: Legal Fish???
01-12-2000, 06:04 AM
Last night I went fishing and got into a heated conversation with some other fisherman as to what is a legal caught fish. I have always felt that a fish needs to be hooked in the mouth for it to be legal caught if not I let them go. Now these two fellows had different thoughts on the matter. One said any fish caught in front of the gill plates is legal regardless of hook position. The other said anything 2 inches from the mouth Both claimed to have checked this with warden. What is your thought?
01-12-2000, 10:43 AM
Well, since this is just an opinion question, I think I can answer without getting bashed..LOL
Since I release the eyes anyway...
I would tend to agree with the other two fellas. It would appear that the fish was attempting to take the bait and it would not be a "snagged" situation, if it has hooks in front of the gill plates, or two inches from the mouth, as they said.
It could be that the fish inhaled the bait, and when attempting to set the hook, the fish was in the process of spitting it out, and ended up getting hooked oddly anyway...
Just my thoughts..:7
01-12-2000, 11:15 AM
Wisconsin fishing regulations state: "It is illegal to keep foul-hooked or snagged fish not hooked in the mouth". Seems clear to me, other states may be different?
I think that the other two were right because would you rather have a small fish enhale it and be dead before it hit the water or snag it and release it.And when you catch a big one as long as your not trying to snag the fish it shouldn't matter were you hook it at because you caught it .
01-12-2000, 01:12 PM
Shouldn't matter where the fish is hooked??? Come on now just because you land a big fish that is hooked in the back does not mean you keep it.
01-12-2000, 06:10 PM
>matter were you hook it
>at because you caught it
Sorry pro, "I didn't mean to do it" is not a legal defense in most states.
01-13-2000, 08:24 AM
All the regulations I have read say "in the mouth", not near the mouth.....
01-13-2000, 08:59 AM
I release 99.9% of all the fish I catch, except for our annual foray to Erie and we even harvest selectively there. Question is, if a fish is badly foul hooked in the gills and bleeding badly, does this fish go back in the water or in the icebox?
I know that law enforcement types might (do) have a case if they saw this, but wouldn't a higher authority (ethic against waste of resources) prevail? The intent of the hooked in mouth law is to prevent intentional snagging. I would exercise common sense over the threat of a ticket and rely on the common sense of the warden to win out. IF one had a box full of "gilled" fish, I would suspect we have an altogether different issue.
01-13-2000, 12:57 PM
Who cares what is really "legal" in terms of hook position. Do you think tournament fishermen are going to throw back a large fish because they didn't catch the fish in the mouth? I guess I wouldn't worry about something that happens once in a great while.
01-13-2000, 02:48 PM
Eagle Eyes this foul hooking happens a lot at the spillways I have fished. It is not uncommon for guys to foul hook 10 or 12 big saugeye before one takes it in the mouth. This occurs when the water is up and the spillways are stacked with eyes. I guess maybe my initial question was not worded right. I wanted to know if it was legal to keep the fish even if hooked close to the mouth. Since my original post I talked with enforcement from ODOW. Only legal to keep the fish if it is hooked in the mouth. Close is not good enough law states in the mouth. If you keep it when it has been foul hooked that is wrong according to Ohio laws.
01-13-2000, 03:13 PM
You pose a good ethical question, and I would go back to what Juls said earlier. If the law says it has to be hooke din the mouth, that's pretty clear. Otherwise I would look at the intent of the fish and make my decision on that. I have seen fish snagged, especially when fishing below spillways, and especially vertical fishing like pumping jigging spoons. It happens. You can look at that fish and know if it was trying to bite the lure or not, at least be pretty sure. If it's snagged around the mouth, chances are fairly good that it hit the bait or was trying to hit the bait when it was hooked. The exception might be if it's hooke right in the bottom of the jaw, it might have been snagged. If it's hooked on the lower part of the head, it was probably snagged. If it is hooked in the side of the face, chances are good it hit the lure.
How many times have you caught a fish on a crankbait that had the bait on the side of the face and no hooks actually in the mouth? I've had it happen quite a bit, and I'm certain those fish were trying to bite the bait even though they had no hooks in the mouth. Whether or not you keep any of these fish is your choice.
That's my $.02
Lou in Alex.
01-14-2000, 09:58 AM
I think here the hook must be in the mouth to be a legal fish. This is a good question- keep it or not?I'm a livebait guy, so this does'nt occur often, but it does happen.Even though the way the law is stated it's pretty cut and dry- I would keep the fish, because it obviously intended to take my lure into it's mouth.If I were fishing in a competition of some kind- I would cuss a blue streak and release the fish- and hope the other competetors would do the same.It's only fair. Lou in Alex.
01-14-2000, 01:56 PM
Had a friend get into a little trouble on the Maumee last year. The fish was hooked in the mouth - on the outside. Officer said the fish was snagged because it wasn't an "inside-out" hook-up......$87.00
01-14-2000, 02:44 PM
Bushplanter I don't know what state you are in but both of the fishermen you talked to would have been arrested if they caught the fish as described in Ohio and didn't release them. Must be caught "in" the mouth, not close. But, having said that I think the only time it is enforced in Ohio is when the walleye runs are on in our rivers and then it is enforce with a vengence.....
01-14-2000, 02:49 PM
Eyeguy, you're right, on the rivers during the walleye run there is no "close enough." It is properly hooked or you are arrested and it is your word against the game protector - guess who wins in court????