Fishing: Casting for the Facts

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In yesteryear, going fishing meant digging up some worms or wigglers, grabbing a pole, and then heading to nearby waters. Today, going fishing means researching many facts before you decide on the how and where details. Some fishing options once available to all, however, may now be gone forever. And these losses could mean less anglers.

In the East, beach access along the coast is shrinking. National seashores that once beckoned anglers have become off-limits to all—or for walk-in only anglers after a struggle. Couple the decline of angling sites with the rising price—or new implementation—off-shore fishing licenses has created a growing group that says casting a line is no longer worth the expense.. If you’re frustrated about access, you’re not alone.

In the West, court cases over water and access lead the hot button topics among active anglers. Court battles and state regulations over what was once public domain and public fishing waters, in places such as Montana, are becoming legendary. Creeks have suddenly become irrigation ditches and in other areas the water that flows, and the land under it, have become disputed over who owns the land and who controls access. Even when public access triumphs, some well-heeled land owners then hire guards that harass legal anglers in streams. Those anglers are not alone in their frustrations over access and a lack of water.

Angler participation numbers are dwindling. From 49.7 million participants in 2006, the number of anglers has declined to 45.4 million participants in 2010 according to recent Southwick and Associates research. Yes, four million anglers have vanished. Access issues could be one part of the growing problem.

Click here for one example of the on-going closing of public fishing access sites.