fishing hole

Six Ways to Protect Your Fishing Hole

Fishing Hole By Ben Team

Anglers aren’t the only people to enjoy lakes, ponds and rivers, but we are definitely among the most active aquatic recreationists.  We also have the most to lose should our fishing hole be spoiled.  As such, most of us guard our favorite fishing hole from swimmers and tubers as though they were state secrets.  However, far greater dangers lie in pollution, invasive species or population declines.  Accordingly, it is incumbent on us, the anglers of the world, to do our part to keep the lakes, rivers and ponds of the world healthy.  This doesn’t take an unreasonable amount of effort either; by embracing these six steps, you can help ensure your favorite fishing hole remains productive for years to come.

Trash Collection

Most serious anglers are conscientious stewards of the environment, but there are plenty who treat the great outdoors like a trashcan.  There’s nothing that can be done about knuckleheads, but you can help mitigate their damage.  Just bring a plastic grocery bag with you on your next trip to the water.  Don’t try to clean up the entire lake yourself – just make a concerted effort to clean up the trash in one small spot.

Share Your Fishing Hole

Treat the other animals congregating around the water with respect.  Most play important roles in keeping the ecosystem balanced and healthy, which means that the local bass, trout or walleye populations stays healthier too.  Don’t feed the waterfowl, don’t try to kill the snake sunning on the bank (whether its venomous or not – it won’t bother you if you don’t bother it) and try not to give the local turtles a heart attack by bumping your boat into their log.

Using Environmentally Appropriate Tackle

Lead is toxic to most wildlife, and because many of the weights we use are acorn- or nut-sized, they end up in the bellies of birds and other critters.  Instead, opt for tungsten sinkers and lures; although a bit more expensive, they won’t harm the local fauna.

Catch and Release Gently

Catch-and-release fishing has become the norm for many anglers (particularly bass fishermen and fisherwomen).  However, you have to keep the fish’s stress level low and get it back in the water as quickly as possible to give it a good chance for survival.  You may want to consider switching to barbless hooks, as they can be removed without causing as much damage as barbed hooks.

Avoid Introducing Invasives

Unless you are using native baitfish, do not dump your bait bucket into the lake when you are finished fishing. Exotic minnows and other creatures can wreak havoc on the local ecosystem, and it is nearly impossible to eradicate them once they become established.

Harvest Invasives

Occasionally, anglers catch invasive species while fishing. Snakeheads, for example, occasionally show up on the end of a bass- or pike-angler’s line.  Always follow your local fishing laws, but whenever possible, harvest these fish, rather than returning them to the water.  Many invasives are not only edible, but delicious (tilapia come to mind), so this isn’t a chore for the angler and it helps the local ecosystem.  Always be humane when harvesting these (or any other) fish – the individual fish flopping around on the end of your line is not personally responsible for the invasion, and still deserves to be treated with respect. How do you protect your fishing hole? Leave a comment.


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