Tips for Anglers
Recreational fishing is one of the most popular and exciting of all outdoor activities. With a little know-how and respect for fellow anglers, everyone can enjoy the many fishing opportunities national wildlife refuges have to offer. Below are some tips – and links to additional information – that will help you be more successful and stay safe on your next adventure.
Making the Catch
The Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation, a nonprofit partner of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is a great source for tips on how to fish. Its website, TakeMeFishing.org, provides useful information for beginners and experts on dozens of specialized topics, including:
- How to set the hook
- How to reel in fish
- How to release fish
- How to clean a fish
- Fishing gear and tackle
- Best times to fish
- Freshwater fishing
- Saltwater fishing
- Fly fishing
- Ice fishing basics
- How to identify fish species
- Fishing and conservation
VamosaPescar.org ofrece información similar en español.
Rod Hansen has been an avid angler since “right after I learned to crawl and before I could walk,” and he’s been a federal wildlife officer with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for more than two decades. Like all federal wildlife officers, he is more interested in helping sportsmen and women than in scolding them. Still, when asked, Hansen will offer a few reminders about being courteous:
- On land and in boats, maintain distance from other anglers. Don’t disturb them.
- Maintain control of pets.
- Leave the loud music at home and enjoy the peaceful outdoors.
- Help each other out with problems and share successful techniques.
Here are guidelines from Hansen and others to keep fishing enjoyable today and long into the future:
- Be sure to have your current state fishing license with you.
- Fish only in permitted areas. Obey posted signs. They are there to conserve the species and provide the opportunity for future anglers. “If a lake has specific limits,” Hansen says, “it’s because wildlife biologists have studied that lake, which is its own ecosystem.”
- Pack out your trash, including monofilament line and hooks that can harm wildlife. Keep public lands clean for other anglers and future generations.
- Consider using sinkers that are not made of lead. Lead can harm people and wildlife.
- Invasive plants and fish can damage public lands and displace or reduce populations of native species. Anglers can help fight invasive species in two important ways. First, remove all vegetation, seeds and mud from your boat, trailer, vehicle, boots, waders, clothing and equipment before leaving a fishing area or going to a new area. Second, don’t use non-native live bait that could survive and become invasive. More on how to do your part: Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers! Even more: PlayCleanGo: Stop Invasive Species In Your Tracks.
- When practicing catch and release, be gentle so the fish can live to be caught another day. Handle the fish as little as possible and only by the mouth. Touching the scales can remove protective slime the fish needs to defend against disease and parasites. More: KeepEmWet.org
Here are a few simple tips to make your next fishing experience a safe one:
- Check weather and travel conditions. Watch for flooding, tidal fluctuations and environmental hazards. Be prepared in case you have to stay out longer than anticipated, especially at a remote refuge.
- Dress for the weather and pack plenty of water and food.
- Take along sunscreen, insect repellant, sunglasses and a first aid kit.
- Use care with hooks and knives.
- Comply with all U.S. Coast Guard and state boating regulations.
- Because the consumption of fresh-caught fish may carry health hazards, check state and local advisories, as well as the EPA Advisories and Technical Resources for Fish and Shellfish Consumption page.
- Check out these detailed safety tips in English from TakeMeFishing.org or consejos de seguridad en español de VamosaPescar.org.