Re: Trout Eating Machine?
I admit the thought of keeping him ran through my mind, but I honestly don't know what the regulations/seasons are for pickerel, so I would have thrown him back regardless.
One factor ecologists use to rate the health of an ecosystem is biodiversity, so I suppose the fact that their are a variety of fish, fowl, birds of prey, insects, etc all means that the stream is healthy and can support them all. I would imagine some of those large browns eat more baby trout than a pickerel, but who knows. It's tempting to assume that predatory fish and herons eat too many fish, but in the grand scheme of things, they have been co-existing for a long time...we're the ones who put the brown and rainbow trout there in the first place, so maybe it's only fair they get a snack too. I once talked to a guy who admitted to chucking suckers in the woods when he caught them in the stream. Clearly he wasn't aware of how important sucker spawning is to trout...everything is connected.