Water care is a very important part of Danish sport fishing. Because without a strategic plan, many volunteers, and the associations, Danish sport fishing would not be as good as it is today. But many challenges remain for our population of fish in the wild and their habitats. Therefore it is important that we continue to focus on creating a good natural foundation and thereby good conditions for sport fishing. One way to ensure this is by joining an association, and another is by signing up for the national fishing license.
Historically, we have not cared properly for our watercourses, coasts, and lakes. Many watercourses have been straightened and dredged, obstacles like mill lakes and hydroelectric power plants have blocked the migration of fish, and stones from stone reefs near the coast have been fished out and used for industrial purposes and coastal management. Consequently, the fish have unfortunately had poor conditions to live in their natural habitats.
The volunteers contribute with more than 60,000 man hours and DKK 1.8 million to improve the aquatic environment and restore the natural habitats in Denmark.
Basically, water care is quite simple and is about providing the best conditions for life among the living creatures that exist in our rivers, lakes, and sea. And since we are anglers, our focus is on the fish.
Certain things need to exist in a watercourse to ensure that a fish swimming up that watercourse to spawn (fry) has the best conditions to create the next generation. One crucial thing is the presence of spawning banks (a stretch of gravel and quick, oxygen rich water) where they can hide their eggs. They also need places where they can hide so they will not be disturbed. All this contributes to establishing good conditions for the fish to spawn and subsequently for new, small fish to grow up and carry on the genes.
This may also be relevant concerning large-scale projects such as the removal of man-made obstacles that prevent the fish from swimming to their spawning grounds, or such as the re-meandering of watercourses. The most famous example is probably the nature restoration project at Skjern River.
Besides watercourses, we also focus on lakes and coastal areas where we are working on creating better conditions of life for the fish.
The planting of eelgrass is one of the initiatives that have been launched in order to secure a better marine environment. The eelgrass contributes with collecting nutrients and binding CO2. In addition, it provides fish and small aquatic animals with a good hiding place, so a proper belt of eelgrass can be a really good fishing spot.
In the Danish lakes and around the oceans, fish and their conditions are also in focus. Here, attention is on the “healthy lake” and its internal balance. This is a prerequisite for ensuring good conditions for such species as the pike and perch which are also very popular game fish.
A fishing trip is always nice, but we all want to catch fish which is why we all pitch in to help improve the conditions for the fish as much as possible. In order to rectify the historical devastation of nature, it is important that we stand together in creating the best conditions for the fish, regardless of where they live. We as anglers need to think about sustainability when we go fishing. Only take home the fish you actually need, and think about the footprint you leave in nature when you move along the rivers, coasts, or lakes. Clean up after yourself, and perhaps even others if they leave some trash behind. All this contributes to creating a better aquatic environment and a better angling experience.
If we want to keep fishing and sharing our experiences with new anglers, our children, and friends, we depend on the existence of fish to catch in the future. If we keep catching fish and forget to create sustainable conditions, there will be fewer fish to catch in the future.
Grusbanden (The Gravel Gang) is a water care organization of volunteers who help create better conditions for the fish populations on Zealand. In this episode, you can meet “gang leader” Rune Hylby and Kaare Manniche Ebert from the Danish Association for Sport Fishing who have joined forces with FISKEguiden (The FISH Guide).