Conservation Practices for Anglers

Sport Fish Restoration Fund

It's hard to imagine that a tax originally levied to aid in financing World War II would eventually help ensure an angler's chance of catching a stringer of game fish anywhere in the United States. In fact, nothing in the past 100 years has had a bigger impact on recreational fishing than this war tax on fishing tackle, which, in 1950, became the first-ever dedicated federal source of money to be used by state natural resources agencies to improve the fishing experience. The result is one of the largest and most successful conservation programs in the world.

The Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration (SFR) Program has had a major impact on sport fishing nationwide. Since its enactment in 1950, state fish and wildlife agencies have received more than $3.2 billion under this program. The tax monies collected go to state fish and wildlife agencies for fisheries research, habitat improvement, aquatic education, and fishing and boating access facilities (such as docks and ramps).

It's all made possible by sportsmen and women who, by doing the things they love - fishing and boating - help to restore and protect fish and their habitats in each state in this country. The purchase of fishing equipment and motorboat fuels by fishing and boating enthusiasts supports sport fish restoration, preservation and conservation. By taxing anglers, they are given a stake in ensuring the money is used wisely. This forms the basis of the user pay/user benefit "cycle of success."

Fishing Licenses

When you purchase a fishing license, you're helping to protect, preserve and enhance the sport of fishing for today and for generations to come. License fees help pay for fishery and hatchery management, habitat development and protection, endangered species programs, fishing and conservation education, lake maps and other publications, and many other valuable programs.

Litter and Waste

No one likes to see garbage in the water. But Bbeyond how bad it looks, floating in our natural resource and washing up on the banks, it also causes problems for wildlife as they often mistake it for food or become entangled in it. In addition, plastic bags can clog a boat's cool-water intake valves, causing the engine to overheat and leading to expensive repairs. Monofilament fishing line can get wrapped around a propelers, get tangled in the wings of waterfowl, or impact turtles and other aquatic wildlife.

Under U.S. law, it is illegal to put any garbage into the water from a vessel on a lake, river, stream, or any coastal waters up to 3 miles offshore. Sinking empty soda cans or bottles is considered littering and is therefore illegal.

If we all pitch-in, our lakes and streams will be much cleaner.


Boats can affect the aquatic environment in a number of ways. Propellers may destabilize the sediment in lake or river bottoms directly, or indirectly, through physical damage to emergent macrophytes (aquatic plants). Wakes can cause erosion along the shoreline and a affect sensitive areas. Anchoring along spawning habitat in late spring/early summer can affect reproductive activity of some sportfish, such as nesting bass. Anchors can also cause damage to the substrate. Water quality can be affected by fuel or oil leakage.

Alternatives to toxic cleaners:
General floor and window: 1 cup vinegar in 2 gallons of water. Use baking soda to scrub if needed.

To clean aluminum on a boat: 2 teaspoons of cream of tartar in 1 quart hot water.

Boat Fuel

Boat engines are designed to deliver a large amount of power in a relatively small size. As a result, a certain amount of the fuel that enters into a motor is discharged unburned and ends up in the water. In addition, there is always a concern with spills or leaks associated with the transfer and storage of gasoline near water bodies. A single gallon of fuel can contaminate a million gallons of water.


Everyone has a better fishing experience when it is a pleasant one. Be respectful when using boat ramps, marina facilities, fish cleaning stations, restrooms, and parking areas.

To continue your awareness on the important role that anglers and boaters play as stewards of our fisheries, please refer to the Code of Angling Ethics.