Fishing is supposed to be fun and relaxing, an escape from the everyday where you can just forget about everything else going on for a few hours. I get it. I’ve recently started full-time work again and I need my weekend fishing fix to maintain my sanity.

However, if we want to continue having this outlet, there are issues affecting the long-term health of our sport which we must address. We need to be aware of these issues and identify what we, as individual anglers, can do to contribute to the effort.

Bassmaster does a great job of breaking down five key issues affecting fishing in the next decade.

future_quaggaMost Bassmaster readers want to know how to catch more fish or what the latest trends are in gear and gadgets. But like the snowball rolling down the hill, there are issues coming at us that are building to huge proportions, and they threaten the future of bass fishing. You need to know about these threats, and it is vital that we all get involved in finding solutions.

Issues such as endangered species policy, climate change, animal-rights activists and declining funding for state and federal conservation programs cause nightmares for anglers, fishery managers and the fishing industry. But we’ve narrowed down the list of threats to the Top 5 that will have the biggest impact on bass fishing across North America in the next decade.

1. Water Policy

The top threat is pretty simple: no water, no bass. But this is not just about drought like they are experiencing in the West. Climate change aside, droughts come and go, and some states always seem to have water. The real issues are who owns the water, and how that water is allocated among the many users. Long-term water policy that provides for a growing human population and reserves water for fish is missing. Without plans that include recreation (fishing and boating) in the mix, water managers can draw the last drops from their reservoirs for competing uses such as municipal and industrial supply, irrigation or hydropower. Bass fishing must demand a seat at every negotiating table when water policies are being crafted to ensure that your interests are considered.

Photos: NOAA (top); WCWCD (above)