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Fishing Etiquette

I often joke that this time of year EVERYONE is an angler.  People who only fish once or a few times a year are fishing now.

That makes this a good time for this reminder, for all of us, beginners and old salts:

Fishing etiquette for every type of angler

A great day fishing is as much about catching what you’re after as it is about the experience you had while away from home. But to keep your fishing trip memorable for only the best reasons, follow Nebraska Game and Parks’ rules of fishing etiquette.

Etiquette for every angler

Remember the Golden Rule

It’s easy to get tunnel vision, especially in pursuit of a big catch, but always treat others how you’d wish to be treated. Staying considerate helps others stay considerate, too.

Communicate

When in doubt, ask. Not sure whether someone is working a shoreline north to south? Or if he or she thinks you’re too close? A simple question — “Mind if we fish here?” — can help avoid conflict.

Share the water

Don’t hog one spot or stretch of water all day and don’t get too close to other anglers — either on shore or on the water. Public waters are meant for everyone to use, so be reasonable about sharing the space. At the same time, remember some people just want to swim, kayak, ski, or leisure boat, and have the same rights to the public waters as you.

Respect the fish

Not intending to eat the fish you catch? Work hard to ensure the fish stays alive by taking care of your catch. Limit time out of water, remove hooks quickly or while keeping it in water, and do your best to prevent damaging the fish’s protective slime coat.

Leave no trace

Did you pack it in? Then pack it out, too. Your spent line, broken lures, hooks, Styrofoam bait containers, snack wrappers and cans have no business being left on shore or in the water. It risks the lives of wildlife, is bad for the environment and ruins other’s experiences in nature. Instead, leave the place better than you found it.

Follow the law          

In addition to purchasing your fishing permit, know what type, how many and what size fish you can keep at water bodies across the state. Following the law helps sustain the state’s fisheries resources for the future. Find current rules in the 2023 Fishing Guide at OutdoorNebraska.gov.

For the shore or pier angler

When fishing from shore or pier, it can get tight. Be aware of where you are, where your hook is and the direction of your cast. Never cast over or under someone else’s line. If you’re unsure of your skill, move away from the crowd so you can build your casting skills safely.

For the boat angler

While it can be tempting to troll where you see others having success, don’t. Give anglers ample room. Don’t cut them off or intersect their path when you see them working a shoreline or honey hole, either. Respect those who arrived before you to snag a productive spot.

For the bow fisher

When your adrenaline is coursing at spotting a big one, it can be easy to overshoot — and end up hitting a dock or a boat. Always look beyond what you’re aiming to hit. When in doubt, don’t shoot and wait for the next safe opportunity. Being aware of your surroundings and practicing caution is extremely important when archery fishing.

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About daryl bauer

Daryl is a lifelong resident of Nebraska (except for a couple of years spent going to graduate school in South Dakota). He has been employed as a fisheries biologist for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission for 25 years, and his current tour of duty is as the fisheries outreach program manager. Daryl loves to share his educational knowledge and is an avid multi-species angler. He holds more than 120 Nebraska Master Angler Awards for 14 different species and holds more than 30 In-Fisherman Master Angler Awards for eight different species. He loves to talk fishing and answer questions about fishing in Nebraska, be sure to check out his blog at outdoornebraska.org.

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