two men standing on a flatbed fishing boat, on a lake near a small, wooded cliff
two men standing on a flatbed fishing boat, on a lake near a small, wooded cliff


For many, one of the greatest joys of boating is being able to immerse themselves in nature.

Here are some tips for sustainable fishing:

  • Know your local fishing regulations and what fish are in season.
  • Have a fishing license - license fees support fisheries management.
  • Know what you want to/should keep - selective harvesting is key to keeping healthy fish populations
  • Keep only the fish you plan to eat and release the rest.
  • Keep mid-size fish and release the biggest fish because they spawn more often.
  • Keep fish species that reproduce quickly and release predators like bass and trout.
  • Use unleaded fishing products (for a list visit
  • Use tackle that is safer for catch and release such as single hooks, barbless hooks or circle hooks.
  • Use tackle heavy enough to land a fish quickly. This reduces exhaustion so the fish will recover quicker after being released.
  • Have a dehooker and know how to use it. Florida Sea grant has a great website and video on how to use a dehooker.
  • Collect all your used fishing line and recycle it.
  • Handle the fish carefully.
  • Wet your hands before handling.
  • Limit touching the fish to reduce slime loss.
  • Support larger fish with a cradle and hold them horizontally for pictures, not by the jaw or gills.
  • Return the fish to water quickly.
  • Make sure the fish has recovered before letting it go. Recover the fish before releasing it by holding it with the head pointed downward in the water and moving the fish back and forth to pass water over its gills until the fish is able to swim unassisted.
  • If air temperatures are very warm, do not remove fish from the water if you plan on releasing them.