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Q & A
Culling (Trading) Creeled Fish
I am wondering if, after securing a days creel limit on a stringer, can you still fish as catch and release? Also, are you allowed to trade off a bigger fish for a smaller one already caught which is unhurt. What do you do if you catch a fish over the limit (assuming that you are allowed) and it is mortally wounded, can you trade it for one that is on a stringer which is alive?
It is legal to fish catch and release after catching a daily limit as long as no fish are killed and no fish are taken. However, if a fish caught after having a daily creel limit cannot be released immediately and unharmed (for any reason), a violation has occurred.

For this reason, it is NOT a recommended practice to continue to fish on a catch and release basis after taking a daily creel limit. While it is legal if the last fish caught is immediately returned unharmed to the waters from which it was caught, because of the chances for noncompliance in such a situation, it's not a good idea.

Also, you are not allowed to trade fish from the stringer for bigger ones caught later (also known as culling). Fish on the stringer are "taken" even if they are alive. Once placed on a stringer or in a live well or other container is part of the daily creel limit. The exception is for fishing tournaments, which require a special permit.

You are not allowed to trade a fish from the stringer for a mortally wounded fish caught after you have a limit. Catching the fish that is mortally wounded is a violation even if the intent of the angler was to fish on a catch and release basis. Since the angler would be unable to immediately return it unharmed to the waters from which taken, a violation has occurred.

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