If you've enjoyed fishing all your life, you've got a great opportunity to say thanks and help preserve that way of life for the next generation. And if you're just getting started, why not begin the right way, with respect for the water, your catch, and the young anglers who will follow in your wake.
Catch & Release
This should be pretty obvious, but recreational fishing can get out of balance in a hurry if everybody only practices Catch & Take. Not to say that there's anything at all wrong with catching your supper, but be reasonable and let the rest keep swimming until the next time.
Structure or artificial reefs can have an unbelievable impact on fishing stocks. They provide a habitat for fish, crustaceans and shellfish where none existed before. Most states have reef program, so make sure yours is active and see how you can participate. Check this out: An artificial reef the size of an automobile can produce thousands of pounds of fish over five years.
Champion Water Quality
Remember that everything that goes into the ground has the potential to reach a waterway. To reduce the need for cleaning products, always wash your boat down with fresh water after every use. And when you do need to clean your boat, choose non-toxic options where available. Also, some lawn fertilizers can cause troublesome algae blooms, which can seriously damage fisheries. Always opt for low-phosphorous fertilizers to avoid those problems.
With government agencies and waterfront communities limiting water access for ordinary anglers and boaters, you need to be vigilant about defending your rights and speaking up. Make yourself known at neighborhood, city, county and state meetings. Sometimes a well-informed and persistent of anglers with a simple message of access is all that stands between a new gated community or a non-water-dependent development and the preservation of your local boat ramp.
Inspire Young Anglers
The earlier you teach a child about the joys of fishing, the sooner you'll instill a lifelong desire to conserve and protect fisheries and become thoughtful stewards of the great outdoors. Just lead by example and you'll be amazed at how your lessons take hold and inspire the next generation to preserve the future of fishing.