KEEP IT ENJOYABLE
Fishing’s ethical guidelines maximize fun for everyone
Participation in the various sports can be a pleasing and important part of life, but in order for any sport to be truly enjoyable, there must be a set of rules that govern the game and its players. Few things ruin a game like someone who makes up rules — generally for their own benefit — as they go along. The same holds true for the sport of fishing. Some fishing rules, like license requirements, are written in the law while others remain unwritten. These unwritten rules are often called ethics, a system of generally accepted principals that guide our behavior. Adherence to fishing’s ethical guidelines is voluntary, but if no one chose to follow them, fishing wouldn’t be any fun.
"I was fly-fishing at one of the urban ponds with some friends," said Ivy Santee, angler education coordinator for the Nevada Department of Wildlife. "We had spaced ourselves out along the shoreline, because it’s just good ethics not to crowd against another angler. Then along came a man pulling a wagon in which two small children were riding. To my surprise, the man parked himself right between me and my friend. Because we were fly-fishing there was about 20 feet of fly line whipping back and forth, and on the end of the line was at least one sharp hook."
Santee warned the man that his choice of fishing spots might not be safe because she and her friends were casting flies. The man responded that he didn’t think his proximity would be a problem and began preparing his fishing tackle while his son threw rocks into the water where Santee and the others were already fishing. And to top things off, when the man began casting his line, he cast across the area where Santee was casting her line.
"Needless to say, situations such as this one can ruin an otherwise good day in the outdoors. People do outdoor things so they can find room to enjoy a little open space. There is room enough for us to give each other a little space," said Martin Olson, hunter education coordinator for NDOW.
As ethics go, crowding and casting across another angler’s line are minor infractions when compared to others. Some of the more serious ethics infractions are also against the law. They include taking more fish than you’re allowed, fishing without a license and throwing spent fishing line and other garbage, like empty bait containers, on the ground.
"Each of these violations has a negative impact on other anglers and even those who choose not to fish," Olson said.
Armchair biology is another serious issue. Every year, fish species are found in our waters that shouldn’t be there because someone didn’t care about the consequences of putting live creatures into waters where they don’t belong. A glaring example of the results of this practice can be found at Comins Lake near Ely. Some years ago, someone illegally planted northern pike into that lake. Pike are a voracious predator, and they have virtually destroyed what was once a trophy trout fishery.
"The next time you go fishing, instead of crowding in on the person who just caught a fish, give them the space you would like to have and respect the waters you are visiting, and do what’s right when it comes to obeying the law," Santee said.
DO IT NOW AND WIN
NDOW boat registration renewal time is here
Another year has come and gone, and that means it is time for Nevada boat owners to renew their vessel’s registration. While that may be the last thing some boat owners want to think about in January, those who choose to register their boat before Feb. 1 could win a three-day houseboat trip on Lake Mead or Lake Mohave.
"Though you must have current registration and validation decals to legally operate a motorized boat on Nevada’s public waters, many boaters wait until the weather warms up to register their vessels," said Nick Duhe, boating education coordinator for the Nevada Department of Wildlife. "In some cases, they wait as late as the week before Memorial Day weekend and then become frustrated with the resulting long waits and long lines."
In an effort to reduce lines and waiting time, NDOW has teamed up with Forever Resorts to offer procrastinating boaters an incentive for registering their vessels earlier in the year. Every boater who registers his vessel on or before Feb. 1 will be automatically entered to win one of several prizes. In addition to one three-day houseboat trip on Lakes Mead or Mohave, early registrants also will have the chance to win one of two rafting trips below Hoover Dam, one of five $50 credits at participating marinas or a life jacket. Complete rules are available online at www.ndow.org.
In the Silver State, boat registrations are valid from the date they are issued until Dec. 31 of the same year.
Boaters who choose not to register their boats, or simply put it off, risk receiving a citation if they operate the vessel with expired registration. The certificate of number, or registration card, must be on board the boat whenever it is operated.
"This is also a good time for boat owners who have moved since their registration was last renewed to submit a change of address," Duhe said.
Both new vessel registrations and renewals can be taken care of at NDOW regional offices in Reno, Elk and Las Vegas. Renewals also can be completed online at www.ndow.org.