Respecting Our Resources
Fishing is one of the most popular American pastimes, with more than 46 million anglers getting out on the water each year. It’s important we as a community maintain healthy and productive fish populations. Fisheries managers help with habitat management and stocking, but anglers must do their part to contribute to fish conservation too.
Together we can help protect the places we all love to fish. Respecting other anglers, practicing catch and release, being mindful of water conservation, keeping the environment around us clean and fishing responsibly are just some of the ways you can participate in fish conservation.
Good anglers respect our waters resources as well as our resources on land, so that they will be available for others to enjoy in the future. You can do your part by following these simple, yet effective fishing etiquette tips for minimizing your impact on the outdoors and our water resources. These helpful tips are based on the guiding principles from our responsible outdoor recreation partner tread lightly!
Travel only in designated areas. Comply with all signs and respect barriers. If walking or driving to a fishing spot, try to cross streams only at fords, where the road or trail crosses a stream. If by boat, travel only in areas open to your type of watercraft, and remember to always maintain your watercraft at a manageable speed.
For any outdoor adventure, fishing included, educate yourself prior to your trip by learning about your destination so that you can tread lightly wherever you go. Take a map or chart of your destination. Make a travel plan and share it with a friend or family member. Check the local weather and plan for clothing, equipment and supplies that accommodate. Be prepared with a back-up plan and make sure to have a safety kit.
Know and Follow Fishing Regulations
Fishing laws are meant to protect our water resources and ensure there is fishing to be shared by everyone. If you fish, it’s important that you know the rules and regulations. Ignorance of the law is no excuse. Fishing is a wonderful privilege. Respect our waters by fishing responsibly and obeying fishing regulations. Learn about your state’s fishing regulations.
Never Waste Fish
Good anglers know that fish are food and should never be wasted. Never keep more fish than you can use. If you catch a fish that’s too small to eat or one that’s under the legal or minimum size, it is proper fishing etiquette to release quickly and carefully.
Today, some species of fish exist in limited numbers. Because of this, many anglers practice catch and release, taking only what they need for food and releasing the rest unharmed. This makes it possible for other anglers to enjoy catching them again.
Do your part to Tread Lightly where ever you go in nature, leaving the place better than you found it. Pack out what you pack in and carry a trash bag to pick up litter, even if its litter left by others.This includes food wrappers, discarded fishing line, bait holders, empty cans or bottles, and plastic bags.
If you are fishing from a boat, make sure to respect our waters and be sure your litter is put into a closed container so it can’t blow out of the boat. Sinking empty soda cans or bottles is worse than leaving them on shore. You are littering the bottom of the lake, river or ocean. Carry empty containers when you leave your fishing spot and recycle them.
Be Aware of Other Boaters and Anglers
Good fishing etiquette includes respecting the rights of others that are enjoying the outdoors by making sure to Tread Lightly. Be considerate to all recreationalists on and around the waterways or boat ramps. Leave ample room for other anglers, so you don’t disturb their fishing experience. Keep the noise down especially near shore and other anglers.
Anglers have a responsibility to help state agencies protect our natural resources. Today, many states have a special telephone number so individuals can report those who violate fish and game laws.
Protect the Environment and Avoid Sensitive Areas
Never destroy the beauty of an area. Do not spray paint or carve words on rocks or trees. Do not drive through streams and riparian areas. Leave wildflowers and other plants growing in the wild, do not destroy or pick them.
When traveling by vehicle or boat, remember to Tread Lightly, avoid sensitive areas such as shallow waters, shorelines, wetlands, reefs or breeding areas. Natural areas are also home to wildlife that may be using these areas for nesting or breeding. Avoid ‘spooking” livestock and wildlife you encounter and keep your distance.
Share Your Knowledge
Good anglers share their knowledge with others and introduce their friends to the sport of fishing and the benefits of protecting the environment and our water resources.
Participate in Resource-Enhancement Projects
Good anglers get involved in projects to enhance our waters resources. Some lead students to do class projects. Others join or form clubs whose members work on projects such as improving a stretch of water on a stream or cleaning up the bank around their local best fishing lakes.