by Ron Presley
The best way to teach kids about conservation is to have them do it. Whatever the action is, if you can make it habitual the kids are more likely to continue the practice. Here are three things to teach your kids while you fish with them.
- CPR: When you catch a fish let them be the one to put it back into the water. This will let them know that Catch-Photo-Release (CPR) is something you believe in. You can also explain why you do it. They are more likely to continue the practice as they grow older and fish by themselves if they do it regularly on fishing trips as youth.
- FISHING LINE DISPOSAL: When you re-spool a reel with new monofilament or braided line let them help you and then ask them to dispose of it for you. Explain the problem that exists when fishing line is not disposed of correctly. It can endanger wildlife. Birds and other animals can be entangled in the line or even swallow it and die from starvation or suffer really bad cuts. A short explanation to your child gives them a simple and understandable reason to practice safe disposal of fishing line.
- FISH HANDLING: Teach your kids good fish handling techniques by using photo opportunities. Regardless of the size of the fish, you can instruct your kids on how to hold them in the proper manner to get a good photo. Explain that supporting the fish while taking pictures, or anytime you handle them, is better for their survival. This hands-on activity sends a strong signal on the importance of proper fish handling.
Remember, the goal of practicing these three simple but recurring activities while fishing with youth are to make them habitual. Engage the kids in the activity as often as you can. It is the repetition that solidifies the practice for the youth. If you are successful, their new habits will be passed on to others and they will make their own contribution to the future of the sport of fishing.