Game fishing involves access to the bank or shore and wading into rivers. Access routes and paths need to be planned and designed unless the use is low enough to involve little wear and tear. The wilder character of many rivers and lakes may suggest as little path construction as possible. The next requirement is for vegetation management to maintain space for casting flies. This may involve removal of trees or trimming of branches, which should be carried out so as to prevent unsightly disfigurement to trees or bushes. If boats are used, launch areas and jetties are required (see below for details).
People who go coarse fishing (that is, for fish other than trout, sea trout or salmon) normally sit on the bank of a lake or stream, or use a boat. Small platforms are needed if the soil is wet, soft and sticky. Timber planks nailed to a frame will spread the weight of a person and enable stools, umbrellas and tackle to be organized more easily clear of mud and weeds. A boardwalk or strengthened path may be needed to provide a better route to the fishing areas (see Chapter 9).
A jetty over the water will give access for visitors with disabilities. Railing may be necessary if the water is deep, or for other safety reasons, but raised edges to prevent wheels from slipping off may be all that is required. The jetty can be cantilevered from the bank, built on piles, or floated on the water.
Where visitors are permitted to venture close to water, however deep, especially when paths lead them there, safety must be considered. Life rings should be provided, located close to the water’s edge in visible places that are easily accessible. Spacing
between life ring stations should be close enough to require only a short dash to one once a person is spotted in difficulties. The usual plastic floating rings are adequate, with a length of line attached by which to pull the rescued person back to the shore. The line should be rot-proof (polypropylene), and long enough to reach beyond the distance out from the shore that people are likely to fall in. Regular and frequent checks of safety equipment are necessary to ensure that it is in good condition. The life ring stand should relate visually to other artefacts and be of simple design. A vertical post of large dimensions can be used in many situations.
It is enjoyable to eat freshly caught fish, so picnic areas with fireplaces should be provided nearby if appropriate to the character of the landscape, or where fire risks from uncontrolled fires are too great (see ‘Fireplaces’ in Chapter 7).
Fish for cooking have to be cleaned. The odd remains of cleaning one or two fish for cooking in a remoter place can be disposed of by packing it out, burning it on the fire or burying it so as not to attract wildlife. However, in well-used places, in hot weather and by lakes used for other activities, fish residue should not be left lying around. They smell, attract flies and other wildlife, such as bears in much of wilder North America. Therefore cleaning stands should be provided. These can be made to workbench height with surfaces equipped with cutting boards that can be scraped off into plastic buckets or bins with lids to prevent seagulls, flies and, if need be, bears from getting in. Hard ground surfacing all around and water available for regular hosing will keep the stands clean. The buckets or bins should be regularly removed along with litter and garbage from elsewhere on the site. Such cleaning stands are especially needed when people land numbers of fish from boats and clean them before taking them home. As with all artefacts, they should be simple structures designed to fit in with others on the site, and positioned to be screened from attractive views, perhaps in spaces at one side of the main access routes from the shore or boat landings.