My advice to you in regard to staying on the strait & narrow when
collecting in the USA- or anywhere for that matter.
Best suggestion is to find a good contact in a promising area that you
want to collect. That's one of the great benefits in making friends with
people in NANFA and cooresponding with them off list.
Speaking from personal experience I've always felt more comfortable
going out into the field with a local enthusiast who is knows the way
around as opposed to trying to find my way around in unfamilair and
potentially hostile territory. Plus they are usually well versed in
local laws and customs in addition to knowing where the fish are!
Best contacts if you are into swamp or pond are probably Moonman in NC.
or the 2 Ray's of Wisconsin. Or B.G. down in the Bayou (I have to visit
him myself someday!). If stream fishes are your thing Casper in
Chattanooga is the best I know since he's in an area of high species
diversity. These places the laws aren't too bad either.
Personal opinion again- Best State for collecting on your own in
Florida. High diversity of species that do well in aquaria and
reasonable laws and they won't give you a hard time for collecting
"baitfish" and even small sunfishes for aquaria like some states do. The
allotment of what you are allowed to collect is pretty generous- beyond
what most hobbyists can feasably transport or ship home and cost of a 3
day out of state license is very reasonable.
Disclaimer- I named some of by best contacts. I appologise if I hurt the
feelings of any others I left out but it would take all night to go thru
everyone on the list. There is alot to choose from.
Final note- got my "Currents" today and really enjoyed the article on
the Bluehead Shiner. I definitely want to try them someday!
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