For several years, different versions of the Sportsmen’s Act were working their way through Congress. The House and Senate each passed their own versions but it was never signed into law.
The Sportsmen’s Act was a diverse collection of bills with something for everyone. For fishermen, it opened access to more water and protected your right to fish by:
• Protecting traditional fishing equipment containing lead from unwarranted federal bans.
• Creating more and better fishing by requiring federal land managers to support and facilitate access for fishing on Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands.
• Preventing unnecessary closures of public water to fishing by implementing an “open until closed” management policy.
• Blocking the National Park Service from arbitrarily closing water to fishing without state approval like they did at Biscayne National Park.
In 2016, both the U.S. House and Senate passed versions of the Sportsmen’s Act. Unfortunately, the differences between the two were never reconciled in a conference committee. In 2017, a new version with a new name – the HELP for Wildlife Act – was introduced. Click here to learn more.