always like to compare it to humans. How many 70-80 year old men and women are still in their prime spawning age?? The answer is none. Fish are no different, they have a prime span in their lives when they spawn most efficiently and it isn't at the end of their lives. With that being said, if your fishing the chain and are lucky enough to get the very limited 15-16 inch "Grandpa Crappie", it's a perfect one to put on the wall. :)2

The chain gets hammered throughout the year for Crappie and White bass and it never seems to put a dent in the population. As long as the spawns are successful, I don't think the fishing pressure is going to effect them and there are literally thousands of the bigger fish removed every year by anglers. Spring time spawn usually produces the larger females between 11-15 inches and ice fisherman also harvest some nice sizes. Actually, come to think of it, I may be wrong stating thousands are harvested, it might be ten's of thousands in any given year. :lol:

Anyway, my point is, this harvest pressure is most likely helping the size of Crappie and Whites on the chain by not allowing overpopulation. If nobody kept them, it wouldn't give us bigger fish, it would more then likely give us smaller ones. I know this won't set well with allot of C&R dudes but nature, (which we are part of) knows a balance and is still in charge. 8:)

Almost forgot about the gill's, I usually don't keep 'em but if I do, I fry them up crunchy. :)
 

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My thoughts mirror JD's. It pretty much depends on the lake. MOST bodies of water can handle harvesting of panfish and as mentioned in many instances you're doing the fishery a favor by doing so. I keep a batch of panfish early in the year when the water is still cool. And then maybe another batch in the Fall. They taste better when caught in the colder water. I don't "cull", but keep good eaten sized as I catch them. First off, the mortality rate is much higher on these fish that have spent time in the livewell and/or fish basket and then are released. And secondly, I believe in Illinois and many states it is illegal to cull...
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Good Point JD, the Chain is as you know is a unique eco system with fish that produce more spawn than is typical. A good example of adpation of a species to a stressed environment, especially the Chain-o-Lakes strain of Northern Bass.
 

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Slots really are the way to go for all fish IMO. Eagle Lake in Canada would be a prime example. With tons of pressure from all sorts of resorts the pike and walleye fishing took a big hit. The implemented slot sizes for both rebounded their numbers and size greatly and put many trophy fish back into the system. Slots allow smart harvest. Very small limits, minumum sizes, or total C&R for panfish does not seem to have much success. Just look at what the CCFP have produced with some of their efforts to create trophy panfishing.
 

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Releaing Fish

I have had state biologists tell me to only keep the large small mouths (over 21 inches) if we want to have a meal because they are so old that they do not contribute to the recruitment numbers in any meaningful way. Of the those that we have kept over the years, his explanation has been shown to be true given their atophied ovaries. Of course eating one does remove it from the lake and thus remove the potential for catching it again.
 

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All good points guys. Although Bass, Large and Smallmouth which were considered good table fair years ago have now become more of a protected C&R type fish among serious fisherman. It's a good idea in our area more for smallies than largemouth. Smallies grow slower and extra care should be given to these fish to ensure a good fishery. Largemouth on the other hand always get me scratching my head. Go to just about any small northern Illinois lake and you can catch a bunch of stunted largemouth. Our Reg's (in most places) allow you to keep 14 or 15 + inch fish which in my opinion is the exact size that you should be releasing!! I think the prime spawner's in this area are probably from 14 to 20 inches. (I'm guessing). So why would the state Reg's not protect that range or at least some of it. I would think keeping a 22 or 3-4 12 inchers would do less damage than taking the prime spawner's. No different for panfish, If you go to a pond or lake and the size for gill harvest is 8 inches and all you catch all day is 4-6 inchers then harvesting isn't the problem is it. The problem is over population and stunting which could be solved in a short time by allowing people to take the smaller fish. This would allow the remaining year classes to grow bigger. This theory also requires that good spawning from year to year exists.

So next time your out on any given lake. Take more into consideration than just the State Reg's as they are not always proper for every lake. The DNR who I think have done a great job on our northern lakes do not have the man power to continuously monitor every place we fish. C&R can be just as harmful on some lakes as over harvest is on others. ;)
 

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I have on occasion went after perch to eat, its was more for my dad and grandpa just sucks filleting them after awhile and they all were over 12 inches not sure how you guys can keepp and clean little fish
 
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