Fishermen looking to keep certain fish for consumption may utilize any number of techniques or tools to store their fish while they continue to fish for the day. Devices such as stringers, livewells, seine, or other storage or containment device can be useful in keeping your fish fresh or even alive until you are ready to process them. However, even though those fish may be alive, they still count towards your daily bag limit of fish for that species.
While anglers are sometimes known to keep fish they catch earlier in the day, and then replace them with larger or more table-friendly specimens caught later in the day, this practice runs afoul of the Colorado Fishing regulations on what is considered your daily bag limit for a certain species. Under the Colorado Fishing regulations, any fish not immediately returned to the water is considered part of your daily bag limit. Keeping fish in a livewell or on a stringer and then releasing them may mean that those fish will continue to live, but they still count towards your daily limit. Failing to account for each fish may earn you a Colorado Fishing Violation for illegal possession of fish, a violation that may mean suspension of your hunting and fishing license for up to three years depending on the severity of the offense and any history of other wildlife offenses you have.
Avoiding receiving a Colorado Fishing Violation for illegal possession of fish due to a violation of the allowed daily bag limit can be a simple process for fishermen. Practicing catch and release for every fish that you do not intend to keep, as well as not continuing to fish after you’ve caught your limit even if you intend to catch and release—Any fish that suffers a mortal wound or dies while being freed from your hook will count as a fish in your possession regardless of your intent to keep it or not. If you do receive a Colorado fishing violation, it is important to understand your rights and have your case evaluated before paying any fines or pleading guilty. Colorado Fishing Violation Attorney Nathaniel Gilbert has helped hunters and anglers with their Colorado fishing and hunting violations and will make sure you know the extent of your case before you make a costly mistake. Consulting with Nathaniel prior to paying any fines or pleading guilty to the charges can also help find any defenses you might have available to you in fighting your case.