Fall is a funny time of year, a lot of times either the fishing is great or it is terrible. I have seen bad fishing and then all the sudden one day in November, or October tons of fish show up at the dams and they are everywhere. This is especially true if the water is up some. But regardless of how fishing is, one thing is for sure, it used to be better, much better.
Guys catch a keeper Walleye and they see two things, one is an accomplishment to catch such an elusive fish and two is they see a great meal. But it’s not about the meal, or they could just go buy some fish at the store and wouldn’t have to fillet them and with the high cost of fishing these days it would be cheaper. No it’s about fishing. I would say that almost all fisherman keep every fish they can. They just cannot throw them back even if their freezer is full. They would rather give the fish to someone else before they threw them back to brag and to feed the ego about how they conquered. I know, I used to be the same way. Not anymore, I get a good feeling when I throw fish back.
Picture hundreds of schools of Walleye swimming around, now picture hundreds of schools of Walleye being kept every day the fishing is good for those who stumble on to them. Those who don’t are all the more determined to keep them the next time the catch them. Picture getting limits of nice sized Walleye and Sauger and dozens of small fish, that’s the way it used to be on a daily bases in the tailwaters in the Fall. Now look how good it is, and you know it is not good at all. Everyone is desperate, they see someone catch a fish and they pile on and lock the trolling motor on the spot if they have built in GPS. They follow each other. They get angry when they hear about someone else doing good. There is a lots a lot more fisherman than there used to be. Something needs to change. You can help by practicing catch and release. Just imagine going home and not having to fillet fish. There is a point a fisherman can reach where he know longer feels the need to feed the ego by bragging and showing off his catch. Most never reach that level. But even if you don’t throw your fish back then you can exaggerate the weight or count without having to prove it.
Another way to be able to release a well deserved fish is to take photos. With digital cameras it is easy to do these days. A picture can last forever.
Throw them back and perhaps you will be reward with a record fish someday, one that you caught when it was keeper size.