I've been researching fishing regulations in various places, both in preparation for the summer's Rebel Trout Trek and as part of a writing project, and one type of regulation I've found in a few places seems so odd to me. In some waters where introduced game species compete with native species or where some specific species make-up is desired by game managers, it is illegal to release the less desired species. I'd seen this with species like the northern snakehead, but it wasn't until I started looking more closely at the rules in various places that I realized there were places where you had to kill species like smallmouth bass, northern pike and walleyes (Utah's Green River), brown trout (parts of Shenandoah National Park), and brook trout and rainbow trout (part of Yellowstone National Park).
I understand the regulations' intent, and in truth using normal angling activity as a tool is probably a really good way to remove an introduced species and allow the native fish to thrive. It just seems so weird to think that if Asher and I fish the Lamar River in Yellowstone this summer, we'll have to keep any rainbow or brook trout we catch. I have to admit that I'd be cheering for all cutthroats. I'm not a huge fan of trout as food, and cooking fish wouldn't be super practical, but I sure wouldn't let anything go to waste.