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  Safety First   

Fishing is relaxing and fun! Everyone can learn to fish. Fishing is also a great way to experience the out-of-doors by itself or in combination with boating, picnicking, camping, hiking, and viewing wildlife. Fishing isn't a dangerous sport, but as with any activity, especially activities held in the ever-changing out-of-doors, there are some safety tips which should be followed:

Using Tackle Safely:

  • Always handle fishing tackle responsibly.
  • Make sure to look behind you before casting so that your hook will not catch a power line, tree, or another person.
  • Don't leave your tackle lying on the ground. Someone may trip and fall on it, step on a hook, or even break your tackle.
  • If a hook is deep inside of a fish's mouth, don't put your hand inside. Instead, use some kind of a hook remover to carefully remove the hook. If this doesn't work, cut the line as far back as you safely can to release the fish.
  • Always remove hooks and lures from your line and store them in your tackle box when moving your equipment.

    Safe Dressing:

    • Whenever around water, small children should wear a Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device (PFD) that fits properly.

    • Always wear sunscreen on exposed areas like your face, neck, and hands. The sun 's rays can damage your skin and give you a painful burn.
    • Wear a hat. Hats keep your head cool in the summer and warm in the winter. They also can help keep the sun out of your eyes and protect your head from hooks during a stray cast.
    • Protect the only eyes you have by wearing some kind of glasses. Sunglasses protect your eyes from hooks and the sun's harmful rays. Polarized sunglasses also help you see below the surface of the water to see fish and other objects.
    • Shoes should always be worn whether fishing on shore, in a boat, or wading in the water. Stray hooks, glass, sharp rocks, and other objects on shore and in the water could cut your bare feet. In a boat, shoes designed to keep your feet from slipping in a wet boat could help prevent you from taking an unexpected dip into the water.
    • Always dress for the weather and be prepared for sudden changes.

    Basic Boating Safety:
    • Make sure all required equipment (see Illinois Department of Natural Resources publication: Illinois Boat Registration, Titling & Safety Act Digest) and a first-aid box are in the boat before going fishing. When an emergency happens, you don't want to have to go back to shore to get what you forgot.

    • Know how to properly use the rescue devices.
    • Stay seated as much as possible while in a boat.
    • Never overload a boat. Know how much weight your boat can safely carry and always evenly distribute your load.
    • Do not use drugs or drink alcohol when boating. Over half of all drowning victims were using alcohol or drugs.
    • Remain a safe distance from low water dams and other restricted areas.
    • Keep your eyes on the weather. Leave the water before storms arrive. If on the water and caught in a storm, make sure your life jacket is on and cautiously travel to shore and beach the boat.
    • Travel slowly in shallow areas and areas of flooded trees.
    • When traveling at night, be sure your running lights are on so others can see you.

    Take a Friend Fishing!!

    • Fishing with a friend makes for twice the fishing fun while also making for a safer trip.

    Fish Illinois!

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    Updated by Webmaster 12/99

  • Division of Fisheries

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