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It’s More Important Than Ever For Anglers To Limit Their catch, Not Catch Their Limit

How do you define a successful day on the water? Is it catching and keeping a limit of fish, or is it catching enough fish for a meal?

How do you define a successful day on the water? Is it catching and keeping a limit of fish every outing, or is it catching enough fish for an occasional meal and letting the rest go? When I first started fishing 55 years ago, it was all about bringing home limits of fish to to eat. That was the way my dad grew up, and how he taught me. In his era, anglers fished for food, not for entertainment or relaxation—success was measured by limiting out, and by how long it took to do so.

Over the years, my views on fishing have evolved, and I know I’m not alone. According to the most recent Survey of Recreational Fishing conducted by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the average number of fish kept per angler in Canada dropped from 45 in 1990 to 20 in 2015. Even though the average number of fishing days stayed consistent over that time, the percentage of kept fish dropped from 56 per cent to 34 per cent. With more than three million anglers in Canada, however, that still represents a lot of retained fish nationwide.


While I still really enjoy a fish fry from time to time, I no longer fish just to eat. Rather, I fish for the sights, sounds and fresh air. I enjoy the camaraderie and conversations with fishing partners, and the thrill of trying to figure out where the fish are biting. Throw in the excitement of a fish smashing my offering and the ensuing fight, and I’ll go fishing whenever I can.

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