Can You Still Catch and Release Macks After Catching a Limit?

Lake Tahoe

Mackinaw Trout
Photo Credit: Courtesy of CDFW

by California Department of Fish & Wildlife

Question:  When fishing for mackinaw trout on Lake Tahoe, how is it legal to clearly video yourself catching six fish but then giving them away to your buddies? The limit for macks is two fish, but in this video the person keeps one on the stringer and then gives the rest away to his buddies until they all have limits together. I am assuming that if he’s posting this video to YouTube that it must legal. Am I right or wrong? (Steve S.)

Answer: Just because a video is published to YouTube, it doesn’t mean the actions are legal. What you describe is not legal in inland waters. On the ocean we have “boat limits,” which means the people on the boat can all keep fishing until the total number of all fish caught and kept equals the number of limits per person on that boat. This is not the case in inland waters, however. Each person is responsible for their own catches.

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