Hailing from the rural parts of Northern Wisconsin, we grew up fishing. Whether it was bullheads in the creek down from the house, small mouth and crappies in the local lakes or trailering the boat to Canada for walleye and northern pike, we often could be found by the water. Like most families, we loved to eat fish. When you had a family of 5, you could bring home enough fillets from your trips North of the border for some great fish frys back home. But like most fisherman, those fillets stayed in the freezer for a few months, dried out and never were the same as the fresh shorelunch out on the rocks. In addition, we found that as time went on, the fishing in the drive-to Canadian lakes that we went to in Ontario didn't produce the same amounts of fish. We always caught enough to eat, but some years we missed the quantities that we were expecting.
When we bought and started running Dogskin in the 90's, we decided that quality and quantity of fish were both very important parts of the experience of going to Canada. Taking fish home and letting them get freezer burnt or bringing home one of the trophies to put on the wall didn't seem like the right thing to do - especially with the advent of impressive graphite replicas. So we were one of the first to voluntarily institute a "Catch and Consume" policy. It was definitely something that took a few guests by surprise. Catch and release was supposed to be something that you did to bring a poor lake back from the brink. Our philosophy was that since it took 15 or more years to get to a Manitoba Master Angler sized fish (28" walleye/ 41" pike), why not let them grow and not allow fish - trophies or eaters - to be taken home.
Guest that have been going to Dogskin many years before we took it over note that they have seen an improvement in not just quantity of fish, but quality of them as well. In addition to more Master Anglers, our guests find lots of mid-20" walleye and high 30" pike. Feedback from our guests makes us feel that our decision long ago to go "Catch and Consume" was the right thing to do. We feel that Dogskin and our outpost lakes are the healthiest that they've ever been since they became a destination for fishing in the late 50's and early 60's.