There are pros and cons to most any regulation. Here is an example of one benefit of releasing fish in good condition.
Last summer this gorgeous brown slurped my low-riding terrestrial along a shaded bank of overhanging willows. He fought hard, and took me down stream and around a corner in order to land him.
Over a year later, (just a few weeks ago) I was fishing the exact same bank, drifting my fly along the exact feature of overhanging willows when a nice sized fish climbed onto my fly. At the time I didn’t think anything of if, the long section of prime shade typically produces several fish and this day was no exception. The fish fought hard, and again took me for a walk down and around the corner to a shallow inside shelf where I could gain enough control to land the fish. I started to think the scenario seemed familiar, and the fish closely resembled the fish of last summer who took me down to this same spot, so I snapped this photo. Sure enough, the single spot on the adipose fin was the first indication this is the same fish. Another glance at the two images confirmed all the spots matched, and this fish was indeed my new buddy.
It takes several years for a trout to mature, and any given fishery can only produce so many adult fish. By releasing fish unharmed, we as users of the river and it’s resources are sustaining not only quality fish, but also quality fishing opportunities for ourselves and others. It’s just a win-win in my book. I think my brown trout buddy here would agree, and I know exactly where to find him for our next visit.