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#140862 - 07/22/08 10:11 PM Why Do I Need A Fishing License?
CityBoyGoneCountry Offline

Registered: 11/04/07
Posts: 369
I came across this article and thought it was interesting.


If I Practice Catch And Release Fishing - Why Do I Need A Fishing License?

This is a question that has always perplexed me. I'm a catch and release fisherman. I don't keep any of the fish that I catch. I catch them, admire them, make sure they're okay, and release them back into the water that they came from. No harm, no foul. So why in the hell do I have to purchase a fishing license? Have you ever thought about the folly of this situation? I obviously have.

I could understand having to buy a fishing license if I kept the fish. You need to pay for the conservationists that help keep the ecosystems healthy and such, and pay for the hatcheries that raise the fish that then get released into area waters to be caught. I understand all of this, but in addition to the other points that I mentioned, The River I spend 90% of my time fishing in doesn't get stocked with fish. The trout are native.

I've never liked the idea of stocked fish in any case. Have you ever caught any of these "darts", as we call them? We call them darts because the fish's fins have been robbed off from being raised in tanks. The entire idea of catching stocked fish has always seemed a bit hypocritical to me. We basically have farms that raise fish and let them go in area waters to then be caught and killed. Why don't we just raise cows and do the same thing. Raise the cows, then let them go in the woods, then people can go out and shoot them for food? The cow idea sounds stupid, but it's really no different than what we do with fish.

Actually come to think of it, we basically have "ranches" that do this with animals all over the country. Some of them actually bring exotic animals in to then be killed and some of these "ranches" simply feed wild animals human enriched food so that their antlers get big. How do we as a population consider this to be okay? I mean I'm all for hunting, but feeding the animals certain types of food just to make them grow faster? To me this is all just glorified farming being masked by different names.

I got off on a bit of a tangent there with hunting, but the bottom line is that these things are all interconnected. Fish hatcheries are just fish farms. And seeing as how I don't fish a River that has farmed fish in it, and I don't keep the native fish that I catch, why is it that I have to buy a fishing license? It simply doesn't seem like I should have to that's all, and I've never heard anyone question it.

Trevor Kugler is co-founder of JRWfishing.com and an avid angler. He has more than 20 years experience fishing for all types of fish, and 15 years of business and internet experience. He currently raises his three year old daughter in the heart of trout fishing countryÖ..Montana!

#140863 - 07/22/08 10:14 PM Re: Why Do I Need A Fishing License? [Re: CityBoyGoneCountry]
Nishnabotna Offline
Icon of Sin

Registered: 12/31/07
Posts: 512
Loc: Nebraska
Your fishing license pays for the park system.

#140864 - 07/22/08 10:18 PM Re: Why Do I Need A Fishing License? [Re: Nishnabotna]
CityBoyGoneCountry Offline

Registered: 11/04/07
Posts: 369
Originally Posted By: Nishnabotna
Your fishing license pays for the park system.

Did you know that technically I'm supposed to have a license to fish in my own private pond on my own private property? It's true. But, so far, no fish & game warden has come to my house to give me a ticket, so I just ignore that law.

#140869 - 07/22/08 10:31 PM Re: Why Do I Need A Fishing License? [Re: CityBoyGoneCountry]
KG2V Offline


Registered: 08/19/03
Posts: 1371
Loc: Queens, New York City
You need a fishing license because the guys in green/blue with the fancy stainless steel braclets and guns SAY you need a fishing license. They say you need the license because some person (usually elected) said "You need a license to fish". Sometimes this is about wildlife preservation, sometimes its about 'revenue streams' and believe it or not, sometimes it's about politics

Don't ask about hunting license politics. I know one of the game officers who is involved in figuring out what the hunting license laws should be in NY State from the pure wildlife conservation point of view. Then they have to temper that with politics and "tradition" - it turns out at least in NY, revenue is a distant 4th, with what is best for the wildlife 3rd, and politics and tradition as 1st and second
73 de KG2V
You are what you do when it counts - The Masso
Homepage: http://www.thegallos.com
Blog: http://kg2v.blogspot.com

#140884 - 07/22/08 11:48 PM Re: Why Do I Need A Fishing License? [Re: CityBoyGoneCountry]
OldBaldGuy Offline

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 5695
Loc: Former AFB in CA, recouping fr...
"...make sure they're okay..."

And if they are not okay? There is harm and foul. What do you do then?

(I am still trying to get an immage of a fish (dart) getting "robbed" of its fins. Bad fish saying, "your fins or your life")...

#140886 - 07/23/08 12:13 AM Re: Why Do I Need A Fishing License? [Re: OldBaldGuy]
KenK Offline
"Be Prepared"

Registered: 06/26/04
Posts: 1992
Loc: NE Illinois
If everyone fished in "legal" and "ethical" ways, then nobody would need a fishing license, but the fact is that they don't.

Instead, the government needs to hire people to police waterways making sure that fishing is done in a legal manner - making sure that they only keep the larger fish (so smaller ones are allowed to grow and breed), making sure that they limited themselves to the legal catch quanitity (to keep from fishing out the area), and to make sure that the methods used to catch fish are legal (so some crazed person doesn't sweep the water clean of useable fish).

When folks were sitting around trying to figure out who would pay for the fish & wildlife police that were needed to protect ... well ... fish & wildlife, they got REAL smart and decided to have people who fish and hunt pay for the protection of their targeted species (certainly not intending anything negative toward fishers and hunters), though I suspect the costs are also subsidized by general taxes.

I'm pretty sure that in Illinois fishing licenses are not required on wholly owned lakes ... I could be wrong though.

Ken K.

#140896 - 07/23/08 02:00 AM Re: Why Do I Need A Fishing License? [Re: KenK]
BobS Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 02/08/08
Posts: 924
Loc: Toledo Ohio
You need a fishing license because itís the law backed by hefty fines and guys with bad temperament who actively look for you.

Itís a fee (tax) that the government collects and probably abuses as to how itís spent. But we canít really do much about that. At least itís not too expensive of a tax. Buy one and let it go.

Fight the fights you can win or that really make a difference, this one is not worth the fight or worth the hassle of not having one.

You can run, but you'll only die tired.

#140899 - 07/23/08 02:21 AM Re: Why Do I Need A Fishing License? [Re: KenK]
SwampDonkey Offline

Registered: 07/08/07
Posts: 1268
Loc: Northeastern Ontario, Canada
Good Answer KenK.

I can only speak for Ontario, Canada fishing laws.

In Ontario most residents (not kids, seniors, the seriously disabled or most Natives people) need a licence to fish, no matter if you keep the fish or not. One species of fish, Lake Sturgeon, now even has a zero limit; so all fishing for it is catch and release.

There is mortality to catch and release fishing, not all the fish released survive. Fishing licence revenues go to not only stock fish but also to develop/preserve critical habitat (used by many creatures, including man) and to protect the fisheries resources from exploitation.

Put yourself in the role of the Conservation Officer also, should he/she be required to hide in the woods to wait until a person keeps a fish, so then they can do a licence check; a very poor use of valuable patrol time. People would also cheat the system to save the cost of a licence. For example, if no licence was required to fish then all of the fish kept in a boat would belong to the one person with a licence. Fish would also be hidden to prevent detection during a fisheries enforcement check.

In Ontario it was recognized that some people keep far less fish or only do catch and release fishing. These anglers can purchase a "Conservation Licence" which is about half the price of a normal licence but only allows about half the limit; this is the licence my wife has and it works great for her limited fishing activities.

Money is always tight, but when you think of the yearly amount of fun that can be had for the cost of a resident fishing licence it is inexpensive entertainment (and you can eat your legal success if you want to).


#140902 - 07/23/08 03:20 AM Re: Why Do I Need A Fishing License? [Re: SwampDonkey]
CityBoyGoneCountry Offline

Registered: 11/04/07
Posts: 369
Check this out. If you live in New York, basically you have to pay the state to allow you to catch the fish you paid for and put in the pond you paid for.


"Prior to stocking fish in your pond, you should obtain a Farm Fish Pond License from DEC. The license allows the licensee, his immediate family, and his employees to take fish at any time, in any size, in any number, and in any manner as stipulated in his license. The farm fish pond license also serves as a stocking permit, eliminating the need to obtain a separate DEC fish stocking permit which is required to stock fish into any waters of the state.

The Farm Fish Pond License is free and is good for five years. You can obtain an application for the license from any DEC Regional Office.

Pond owner's should be aware that the laws governing fishing require all persons 16 years of age and older must have a fishing license except citizen-resident landowners and lessees or members of their immediate families actually occupying and cultivating farm lands when fishing on such lands. This means that guests or friends of the pond owner must have a license to fish the pond even though it is privately-owned. Laws pertaining to seasons, size limits and daily take also apply to owners of private fish ponds unless a farm fish pond license is obtained."

Edited by CityBoyGoneCountry (07/23/08 03:22 AM)

#140950 - 07/23/08 12:27 PM Re: Why Do I Need A Fishing License? [Re: KenK]
Bear_Claw_Chris_Lapp Offline

Registered: 08/23/07
Posts: 227
Loc: Sector 16
Originally Posted By: KenK
I'm pretty sure that in Illinois fishing licenses are not required on wholly owned lakes ... I could be wrong though.

Ken K.

Your correct, here in Illinois, you do not need a fishing license to fish your own privately owned pond or lake.

A resident sport fishing license may be obtained
by anyone who has been a resident of Illinois 30
days prior to purchase. Anglers under 16 years
of age, and persons declared legally disabled or
blind, may fish without a license. Owners or tenants
(if they reside on the land) may fish in
waters on or flowing over their lands without a
This exemption does not apply to club
and organizational lakes or lake developments.

http://dnr.state.il.us/fish/digest/digest.pdf (Almost 7 megabytes for those with dialup)

Edited by Bear_Claw_Chris_Lapp (07/23/08 12:33 PM)
In omnia paratus

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