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PostPosted: July 27th, 2017, 1:41 pm 
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Joined: December 11th, 2001, 1:00 am
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Location: Tokyo, Amsterdam, Paris...
This is an article that was published in November of 2016 on the Keystone Fly Guides blog that I thought was intersting. At first glance I figured it was going to be one of those us against them article but it's quite the opposite. Let me know your thoughts.

Ken


KeystoneFlyGuides

November 20, 2016

Why millenials are killing fly fishing.

The alleged weakest generation in recent American history is blamed for many of our societal woes. Everything from laziness to rioting is blamed on these so-called anemic, spoon-fed delinquents who only creep out from their safe places long enough to find a free wi-fi connection so they can whine or complain on Twitter. And yet this is the very generation that is targeted by almost every fly-fishing advertisement, magazine, website, and manufacturer. So what gives? If Millenials are so bad why do most industry ads look like no-one over 40 fly-fishes anymore?

This curiosity digs at a deeper hitch in our sport. It’s the ongoing discussion, debate, sometimes all out fight over the core values in the sport. I am not speaking of the classic battle between dry versus wet or bamboo versus plastic. This is the battle between the anglers who still believe there are secrets to be kept and those that “fish and tell.”

Millenials share information for better or worse, and there’s plenty of both to go around when it comes to angling. Perhaps no argument establishes this division more clearly than the conservation issue. Many anglers search public records to narrow down the field of waters where they may find solitude in the company of a few wild fish. Sometimes these anglers discover that “marginal” waters that were thought to be devoid of natural reproduction are actually teeming with fish. In south-central PA some of the best trout streams hide right under our noses in our own backyards. Sometimes they run through a farm field, sometimes they run under a parking lot.

The decision to work on these streams and “improve” them becomes a hot topic during conservation meetings and in online fishing forums. There are anglers that would just as soon keep them secret and off the radar. In doing so they hope to keep the stream to themselves. They also knowingly jeopardize the protection and potential of the stream for future generations.

So much of the cold-water conservation progress we have here in PA depends on publicly recording the existence of wild populations. This documentation often happens when our severely under-staffed Fish and Boat Commission receives tips and info regarding wild streams. With proper evidence, many conservation groups can work alongside state agencies to secure funding to begin to restore, enhance, and protect our wild fishing resources.

Now, more than ever, it is critical we share info, compare notes and spread the word. This doesn’t mean spot-burning or hot spotting a stream in an online forum or on social media. It means building a community that is inclusive and focused on protecting our coldwater resources from all forms of potential threats.

Millenials may just be in the best position to take on this monumental task and it’s going to be an up-hill fight. But it’s a fight we must take up if we really care about our sport. Millenials may need to kill fly-fishing as we know it to save the sport from itself.


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PostPosted: July 27th, 2017, 3:31 pm 
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Joined: February 14th, 2007, 1:00 am
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Location: New Hampshire
See, we're not all so bad....

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"Fishermen...spending their lives in the fields and woods...are often in a more favorable mood for observing her, in the intervals of their pursuits, than philosophers or poets even, who approach her with expectation." - Thoreau


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PostPosted: July 27th, 2017, 6:13 pm 
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FFIMer

Joined: March 16th, 2013, 11:04 pm
Posts: 512
TGIF wrote:
See, we're not all so bad....

We're generation X Tim.... Are you having a midlife crisis by trying to claim you're a millennial?

Good read Ken, and I think it's obvious by looking at the forums that this is really rearing it's head. A while back someone mentioned that TU meetings are a room full of grey hair, and they are absolutely right, at 38 with greying hair, I'm the youngest in my chapter. I guess the one question I would like answered is WHERE are the young people? It seems with social media and fishing the take from the resource is plentiful yet the give back isn't there. How about hashtagging doing something?
CFR is probably my favorite weekend of fishing all year, and it is has a lot of young volunteers,that is encouraging but outside of that, not a lot of twenty something's seem to be active.


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PostPosted: July 27th, 2017, 7:44 pm 
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FFIMer

Joined: July 21st, 2011, 9:30 pm
Posts: 733
Location: Brunswick
Well... unfortunately I fall into the millenial category, I'm not impressed with it eirther.... I certainly don't spot burn, or post much information about where I am or have been, other then a wide general area. I volunteer as much as I can, CFR, clean ups, stream restoration, etc. Most of the people I fish with are old enough to be my father, or even grandfather. I only know a handful of people around my age the FF, but I am noticing more and more young people fly fishing, almost all in the last 2 years. Before then I was almost always the youngest on the river.

Peter

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"A good game fish is too valuable to be caught only once"
Lee Wulff


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PostPosted: July 27th, 2017, 8:31 pm 
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Joined: December 4th, 2001, 1:00 am
Posts: 5114
Location: Near the tying bench
RoundaboutCaddis wrote:
TGIF wrote:
See, we're not all so bad....

We're generation X Tim.... Are you having a midlife crisis by trying to claim you're a millennial?


Kurt Vonnegut renamed us "Generation A" at my sister's graduation commencement from Syracuse University way back in 1994 (right after telling all of us in attendance how the term 'beaver' was coined). To quote Vonnegut:

Kurt Vonnegut, 1994 wrote:
"The media calls you Generation X. I hereby declare you Generation A, as much at the beginning of so many astonishing triumphs and failures as Adam and Eve were so long ago."



Roundaboutcaddis wrote:
Good read Ken, and I think it's obvious by looking at the forums that this is really rearing it's head. A while back someone mentioned that TU meetings are a room full of grey hair, and they are absolutely right, at 38 with greying hair, I'm the youngest in my chapter. I guess the one question I would like answered is WHERE are the young people? It seems with social media and fishing the take from the resource is plentiful yet the give back isn't there. How about hashtagging doing something?
CFR is probably my favorite weekend of fishing all year, and it is has a lot of young volunteers,that is encouraging but outside of that, not a lot of twenty something's seem to be active.


I've decided a good part of the issue is that young people want to be actively engaged, and actually empowered to make a difference that they can see. For the most part, meetings, teaching fly casting, etc... aren't where their interests lay. The article Ken linked is a prime example of the divide. About the only way I've found to overcome such is to roll up my sleeves and get down to business, inviting others with similar interest along for the ride. Having been afforded opportunities to work with trout bums around the country- I can tell you that active engagement in young adults does result in their engaging in habitat assessment, conservation, enhancement, and stewardship.

To quote a great Maine author (and one of our own)- "If not me, who? And if not now, when?"

_________________
"You never miss the water until the well runs dry" - traditional blues


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PostPosted: July 27th, 2017, 8:37 pm 
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Joined: March 16th, 2013, 11:04 pm
Posts: 512
I responded on the fly and probably didn't articulate my last post very well. I guess I should have said that the younger crowd seems to be more focused on the me and now rather than the whole and the future.No doubt there are exceptions, and I know that my priorities from 18-25 weren't on conservation... But then again, twenty years ago consume and exploit wasn't the norm.

I need to stop now because I'm starting to sound like a crotchety old man. Only 27 more years until retirement...


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PostPosted: July 27th, 2017, 8:41 pm 
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Joined: March 16th, 2013, 11:04 pm
Posts: 512
Hunter wrote:
I've decided a good part of the issue is that young people want to be actively engaged, and actually empowered to make a difference that they can see. For the most part, meetings, teaching fly casting, etc... aren't where their interests lay. The article Ken linked is a prime example of the divide. About the only way I've found to overcome such is to roll up my sleeves and get down to business, inviting others with similar interest along for the ride. Having been afforded opportunities to work with trout bums around the country- I can tell you that active engagement in young adults does result in their engaging in habitat assessment, conservation, enhancement, and stewardship.

To quote a great Maine author (and one of our own)- "If not me, who? And if not now, when?"


Great point regarding hands on and I fully agree. So how do you bring the younger crowd to the table? I'm not in touch with the flat brim crowd and I'm not in touch with the tweed crowd either.


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PostPosted: July 27th, 2017, 9:55 pm 
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Hey--I'm part of the tweed crowd. (Or at least the bamboo part of it. I really hate tweed.)

Huntress is a cane guy AND a salmon guy, and he's got a big flower garden. Definitely part of the tweed crowd. (Granted, it's the Dresden/Pittston tweed crowd, but still.) :wink:


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PostPosted: July 28th, 2017, 7:01 am 
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Joined: February 14th, 2007, 1:00 am
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Location: New Hampshire
Unfortunately, I am with Peter on this one.... i was born in September of 1980, and make the Gen Y/millennial cut by 9 months.

I have been hiring Millenials, and gen x'ers whonwant to be millenials for 10 years or so. We can bemoan the Disney and LCD generation, but they are here to stay, many will be the only ones to wipe your chins when the time comes. :)

That said, take them for what they are, and play to their strengths more than worry about their weaknesses, and I suspect we will be okay, just as the boomers worried about gen x, and so on.

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"Fishermen...spending their lives in the fields and woods...are often in a more favorable mood for observing her, in the intervals of their pursuits, than philosophers or poets even, who approach her with expectation." - Thoreau


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PostPosted: July 28th, 2017, 8:37 am 
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RoundaboutCaddis wrote:
Great point regarding hands on and I fully agree. So how do you bring the younger crowd to the table? I'm not in touch with the flat brim crowd and I'm not in touch with the tweed crowd either.


Good question. Sebago TU has been having psuedo-young member 'socials' to garner support from the post-college young adult crowd. They seem to be working from what I understand. Beer and a social atmosphere help. The AMC has a young members program that also has a strong following. Perhaps those are things to look at for garnering support from 20- and 30- (and 40-) somethings.

Jeff Reardon wrote:
Hey--I'm part of the tweed crowd. (Or at least the bamboo part of it. I really hate tweed.)

Huntress is a cane guy AND a salmon guy, and he's got a big flower garden. Definitely part of the tweed crowd. (Granted, it's the Dresden/Pittston tweed crowd, but still.) :wink:


Does tweed come in camo? Tweed and I aren't necessarily on the same page. I don't know many (any?) tweed owners whom also own a half dozen pigs (albeit, in my case to help eradicate a stand of Japanese knotweed). And the weed beds came with the house. I just keep them up to have a little less lawn to mow. Plus, the turkey chicks seem to like hiding in them in the spring.

_________________
"You never miss the water until the well runs dry" - traditional blues


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PostPosted: July 28th, 2017, 8:50 am 
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FFIMer

Joined: January 16th, 2013, 10:16 am
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Location: Bowdoin, Maine
I'm going to beat the drum for the Kennebec Valley chapter of TU for being the primary sponsor of the annual Trout Camp for 14-17 year olds and for taking flyfishing into the classroom. The only way we guarantee the future is with our young people and I'm afraid we're losing the battle. I appreciate FFIM for contributing to this worthwhile project and wish the membership would try to sponsor some kind of similar activity. If you get a good feeling out of the CFR weekend wouldn't it be the same for a junior weekend? After personally working the last 5 years at Trout Camp I have seen some amazing young people come out of there that go on to do great things for our community. Put your faith in our youngsters. They really are our future.


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PostPosted: July 28th, 2017, 5:26 pm 
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Joined: December 11th, 2001, 1:00 am
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Lane S,

I couldn't agree with you more. The challenge is to get people to step up and give of their time. We have tried multiple times to get a kids day camp going but couldn't get anyone to lead. I love that TU does the Trout Camp and thus my and FFIM's effort to raise funds and awareness for it.. kudus to you and TU.

Ken


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PostPosted: July 28th, 2017, 6:02 pm 
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viewtopic.php?f=1&t=22131

Ken, I would be to differ that no one is stepping up to lead or give their time. It may not be trout camp, and it morphed into a TU project, but my morning tomorrow is going to be spent installing three more out of the seventeen data loggers that MMBTU has to install on coastal salter streams. Jeff has been installing during the week with other TU members (retirement age volunteers) and I've been out on the weekends. Peter is joining me tomorrow and In The Trees is on board for helping with retrieval in the fall. FFIM provided a $250 grassroots grant for purchasing a shuttle to upload the data.
Meanwhile Foley has installed three loggers somewhere Downeast.
I'm not posting this to say look at me, but to show that volunteer projects conceptualized on FFIM do come to fruition, it just may not be very visible.
That being said, I think the root issue is that somewhere or somehow there is difficulty finding volunteers across all age groups, but there seems to be a much larger gap engaging folks under thirty.
This ties back in to some of the community regarding Angler Education mentioned in the thread above. I am willing to undertake some type of FFIM sponsored education program, consider this as an invitation to anyone on the forum who would like to be involved sign up here.


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PostPosted: July 28th, 2017, 8:34 pm 
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Joined: April 17th, 2016, 2:18 pm
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Location: Bath, ME
I think millennials are going to save fly fishing-maybe. They are a little flighty but not as bad as the boomers who walked into the "movie" then into fly fishing and left three years later. My apologies to both generations-I am not intending to offend. Millennials communicate on a world wide basis and if you look into social media you will see a huge number of millennials fishing, posting and sporting tattoos...so be it. They aren't really spot burning by doing this they are celebrating being outside away from the city and suburbia and showing how they seem to be enjoying it. I will say there are way more young folks involved in the sport out west than in the east. I lived in the west for the better part of the last decade and there are way more young than old fishing, hiking, camping etc than I see here in the east. I was a member of the Greenback TU out in Denver and the group was very diverse in age and more diverse in the sexes than anything I have seen in the Northeast. I think the west culturally lends itself to enjoying the outdoors much more so than the east just because its big country with very cooperative weather-the sport of fishing is considered an industry in much of the west and fisheries management is quite a bit ahead of most of what I have seen in the east. Sorry but "put and take" is fairly dead out west. It should be here too...I am still stunned at the lack of foresight I have seen from fisheries management here. Millennials are far more conservation minded than any previous generation by a wide margin and if they don't feel like the resource is being respected its a huge turn-off. I think there needs to be way more social activity surrounding fly fishing here-it seems to be such a closely guarded secret around here in so many ways. Out west most shops have happy hours, tying nights, lots of demo days -the TU meetings are generally fun and more social which keeps people active....when the millennials make fishing buddies they stay in and promote the goals of TU and other conservation groups. Sincerely, GenX


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PostPosted: July 28th, 2017, 8:47 pm 
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I think the younger people are scared they might **** up on one of our unwritten rules !


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