Environmental impact of fishing with hooks.

Hope there are no lost hooks in this salmon.

There are some negative impacts of fishing with hooks that may surprise you. They did me.

Many anglers use ‘soft baits’ for recreational fishing. Millions of pounds of these soft baits end up in our waterways. As these products degrade they release a variety of toxins into the environment.

“Each year, more than 12,000 tons of rubbery “soft baits” land at the bottom of lakes, streams and rivers, says Hobbins, who is president and CEO of Waunakee-based Lake Resources Group.

The lures are so pliable that a run through thick weeds or a fish’s misdirected attempt to gobble the bait can rip the lure or pull it off the hook entirely. “If you go into a sporting-goods store, every soft-plastic fishing lure on the wall is lost in the environment,” he says. “And that’s a staggering thought.”

Anglers should also think about the fish raised in hatcheries. Millions of fish are hatchery raised for recreational purposes each year. Many ponds, lakes, and streams get stocked several times a year with hatchery raised fish. Often these fish have a hard time adjusting to life in the wild as they have never had to forage for food. Hatchery fish get fed a diet of fish pellets. Here is the real disturbing part. These pellets are usually made from ground up bait-fish caught in our oceans.

In 2016, a newspaper article appeared in the LA Time that broke my heart. It was about starving seal pups on the west coast. Seal pups began washing up on local beaches dead or near death. The cause was starvation. Their mothers had not been able to produce enough milk to feed them as they, too, were starving. The major culprit of this starvation was the lack of of local bait fish populations. Much of these herring and anchovies schools get harvested so that they could become feed. This deprived adult momma seals the energy to make milk to feed their babies. One of the biggest customers for this feed? Public recreational fish hatcheries. To feed hatchery trout. So we can catch and release them. And they will wear out (die) and need replacing.

There are many other reasons to make us think twice about the effect fishing has on the environment,

I recommend reading Professor Douglas Thompson’s book, The Quest for the Golden Trout. The book is an expansive look at efforts made to improve trout fishing. Many of these efforts had negative results we only nowe realize. If enough people KindFish, we can help to reverse these problems.

Fish more. Do no harm.

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