By Louie Stout

Good fishing isn’t entirely dependent on fish stockings or bag and size limits.

The challenges facing fish managers of today have less to do with those matters and more to do with what is happening on land around our waters.

As in land management.

Admittedly, that topic isn’t as stimulating as reports of big fish catches, large stockings or successful spawns.

But it has a direct affect, and perhaps a serious adverse effect, on the future of successful fishing.

Think about it: water runs off farm fields, parking lots and neighborhood developments, trickles into rivers and ditches and ultimately wind up in lakes connected to those streams. That water carries sediment, phosphates and nitrates, all of which have a negative effect on habitat and water quality, which in turn affects fish, especially during and after the spawn.

Federal, state, and county conservation districts have worked hard for year to get land users to alter their practices that would reduce runoff and allow our waters to improve.