Outdoors

Giant cutthroat a gift from North Idaho catch and release rules

Josh Seaton releases a huge cutthroat trout caught in a North Idaho river in the last week of May  2012. (Courtesy photo)
Josh Seaton releases a huge cutthroat trout caught in a North Idaho river in the last week of May 2012. (Courtesy photo)

FISHING — A jaw-dropping cutthroat trout caught by Matt Seaton this week, out with his brother — North Idaho fly-fishing guide Josh Seaton — is a reminder that Idaho's catch-and-release fishing rules have giant benefits.

A few groups, primarily in the Silver Valley and St. Maries areas, have been pressuring the  Idaho Fish and Game Department to relax the catch-and-release rules enacted for the river a few years ago.  Apparently they can't imagine catching a trophy like this and releasing it back into the river to live, spawn and perhaps be caught again by another lucky angler.

Research proves that few wild trout in Idaho streams would grow to large sizes if anglers were allowed to harvest the biggest fish every year. These findings are especially applicable to cutthroat trout, which have evolved to be rather unselective in what they strike in order to survive in their clean, relatively unfertile waters.

This wild fish, running at least 25 inches long, was caught on a large streamer a few days ago in a location the anglers are identifying only as in “the Couer d'Alene watershed.”  Super. Great job, Matt and Josh. Thanks for giving the rest of us a chance to be thrilled by that wild hunk of Idaho.

And thanks to Idaho Fish and Game for standing tall against selfish people who essentially are promoting the elimination of this size of fish from North Idaho waters within a couple of years.




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Rich Landers

Rich Landers’ Outdoors blog


Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.


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