Aug 24, 2007 at 6:30 am #1224747
Reading this forum has inspired me to get back into fishing during my (all too infrequent) backpacks in the Sierra or the Winds. Given that I'd be near or above treeline in popular areas (e.g. JMT) how would I dispose of the entrails? I'd fish in late afternoon, early evening, and supplement dinner with trout. Thinking of the JMT, I'd have a bear canister, of course, but would not want to place them in the canister over night. I'm conscientious about leaving no trace (well, minimal trace).
EdAug 24, 2007 at 7:12 am #1399816
I don't know the rules for the JMT but disposing of them in a cat hole or carrying them out in a baggie seems reasonable.Aug 31, 2007 at 4:13 pm #1400685
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
If I were you, I'd take them downwind from your campsite, maybe a half mile and bury them a ways off trail, especially if you are in a section known to have a high concentration of bears(Rae Lakes, McClure Meadows, etc). Also, it would be a good idea to cook the trout well away from where you are setting up camp(again, downwind) and clean up well afterward, with special attention to cleaning your hands and around your mouth so as not to bring odors into your shelter/sleeping gear. Lots of controversy about changing out of the clothes you cook in, but at least be careful not to get bits and pieces on your clothes and maybe consider just poaching the fish instead of frying, which tends to splatter tiny droplets of smelly grease all over the place and put the scent in the wind(if there is wind) for bears to pick up. Best of luck-there's nothing quite like fresh trout at the end of a long day on the trail, or short day for that matter!Sep 14, 2008 at 2:55 pm #1451120
I fish streams in Yellowstone NP and lakes above treeline in the nearby Beartooth mtns in Montana. I return the entrails to the water.
Yellowstone regulations are very specific and say you MUST return the entrails to the water that you caught the fish in (return the nutrients to the watershed). Montana state regs say returning the entrails is accepatble practice.Sep 14, 2008 at 3:27 pm #1451121
I've always put entrails back in the water. As Al said, I figure it returns nutrients- if you didn't catch it and throw the entrails back, it would've died in there eventually anyway…
After spawning, salmon play a HUGE role in providing nutrients for trees and other flora/fauna around their water systems.
Trout die-offs obviously aren't as large as running salmon, but I've always figured the same holds true for their waters, just on a smaller level.Sep 15, 2008 at 5:09 pm #1451210
@hellbillylarryLocale: southern appalachians
WOW that is what my dad taught me to do with them too even at the lake when the trash can was 50 feet away. I am just surprised that is what you guys recommend. Hell I thought most of the people here packed out their pee.Sep 15, 2008 at 10:20 pm #1451247
I too put the entrails in the water. I typically just clean the fish next to the water, so it's pretty convenient.Sep 20, 2008 at 11:56 am #1451664
We have a couple trout parks near where I live and there's probably hundreds of fish taken and cleaned in the stream per day in the summer. At the accesses, it's almost unsightly to the point where you have nearly as many fish carcasses floating downstream as there are live fish in the stream. However, as much as I'd expect the stream to become saturated with these "nutrients" and start to gather all sorts of rotten smells, what I see happening most often are the live fish feeding on the entrails floating downstream. Even where there are so many entrails, the remaining fish make pretty short work of them. So when you're in the backcountry, and you're only returning fish entrails to a stream one or two at a time, I've got to think that the ecosystem can handle it. At least with coldwater (trout) streams, and maybe even lakes, it seems like the potential for live fish to eat the carcass is much higher than the potential for rot to take it over.Oct 6, 2008 at 5:04 pm #1453424
I don't like seeing guts hanging around the edge of lakes where I'm fishing so when I gut my fish I leave the entrails attached to the head. Then find a rock big enough to stay stuck in its mouth and toss it out in the lake. The weight of the rock takes it to the bottom out of sight keeping the shore clean and me from worrying about bears and wind directions. :)Apr 1, 2009 at 5:18 pm #1490531
@marmot8Locale: central Sierra
Thanks for this thread. I'm thinking of taking a handline on my JMT thru hike this summer. I haven't fished in years and had this same question. I knew there was an intelligent simple answer. Now, if I can only get advice about how to fly fish with a handline I'll be on my way!
[Guess the jury's still out on this matter . . . whew!]Apr 1, 2009 at 6:50 pm #1490560
@owareLocale: Steptoe Butte
Here I thought we had another April fools joke.
Something about Japanese Grandmothers and burglers.
In some parts (Sierra Nevada for one) fish carry a disease that is fatal to coyotes and other canines. It is
important not to leave them where they can get at them.
You know how easily dogs can dig up stuff.Apr 1, 2009 at 10:29 pm #1490609
For Oregon, interesting to note this provision at pp 7-8 of that state's 2009 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations:
"The following activities are unlawful:
"15. Dispose of dead animal (fish) carcasses, or parts thereof, in Oregon waters."
Guess you save it until you come to some non-Oregon waters.
JRSApr 1, 2009 at 10:54 pm #1490613
in high alpine lakes, the nutrients are usually a much welcome addition
the lower in elevation & more biomass already in the waterway, the more it's a good idea to dispose of them some other way (especially stocked fish)
ralph cutter, probably the foremost authority on sierra fly fishing & related issues, advises to return the nutrients to the waterways in the high elevation areas
when i do, i try to toss them far out into the water, so they aren't visible from shoreApr 2, 2009 at 11:17 am #1490687
Putting fishguts and or carcasses in the water is the act of an inconsiderate person. Dig a hole. There are many good reasons to bury the stuff and ZERO good reasons to just chuck it in the water.Apr 2, 2009 at 11:27 am #1490695
high alpine lakes are nutrient deficient
the math worksApr 2, 2009 at 11:39 am #1490696
.Apr 2, 2009 at 11:46 am #1490699
@owareLocale: Steptoe Butte
From the CA DFG
The DFG is asking anglers for their help when cleaning fish at Crowley Lake and in the upper and lower Owens River Drainage. The DFG has discovered the New Zealand Mud Snail in the Owens River Drainage and is trying to keep the snail from spreading into other waters.
"We want to avoid spreading New Zealand Mud Snails to other waters and anglers are advised to clean and dispose of their fish guts in trash cans, rather than throw them back into the water, and to properly clean wading gear before moving to new waters," added Milliron.Apr 2, 2009 at 11:54 am #1490704
I understand cleaning waders and whatnot (I'm familiar with the mudsnail issue).
Unless I'm completely missing something, how does throwing the remains/entrails of a fish with a disease back into the water spread disease that wouldn't otherwise be spread by the same fish simply dying in that water?
BTW, I've only caught and released native trout; I'm just curious.
My experience with putting entrails in the water is with salmon- which are spawning/dying anyway.Apr 2, 2009 at 12:00 pm #1490708
the owens river environs aren't high alpine waters, but nutrient rich (all that cattle range land they pass through) & year-round high use waters
in the owens drainage, i don't discard – only in high alpine places where it's obviously not an issue
i don't understand the connection w/ the snails & entrails, unless it's feed for them – better to not wade with anything that could have been in waters with the snails so as not to spread them. the snails were introduced by flyfisherman wearing their insufficiently cleaned waders after returning from fishing trips to NZApr 2, 2009 at 12:32 pm #1490721
@anywayoutsideLocale: South East
That Rick Astley is a real character! All that word swapping and such.
I still miss the cat.Apr 2, 2009 at 2:09 pm #1490749
Les Stroud would eat the entrails raw, ans save the fish for later.Apr 2, 2009 at 5:05 pm #1490806
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
"Les Stroud would eat the entrails raw"
Nah, he'd clean 'em out and use 'em to make marmot sausage.Apr 2, 2009 at 9:18 pm #1490886
"taylor. Posted 04/02/2009 12:39:32 MDT by Dave T (DaveT)
i know you are new here, but it would be appreciated if you tried to fit into the positive, helpful vibe of the place and minimize the insults, profanity, and combative nature of most of your posts."
Most of my posts? No, read through all 50 of my posts and you'll find that you're wrong. Aside from this instance, in which I clearly did step over the line, the only other example might be over in the "don't blame guns" thread. And that was a free-for all. I think I fit right in on that one.
I do apologize for this transgression. Kindly don't saddle me with any worse a record than I actually earned. Most of what I do here is soak up the great info available. I sometimes have a hard time choking back criticism when I see people passing bad info, like recommending thowing fishguts in the water.
That's illegal in many places BTW. There are good reasons for that.
Leaving fishguts and carcasses at an otherwise pristine lake is one of the more inconsiderate things a person can do. The material may or may not eventually break down, but not anytime soon. The mineral-defficiency excuse is just that, an excuse. Meanwhile, it's plainly visible just like any other garbage. Just dig a hole, the minerals will eventually leach into the water.Apr 2, 2009 at 9:59 pm #1490901
that's not an excuse or an opinion – it's merely a fact
there are places where those nutrients are inappropriate & nutrients should not be returned to the waters there, but there are also places – high alpine lakes for example, where they will be assimilated and benefit the lifeforms therein. there are places where it is illegal, and laws should be observed accordingly. Ralph Cutter is an environmentalist, conservationist & a recognized authority on sierra trout and their environments, and in his publications he recommends the same approach I've summarized and that I follow.
it is not inconsiderate in the least – I never used to dispose of fishguts in any waterway until I learned the facts. Now I take a case by case approach – like all things in life, context is key and what seems intuitively right or wrong might be the opposite. The more I learn, the more considerate I become.Apr 2, 2009 at 10:40 pm #1490907
nutrient or not, it's unsightly garbage. Even in those places where it isn't illegal.
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