There’s nothing quite like the thrill of reeling one in. Sun-shining, cool breeze on your face, the excitement of feeling the line tug, and the delicate art of reeling in your prize.
Whether it’s trout or bass, or if you’re like me, a teeny tiny sunfish (if you’re lucky), fishing is more than just a pastime. It’s spending quality time with family and friends, getting away from our ever present devices, and connecting with nature.
Whether you’re a rookie or a coach, you need a spot to cast your line, a dock to stand on or a boat to launch.
Or maybe fishing isn’t your thing, and you’d rather enjoy your local pond, lake, or saltwater via kayak, canoe, motorboat, or even a sailboat or yacht.
It’s National Fish and Boating week, seven days filled with free fishing days – where you can fish without a license – kid’s fishing derbies, and how-to demonstrations.
Perhaps you’re new to it all and just wondering where to get started. Fortunately, finding a spot to do so will be the least of your worries.
Across the region, public access to recreational boating and fishing is increasing. Thanks to efforts by the Service, state wildlife agencies and other partners, more boat ramps, fishing platforms, trails, and other outdoor recreation opportunities are cropping up.
There are over 1,600 boat ramps throughout the northeast region and each year, between 5 and 10 new boating and fishing access areas are constructed. These projects are funded and maintained through Wildlife and Sportfish Restoration Program, the granting arm of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Though grants like the Sportfish Restoration Act, Clean Vessel Act, and the Boating Infrastructure Program might sound technical, but they are important tools that allow state agencies to provide fishing and boating access to the public.
So where does the money come from?
The program is funded by fishing manufacturers, along with boaters, and sportsmen and women, through taxes on the sale of fishing tackle and boat fuels.
However, its benefits reach far beyond the the boating and fishing communities.
In its 75 year partnership with state and local agencies, this program has contributed more than $14 billion for fish and wildlife conservation and public access to the lands and waters that support fish and wildlife, making it the most successful conservation program in U.S. history.
And it doesn’t end there. In addition to fishing and boating access, Sport Fish Restoration funds are used to conduct fish research, reintroduce declining sport fish species, restore wildlife habitat, and provide education about aquatic resources.
If this all sounds awesome, but you’re still wondering where and how to get started, you’re reading this at just the right time. Visit us at https://www.fws.gov/fishing/ for everything you need to know before you start your adventure.