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Old 02-12-15, 02:25 AM   #1
joedog
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Smile Let's Talk...To fish in bed or not?

Okay let's talk about a topic that comes up EVERY SPRING.

Fishing spawning beds.
Is it a problem?
Is it an asset?
Are you for it or wouldn't be caught dead doing it.
Do you handle fish differently during spawn?
If so, how?
Would you harvest a spawning bass? (topic came up elsewhere and the angler said how tasty the Row 'eggs' were to fry and eat. That one really took me off guard.)
Do you fish spawn but not beds?

Maybe you really don't care at all.....guess we'll see.

As usual, I'll wait before answering questions. Seems to allow things to go whatever direction you anglers want without me influencing the direction.
And ya, YOU KNOW I GOT THOUGHTS ON THIS!

Remember, there is NO right or wrong feelings or ideas.
Please respect everyone's views and lets TALK.
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Old 02-12-15, 09:12 AM   #2
lilmule
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What is caviar?
Yes I take home bass to fry,no to those on a bed ,generally smaller ones or those somehow injured and bleeding.
Do I fish beds yes and no cant see them here,so yes must drag thru some.Have I ever seen a bed and tossed to that fish yes.Did I release yes.
Have I ever had eggs all over the deck yes,gar was chock full of them and let go,was a mess to clean.Was also 4 ft long and chock full of teeth so wasn't to ashamed lol.
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Old 02-12-15, 10:38 AM   #3
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I do not fish in bed, a bed is for sleeping and adult recreation. Did you rig a hammock or something on your kayak? Or did you mean a video game? Do you Wii in bed?

I know guys that just can't wait to target spawning bass in the spring. Personally I don't do that but I am a recreational fisherman and am just happy to get out on the water. I don't fish to supplement what goes on my table and have no issues with those that do. I have problems with tournament anglers both amateur and professionals that target bedding females. Pulling females off beds, holding them in a live well and transporting them miles away from their bedding area to weigh-in then releasing them is something I believe to be detrimental to bass. Incidental catches by recreational fisherman that immediately release a female near her bed isn't as bad but anytime a fish takes a hook there is a risk of injury, possibly one that is fatal or otherwise cause her to leave the bed.

It is all a personal choice, and if we talk of local fisherman then they have more of a stake in management of the local water they fish. If we speak of a pro that travels to fish water hoping for a paycheck, then if they catch a dozen females off a bed and some don't get back to it or die, what do they care as they are gone and probably will not return to fish that water for years, if ever. They are headed to the next tournament and new water to possibly repeat the process.

Many states close bass season during the spawn (I support that), others allow catch & immediate release and a few don't close the season at all. I guess the state fish management people know what is best for the fisheries within their borders and I know what is best for me in the fishing I do.

Last edited by bassboogieman; 02-12-15 at 10:44 AM.
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Old 02-12-15, 04:25 PM   #4
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Fishing spawning beds.
Is it a problem?
Is it an asset?

I have yet to find a place where there were NO fish. So I have to assume that the fish have survived any bed robbing anglers in previous years.

Are you for it or wouldn't be caught dead doing it.
On the other hand ... man is the worst plague this planet has ever seen. It will only get worse as populations increase. I would not be opposed to closed spawning seasons.
However, I do fish all year long. I've caught gravid females when fishing for bream. As has been stated, I don't feel I've impacted the bass population, because I let them go.

Do you handle fish differently during spawn?
If so, how?

No ... I always release bass, so I always try to handle them appropriately.

Would you harvest a spawning bass? (topic came up elsewhere and the angler said how tasty the Row 'eggs' were to fry and eat. That one really took me off guard.)
That angler, and thread, was about American Shad ... not bass. There's no shortage of Shad so it's no big deal. Since it's a fact that you have to get a gravid female if you want the heaviest fish of your life ... I'd keep a trophy if I had no other way to document it.

Do you fish spawn but not beds?
I am not sure what this means. I do fish all year, so I am sure I am fishing during some spawn or another. And fish in Florida often spawn more than once a year. But I don't target beds, if that's what you mean. I don't avoid them, but I don't seek them out.
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Old 02-12-15, 04:38 PM   #5
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Fishing beds has allowed me to see the biggest fish I see all year. I have fished bass on bed. I always release spawning fish.
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Old 02-12-15, 06:32 PM   #6
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First and foremost....GREAT DISCUSSION ANGLERS!


Some thoughts and things to consider.

First, Caviar is a delicacy consisting of salt-cured fish-eggs. Originally Sturgeon eggs. Not fried. And ya I live by sturgeon waters and yes the DNR has stake outs because there are alot of thieves who drain the eggs out and toss the Sturgeon back. Highly regulated fish and rightly so.

Next, I GUARANTEE the discussion was on BASS eggs because the angler stated that he caught 2 2+lbers and when he fileted them out they had eggs in them. So he fried the eggs. And others chimed in and explained how they cooked the eggs.

Now, is it better or worse to take a fish 10-15 yards away from thier bed. Leaving it tuckered out from the battle and shock of the fight to go back and just be flat out to tuckered out to protect nest as opposed to being caught a foot from nest, released and handle well a foot from nest and basically ready to fight.

If an angler catches a lets say 7lb.+ bass out of a bed.
That bass is at least 7+ years old. Do you think it hasn't had plenty of oppurtunity to bass genes along in past seasons? Will one more year really make a difference?

If your fishing any BOW in 10ft. or less, can you really say your not fishing beds irregardless of method used?
you can say maybe your not targetting beds but lets be honest...your lures, bait is probably crossing a bed or two upon retrieve.
Where I live there are beds in 15'+ in clear water. Easily visible beds.
And if there is one bed...there are probably dozens in the near vicinity.

Where I live the Sunnies move in to spawn immediatly after the bass spawn and in the exact same place and some seasons at the same time or at least over lapping. After all they are specie related after all.

Doesn't nature give the Bass the ability to lay 10s of thousands of eggs expecting the loss of the VAST majority of the eggs?

In Wi. our opening day for Game fish is the first weekend in May....the EACT SAME TIME AS A TYPICAL START OF SPAWN???
Probably the busiest day of the year is opening day.
Is the DNR that ignorant (open for discussion ) or have studies shown that it doesn't really effect fish populations?
Yet in Mn. untill this year (now catch and release during spawn) thier season didn't open till after expected spawn date.
And in IL. they have no closed season at all.

The number one seasn for Walleye in Wi. is during spawn at the dams...where Walleye/Saugeye spawn. It's literally boat to boat crowds of Walleye hunters.
Yet there really isn't much of a Walleye shortage anywhere up here.

And as Bruce mentioned, the early season Bass Tournaments are probably the WORST.
Now thats something I feel very strong on!!!!!!

The rest, although I think and study the effects....I just am not sure of the right answer or even if there is a right answer.

Should be noted....I am a full time catch and release advocate...rather CPR advocate (except during spawn, then its C&R strictly). With the exception of a severly hurt fish and than it goes into the fry pan.
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Old 02-12-15, 08:32 PM   #7
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Intentionally targeting bedding bass is something I never do. I just feel it is wrong. Many will not keep a large bass to eat because it most likely is a female and the future of generations of young bass. And I prefer not to catch one off the beds for the same reason. When you drag momma bass from the nest, you risk exposing the eggs or young fry to predators such as bluegills, that can scarf up a bunch in a hurry. I have a problem with that. Do I have proof it hurts the fishery. No I don't. It's just something I firmly believe is wrong. Just the same way duck hunters try to avoid shooting hens. If we as bass fisherman are so strongly committed to preserving the species for future generations, using catch and release, proper handling techniques so as not to injure the bass we catch, and preservation of bass habitats, why then would we kidnap a spawning bass from her bed? Makes no sense to me.
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Old 02-12-15, 10:52 PM   #8
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Sorry ... the American Shad thread was on a fly fishing site I spend time in.
I once read that fro every 3 pounds a female bass weighs, it produces approximately a pound of eggs. So, a 7 pound bass produces a little over two pounds of eggs. If left unmolested and allowed to grow to 10 pounds, it produces a little over 3 pounds of eggs.

All that means nothing if a bass is pulled from the bed, released and lives. But, if you kill a female because she's easy to see on her bed, then you do prevent her from laying again the next year and so on.

Might not matter to you and your fishing ... but it might to your children or theirs.

If you're like me, you don't have kids and can destroy all the fish you want. It's not about you ... it's about your offspring.
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Old 02-12-15, 11:31 PM   #9
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Mike, absolutly NO REASON TO OPOLOGIZE!

I do have a son and two grandsons (one is 4 months old) and a grandaughter.
The two older are both outdoors enthusiasts so in reality, I care MORE about the future than the present.
I was fortunate and grew up in LaCrosse on the Mississippi River and fishing has been a big part of my life.
I use too be a very active hunter too.
But one day I was Deer hunting and I had a Doe in the sights.....and for what ever reason...I couldn't pull the trigger.
Right then I knew hunting was no longer for me!
I truely admire and know a HUGE AMOUNT of active hunters, my boy being one of them.
I am even pro gun rights and have a CC licsense.

But fishing has always been there for me!
Good times, bad times, I could always rely on fishing and nature to clear my head.
I at times go out in my Kayak and forget that I went out to fish. I get so overwhelmed by what God has given me.

And Mike you seem to feel similar and I respect that!

Now off my horse and back on topic.

I'm true believer in WE are the ones that are resposible to insure the future of good opportunities to have good fishing.
Not just ten years from now but next year.
Over harvest can kill a fishery fast but under harvest can also be detrimental.
I've seen bluegill populations decimate a pond due to under harvest.

As long as I live I'll never harvest a bass during spawn. (Bluegill yes )
But I don't really harvest bass ever. (way to many better tasting perch, gills and walleye)

But I'll confess, I'll fish a bed too.
I am very fast to release and almost always done while they are still in the water.
I don't even take a picture and I've caught some spring time HOGS!

But to be honest, my trophy hunting preference is in the fall of the year.
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Old 02-17-17, 09:48 PM   #10
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I absolutely love bed fishing! I know there is an every lasting debate on the topic but I personally have no issue with it. I see both sides of the argument but I have come to the conclusion that the majority of beds are in places that we never see them (either too deep, or too far back into cover) so us hitting the beds we do see really has a minimal impact. Also bass fishing has become a catch and release sport for the most part so unless these fish are caught in a tournament most are released on the spot to return to their beds. To me, bed fishing is the most fun way to catch a bass, there is just no other way that you can interact with the fish and see the different emotions and reactions you draw out of the fish, and to me that is as cool as it gets. In fact here is a video I put together last spring while bed fishing on a private lake a little north of our house.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7km4hTJSsBI
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Old 02-20-17, 05:18 PM   #11
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You know I have never done it intentionally but 25 years ago we would throw c rigged lizards in all the right spots and get those bedding fish. My days of bass boats and main river running are over. Think it was 6 years into guiding 19 years ago that I decided to not do the bass thing any more. Oddly I catch more of those pesky LGMouth than ever before.

The spider rigging for crappie have replaced all thoughts of pre-spawn bass fishing.

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Old 02-21-17, 09:17 PM   #12
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That place looks like a sweet spot for sure Kory. That last pig you caught had me squirming to get back on the water.
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Old 02-23-17, 03:00 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keithdog View Post
That place looks like a sweet spot for sure Kory. That last pig you caught had me squirming to get back on the water.
Thanks man, yeah that place is awesome. We are heading up there again in April.......hopefully we guessed right for the spawn.
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Old 03-12-17, 09:36 AM   #14
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Bed fishing is not an easy topic to post about. Considerations are many and may come down to personal preference. Here are a few:

Size and depth of water fished
A pond may need more protection than a large body of water.

Average numbers of anglers fishing a body of water in spring or keeping fish during season
Fish caught are stressed and may not spawn, some females absorbing eggs. Plus, unless a fish population is tested, no one can know the health of a fishery or regulations needed. General fish regulations are useless for many water.

Egg eater fish population
My local lake has an overpopulation of white perch that invade nests worse than gills. Add angler spawn interruptions and you may see a decline in year class fish. Best to target panfish and reduce populations so that all specie spawns are more successful.

Weeds or lack of
Except for pads, some lakes are overpopulated with hybrid weed eating carp that constantly feed on other weeds that protect the spawn and yearlings. My local lake had far too many approved by the DEC and now few weeds protect fingerlings from predation. Fishing during the spawn won't make much difference if fingerlings disappear during their first month of life.

Casting lures long distance does not mean one is targeting spawners or fish on beds
Fish fall into three categories: pre-spawn, spawn and post spawn - all of which are present at the same time in spring. Nest guarding males usually don't go after lures moving too fast through the area (spinnerbaits, crankbaits, grubs) and most nests are shallow. Fishing for pre or post spawn fish in deeper water shouldn't hurt the general spawn.

Non-spawning fish are also hyped up and easier to catch during spring and therefor immediate C&R should always be followed in spring for species that aren't as prolific as many pan fish species.

I fish whenever the weather permits and use lures that get strikes from a majority of fish species - even in one outing. I don't work the bottom and generally swim my lures parallel to it - too fast for nesting males - or near the surface. This posed a question from a club member:
why are you fishing illegally for bass during closed season?
Answer: the law cannot outlaw the use of any lure because no one can predict which fish species will bite it. Intent is out the window.
In fact, someone in my fishing club accused me of fishing for bass out of season and I used the above reply (after which I exposed the hypocrisy of the angler. I pointed out that he uses live bait ice fishing and catches most species - including the fourout of season bass which he posted on FaceBook lying dead on the ice!)
As all live bait anglers know, live bait catches everything.

Good thing NYS changed the law to C&R for non-panfish species vs trying to enforce a law targeting fish illegally - something almost impossible to prove especially on private lakes. Where I live, keeping fish out of season and over the creel any time are the biggest violations. Whether they do harm to the fishery depends on the health of the lake and overall annual fishing pressure/ creels.

I would think that a lake that has little fishing pressure and an abundance of fish would not need any protection especially if most anglers always practice C&R like I do. A photo is enough for of a trophy.

Last edited by senkosam; 03-12-17 at 09:50 AM.
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