This is the continuation of the list of reasons to go fishing made out by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. I have added to the list.

5. Health benefits: More than 50 percent of Americans are overweight. Being outside and being active helps to make you feel better and encourages a healthier way of life. Driving to your local grocery store and fast food restaurants might be convenient, but fishing can also help you burn those unwanted calories, increase the quality of your lifestyle, and add years to your life.

In a recent article titled, “Prescription for Health and Happiness: A Daily Dose of Nature” by Dr. David Suzuki, an award-winning Canadian scientist, wrote: “Studies show that enjoying a natural setting — like a park, beach, wetland, or forest — can reduce blood pressure, anxiety, and stress levels. Exposure to nature can help you sleep well and increase vigor and liveliness. It can even boost your immune system.”

6. Recreation: The most common reason you will find with people who like to fish is that it is simple fun. Whether you enjoy outwitting a weary brook trout with a hand tied fly that imitates an insect.

Yes, there are levels to fishing trout. A child can use a worm to catch a trout. And then, as the child matures, he uses a spinning rod. When he gets a fly tying kit for Christmas he starts to tie flies. And when he catches a trout on a fly he has tied he has achieved the greatest joy of all in trout fishing.

7. Self fulfillment: Fishing offers you the chance to improve your self-esteem through respect for the environment, mastering outdoor skills and achieving personal goals. Fishing can also play an important role in one’s personal and social development. Fishing is a lifetime skill and activity that can be enjoyed at any age. Just ask a youngster who reeled in their first fish how much fun fishing can be.

8. Boost to the economy: Anglers generate millions in state and local taxes and directly support thousands of jobs, that gives an economic boost that any state government would be pleased with.

In a recent study of the economic benefit that trout anglers bring to the Driftless Region, it was found that it is more than $1 billion each year. Trout anglers need gas, a motel, and they eat at the restaurants. Also, the Dritfless Angler in Viroqua is open for business to give them flies to use and they have good guides for hire.

9. Fishing for food: Wild fish are low in fat and cholesterol and high in protein. In fact, the American Heart Association recommends a regular diet of fish. Besides, it’s a lot more challenging to catch that plate of fresh fish than to stroll endlessly down a supermarket aisle if you decide to keep your catch.

We know eating fish is good for us. And by releasing all our fish the stream gets too crowed to produce big trout. You see when you release a 10 to 12 inch trout you are releasing a fish that will eat the little minnows. And it takes a lot of big minnow to grow big fish. Therefore our streams have a lot of trout from ten to fourteen inches and seldom any over twenty inches. Releasing all your trout eliminates the growth food that will grow big trout.

10. The thrill: Fishing has a way of fulfilling an age-old need of pursuing and catching. The thrill lies in the challenge, such as stalking an elusive wild trout or matching the hatch. But there are many who will be quick to profess that it’s not the catching of fish that’s important, but the immeasurable life lessons that you will experience along the way.

From my trout book, “Spring Creek Treasure,” I wrote on pages 33 and 34: “Trout anglers, who fish the early season, have a leg up on the rest of the world. An angler is there in March as the last snowflake fades into damp earth, as the last of the ice shelf drips into the cold stream. An angler is there when the first robin of spring returns to rest on a branch bending toward the stream.”

“The snow and ice of March are long gone, the earth warms and the green grass of April appears. Wading the shallow side of the stream the angler sends trout minnows scurrying for cover. The angler turns to watch infant trout disappear in the trailing silt. Walking across an island in the stream the angler puts a hen mallard into flight. Looking down, hidden between rock and log, the angler sees a nest cradling fifteen eggs in soft down. The trout angler takes to the bank to walk around a windfall, and there at the end of the windfall, from old brush and new grass, a fawn flees on long unsteady legs. It’s a time of renewal. The angler finds much to see, much to smile about.”

Jay Ford Thurston is the Broadcaster’s trout fishing columnist. He can be contacted at trout@mwt.net.

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