Stick to impacted trails and access points: Trail braiding and streamside trampling are common problems at popular fishing spots, stick to already impacted trails and use designed access points as much as possible.

Practice appropriate stream etiquette: Respect other anglers by keeping your distance, sharing the water, and being mindful of your volume.

Trash your monofilament:  Carry out everything you bring in, and do mother nature a solid by packing out the trash of others as well. Remember that monofilament takes 500 years to photodegrade, and even the smallest piece of tippet can be fatal to wildlife.

Lead-free – the way to be: Lead used in split shot and fly-tying materials is a common source of wildlife poisoning. Tungsten, stainless steel, tin, and bismuth are all suitable and non-toxic alternatives.   Respect the catch: Fish are only a renewable resource when given the opportunity to thrive and reproduce; know how to properly handle, photograph and release a fish. Remember that rubber nets are gentler than cloth, and wet hands are better than dry.

Don’t fish for likes: Consider the ramifications of telling the world about your favorite fishing spot. Use social media in an environmentally responsible way and think before you post.  

Visit to learn more about what you can do to support and protect your favorite outdoor places.

Marian Orlousky is a Leave No Trace educator and works along the Appalachian Trail for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. Be sure to check her out on Instagram @gingerhiker!

Photos courtesy of Benjamin Kraushaar, @benjamin_kraushaar on Instagram.

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