Why do some spots "replenish" quickly? How do fish "recycle?"
Reuse, Replenish, Recycle
Q: I often hear the terms “a spot replenishes” or “fish recycling on a spot.” I know this means new fish move into a spot. How do you determine which spots recycle quickly and which ones might tame more time?
Member Dwight Alexander
Charlotte, North Carolina
A: In lakes and reservoirs, the quick-to-replenish spots tend to be those on the migration routes – say along creek channels or mainlake areas, for instance – as well as spots that hold lots of forage. Areas that don’t replenish quickly tend to be near the backs of pockets or in small feeder creeks that harbor limited numbers of resident fish.
In rivers, spots adjacent to the current will recycle more quickly. Eddies right off the main channel with good bait numbers are known to recycle quickly, but the amount of forage in the area is key. The more bait that’s around, the faster fish will recycle and move into a spot.
Q: Should I keep a fish that is obviously diseased, even if it’s under the size limit or out of season? Could I get in trouble for keeping a diseased fish if it’s out of season?
Life Member Steven Hunt
A: Never keep a fish that’s not of legal size, or a fish caught out of season. Whether the fish is sick or healthy, an ethical angler has a responsibility to comply with fisheries regulations. Also, the fines for keeping a sick fish are the same for a healthy fish.
Eating a freshly caught, but diseased, fish generally poses no human health risk from the disease, provided the fish is fully cooked. Prepare the fish as you normally would, but I recommend removing the skin from the fillet.
If the disease did result from a chemical contaminant in the water, eating the fish will usually pass the contaminant onto the consumer. Therefore, anglers who like to eat their catch should always keep track of fish consumption advisories.
Above all: Play it safe. It’s not worth eating that tasty walleye fillet if it makes you sick.