Why Catch and Release?
I have a Strict catch and release policy! Please don't ask if you can keep a fish! All caught trout will be unhooked, photographed (if desired) and released as quickly and with as little harm to the fish as possible.
The Upper Delaware River and it's tributaries are Wild fisheries. This means that trout populations are maintained by natural reproduction, not through stocking. Removing breeding stock from the river will hurt fish populations and would rapidly turn this river from a world -class fishery into just another over-fished dead sea. Studies and my experience have shown that these fish if carefully handled, may be caught many times, spawn successfully and live to a ripe old age.
I encourage all anglers to self impose slot limits on other gamefish, like smallmouth bass and walleye. The slot limit concept allows an angler to keep fish within a specified size range, say, in the case of smallmouth bass, legal 12" fish up to fourteen inches. This would lessen competition among that size range of fish and preserve the increasingly less common larger fish. The end result would be a fishery that would allow harvest of the best tasting smaller fish, and at the same time plenty of opportunity to catch large trophy sized fish.
According to the state of Pennsylvania;
A smallmouth bass 12 inches long is over 4 years old
a fifteen inch fish is 6 and a half years old
an 18 inch fish is ten yers old
and a 20 inch fish is 12 years old
When someone kills an 18 inch long smallmouth bass, that fish is gone. It won't spawn again, and it won't be caught again. Even though it has gone the distance and proven to be a one in a million fish, reaching the age of ten. It will take another 6 years for todays 12 inch fish to reach that length.