October 5th, 1998
The Case for Special Regulations
by Ron Whiteley
Special regulations are those that differ
considerably from the statewide general fishing
regulations. Special regulations should be considered
when angling harvest or other factors prevent attainment
of specific fishery management goals. The goal of
special regulations should be to maintain or improve
the quality of a fishery expressed in catch rate and
or percent larger fish in an anglers catch. They are
designed for specific waters and are a useful and
effective tools for fishery management when applied on the basis
of sound fishery science.
Special fishing regulations are not new
in Connecticut. They have been in use for a long time.
The sea-run brown trout fishery in Latimers Brook had
an artificial lures, single hook only requirement. The
Quinebaug Valley Hatchery ponds have a single, barbless
hook requirement. Trout Management areas have special
regulations and the state has implemented slot limits
on many fisheries.
Recently, fishery science consultant Patrick Trotter
reviewed most of the studies on hooking mortality of
trout. He provided an excellent summary of his findings
in the March 1995 issue of Fly Fishermen.
Much of his data comes from a 1992 scientific review
published by Taylor and White in the North American
Journal of Fisheries Management. Here
are some of their conclusions:
Fish caught on bait suffer a much higher rate of hooking mortality than those
caught on either lures or flies. Comparing all studies of stream and lake
dwelling salmonids, the information looks like this:
HOOKING METHOD MORTALITY RATE %
Hooking mortality results favor the use of flies
over lures, but only slightly. In fact the differences
are only one percent and justify both fly fishing
only and artificial lures only regulations when
attempting to keep hooking mortality at an absolute minimum.
Fish caught on barbless hooks suffer lower hooking
mortality than fish caught on barbed hooks. This one
has been hotly debated for years, but recent analyses
show mortality rates of 2.6 percent for barbless
flies and lures and 4.8 percent for those with barbs.
The difference is perhaps too small for management
decisions, but it does offer an individual a choice.
The current regulations for the domestic salmon fishery allow the use of
bait, as well as multi-treble hooked lures for Atlantic salmon. The message
that fishermen get from these regulations is indeed the one that the DEP
Fisheries wants to send, catch and keep all of the salmon to remove them
from the river. The current regulations foster a lack of respect for the
species. More protective regulations are needed NOW!!
The sea run salmon will disappear faster than the alwives did from Roaring
Brook in Glastonbury and Salmon Brook in East Hartford. Once premier alewife
streams, they were devoid of fish in 1995 because people with dip nets, seines
and any other device to get the fish, took every fish from the streams. It
is imperative that the areas containing sea run salmon be made"Fly Fishing
Only" areas to limit the numbers of people and aid in enforcement.
There is more
information here on this subject.
~ Ron Whiteley
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