There seems to be some confusion this year regarding shore lunches and how they affect your limit. We thought we’d try and help clarify some of the questions that come up frequently.
The most important thing to remember is that your limit whether it is a sport license (4 fish) or a conservation license (2 fish) is a daily limit AND a possession limit. That means if you have a conservation license you can only kill 2 fish each day and never have more than 2 fish in your possession. At the end of your week if you choose you are allowed to take home your daily limit of either 2 or 4 fish depending on your license. For the purpose of this post let’s say we are specifically talking about Walleye although the same things apply to Northern Pike as well.
When you eat fish for a shore lunch they are no longer in your possession so you are permitted to go out and replace those fish provided that you do NOT exceed your daily limit also. Where some guests seem to be running into trouble is doing a shore lunch on the last day of the week (Thursday) and then trying to catch take home fish after lunch.
Let’s try an example to help. Say I have a conservation license and I have one fish in the freezer from earlier in the week to go home. It would be ok for me to keep 1 fish, eat it for lunch, and then go and catch another fish to take home. The last fish would be my 2nd fish to take home. As long as that fish was caught after I ate the first one I would be fine because I never exceeded my possession limit (2 fish) or my daily limit (2 fish). Any fish in camp in your name + any fish on your stringer count against your possession limit.
So what if you already have two fish (Walleye) in the freezer and you have a conservation license? You can continue fishing provided you immediately release all Walleye you catch. You could NOT keep any Walleye for lunch on the last day if you already have your full limit in the freezer. If you kept any other Walleye you would be exceeding your possession limit and could be fined.
Now let’s say you have no fish in the freezer and it’s Thursday. You have a conservation license and decide to keep 2 Walleye for lunch. That’s great, but since you killed 2 fish and hit your daily limit you can NOT keep any more fish to take home after lunch.
If you’re still confused please ask and we’ll try to help. If you’re thinking no one will know what I ate for lunch think again. Conservation officers can check lunch sites and issue a ticket if you exceeded either your daily limit or possession limit. An average fine is $250.00 so it’s worth being informed. A shore lunch is a great way to enjoy fresh Walleye, but plan your lunches accordingly if you plan to take fish home too.