Fish Responsibly: Protect Rights and Resources
Angling ethics, or rules of conduct, protect your rights and the rights of others, and help protect our shared resources. Teaching a youngster to fish for the first time (or an 'oldster'!) is the best time to introduce proper angling behavior. So that these are not just "rules" to be followed, explain why they are so important.
Be aware of, and respect, the rights of others—anglers and property owners. See also: Leave No Trace.
Know and follow all fishing rules and regulations where you are fishing.
Pack out what you pack in.
Except when otherwise noted, no fish can be taken or killed except by angling.
Do not take more than the daily limit, under-sized fish, or unwanted fish.
Unlawfully taken fish (fish taken in excess of your limit or undersized fish) must be returned immediately to the water.
Fish taken alive should be returned very gently, allowing the fish to slide into the water from as close to the surface as possible.
When using live bait, do not throw remaining bait into the stream, lake, reservoir, etc.—bait species can reproduce and cause harm to aquatic ecosystems.
Do not alter the habitat by building, for example, makeshift dams across streams.
When looking for critters for bait under rocks, return rocks to original position before leaving.
Do not move fish between waters or introduce fish to waters from which they did not come. Doing so can have far-reaching consequences, posing threats to native fish from predation and competition, perhaps infecting waters and spreading disease, and harming native fish recovery.
Carefully wash and disinfect waders or other boots that have had contact with fishing water and lake or stream mud. (Why? Read about Aquatic Hitchhikers and the threats they pose.)
Do not chase or harass fish.