Freshwater fishing is one of the most common outdoor activities enjoyed by Americans of all ages. Whether for recreational fun or competitive freshwater fishing tournaments, it is an excellent way to get outside and enjoy nature with friends and family. It doesn’t require athleticism or a lot of money to get started in the sport, which are just a few reasons why it is becoming an increasingly popular activity.
Many anglers enjoy catching a variety of fresh fish to cook for dinner, but they aren’t aware of how their activities closely impact the environment. It is important for freshwater anglers to understand the ethics and environmental stewardship that is bestowed upon them when partaking in fishing. All freshwater anglers are personally responsible for contributing to the sustainment of all living resources, and the environment in which they live. This means always making smart choices when taking any action that could impact the freshwater fish and aquatic ecosystem.
A responsible freshwater angler should be knowledgeable and fully understand the rules and regulations that are in place to protect the fish and freshwater lakes. All anglers are required to practice safe and ethical fresh water fishing by following daily quotas and familiarizing themselves with any bait/tackle restrictions. This includes only keeping the fish they plan to eat and properly unhooking and releasing the rest back into the water. When a fish has been caught, the angler should keep the fish in the water until its species and size is identified. When leaving the site, remove all garbage to prevent contaminating and polluting the freshwater lakes. Additionally, releasing unused bait originating from a different body of water is to be avoided at all times as they are foreign species. Only use live bait that has come from the same body of water you are fishing.
Environmental stewardship is essential to the protection and preservation of the freshwater fishing sport. It is imperative that each freshwater fisherman/woman/child be personally responsible for their own actions while fishing so that future avid anglers may continue to enjoy the sport. By purchasing a fishing license, freshwater anglers are already supporting local fish agencies and helping to increase environmental stewardship awareness. It is important that freshwater anglers commit themselves to these ethics on a daily basis to preserve the sport and hobby of freshwater fishing for future generations.