By Ken Cluff
Jun 11, 2015

Leave No Trace Fishing

Cuthroat TroutThe fish in Utah are finally fully awake! It’s been a long winter and the days are getting longer, the snow has melted from the lower lakes and streams and the ice is thawing from the higher elevations. Insects are hatching and the fish are biting. I spent a few days on the water last week with my son and    grandson. We were lucky enough to catch a grand slam:  rainbow trout, brown trout, cutthroat trout and brook trout. Nothing fancy but a good sign of warmer summer days to come.

When it comes to angling, Leave No Trace fishing is just as important as it is for other outdoor pursuits. Here are a few things you can teach your Varsity Scouts to keep in mind:

Plan Ahead and Prepare

  • Know the local fishing and boating regulations for the area where you’ll fish. Obtain licenses and have them with you.
  • Use a personal flotation device on all BSA activities.
  • Rainbow TroutLearn to identify the different species of fish in the area where you’ll be fishing.
  • Obey the limits on size and quantity of fish you are allowed to keep. Abide by regulations concerning types of bait and tackle permitted where you are fishing.
  • Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.
  • Plan your trip to avoid times of high use.

Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

  • Durable surfaces include rock, gravel, established trails and campsites, sand, or snow.
  • Concentrate use on existing trails, campsites, and boat launches.
  • Focus activity in areas where vegetation is absent.
  • Brook TroutAvoid trampling aquatic vegetation when wading. Refrain from wading in spawning areas (gravel beds) when possible.
  • Enter and leave water sources at places where the banks are low.
  • In pristine areas disperse use to prevent the creation of new campsites and trails.
  • Protect riparian areas by camping at least 200 feet from lakes and streams.

Dispose of Waste Properly

  • Pack it in, Pack it out. Inspect your camp and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all monofilament fishing line, leftover live bait, and bait cups.
  • Avoid using lead sinkers and jigs. If lead sinkers are found, pack out for proper disposal.
  • Use established bathrooms when available. If not available, deposit solid human waste in cat-holes dug 6 to 8 inches deep and away from water sources.
  • Brown TroutCheck with local land managers for regulations on disposal of fish entrails. Do not dispose of entrails and carcasses on the bank. Leave them in the water where you caught the fish.
  • To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater.

Leave What You Find

  • CPRWhen your Varsity Scouts are practicing CPR (catch, photograph and release), use barbless hooks and be sure to not injure the fish. Do not fight a fish to exhaustion, use a rod and line of sufficient strength, and avoid suspending fish out of water by the fishing line. Keep fish in water when handling for release and do not touch gills.
  • Carry and use needle-nose pliers or hemostats for hook removal.
  • Take care not to introduce non-native species to   water sources and surrounding areas. Pack out all unused bait and dispose of properly (e.g. worms, minnows, leeches) and properly wash all equipment between fishing trips.
  • Avoid transferring fish from one watershed to another.
  • Preserve the past: only observe any cultural or historic structures and artifacts.

Minimize Campfire Impacts

  • Campfires can cause lasting impacts. Use a lightweight stove for cooking when possible.
  • Where fires are permitted use established fire rings, mound fires, or fire pans.
  • Keep fires small and use only dead and downed wood that can be broken by hand.
  • Burn all wood and charcoal to ash. Ensure that fire is completely out and properly dispose of cold ashes.

Respect Wildlife

  • Respect fish by humanely dispatching catches you are keeping with a quick blow to the back of the head with a rock or other solid object.
  • Refrigerate or eat fish quickly to avoid wasting them.   • -Use caution when cooking fish in bear country.
  • Never feed wildlife. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.
  • Control pets or leave them at home.

Be Considerate of Other Visitors

  • Fishing SmilesRespect other fishermen and protect the quality of their experience.
  • Non-motorized crafts usually have right-of-way over powerboats: slower boats should keep to the right.
  • Pick campsites that are away from shoreline or trails and avoid crowding other visitors

New Utah fishing laws this year 2015

  • Currently, when anglers and hunters between 14 and 17 years of age buy a license, they have to pay the same amount of money an adult pays. Those between 14 and 17 years of age can buy a license for a reduced price of $16.00.
  • In addition to your license, if you want to fish with two fishing poles, you’re currently required to buy a separate two-pole permit.
  • Anyone with a fishing license can fish with two fishing poles.
  • A separate two-pole permit will not be required.
  • You can buy a multi-year license that’s valid for two, three, four or five years. In addition to the convenience of not having to buy a license every year, buying a multi-year license will also save you some money.

If you have questions, call the nearest Division of Wildlife Resources office or the DWR’s Salt Lake City office at 801- 538-4700.

Ken Cluff
Author: Ken Cluff | Editor, The Varsity Vision Newsletter

 

 

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