Responsible Fishing

Responsible Fishing

"We are eating today what our grandparents used as bait." - Daniel Pauly, Marine Biologist

Fishermen and hunters are the original conservationists, fighting for public lands, environmental laws and regulations to protect the species they love to pursue.

As a fisherman it is important to know how to minimize your impact on the environment. Fishing isn’t just about the excitement of casting a line and reeling in your catch, it is also about respecting the area where you fish and sustaining the populations of your favorite fish.

As a recreational fisherman you lose when fish stocks are destroyed by overfishing. Let’s work together to restore and protect park fisheries.

Below are some tips on responsible fishing from Tread Lightly.

What You Can Do

  • Pack out what you pack in and carry a trash bag to pick up litter left by others.
  • Pack out any discarded fishing line. Monofilament line is especially dangerous to all wildlife.
  • Never discard fish entrails in lake shallows or any area where others might come across it. It is unacceptable to bury it near the lake or stream or burn it in camp. Suitable alternatives include bagging and packing out entrails, disposing of it in water at least 25 feet deep or burying it 100 yards away from any lake, trail or camp.
  • Use only artificial lures. Live bait has the potential to accidentally introduce exotics and cause more damage to fish when being released, as they often take live bait deeper. If you do use live bait, use only bait native to the area.
  • If practicing catch and release, use barbless single hooks to make release easier.
  • When practicing catch and release, keep fish in the water as much as possible, with air exposure under 30 seconds at a time and 60 seconds total. Handle them as little as possible with wet hands and release them gently into the water so they are sure to survive.
  • Knotless or tubber mesh nets are much easier on fish and significantly increase post-release survival rates.
  • When holding large fish for a photo, hold them horizontally, supporting their weight, not vertically which can cause fatal injuries, even if the fish swims away.
  • Minimize fishing during spawning periods.
  • Release smaller fish as they are forage for many residents of the ecosystem. Larger and older fish are often the best producers, collecting more contaminants and are less healthy to eat—also making them good choices for release.
  • Observe proper sanitary waste disposal or pack your waste out.
  • Prevent unnecessary noise created by a poorly tuned vehicle or motor or revving your engine without need.
  • Before and after a trip, wash your gear, watercraft and support vehicle to reduce the spread of invasive species. Remove all plant material from watercraft, motor, trailer and other gear and dispose on dry land in a garbage container. Drain livewells, bilge water and transom wells at the boat launch prior to leaving.

Last updated: May 4, 2016


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