When it comes to protecting fisheries, catching and releasing is not enough. Responsible fishing involves catching and releasing, but it is best to combine it with electricity and environmental clean-up. Sometimes fish habitat restoration is not enough and fish rearing is required. Here are 3 groups working on restoring fishing habits to provide anglers with better fishing opportunities.
1. Restoration of the lake
Lake habitat restoration is a key element of the BASS Nation Clubs (www.bassmaster.com). That year, the Bass Angling Southern Style Fishing Club worked with the NC Wildlife Resources Commission to place fish attracters in Sutton Lake near Jacksonville, NC. After a sonar study of the attractor sites, the biologists determined that improvements were important to properly cover the bass. During a restoration of the lake, a dozen Mossback Trophy Tree attractors were added to the target areas in the lake. Largemouth bass use these areas for protection from predators and are part of the process of cultivating larger fish populations.
2. Stream recovery
Stream restoration has been a cornerstone of Trout Unlimited’s efforts (www.tu.org) since the organization was founded. The TU’s overarching goal is to create healthy streams and rivers that support a strong fish population. Restoring the brown trout in the Potomac Headwaters, West Virginia, required reconnecting 7 miles of spring water sources, restoring 3 miles of habitat using rocks and logs to create pools, runs and stabilizing banks, and 100 acres of fencing, planting and living space Securing protective measures to protect. Over 350 volunteers were involved in this fish habitat restoration effort.
3. Species restoration
Stocking up fish after the environment is restored is ideal. A different approach is needed for the Atlantic salmon, which is on the Endangered Species List. The Peter Gray Parr Project (www.wildatlanticsalmon.org) uses scientifically proven methods developed by the late Peter Gray. The Parr are raised in a hatchery by the creek that drains water from the river in which they were born. Water speeds are increased to condition the fish for survival and they are filled in the fall when their metabolism slows and they do not have to forage. More parr survive and migrate into the sea where they have a chance to return to spawn. And there is still much work to be done to remove Atlantic salmon from the list of endangered species.
Restoring the fish habitat is conservation at its most important level. Do what you can and help make a difference.
Tom Keer is an award-winning writer living on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. He is a columnist for the Upland Almanac, a contributing writer for Covey Rise magazine, a contributing editor for Fly Rod and Reel and Fly Fish America, and a blogger for the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s Take Me Fishing program. Keer is a regular contributor to over a dozen outdoor magazines on topics including fishing, hunting, boating, and other outdoor activities. When not fishing, Keer and his family hunt highland birds over their three English setters. His first book, A New England Coast Fly Fishing Guide, was published in January 2011. Visit him at www.tomkeer.com or www.thekeergroup.com.