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Invasive for many years now in the Saint John River system, should Muskie receive sport's fish s

  • yes

    Votes: 11 64.7%
  • no

    Votes: 5 29.4%
  • maybe / depends / undecided (please feel free to respond why below)

    Votes: 1 5.9%
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Invasive for many years now in the Saint John River system, should Muskie receive sport's fish status? Should it be embraced as here to stay or action to eradicate, or left as is (open slot limit of 10 daily).
 

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Invasive? Yes. Here to stay? Most certainly. Perhaps the root question is, what makes a 'sportfish' a 'sportfish'? The reg summary, in definitions section doesn't really address this question; it simply lists the three fish considered sportfish: trout (including char), salmon and bass. The word 'indigenous' isn't used, because that would eliminate smallmouth bass.

To my mind, if there's a size limit for a species, and a bag limit for it, and virtually everyone who pursues it, does so for the sport of catching them, well, that's a 'sport' fish.

But look, along with the big status three, I flyfish for sunfish, perch, chain pickerel, and even fallfish, purely (well, mostly) for sport. Doesn't matter to me if they are designated sport fish, coarse fish, vermin or satan's spawn. I know when I'm having a good time, and I call it sport! :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Invasive? Yes. Here to stay? Most certainly. Perhaps the root question is, what makes a 'sportfish' a 'sportfish'? The reg summary, in definitions section doesn't really address this question; it simply lists the three fish considered sportfish: trout (including char), salmon and bass. The word 'indigenous' isn't used, because that would eliminate smallmouth bass.

To my mind, if there's a size limit for a species, and a bag limit for it, and virtually everyone who pursues it, does so for the sport of catching them, well, that's a 'sport' fish.

But look, along with the big status three, I flyfish for sunfish, perch, chain pickerel, and even fallfish, purely (well, mostly) for sport. Doesn't matter to me if they are designated sport fish, coarse fish, vermin or satan's spawn. I know when I'm having a good time, and I call it sport! :D
Fair enough! I fish the same way - for whatever is biting and largely C&R (I may keep a few perch or pickerel per year, a landlock salmon and maybe 1-2 trout a year).

I think the biggest thing I notice between sport fish and non-sport fish is extra restrictions to help conservation; mainly on size limits and during spawning (or certain holding pools).
 

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Sturgeon are not a sport fish, and they have size restrictions as well as restrictions on fishing them during their traditional spawning month, yet you are allowed to target smallmouth during their spawn period (you just can't keep them). I don't know if it is the status of 'sport fish' that helps here, but rather the political desire to do some action (i.e. protect a fish or not)

You might be able to restrict fishing of muskie during their spawn period, but the province would have to take an active roll in deciding that they are going to support the musky invasion. Currently they have remained very passive about the whole thing. It's been the anglers who have really pushed to preserve muskies and promote the fishery. I personally think the government won't do anything until they start to realise the $$ coming in from people fishing the beasts.
 

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it's going to be a long time before we see them ruled as a sportfish in the book but does that really matter?

.The anglers and thier actions will determine what really happens. Right now they are pursued as a sport fish and treated as such by those who do so. There's a small handfull of people (if that) who are actually capable of catching 10 per day and we all know those guys are puttin'em back. the odd person might land one as a bycatch and take it, but that's hardly going to effect the population in the long run. I doubt there's many people out there who would go to the trouble of gearing up for musky just to try and get rid of'em, and if they did it'd be a long hard road. so theyre here to stay. if it does get to the point where your average guy can go out and catch 10 musky per day the population would probably need culling anyway.

its going to take a long time but more people will start to accept the fact or even acknowledge the fact that theyre here, (i talk to some that have no idea musky are in our water) like smallmouth and pickerel, or like brown trout. funny how some guys will b*tch and moan about smallies and pickerel because "theyre not supposed to be here" but they pride themselves on brown trout fishing.

i think its crazy that some people cant/wont embrace whats right in their own backyard, the saint john river is an incredible resource with a fishery thats already been neglected once with the salmon, to think it cant happen again would be naive but we have another chance with it now so again i will say that it's up to the anglers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
i'm going to be careful here, because i am going to make assumptions based on a rumour. But the reason i post is that i heard that they kill muskies at the mactaquac dam when they encounter them as part of their transport program for migratory fish (as there is no fish ladder). At least they used to, maybe not anymore since muskie has been recognized as a 'non-sport fish' a few years ago. Maybe someone can confirm what is really going on?

With a possession limit of 10 and slot limit of 10cm to something like 1.7m (includes everything) it's basically a free for all to catch and kill.

My personal feeling is there should be a lower possession limit of 1 (since they are a large fish with a lot of meat on them) and a slot limit to help protect they young muskie to get to a size they can fend for themselves, and to protect the large spawners. Come to terms with and Embrace the fact they are here and capitalize on the local and import economies of scale potential. (queue the 'some people will not follow rules if they change' devil's advocates).
 

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Bob marley (sorry i could not resist using steve's joke), i agree, mostly.

True that they are a challenging species to catch, even when targeting them. But look at the fort kent derby which is catch and kill. There are good numbers still there, but for how long? The 36" min for the derby is obviously doing some damage as numbers are there but large ones are hard to come by (as they all get killed). But it also makes local culture think it's okay to keep everything you catch and they do year-round.

But that is a more complicated issue as that is in international waters i suppose.

My larger point is that more strict (but simple) restrictions should encourage an overall conservation attitude, with good population education that is. Same as Brent above suggests, conservation towards all species (no such thing as a junk fish), while taking proper steps towards avoiding further illegal introduction / invasive species is the best way.
 

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If people really want to encourage musky, then they should close the fishery completely and let them grow and breed. It won't happen because people either want them all killed, or to be able to fish them.

Personally I agree that they are here to stay, and in my opinion should be protected and promoted to enhance the fishery. However I happen to fall into the category of wanting to be able to fish for them.
 

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Actually, the research done over the years by muskies canada, sj river chapter, shows that catch and release is successful in survival rates of muskies in NB (through a tagging study that is ongoing).

But that is no surprise, as tagging studies done all over the world have shown consistently time and again that c/r is a successful conservation method. so no need the close the season in my mind except in special (extreme) circumstances such as the decimated salmon population in the sj river system.

To me it's about educating people that there is not such thing as 'junk fish' and stop massive catch and kill, especially if you fish often, or not throwing 'junk fish' in the woods.
 

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... I personally think the government won't do anything until they start to realise the $$ coming in from people fishing the beasts.
If you can make AND prove this point, then you're definitely onto something. Money surely talks. Just know that the only dollars that count are NEW dollars coming into the Province. Money spent by NB residents on Muskie fishing don't, for the most part, count. If not spent on muskies, those NB dollars would be spent on other forms of fishing, or wasted on other recreational pursuits like golf or bowling or extreme lawn darts. So focus on Quebec or Nova Scotia or Maine (or whatever) anglers (if such exists) coming here to pursue Muskies, and how much they spend.

Now, if you can show that NB residents will otherwise abandon the SJ river and head to Quebec or other jurisdictions to fish muskies because they are better managed there and hence angling success is better, then that angle might work, too.

Wouldn't it be great to see an outfitting industry emerge on the SJ system, catering to non-resident anglers coming specifically to fish muskies? Toss in some bass fishing as a bonus. Plain to see the salmon aren't coming back. On the other hand, resident anglers currently have a lot of water all to themselves. Do they really want to share it with folks who are doing it for a living? If only life were simpler..... :unsure:
 

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we will see more and more exposure as the years go by. the size of our fish will bring attention and already has...

remember this? http://fishinfo.com/fishing-articles/article_614.shtml

research has proven that we have the potential for a canadian/world record and with the fishery still being so new, the lack of pressure, and (this is big) the fact that the people fishing them are taught to c&r and handle them the right way......i truly believe it could happen. heck there could be a record down there right now. untagged monsters are caught every year.

i'm talking years and years down the line but if they get into grand and washademoak lakes (which they will) it will be impossible to ignore the fact that we have a world class fishery on our hands. i think the real question is how long it will take for it to be recognized.
 

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I'll be in my kayak chasing muskies for the first time this year, likely with Ipop next to me..... therefore count on that Canadian record getting crushed!

Lol,..... We wish!
 

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The question that occurs to me is "what is sport fish designation for?". Is it just a label or does it make an important difference to the fish and/or the humans that live here? What would change if it were to be accorded sport status?

And I would love to catch a muskie in a kayak. Have caught sturgeon over 40", but am till waiting for my first big fish that'll take me for a thrill ride.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Sportfish status gives some additional protection to the species in recognition to the fact that anglers target them as a C&R sportfish. For example they cannot be fished year-round in tidal, stricter bag and slot limits, extra protection during spawning, etc.

As pointed out above by BobD, surgeon have a slot limit but are not a sportfish. But this is a unique exception as they are a sea-run species more strictly regulated and pushed by DFO - similarly to Striped Bass.

Being in the province for 43+ years and being a trophy fishery as well, I feel it's time for Muskie to have a stricter bag/possession limit, as slot limit, and perhaps a C&R only during spawning.
 
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