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Discussion Starter #1
As per CO fishing regulations [1] a single line may have 3 hooks --> "Each line shall have only three common hooks attached."

As fly guy, I found a 3 hook rig does increase catch rate, but it does so at the expense of more foul hooked fish.

What I see happen is when fish take one of the top 2 offerings, they often become foul hooked by the one (or both) of the other offerings during the fight or when getting them into the net. This happened frequently enough to me that I completely stopped fishing 3 hook rigs (long ago) and now only use 2 hook rigs. With a 2 hook rig I rarely ever get a foul hooked fish, even when they take the top offering.

While I'm sure most fish survive a foul "body hook", many folks are still using barbed hooks which don't pull out so nicely and can damage trout.

With that in mind, I'd be all for a 2 hook limit on CnR only sections of CO water.
I'd even support barbless only on CnR sections :)


Any thoughts?


[1] https://cpw.state.co.us/Documents/RulesRegs/Brochure/fishing.pdf
 

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Personally, I will never criticize a technique or fisherman for anything so as long as it it legal. I have foul hooked fish before with a single hook, you dont need multiple hook to foul hook fish, but the chances increase with more hooks.

I have no doubt laws will be changed when it is deemed there is a measurable impact on the fishery, but i will continue to fish within the boundaries of the law with the number one goal of putting more fish in the boat.

I always tell anyone, a person can always petition law makers if they think a law needs to be changed.
 

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While I agree with you, there are FAR greater issues the CPW needs to address before something like this.
 

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What is the definition of a common hook?

Is a treble hook a common hook?

Can you have three common treble hooks per each line?

Can you have one treble hook which represents three common hooks per line?

Should spin fisherman even be allowed to fish C&R waters?

I feel like I am on LSD exploring the universe of C&R.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Just a discussion topic; I have no intention of trying to get a petition going and as already mentioned I'm sure CPW has bigger issues on their hands.


I'm not sure on the treble hook topic; never fish them so I haven't payed much attention.

I think 1 hook would be better than 3 for CNR, but based on my experience 2 is a very good compromise.

Personally I don't see why spin anglers shouldn't be able to fish CNR water; obviously no bait and ideally no trebles... I'm pretty sure it'd be against the constitution or something to only limit CNR sections to fly folks.

Is LSD legal here now?
 

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Personally, I will never criticize a technique or fisherman for anything so as long as it it legal. I have foul hooked fish before with a single hook, you dont need multiple hook to foul hook fish, but the chances increase with more hooks.

I have no doubt laws will be changed when it is deemed there is a measurable impact on the fishery, but i will continue to fish within the boundaries of the law with the number one goal of putting more fish in the boat.

I always tell anyone, a person can always petition law makers if they think a law needs to be changed.
Many thanks for sharing your experience.
 

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Many thanks for sharing your experience.
Your welcome, i view subjects like this for fishing similar to those related to firearms. For example, hunters and clay pigeon shooters saying no one needs an semiautomatic "assault" style rifle, while failing to see the bigger picture that the government would rather outlaw all firearms, including those they use for their activities. For the topic at hand, there are many states who only allow fishing for licensed anglers because of the tourism dollars and the ability to collect more money to ensure there is a healthy fish population to those special interest groups that contribute nothing to the pot that the state govt caters too, but consume alot of those dollars when there is a fish crisis on lakes they are allowed to net on using modern technology. If it werent for these reason, i am sure places like my home state of minnesota, would treat fish as another piece of government property and would expect the people to go to stores to buy their fish, as self sufficiency and ability to get your own diverge from their vision For the role of the government. With this topic, i am sure some state governments would love for a large community to diverge into small groups where they are against each other as governments love this to separate the masses making it easier to force their will on specific groups. Fly fishing, spin fisherman, bass fisherman, etc, doesnt matter, lets stick together and ensure this precious sport carries on well into the future.
 

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Good topic and discussion. This is how rules get tweaked for the better. "Better" is usually in the eye of the beholder, however, but such is the way of the world.

One could expand on the issue even further and point out that a percentage of fish C&R'ed end up dying regardless of the number of hooks used, therefore, C&R angling should be banned and anglers should be restricted to catching no more than a specified fairly restricted limit of fish, even if R'ed. As has been alluded to here by one of the replies above, the main minimum threshold for deciding what and how to restrict angling pretty much has to be whether the fishery is significantly adversely affected or not. If biologists are adequately monitoring and not seeing a decline in a fish population subjected to 3-hook C&R, then no further restriction should be necessary. Some states already restrict anglers to no more than 2 hooks/flies. I expect someone argued both sides of the argument and the peoples' representatives chose to restrict it to 2, most likely to simply err on the side of protecting the resource. To a large degree these types of decisions are simply political, which is the practical reality of not being able to thoroughly study every issue.

I personally have tended towards using only 2 flies in most situations so that I only lose 2 instead of 3 when I snag up. And I've found that crushed barbs also come out of my own hide, shirts and jackets, etc., way easier so there's another selfish reason to go barbless.

But I've also caught a number of fish that were wearing hooks that looked like they had been there for quite a while, which has led me to believe barbless is worth it to allow fish who break off to shed the hook they've left with, which I'd have to admit on my part is for humaneness reasons as much or more than how it might reduce mortality.

I caught one trout once that had its lips sewed shut by a size 12 or so scud pattern, and my fly actually caught on the hook, so he won the lottery that day when I released him no longer wearing a hook of any sort.

Sorry for the rambling . . .
 

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Political over common sense is usually the problem.
I can tell you from a lot of experience catch and releasing lake trout that single barbless hooks are much easier on the fish.
Common sense tells us that a catch and release designated water is most effectively used with the least amount of mortality or injury to the fish.
In Canada the fly in areas I fished were mandatory single barbless.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Honestly I wonder how closely the fish population is measured in a number of CnR waters.
And even if a decline in fish populations are found, it would be difficult to attribute that decline to 3-hook rigs and/or barbed hooks without lots of data.

I don't see how anyone could argue that barbed hooks aren't "harder" on the fish, but I think fishing guides would push back on barbless hook regs because it means less fish for their clients.

Another issue I see is people don't know how to fight/handle trout properly. Toss em on the bank, hold em down, and yank the hook out, then take pics for 5 min with the fish... That's a dead fish. So educating anglers on proper CnR techniques is probably another area that could use improvement IMHO... Especially now that everyone and their cousin fly fishes.

Maybe I should start a petition for barbless only CnR water; would be interesting just to see what happens :)
 

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I don't see how anyone could argue that barbed hooks aren't "harder" on the fish, but I think fishing guides would push back on barbless hook regs because it means less fish for their clients.
I think you'd be surprised. My evidence is only anecdotal, and I know there are hundreds of guides in state, but...

I've floated and waded with guides a handful of times in the last 4 years, and never once fished with barbed hooks. Not that I wouldn't mash them myself, but the guide had already taken care of that before the first fly hit the water.

I treated my daughter to a float on the lower Roaring Fork earlier this month, and 2 flies max were the order of the day, shop policy. I had even pre-rigged a streamer rod, and the guide asked me (politely) to make sure the barbs were mashed before we started fishing.

My daughter killed it that day, by the way...
 

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Maybe I should start a petition for barbless only CnR water; would be interesting just to see what happens :)
Aren't there already a few places that are barbless only? I thought there were a few in RMNP. Personally I always pinch my barbs, unless I am fishing for dinner. I don't feel like I have lost all that many fish to my barbless hooks either.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I think you'd be surprised. My evidence is only anecdotal, and I know there are hundreds of guides in state, but...

I've floated and waded with guides a handful of times in the last 4 years, and never once fished with barbed hooks. Not that I wouldn't mash them myself, but the guide had already taken care of that before the first fly hit the water.

I treated my daughter to a float on the lower Roaring Fork earlier this month, and 2 flies max were the order of the day, shop policy. I had even pre-rigged a streamer rod, and the guide asked me (politely) to make sure the barbs were mashed before we started fishing.

My daughter killed it that day, by the way...
I was under the impression most still used barbed, but it's good to hear that's not the case! And also great on the 2 fly max, tho that might be for human safety :)

It's always nice when a trip comes together and the kid(s) get some action!
Very few kids want to fish all day with no tugs.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I asked a Senior Aquatic Biologist from CPW why we don't have any barbless regulations on CnR water and his response was that the existing evidence shows almost the same mortality rate between barbed and barbless (for non-bait fishing).

So I did a bit more searching/reading and appears that's true; existing studies have shown not much diff in mortality between barbed and barbless.

Still I find it hard to refute that barbless is "easier" on fish. On our pressured CnR waters I often catch fish toting 1 or more barbed hooks, but I don't recall any with barbless. Even TU recommends barbless [1]. If you don't believe that go bury a barbed hook in your skin and pull it out and do the same with barbless.

That said it doesn't seem there's much of a case for barbless regs if just looking at mortality rates... There's even less studies/evidence on the effects of multi-hook rigs (non-treble).

[1] https://www.tu.org/sites/default/files/Handling_Stress_Summary.pdf
 

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Thats the problem, they need a study to figure out the obvious. I can tell you that single hooks are more natural looking and get bit better.
 
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