Leave’em In The Water

The following article was written in response to  once again seeing a staggering number of, very long ‘out-of-the-water‘ fish, posed in the infamous grip-n-grin format for ‘hero-shot’ photos.  Great culprits of display were; and still are!; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, blogs ad infinitum.

You know the ones. Where the fisherperson, ‘grips the fish’ and ‘grins for the camera’. Often, many times with the same fish, over many minutes of exposure to atmospheric air. NOT healthy, at all, for  a water-respiring environment organism:  like, FISH!

This practice so mirrored the damage potential of the NO-LIP-GRIP meme I started, that I dedicated an article, a blog and Facebook Page to the bring education – and hopefully – the about-face of this damaging practice of –

LIFT. GRIP. GRIN. SNAP. – for extended periods of time, when in Catch-n-Release mode.

I created all of this in July 2014, being inspired by a Shared article on Facebook, by my FBf, Matt Nelson .  The article was written by New Zealander, Tony Bishop, in his online fishing mag, Bish & Fish.   The article – found here – is entitled, Trout Dying To Get a Good Photo.

Reading this article, immediately reminded me of my own efforts, since 2006, to educate and slow-as-rapid-and-as-much-as-possible, the damaging practice of the LIP-GRIP … usually for photo ops!

So I immediately created the Facebook and WordPress.com sites.

To read the full article … and I sincerely hope you will … head over to my  Ofieldstream’s Heritage Journal and read the article, Holding fish, does it matter how?   Follow my Facebook Page, Leave’em In The Water.

Yes, there is little scientific data to support the claims of mortality due to  keeping fish out of the water for periods exceeding  1 minute, but that does NOT negate the conscientious observation of guides, fishermen and biologists over the past 4-5 decades.  The ‘data’ may only be anecdotal in the eyes of fisheries scientists and naysayers who do NOT want to change practices, but it in no way invalidates it, either.

[UPDATE 05.11.18 ]

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game have conducted preliminary tests on the efficacy of holding fish aloft (out of the water) for short durations – less than 60 seconds, then releases, compared to fish left-in-the-water and released. Their preliminary findings show a [NOTE: the KEY / OPERATIVE wording!!!]   PROPERLY HELD  fish, held out-of-the-water,  for a short duration of less than 60 seconds, shows no difference in mortality than those released with no-touching and being left-in-the-water.

As well, quoting from my good friend Ted Eisele, of Boise Idaho, outdoor writer/photographer and decades long fly-fisherman, who attended their local Boise Valley Fly Fishers meeting, where the IDFG ‘weighed in on the ‘Keep ‘Em Wet’ (K.E.W.) campaign.  The above statement was their big news for the Boise club.

As well, IDFG, stated, in Ted’s words, “They (IDFG) stress that they are NOT encouraging that fishers hold fish out of the water; they just want good science/data.”

As a graduate of Purdue University, with a degree in science – heavy in fisheries and aquatic sciences – and having spent much of my life in many varied science communities, I too, expect statements of sound, peer-proven, science, when available, to back up proposed legislative action(s).

HOWEVER … when dealing with the health and safety of an ecosystem and/or species, there is a part of ‘good sense’ that comes to play.  The one that says, ‘Lean to the err of judgement that favors caution’.  If we are over cautious in protecting the fish, what harm is done? None in reality.  Except to the greedy passions of those who balk at such good-sense actions. Frankly they are the outliers – the thorns – in the side of humanity, day-in-and-day-out.  As all outliers, they are tossed aside as the exception -NOT- the rule.

My personal observation, over the last 45 years; in the worlds of scientific research and ‘boots-on-the-ground’ application, a very healthy dose of BALANCE between the warring sides of  Anecdotal and Empirical data, would go a LONG way in bringing back Fact and reducing the episodic expansion in the  occurrence of ‘agenda propelled information’ [read: Fake_____ ].

Read Ted’s post and follow the commentary on his Facebook timeline – https://www.facebook.com/ted.eisele

Direct LINK to the Post of:  05/10/18

There will be more to be said on this topic.  Especially in light of the actions taken by Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife. WDFW jumped-on-the-K.E.W.-bandwagon, full-on, by creating a regulation that ‘NO Steelhead’ is to be lifted out of the water.  Something the Idaho biologists were rather astounded by.  And the confusion was added to, by the Cover Photo of the WDFW regulations booklet for 2017-2018 season, showing a young girl holding a rainbow trout, with a rather substantial – and improper!! – belly-to-back squeeze!! – well out-of-the-water..!

Yes, it’s a rainbow trout. But, so are steelhead.  Ambiguity is the fuel of radical perceptions.  It NEVER goes well to present two-faces on an issue.  Two hemispheres of understanding, as valid course of discussion, yes. But -NOT- opposing ideologies existing in the same legislative plane.  That is confusion.  It will cause division. That leads to breakdowns throughout a system.

Something we, nor the environment, needs at all right now.  UNITY would be the call-to-action.

Let’s work toward that lofty goal.


The real world is outdoors, Go to IT! (TM)