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Discussion Starter #1
I've been fly fishing in Colorado for about 3 years but almost always on catch and release bodies of water and always for trout. I'd like to start keeping some of my catch, where legal, but have some pretty dumb questions. I've also recently picked up a personal pontoon boat outfitted with an electric motor with the help of this forum so thanks for that.

Here are my questions, I'm sure opinions will vary so feel free to give me yours.

- What catchable fish in Colorado are considered good eating?

- What size fish is usually considered good for keeping and eating. Reading through the forum it seems really small or really large fish are poor form to keep. Is there some sweet spot size wise for good eating and being considerate of the ecosystem?

- What are some of the best bodies of water in the state for someone interested in fishing for meat? I am in Littleton Colorado.

- Anything else a newbie should be mindful of when it comes to keeping your catch.

Thanks!
 

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Everyone has different tastes when it comes to what fish are "good eating." I for one do not like trout, at all. However, I do enjoy a lot of warm water species, bass, bluegill, crappie, perch, catfish, and walleye are some examples.

Any of the state parks on the front range have great opportunities to put some fish on the table. Just make sure you check the regulations for each lake before keeping fish.
 

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- What catchable fish in Colorado are considered good eating?
trout. I don't like freshly stocked trout, they taste like fish food. the 10-14" ones are great pan fried whole. 18-24" are great for fillets. smoked is my other favorite way for trout. a smoked trout sandwich beats the crap out of a tunafish. smoked trout on a salad with cranberries walnuts and dark greens is delicious.

pike are delicious, fish tacos or sandwich, usually fried. anything under 18" is a total pain to get the meat off of.

kokanee are a treat. don't catch and release them anyway, they're just going to die. smoke em grill em love em.


- Anything else a newbie should be mindful of when it comes to keeping your catch.
bleed your catch and kill it quickly. clean it quickly, get it on ice quickly. being humane also makes the meat better. bleeding your fish dramatically reduces the "fishyness" that some complain about.

 

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Meat fishing? Seems like there might be someone around here who knows a thing or two about that... :biggrin1:

Walleye and perch are my targets for meat, but you'll have to get out and explore for yourself, to find the best places to target them. Do a little research on the Colorado fishing atlas.
 

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also, if you don't want to break the neck with brute force, cut where the gills come together, deeply enough to get the artery, then snap the head back to dispatch the fish. lots less force required, bleeds it and kills it quickly. don't let it flop around on the ground like this dude did, it gets dirty. back in the water quickly or dead quickly.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for the replies all. Keep in mind that my ignorance doesn't enable me to get sarcasm. I'm looking at you Ninja and mrwigglestheworm.
 

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I think you "got" it!

Seriously though, as long as you stay within the regs you are fine and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. If you like to eat fish, go for it. Don't harvest more fish than you really intend to eat right away. IMO putting fish in the freezer is dumb, they are so much better fresh and you can go again and catch more or even buy fish to eat at the store. Larger fish often don't taste as good and they can take forever to get really big so most of us consider it sporting to let a bigger lake trout or pike go to be caught another day. Any legal size trout or kokanee are fair game in my book. But then, I fish lakes. The serious fly fishermen are going to want you to let the larger river/stream trout go. Come to think of it, most of them don't eat fish at all. . .

Any talk of eating bass is going to irk the hell out of the serious bass fishermen.
 

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Like has been stated about what species, different people like to eat different fish. Regarding harvest size this site has a good (in my opinion) take on what is called selective harvest:
http://www.recycledfish.org/safe-angling/selective-harvest.htm

My signature has a helpful link regarding a good site to help you quickly and humanely dispatch your fish. This helps greatly in the quality of meat.
 

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CubsFan,

To each his own on what they consider table fair. You will find many of us here that just like the sport of fishing and occasionally eat some fish. But most have certain size limits that they deem table fare. I'm not one who eats many fish. But, I will take a few cats, perch, crappie and 'eyes home to eat every once and a while.

Large fish to many of us are just for sport. Catch Photo and Release for someone else to enjoy and to also ensure the potential for more big fish by enabling them to reproduce.

I have been guilty of eating a few big fish over my 40+ years of fishing (as have many of us here) But, the more you fish and learn it just isn't the best practice and for sure it will get you more than your share of the "stink-eye" from those who practice selective harvest :mad:. Many bodies of waters just do not have the potential to regenerate large fish rapidly due to the pressure they receive or their mere size .

Overall my biggest "bigotry" is those who waste fish and don't think about the future...
 

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I don't usually keep fish. But when I do I am in my pontoon... Who wants to stumble around a river bank with fish bouncing off your legs.....
 

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I don't usually keep fish. But when I do I am in my pontoon... Who wants to stumble around a river bank with fish bouncing off your legs.....
This.....

I like fishing both streams and lakes but as I get older 29 going on 69 this year I tend to like lake fishing in my pontoon a little bit better. I will keep some fish from lakes but on streams I am strictly catch and release. I enjoy streams for the challenge (still learning after all these years how to stalk fish) but the ease on the body while using my pontoon means I can get back on the water quicker than after beating the bank and shore all day.

And actually, I don't keep that many fish at all and I have to my knowledge never eaten a bass (sm or lm). Keep the fish from Lake Powell, mostly stripers and some walleye. Would really like a good perch haul so I could filet enough to make it worth my while.

And now that I think about it I do keep the fish I catch while ice fishing. Never ice fished as a youngster or as an adult til I retired here in Montrose. Several friends got me into ice fishing and I'm beginning to find it is about as expensive as my fly fishing habits.
 

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If you guys keep talking about the joys of eating bass we will be deluged by a string of pics from. . .well, you know. :rolleyes:
 
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