Flyfishing Club Programs
Fly fishing clubs, in my opinion, have been and remain the center and secret to the explosion of popularity of flyfishing in recent years. That has been where the crucial blood, sweat, and tears have been spent to protect and improve the best of the country's fisheries, and to reclaim waters and fisheries that have been lost. It has been done watershed by watershed, regulation hearing by regulation hearing, proposal by proposal. Without the organized and united effort by conservation minded flyfishermen with a determination to protect, improve, and pass on to future generations the playing field of the sport we all love, this country would be a sorry place, and this a sorry sport.
I have been a member of the McKenzie Flyfishers for 26 years, the club out of which sprung the idea for and the initiation of what became the International Federation of Fly Fishermen (FFF) and last year was honored with a lifetime membership. I spent my time in the trenches, and, with the support of the club and other members, I can point to local fisheries and regulations that are there because of what we have done and continue to do. Some of them are now so popular that I am crowded off my old, once favorite haunts. It is bittersweet irony. But we now have excellent catch and release trout fishing right in the city limits of Eugene!
I have said, and am only repeating the words of others, that if you have not joined a club, worked at a conservation project in concert with the local biologist, testified at a hearing, taught a group of kids to fly cast, tie flies, identify insects, and you are out fishing on our home waters, then you really don't, on some level, deserve to be there. Many people these days pick up a fly rod, wade into some fly fishing only water and start casting over large native trout and think that this all has magically been there forever. It hasn't, it wasn't, it wouldn't, and it won't, be. Except for the clubs. So many battles have been won that the history fades and people take it for granted. And there are new threats, battles, possibilities, year after year.
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