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PostPosted: March 10th, 2002, 2:30 pm 
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Joined: July 31st, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 93
Location: North York, Ontario Canada
I fish for fun on canoe trips and hopefully the odd meal. I have not had the luxury of tripping with other experienced fishermen so i thought i would try and get a few of my problems solved. I know you can help. (1) I typically carry a small fishing net to land larger fish like pike. Do others carry a small fishing net? If you do carry a net, how do you solve the fish smell issue on the net when packing down for the night? - leave submerged in the lake tied to shore? (2) What is your recommended method to transport a prize fish you want to eat later but you still have a couple of hours of paddling left? - do you fillet and eat there or string it from boat. I have paddled for short distances with fish strung behind boat but i feel guilty about basically drowning the thing or ripping its mouth/gill area apart.

So there are my two basic fishing problems i have yet to solve. I realized they are very novice questions but no question is too dumb to ask i suppose.

Rod


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PostPosted: March 10th, 2002, 4:40 pm 
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Joined: June 21st, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 333
Location: Canada
15':

If you're fishing alone, there's no reason to keep larger fish; keep the smaller ones only (provided that they fit within the local jurisdictional slot size). Unless it's early or late season, it's generally too warm to keep fish longer than for one meal anyway. I have though caught fish during the morning, and after cleaning and inserting them into a plastic garbage bag, insulated the fillets by surrounding them with clothing. I wouldn't advise this, since the smell of fish will permeate your pack and clothing - definitely a bear attractant. If you plan to keep fish this way, a method that cools any fabric pack on a hot sunny day is to wet it; the ensuing evaporation will cool the pack interior.

If you want to drag the fish (presumably to keep it in water cooler than the ambient air), kill it by clubbing and bleed the fish by slicing around the bottom of gills (purists would tell you to kill the fish by bleeding it). It's better to gut the fish immediately after killing it, but you wouldn't want to do this if you plan to drag it further in the water.

I've always found a net handy when fishing from the canoe, but usually unnecessary on shore. I no longer carry a net, trusting to my landing skill, and having no intention of landing or keeping larger fish. Fishing from a river’s shore is easier and often productive, particularly at the bottom of a rapid or in an eddy. For lake fishing you will be more productive in the canoe.

Good practice is to bleed or gut fish some distance from your camp. This will eliminate offal from the campsite and reduce attractant odors. My practice is to paddle at least a kilometer from camp and preferably clean at an island site. I leave the offal away from the shore (never dispose of it in the water) in plain view and it is cleaned up by crows, ravens, seagulls or eagles and occasionally by a member of the weasel family. This applies to mid-season when scavenging birds are common. I have also cleaned fish on shore (the opposite shore to that I camp on) and returned a day later to find bears eating the offal. I've often watched bears patroling a shoreline as part of their forage route.

Note though that I canoe in remote areas, and these practices might not be appropriate for well-traveled areas like Algonquin.


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PostPosted: March 10th, 2002, 10:51 pm 
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Joined: March 9th, 2002, 7:00 pm
Posts: 100
Location: London, Ontario Canada
Hopefully the prize fish that you plan on eating later isn't to large. Killing trophy fish depletes the fish stock of good, healthy strong fish that would produce the same kind of offspring in the future, and generally are not good eating. Aswell larger fish have more toxins in them (can be expanded on in the "Ontario Guide to Eating Sport fish") because they are older and have been exposed to pollution longer (natural or man made). And don't forget fish here take up to four times longer to grow than in warmer climates. A 12.2" (1lb) smallmouth will be approximitly 4 years old.

In regards to the stinky net problem, I can say I haven't had a problem with pests. I have been trout fishing in the spring in bear country and just left my net hanging on a tree and not had any visitors. Not to say that it couldn't happen!


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PostPosted: March 11th, 2002, 12:34 am 
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Joined: June 23rd, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 52
Location: Hamilton, Ontario Canada
Instead of a net think about a butcher's glove. It's a metal mesh thing that grabs fish surprisingly well, and it packs a lot better than a fishing net. Wal-Mart or a fishing tackle store will sell you a commercial example for $12-$14.

Keeping fish on a trip is tough, if you're staying on the same lake overnight you can sink a ZipLock in a deep spot with the fillets and have them for breakfast, if you catch a decent pickeral 6 portages away then eat it there, or let it go. Unless you want to carry an Igloo cooler with dry ice along with ya.


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PostPosted: March 11th, 2002, 8:50 am 
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Joined: July 31st, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 93
Location: North York, Ontario Canada
Thanks guys. That is the type of information i am looking for. I hope others will pitch in their two thoughts too.


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PostPosted: March 11th, 2002, 9:27 am 
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Joined: August 28th, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 614
Location: Cheltenham, Ontario Canada
No net. You can manage a pretty big pike (15 lbs.?) with your hand. Just clamp down across the back of its head, compressing the gill plates.

A politically incorrect way to handle bigger pike is to use your thumb and middle finger in its eye sockets. This looks gross and will get me scolded, but pike, like other large predator fish, can recess their eyes during a potentially damaging attack. For instance, if a pike strikes a muskrat or chipmunk, it could get clawed or bitten. Anyway, the eyes recess, the bony plate around the socket is easy to hold and there is no damage if you use reasonable care.

Fish suffocate if they can't close their gills, so sticking a rope through the gill slit and dragging it will kill it. However, if you puncture a hole in the lower jaw right behind the lip and put the stringer there, the fish will be able to work its gills and can survive for quite a distance. Again, this is not a preferred method, but you asked.

Finally, most fish you buy at the market is at least a couple days old, most likely nearing five. And not all the time in a bucket of ice.

The traditional way of keeping fish is to place a wet bed of moss in the bottom of an air-circulating basket called a creel and keep it in the shade as well as possible. If the gills remain red, the eyes remain clear and the flesh remains firm, the fish is fine to eat. In the wilds, this should easily extend to two days if you can keep it shaded and cool. Fresher is better.

Finally, I would not hesitate to eat or keep a big fish. If you stay within the law you have no apologies to make.

The fact is, there is a substantial morality associated with releasing fish. It depends on water temperature, the physical condition of the fish, where it is hooked, how long played and a dozen other variables. Better to eat than waste.

Also, I have, from time to time, caught a fish I thought was too big, it was the first cast and with fish hitting that good, decided to let him go, only to find myself eating vegetarian that day.

While I am not a big fan of the philosophy of catch-and-release, I do believe strongly you should take what you need, but leave the rest. No sense grinding on the fish all day.

kk


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PostPosted: March 11th, 2002, 11:22 am 
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Joined: July 17th, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 467
Location: Lindsay, Ontario Canada
I fish regularly on canoe trips and have never had an issue keeping fish for the day. If caught in the morning the ideal for me is a stringer to keep it alive as long as possible, barring that I'd try to keep it as cool as possible, similar to Kerry's creel.

I know people who on backcountry trips will bring a very small cooler full of ice for this purpose only, a hand full or two of ice in a platic bag kept in a cool spot will look after the fish for long enough to eat.

As for the other stuff, I never use a net... if I ever caught something too big to haul into the canoe I'd release it along side of the boat. Pike can be picked up as described by the others ... I prefer a gentle hand just under the gill plate, taking great care not to harm the gills. Bass are easily picked up by the mouth, trout can be gently scooped out by hand or a glove.

Gutting the fish away from the site is important to keep the beasties away although I tend to do it quite often near the site .. lazy ... and have yet to have an issue. I'd be more worried about raccoons or skunks.

Markw


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PostPosted: March 11th, 2002, 11:27 am 
Instead of metal glove you can use wool glove
with rubber dots on it - handles the fish
even better and it's lighter too.

Handling pike with bare hands - be carefull -
your finger might sleep through the gill openings into pike's mouth. You don't want
your fingers there :wink: Many ppl can do it safely - just my word of caution.


Leon


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PostPosted: March 11th, 2002, 2:04 pm 
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Joined: July 16th, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 658
Location: Guelph, Ontario
I never bring a net cause I learned a long time ago that if I bring one, I won't get anything guaranteed!

Thanks for asking the question though as I've struggled with some of the same questions. as a result, I generally fish only in the early morning and if I get something...well its fish for breakfast! I find evening fishing fun but a nuisance...you catch something, its getting dark, you try to clean the thing while the bugs are swarming you, everything is getting covered in fish slime and your not sure if it will be ok to eat in the AM. Of course, if its cold at night, great - it'll keep but I have woken up to try and cook a lake trout that had frozen solid!


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PostPosted: March 11th, 2002, 4:50 pm 
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Joined: July 31st, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 93
Location: North York, Ontario Canada
Keep the advice coming! I've learned alot already. Thanks!


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PostPosted: March 11th, 2002, 6:54 pm 
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Joined: June 28th, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 65
Location: Barrie, Ontario Canada
·Usually no net
·Stringer through the bottom jaw as Kerry described
·If we notice the fish dying out on the stringer, we'll fillet them, wash them and place in a ziplock until we get back to camp.
·if we still have fillets left over til the morning, we'll put the dry fillets in Fishcrisp and store in the food barrel. (usually dug into the ground a bit and covered in Hemlock branches.
P.S. Above is for spring trout fishing, summer bass gets eaten right away.

I'm also not a believer of catch and release and agree with Kerry's opinions whole heartedly.

Dave (only 48 days til the opener!)


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PostPosted: March 11th, 2002, 7:43 pm 
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Joined: January 28th, 2002, 7:00 pm
Posts: 66
Location: jacksons point, Ontario Canada
About the idea of picking up a pike by its eye sockets; Don't do it unless you plan to kill the fish to eat.
Regardless of what people say about this method, most pike handled this way end up blind if released.


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PostPosted: March 12th, 2002, 10:15 am 
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Joined: July 7th, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 420
Location: Peterborough, Ontario Canada
I guess it all boils down to trip planning. When my buddies and I head off for our annual Spring fishing trip in Algonquin each Spring we try to plan out the route so we are in the good fishing lakes for dinner and breakfast. The rest of the day is spent traveling. We do try to pick up a few fish for shore lunch as well. So, basically, we never catch and keep a fish mid-day and try to keep it fresh until dinner time. Not that there are ways to do this, it's just that it makes life easier to plan ahead. Choose a route that has some good choice lakes to stop-over on andfish, eat, sleep and be merry.


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PostPosted: March 12th, 2002, 10:27 am 
1) Net. I used to not bring one on our spring laker trips, that is not until the inevitable happened. Two years ago, while trying to land a nice laker, a rapala's middle treble hook imbedded itself in my thumb, and being attached to a writhing laker is NO fun. In the spirit of "getting back on the horse", we went netless again last year but I wound up being hook-shy enough to lose 2 nice lakers and 2 nice rapalas, and then a rainbow on different trip. Arghh. Canadian Tire and especially LeBaron in Toronto have a nice assortment of cheap, small and lightweight nets that I plan on selecting from for this spring's trip. If you use a lot of multi-hook baits, then consider a net and pliers.

2) Preserving Fish. I ran a similar thread a while back on the What's Biting in Toronto Fishboard http://www.zoo.utoronto.ca/FUN/Fish.html and got a range of answers. We did a test a few years back and found that if you plan to keep the fish overnight (or longer), then clean and fillet the fish, leaving on a small patch of skin that is required by law anyways for species identification, and hang it up in a breezy area until the surface is dry and just slightly hardened. The fillet is then wrapped in some paper towel and put into a double ziplock bag. Remove as much air as possible and submerge in a shadey spot with rocks. Using this method, my friend was able to bring back several large fillets back to share with his family the next evening. The key was to keep it dry as possible on the surface as the moisture seemed to hasten the spoiling.

I've been toying with the idea of bringing a soft sided cooler with a block of dry ice bagged and wrapped in newspaper. Since I think you're only allowed to have THAT DAY'S limit of fish in your possession, having a cooler full of yesterday's and the day before's fillets might get you in trouble (please correct me if I'm wrong).

Fly fishermen have traditionally kept their catch fresh all-day by placing the fish into a wicker basket onto a bed of moss and grass. Occassionally dipping the whole basket underwater will soak the grass and moss and take advantage of the cooling effect of evaportation. A burlap sack with grass/moss in a breezy, shadey spot will achieve the same effect. I read that if you put a pot of water at the top of the bag and drape the top of the sack over the pot and into the water, then it will act as a reservoir allowing the burlap sack to wick up water, extending the times between rewetting. A wilderness fridge that I plan to try it this spring if it's warm. Important!!! Treat the fishbag exactly like a food pack and raise it up high and away from camp at all times.

Using up left-over trout has never been a problem. I just blend it into the next mornings bannock and we're ready to fish again! I've also slow smoked trout over our fire for fish jerky the next day and that worked out well. The thin strips were a pleasant treat. I don't like eating the larger "breeding" stock, simply because the younger ones taste better. I'd also never kill a trophy fish.

I hate to have a fish or two (or three or four) dragging behind my canoe. Talk about killing speed! I recommend bludgeoning them to death first and then lip hooking them. The burlap bag in the canoe would probably work well, but unless you had some form of basin/pail to catch the dripping blood and water, everything would smell of fish! Not good!

By the way, check out Native American and historical methods of preserving fish on the net.

Finally, catch what you plan to eat that day and release the rest.

Hope that helps.

Chard


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PostPosted: March 12th, 2002, 11:31 am 
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Joined: July 17th, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 467
Location: Lindsay, Ontario Canada
Matbe Kevin could give us a route plan outlining where the guaranteed fishing lakes and holes are so I can time my fish catching the way he does ... :smile:

Markw


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