Tips for Protecting Fish and Water Resources

It is good manners to leave things better than how you found them. When I borrow a truck, I return it with a full tank of gas. When friends give my family a plastic container of brownies, I will do my part and help pound down a few. Just to be polite. Oh, and I’ll return the container, washed and dried. I try to achieve the same thing when I go fishing and boating so I can do my part for protecting our water resources.

Keep the Water Clean

Clean and drain boat when leaving at the ramp. Don’t transport water from one water resource to another such as via boat live wells, bait buckets, or in my case recently, water-filled waders.

Speaking of waders, mind the felt. Depending on your area, there may be regulations now against external felt (rather than rubber) soles on the bottom of waders. Although great for gripping slick rocks, felt is thought to be able to harbor unwanted microscopic organisms that could unintentionally be introduced to a different water resource.

Don’t ignore litter. Unfortunately, it is a rare fishing trip where we don’t return to the truck with an assortment of discarded waste. If you don’t have a bag, stuff those handy cargo pockets (more on these nifty features soon) until you can locate suitable garbage/recycling receptacle.

Cold Water Techniques for Fish Conservation

Alter your fishing tackle. For instance, cooler water often means a change in the speed of line retrieval when casting. Sometimes the speed can be faster, as with spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits. This time of year may garner a “reaction” bite, rather than a “hungry” bite, so you may find fish hooked but not necessarily IN the mouth. Pinched barbs are easier on the fish and promote better fish conservation.

Stay alert. Sometimes the retrieve slows or even stops and transitions to using more live bait. Even though fish activity in cold water may be sluggish, it is important to pay attention to the line, bobber, etc. to avoid a deep hook which may be more stressful for the fish to remove. Also in addition to pinched barbs, consider exchanging a treble hook for a single hook to improve fish conservation.

Want to learn more ways to protect our water resources?

Andy Whitcomb

Andy Whitcomb

Andy Whitcomb is a columnist, outdoor humorist, and stressed-out Dad. He says there are “people who fish”… and there are “fishermen”.  One of the few things he knows is that he is a “fisherman”...  To the point it could be classified as borderline illness.  Sharing this obsession is rewarding, therapeutic. He likes to encourage people to “stop and smell the crappie."  Enjoys catching fish, but gets a greater thrill out of helping someone else hook up.
Born in Florida, but raised on the banks of Oklahoma farm ponds. Now relocated to western Pennsylvania. He has fished, worked, lived all around the US.  He has a B.S. in Zoology from Oklahoma State as well...
And he met his wife while electrofishing. He has been contributing weekly to since 2011.