We have had a bunch of questions lately concerning the use of beads as egg patterns while fishing for trout. The Wyoming fishing regulations do not address the use of beads. I recently went to the Game and Fish office to discuss the issue. The use of beads in Wyoming is not illegal as some people are stating. We have guides on staff that use a bead rig we also have guides that choose not to, to each their own. There are many fishermen that will argue this technique reduces fatigue on the fish. Typically, this method hooks the fish on the outside of the mouth, just like the Moffitt system.
Pat Moffitt, is a retired environmental scientist and long-time fisheries’ resource advocate. He is quoted in Angling Trade Magazine. “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 Pat Moffitt. “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”.
The act of snagging a fish is illegal in Wyoming and we all know when someone is snagging fish or attempting to snag fish. I think it is safe to say we all agree that snagging fish is not an ethical practice, just like targeting fish on the spawning beds. If you are using a bead rig or an (Alaskan rig) please have it set properly. This requires that you have the bead set no more than two inches above the hook. If you have the bead set more than 2 inches from the hook it may be considered snagging. The Wyoming Game and Fish is currently leaving this topic up to the warden on a case – by – case basis. I have been told that if the bead is within two inches of the hook they consider it a legal fishing technique.
If you have questions, I would be happy to talk. I have been told by the Wyoming Game and Fish that this issue will be further addressed in next year’s fishing regulations.