One of the best way to help sustain our fish populations is to follow all DNR mandated catch and possession limits each season. If however you’d like to help improve the fishery there are some simple steps you can follow. The first thing we can all do is practice a little catch and release. I’m not suggesting you never keep any fish, but instead that you let the majority of the fish you catch go. That especially means the larger trophy fish. Releasing larger fish has been shown to improve overall fishery health whether through increased production of young or the increase survival of eggs and fry. This in turn means more adult (big) fish for us to catch in the future!
The second sustainable practice we can all follow is making sure we prevent the spread of invasive species. The best way to do this is Clean, Drain and Dry your boat and gear. Did you know that one invasive species can completely alter the fishery? It can be so invasive and effective at taking over the lake that what once was a great lake to fish is now totally devoid of game species or has all stunted populations. We see this with Eurasian water milfoil. This invasive plant takes over the bottom of the lake and out competes native species. When it takes over it forms dense mats of vegetation that is not only hard to navigate through but doesn’t allow fish or invertebrates to live in or feed in the infested area. This alteration of habitat fish to move to find food or new habit, which is already limited.
If we all do our part and become responsible anglers, we can catch more and bigger fish. So, get out on the water and catch some fish!