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Should Fishing Guides have smaller bag limits?

8/28/17 @ 1:33 AM
User since 7/14/11

I had someone mention to me that it doesn't seem right that a fishing guide that might target a particular lake on a daily or even sometimes 2 x daily basis with clients that usually want limits should have the same daily bag limits as everyone else.  For example, you are a guide for salmon on Lake Michigan or walleyes on Winnebago & you are taking limits of salmon or walleye every single day. Do you think that these guides should have a lower bag limit to help protect the resource?  or should they have to donate to fish stocking or pay an extra fee of some kind?  I still don't know how I feel about this.  What do you guys think?

11/2/17 @ 11:33 AM
User since 5/31/10

Most guides I've been out with have asked if I wanted to keep fish or not. I usually don't, except a salmon or steelhead here and there. The ones I've been with have also made it clear that they favor CPR but it was my choice to keep my limit if I wanted to but I know not all guides are like this. The guide is limited to a personal daily bag limit so they can't keep a limit 2X a day unless they break the law so lowering the bag limit wouldn't do much to mitigate their actions.

I go with a guide to learn or, in the case of Lake Michigan,  to target species I can't go after everyday since it's not worth my time to invest in the gear for a species I'd only target a few days a year.  A change in limits wouldn't impact me but I also know there are people who don't get out but once or twice a year and the goal is fish in the freezer.  Yes, they are making money off the resource but they also provide an avenue for additional revenue to the areas in which they operate.  With that in mind, I'd say yes to an increase in the cost of a guide license but with the provision that the added cost is used as funding only towards stocking efforts.

11/2/17 @ 9:10 AM
Fish Hound
User since 1/29/02

Jason, is spot on with everything he is saying as well, exactly the way we do it on my boat.

Catch and release Salmon is not an option, we will release a shaker if we get it up off a rigger or diver fast enough and can release without netting. If you drag it in on a board line it's usually to late.

11/2/17 @ 9:05 AM
Fish Hound
User since 1/29/02

Jerry, I wish more guides had that attitude, I do the same when I'm running clients. They do not get to catch or keep fish on my daily bag limit.

Unfortunately I know many captains that do it, no law against it, but I still don't think it's right.

11/2/17 @ 6:01 AM
MEMBER since 7/9/12

Of coarse! Until there is something in regs that says otherwise, Guides follow the same rules as anybody else!!!! 

11/1/17 @ 7:41 AM
MEMBER since 6/15/01

funny thing is, guiding is not some new phenomena ... been going on for longer than anyone here has been alive... if it was going to ruin fishing, you'd think it would have been addressed already...  THIS just seems to be something someone really had to dig to find to complain about... hey, that's your prerogative

edit: forgot to vote... NO

10/31/17 @ 4:42 PM
User since 12/25/02


10/31/17 @ 4:37 PM
User since 5/29/03

Fishermen pay for the license and there's no deviation from the bag limit.

What I'd advocate is the Guides pay a much larger guide fee for licensing.
They're totally raping the resources and yes, they should pay for what they take. 

The pressure I see from these guides will have an impact at some point. Mark my words!

9/28/17 @ 10:08 AM
Jerry Ruffolo
User since 6/18/01

I guide on Lake Winnebago, the connecting waters, and Green Bay for walleyes.  The rules are simple:  each person is allowed the daily bag limit.  Clients are NOT allowed to take home the guide's limit.  I have guided about 70 trips this year.  I have taken home exactly 2 walleyes from Lake Winnebago this year.  Both were caught at the end of a trip when my client's had their limit.  Both were reeled in by me as I cleared lines at the end of a trip.  The bag limits are set for ALL people, not just those who guide or do not guide.  They cannot be different for one person just because they have a greater ability to put fish in the boat.

Capt Jerry

9/27/17 @ 7:01 AM
User since 12/31/09

What are you talking about .every person has their bag limit.

9/19/17 @ 11:31 PM
Jason Woda
User since 9/1/01

Sorry I could not comment sooner as I was busy catching my limits and limits today. Jk. x-ray pretty much summed up what I would have typed. Catch and released trolling caught salmon have a high mortality rate, so on my boat it's never an option. If I only have 2 people then 10 fish is what we keep even if that only takes one hour out of my five.   99% of charters do it this way. Unfortunately I'm sure there are a few that take the captain and mates limit. Yes if they are caught then they are in some trouble. Unless they can prove they reeled them in themselves. I would rather donate unwanted fish than to stay out there, catch and release another 20 and they go to waste on the bottom of the lake. I know I will get arguments about mortality on salmon, yes they might swim away, but rest assured after you pull away watch for seagulls a short time later. Look, I'm not here to argue, so if you know someone is violating turn em in. Just don't point the finger at a fishery being ruined by charters and guides as most of us respect the resources and follow the rules. As far as the whole 20% less fish in the lake comments. Bear with me here. the dnr puts in X number of fish now figuring we(private and charter) are going to take Y number of fish out. Let's say they lower the limits? If you lower number Y then they will eventually decrease X at some point because the formulas they have won't jive anymore. They WILL certainly have reason to not put as many in, thus essentially putting us right in worse shape than where we are now. Does that make sense. It will lower success rate for certain. Is that what one would want? As X-ray said we catch less than the private fishermen. The numbers would be even more skewed if the creel census folks were at every launch every day. I love the fact that everyone can enjoy this fishery. I can definately agree that overharvesting on an inland lake could ruin it for certain. Lake Michigan is just a different beast. The increased natural reproduction you speak of doesn't exist. This info will come out publicly at some point. They use percentages to make it sound amazing. The number of naturals has remained somewhat constant from year to year, but the percentage they speak of keeps going up because we are stocking less. The percentage can't do anything but go up, but that's an entirely different topic. So I guess to answer the question. No, I do not keep my or my mates limits. In my opinion it's unethical and I'm sure most of my competitors would agree. BTW we averaged just over 13 fish per trip all season. Far cry from over fishing, and not even close to limiting on every trip. If I averaged it out with number of people it would break down to 2 or 3 fish per person on most occasions. Hope this helps shed some light on us evil do'ers! 

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