Summer Fishing Tips: Sustainable Practices For All Anglers

Summer Fishing Tips: Sustainable Practices For All Anglers

How To Enjoy Angling & Protect The Fish 

Fishing is a fantastic hobby. Not only is it a great way to spend more time in the outdoors, but it also helps you relax and unwind as you learn new skills out on the water. Since fishing season is in now full swing, we want to encourage you to engage in the sport sustainably, to minimize your effects on the aquatic flora and fauna.

Know Your Fishing Regulations

It is up to every recreational fisherman to know what the local regulations around fishing. This alone can have a big impact on maintaining healthy fish populations. To stay in the know, you can pick up a copy of your state's fish and wildlife regulations at your local bait and tackle shop or simply looks up rules and regulations online. 

Practice Catch & Release

When fish are given the chance to survive and reproduce, it preserves the balance of the natural environment. It also means there will be more fish for you to have a successful catch!

To do less harm to the fish here are a few things to keep in mind:

1). Use barbless hooks or circle hooks for less damage.  This will likely cause less damage to the fish, to gut-hook the fish and increase the chances it will survive on release. Using non-stainless hooks can also help in this situation as they will eventually rust and degrade, reducing mortality rates.

2). Keep your catch in the water as much as possible while removing the hook/lure.  This will help to minimize stress to the fish. If it’s a catch of a lifetime and you must snap a shot, be quick about it and return the fish to the water as soon as possible.

Use Tackle That Match Your Target

Using tackle that is too light for your target will cause you to fight the fish for prolonged periods of time, greatly increasing the chances of reeling in a fish that is too exhausted to survive upon release. 

Make sure your tackle is appropriately matched to your target species to help increase survival rates.

Use Led-Free Tackle 

But the good news for anglers is that we can now buy lead-free sinkers, split shot, jig heads and more. Lead is toxic and using lead sinkers, jigs, and other tackle poisons our fish and other natural resources.

Be Gentle With The Fish

One tactic of handling a fish is with a rag or towel -- for better grip. You should avoid this tactic, however, as this will remove the fish’s natural protective coating and increase its chances contracting disease and infections. Use nothing but your wet, bare hands and return the fish to the water as quickly as possible.

Pack It In & Out

Always be sure to pack out your discarded fishing tackle, nets, wrappers, grocery bags and so on, to avoid animals consuming these items. This can lead to suffocation, starvation, cancers and a host of other issues for wildlife. It's a privilege to be able to recreate in the outdoors. We have a responsibility to be ethical about properly disposing of trash. For a refresher on the leave no trace principles read this blog

Using a boat? Practice Carbon-Conscious Fishing

Increased emissions from cars and industrial and agricultural activities have caused significant changes to water acidification. The water chemistry in our headwaters and streams is greatly effecting the flora and fauna in our waterways. 

If you're using a fuel-powered fishing boat or watercraft, it's important to cut down on the amount of carbon you're emitting using such vehicle. To help you do so, consider the following:

1). Replace your propeller with a new, more efficient hydrodynamic design. This will reduce drag and improve fuel economy.

2). Stick with your manufacturer’s recommended engine maintenance schedule.

3). Ease up on the throttle – you’ll save fuel and help out our air quality as well as the fish below.

Educate Other Anglers About Sustainable Fishing

Teaching others about conservation and having respect for the environment is incredibly important. The only way to create real change is if more people start to change their habits and carry out sustainable practices. The best time to start educating about environmental conservation is when kids are young, but anyone can benefit from learning about how to better recreate in the outdoors. Even sharing a few tips with another angler can help positively influence someone else's behavior when engaging in the sport. 

Want to go a step further? Consider getting involved with sportfishing conservation groups or volunteering your time to help spread the message!

 


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