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Fish, Frogs, and Fireflies

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Even a Turkey Knows a Good Book


In Fish, Frogs, and Fireflies: Growing Up with Nature, award-winning outdoors writer Robert Montgomery and 13 friends explore what and how we learn about life from the everyday miracles of nature. Each story celebrates the tangible and intangible blessings we derive from the outdoors These tales encourage us to sleep in a tent, swim in a lake, blow the fluff off a dandelion, and wish on a falling star. Invest enough time and a butterfly might land on your nose, or a hummingbird on your finger. You might see an eagle soar or a double rainbow splashed across the western sky at dawn . . .                    
The essays and short stories will inspire you to enjoy the natural world, even if you don’t know a cricket from a cricket frog. They will enlighten you with cautionary tales of thin ice and blazing campfires. They will entertain you with accounts of an alien invasion, white rats run amuck, and an embarrassing trip to the emergency room. Fish, Frogs, and Fireflies will educate you about nature’s mysteries and miracles, ranging from mermaids and snake spit, to African lions and Ozarks dinosaurs.                        
This book will take you to the stars, the mountains, and a little creek below the tree line at the baseball field. And if you enjoyed the outdoors as a child, they will bring back glorious memories.







Ethical Angling

Fishing ethics and proper fishing etiquette are core responsibilities of all anglers.  Fundamentally, these ethics and etiquette can be distilled down to the "golden rule"- that is, treat others the way you want to be treated.  Be respectful of others and be responsible for the area you're fishing.

If you're new to the sport, some of these practices may not be as obvious as others.  For example, leaving an area better than when you arrived is one of the most important fishing rules anglers should follow.

 Read on for more fishing etiquette or "golden rules from Take Me Fishing:

  • Treating fish and our natural resources with respect is essential to the fishing community.  Practice TreadLightly's recreational guidelines and be mindful of sensitive habitat and taking care not to disrupt the environment around you.
  • All anglers should review their state's relevant fishing rules and regulations before heading out for the day and always have their fishing license with them. Regulations are in place for a reason, so please respect and carefully follow the laws on the water you're fishing.
  • Keep only as many fish as legally allowed and that will be eaten. Also, when you plan to keep fish, dispatch of them humanely and care for them immediately by either cleaning them or putting them on ice so their eating quality is preserved.
  • If live bait is allowed in a body of water, only use fish species or other baits that are either permitted by regulation, or are from the water you're fishing.  When practicing good fishing ethics, do not use exotic species such as goldfish and be mindful that any foreign bait may disrupt the ecosystem.
  • Avid anglers and fishing license holders consider spawning fish to be the future of fishing. If you catch a spawning fish, handle it with extreme care. Be mindful of the season and avoid sensitive areas that are known for spawning if possible. 
  • Spawning fish are the future of fishing and should be handled with care if caught and not disturbed if possible.  Be mindful of the season and avoid sensitive areas if possible.
  • Be sure you have the permission of landowners if you plan to fish on private property.  If you don't, you're trespassing.
  • On a public waterway, there is no such thing as somebody's personal "spot".  Fishing areas are enjoyed on a first-come, first-served basis.  While it might be frustrating that you find someone fishing water you've been fishing for days, months or years, the fact is they have as much right to that spot as you do.
  • Do your best to keep noise to a minimum.  Most fish species spook easily.  Quietly approaching an area where others are fishing is not only courteous but will assure fish are not spooked and can still be caught.  An important part of any quality fishing experience is the tranquility found outdoors.
  • Give anglers around you a wide berth and make every effort to avoid crowding to assure a positive fishing experience for all.  In some cases, crowding can't be avoided. Under those circumstances, taking care not to cast over other's lines and to provide as much space as possible for those around you will be greatly appreciated.

Remember, as long as you have a fishing license, that fishing ethics are not in place to restrict you, but to help build a positive angling community. If you wish to discuss fishing ethics best practices or fishing etiquette, join the conversation on the Take Me Fishing Community Forum


Angler Who Took Daughter Fishing Fights Back and Wins

How would you feel about being fined for taking your child fishing with you?

That’s what happened to Jack Pick early last spring, as he was ice fishing with his 3-year-old daughter on Saskatchewan’s Turtle Lake. A conservation officer charged him with having more than two lines in the water because he had four, two for himself and two for his daughter.

The officer alleged that the child wasn’t “able to set, maintain, watch, and retrieve fish on her own lines.”

Pick challenged the charge and, representing himself at trial, submitted one item in his defense, the 2014 Saskatchewan Anglers’ Guide. It features a father helping his young daughter fish.

In reviewing the rules, the judge decided that no minimum age limit exists to be an angler and found Pick not guilty.

“Just because an individual is three years of age, and does not have the ability to do everything required when fishing, it does not mean that he or she cannot legally fish,” he said.

Congratulations to the judge for showing common sense, a trait too often absent today in government officials, and to Pick for fighting back and winning, especially in such a simple but indisputable fashion.

To learn more, go here, and be sure to read the comments. My favorite:
“An infant is physically incapable of fishing, a 3 yr old is not (I have taken a 3 yr old fishing, so I know). Yeah they need some help, but so does my wife who won't bait her own hook.


Freshwater Fish Harvest Data Inadequaate

Those who plan dams and other river projects don't know how important rivers are for fish harvest , according to scientists. AP Photo by Janet Jensen

Wow. Researchers say that worldwide accounting of freshwater fish harvested for consumption is “inaccurate and grossly underestimated” and that the amount “could equal the current amount of marine fish caught.”

As a consequence of this, planning for dams and other river projects doesn’t adequately account for the effect they might have on fish populations.

That’s bad news not only for commercial harvest of freshwater fish, but recreational angling as well.

“It’s not a question of whether we should stop using water for other purposes, but we need to consider what harms are being created, and if they can be mitigated,” said one of the Michigan state scientists. “People are losing jobs and important sources of food because fish habitats are being degraded, greatly reducing fish production in these waters.”

Read more here.