Controversial fishing technique OK in Colorado
Summit County correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
After a review from the Colorado Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Wildlife Management, the Moffitt Angling System has been deemed legal in the state of Colorado.
George W. Gerlich, aquatic section manager and fisheries chief for the state Division of Wildlife, sent a letter to inventor Pat Moffitt about the system Tuesday.
According to the company’s website, the system “utilizes flies tied on flexible synthetic cores instead of hooks, which are looped on to the fly leader several inches above a uniquely designed barbless circle hook.”
“While researching the causes of mortality among caught-and-released fish, I realized that the trouble starts when the fish draws the hook into its mouth,” explained Moffitt in the company’s press release. “I realized that separating the fly from the hook would be the first step towards controlling the hook set and developing a more resource-friendly method of catch-and-release fishing.”
Moffitt, a retired environmental scientist and longtime fisheries’ resource advocate, also said the idea of the new system is to reduce mortality among caught-and-released fish.
The system, however, is controversial. The hookless fly-fishing method is considered by some to be a form of “snagging,” a technique outlawed in many states including Colorado.
In the letter issued by Gerlich, the act of “snagging” was defined as ” … the taking of fish by snatching with hooks, gang hooks, artificial flies or lures or similar devices where the fish is hooked in a part of the body other than the mouth.”
Gerlich went on to say that the Moffitt Angling System does not constitute snagging.
“The system appears to comply with the intent of our regulations requiring the fish to voluntarily strike the fly in order to be hooked,” Gerlich wrote.
The response of avid fishermen is too early to gauge.
Fishing guide and owner of the Frisco fly shop Blue River Anglers, Zeke Hersh, said that his staff is looking into the product but won’t give his opinion until after testing it.
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It’s that time of year — hikers and mountain bikers must be aware that seasonal closures are taking effect on multiple trails in the area today for the winter for the benefit of wildlife.