How soon is immediately when rules call for 'immediately releasing' trout?
Wisconsin’s 2013-2014 guide to trout fishing regulations states that trout caught during the early catch-and-release season “… shall be immediately released.” The early season opened the first Saturday in March and continues to the Sunday preceding the first Saturday in May.
That reads clear.
It should be noted that some anglers, particularly those who catch a beautiful fish, or a trout that is long by the angler’s standards, want to memorialize the event and the fish (maybe even themselves).
We can accept the delay with some reservations, maybe.
Finally, outdoors writers and photographers, in attempting to tell the public what the outdoors is about, like to show, as well as tell, when they are published.
Here’s the rub. Some of the early season photographs for newspapers, magazines and the Internet are staged. It takes time to compose a good photograph.
How long is immediately, as the regulations ask anglers to do?
(That may have been a good question put to George Carlin before he passed. He once tried to define how long a moment is.)
Is immediately long enough to place a trout taken from a spring creek onto a snowbank and take half dozen digital images?
Is immediately long enough for an angler to hold the trout under its gill plate and move it closer to the camera to make the fish look even larger and the angler comparatively smaller?
Maybe those delays are not long enough to do immediate damage to the fish. But are they too long to expect the trout to survive once it’s placed back in a stream?
Are we warranted in criticizing a photographer or angler for extending "immediately released" to a number of minutes?
Should we criticize the publisher for posting or printing these images for anglers and the public to see and maybe follow the same procedure?
And are these images and acts long enough to say to others, it’s OK because the fish was released immediately after the photograph was taken and it swam away?