Driftless Trout Anglers

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weiliwen  
#1 Posted : Tuesday, September 25, 2018 3:31:24 PM(UTC)
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I'm living up in Madison weekdays recently, returning to my home in Illinois weekends. So, I have a lot of time on my hands on weekdays. Yesterday, I attended a local fly fishing club meeting. It was their first after the summer break, and was well-attended with close to 40 folks there.

The first thing I noticed was that, at 59, I was probably the youngest person there. I got there around 10 minutes before the meeting began, and everybody was busy polishing off dinner. Nobody looked up at me, so I found a chair in the corner and sat down to wait for the meeting to begin. There were 3 new attendees that stood up when asked, including me; one guy came all the way from Menominee Falls! That's pretty much the extent of the attention I drew as a new member. There was a presentation by a semi-local, semi-famous fly fishing writer about nymphing, pretty interesting if a little too much effort spent dropping names of his famous friends. A quick drawing of some miscellaneous fly fishing stuff, and done. They did approve donating $500 to the West Fork Sportsman's Club to help them get back on their feet and solicited volunteers to help with that effort, pretty nice of them.

I guess this is like most similar clubs, although the club I was in back in SW Washington paid a lot more attention to newbies, up to and including individual club members inviting newbies on fishing trips. But the local club here seemed a lot like a club all the members had been in for 20 years, and so a bit tough to break into. The lack of new blood seemed to support that theory.

One reason I like Driftless Trout Anglers is that it seems to me most of the folks who write in the forums are actually younger than I am, unlike the club members. I guess you younger guys are not much into physical club meetings, maybe you consider this site your club (as I do, to some extent). I also like that this site is about fishing, not just fly fishing.

Anyway, that is my "trip report." Although Trapfest seems to be cancelled, I still hope to see some of you at the Westby Rod and Gun Club campground this weekend.

Bob Williams, "Weiliwen"
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William Schlafer on 9/25/2018(UTC)
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Gurth  
#2 Posted : Tuesday, September 25, 2018 3:50:33 PM(UTC)
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DTA is definitely my club and has furthered my trouting immensely since I stumbled upon it.

Thought about attending a TU meeting but am not really interested right now.

Appreciate what they do and make my donation. Make an effort to bring home roadside or in-stream trash each trip when I seee it. That’s what I got right now.

Biggest thing is I like to keep my fishing network tight to just a few buddies and good acquaintances through here or other online networking.

Also - I hate trout fishing with other people. Even my buddies. Go find your own stretch.

Exception being when I take someone somewhere specific or am out with family.

I might like to meet some of the fellas in the fly club on an individual basis, but can’t imagine I’d enjoy a club setting very much.
Private correspondence at: jkschind "at" tds.net
William Schlafer  
#3 Posted : Tuesday, September 25, 2018 3:57:38 PM(UTC)
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This is why getting kids and women involved with fishing is so critically important.

When us old fogies either hang it up or finally kick off, there may not be a new generation to take over. If numbers decline too much, the state and other funding agencies will put their money else where, and our sport will fade away. New blood is needed.

Take a kid fishing. Encourage people to take up the sport. Support organizations that promote and expand opportunities for all to fish. Donate some time with TU or other groups to help with stream clean up or restoration events (which is a also great place to meet like minded people). Put down your smart phones and get out there and enjoy the natural resources that is supported by our tax dollars.

If you're a lurker on DTA, post something about the things you've learned or seen. You don't have to share your favorite fishing spots or streams. But share your successes (and failures) which can only help others interested in the sport to get out there and try it for themselves. You may be surprised by the influential people who read our postings on DTA who are the movers in shakers in outdoor recreation in the upper midwest.


-Bill
“You'll never look back on your life and wish you had spent more time in the office." -- Brian Trautman, Captain SV Delos
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weiliwen on 9/25/2018(UTC)
Gurth  
#4 Posted : Tuesday, September 25, 2018 4:24:43 PM(UTC)
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I believe that there are lots of younger people out there fishing for trout. I run into them.

I just think that they socialize in different ways than clubs or message boards.

My buddy who fly fishes and probably fishes even more than I do is not a member here. He's in his early 30s and uses instagram mainly.

I'm almost 49 and haven't figured out instagram.

The codgers in the fly club probably have no use for this forum and dial up their buddies on a rotary phone.


Private correspondence at: jkschind "at" tds.net
stan b  
#5 Posted : Tuesday, September 25, 2018 9:21:42 PM(UTC)
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Weiliwen,
I am 67.
I had somewhat the same experience when I attended a TU meeting a couple years back.
No one said a word to me.
I never went back.

I've met some pretty cool people both in person and via this resource.

All obviously younger than me yet they reenthused my fascination towards trout fishing the driftless and tribs.

A few guys here shared some spots to get started visiting.
I cherish them.

Those guys gave me this sport that I enjoy immensely.

So, I guess what I'm trying to say is this site is my trout fishing club and these guys have been most helpful and I am grateful!
Call me on my rotary phone anytime, just stay off my lawn!😎



BTW-Steelhead coming soon!

Edited by user Tuesday, September 25, 2018 9:23:56 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

"So what is big is not always the Trout nor the Deer but the chance, the being there. And what is full is not necessarily the creel nor the freezer, but the memory." ~ Aldo Leopold
madguy30  
#6 Posted : Wednesday, September 26, 2018 1:36:55 AM(UTC)
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I've been interested in some meetings but I wouldn't need to go to a club meeting regularly.

Went to the Fly Fishing Film Tour a few years ago and didn't really appreciate the premise of most of the films and also felt like I was at some sort of Yak Club meeting....can't imagine what a regular meeting is like.

Meeting someone out on the stream and having a good conversation wins over the agenda driven scene...typically it's just someone out to enjoy the area, that's enough for me.
JGF  
#7 Posted : Wednesday, September 26, 2018 1:45:30 AM(UTC)
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Lot's of thoughts on the topic having been involved in conservation groups of all types in a number of different roles and states...Random thoughts in random order.

1. The age thing is pretty striking. I'm mid-40s and am generally one of the "young guys". Maybe others join later in life? I will say at Coulee Region TU is a good bit younger than other groups I've been part of.

2. Many of the groups become sort of "old boys clubs". Breaking in can probably be a little difficult but it also doesn't take zero or next to zero effort on your part, either. Groups can be what you make of them. Make an effort to meet people - even if, like for me, it's not what you're really great at. If it matters to you, you'll do it.

3. I worry that if some of these groups sort of die out - not sure if that will happen or not - where does conservation and advocacy come from? The boards, Instagram, and all the other stuff is great but it doesn't provide many boots on the ground, dollars into projects, and lobbying for our collective interests against CAFOs, mining, and other environmental issues. Again, maybe it's something that most people get more involved in later in life once the kids are out of the house, your retired, etc.

I think it's severely undervalued what groups like TU have done to maintain and improve trout fisheries. Some good friends are some of the unsung folks that spend their "free time" fighting against more pollution, more water withdrawals, less regulations on manure handling, etc. And because they're part of a larger, collective group, they're listened to more often (though not always as much as we'd like).

Ultimately, while not perfect, I think these organizations are pretty critical. They probably need to do a better job of being more inclusive. Many also need to do more to do something to care for the resource that they use. Organized groups tend to do a much better job of preserving, restoring, educating, and advocating for trout and their environments.

Edit to add, there is a difference between a trout fishing club and a conservation organization. TU sort of tries to be both but ultimately, it's a conservation organization as that's how it was founded and what it does best.

Edited by user Wednesday, September 26, 2018 1:49:33 AM(UTC)  | Reason: added some more crap...

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weiliwen on 9/26/2018(UTC)
stan b  
#8 Posted : Wednesday, September 26, 2018 10:36:43 AM(UTC)
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JGF,
Here's where we differ.
If you are a leader or a member of an organization that is struggling for membership and growth to remain vital you reach out and welcome anyone with interest.

To ignore those potential new members is a display of an attitude that is a partial cause of the demise of said organization.

And in my case, I am anything but an introvert.
But one may develop any conclusion they want.
Mine was that outsiders weren't received graciously.

All the best,

Stan b

Edited by user Wednesday, September 26, 2018 1:49:07 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

"So what is big is not always the Trout nor the Deer but the chance, the being there. And what is full is not necessarily the creel nor the freezer, but the memory." ~ Aldo Leopold
JGF  
#9 Posted : Wednesday, September 26, 2018 2:40:49 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: stan b Go to Quoted Post
JGF,
Here's where we differ.
If you are a leader or a member of an organization that is struggling for membership and growth to remain vital you reach out and welcome anyone with interest.

To ignore those potential new members is a display of an attitude that is a partial cause of the demise of said organization.

And in my case, I am anything but an introvert.
But one may develop any conclusion they want.
Mine was that outsiders weren't received graciously.

All the best,

Stan b


First, I think that's an assumption that I'm not sure is true universally. Many TU chapters in smaller population areas aren't doing great on membership but several I've been or am part of are doing quite well at least in terms of numbers. Biggest place I've experienced groups not doing as well is getting a more diverse group involved (more women, younger people, basically people other than old white men). I'm not sure what the solution is there?

Maybe more uses of technology and other ways to get people involved and interested?

The issue - as it is with pretty much every volunteer group - is that 10% of the people do 90% of the work. 10% might be generous sometimes and 90% might be an underestimation. TU as a whole is doing quite well on membership. From my perspective, the real question isn't how to get more members but how to get more members that contribute. Of course, you have no idea which of the new members might turn into these people which is why welcoming them is important.

On the second bold, what do you suggest groups do to be more inclusive and receive new people more graciously? I'm not sure what the answer is here. I think many groups do try - they may not be very successful in their efforts, however.

Basically, I have more questions than I do answers...
weiliwen  
#10 Posted : Wednesday, September 26, 2018 5:18:21 PM(UTC)
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Sorry, I didn't want to start a sh*tstorm with my comment that nobody came up to me. Everybody was eating dinner at the time, and they went straight into the meeting afterwards. They did ask the new attendees to stand up and introduce ourselves, so I did that.

I think it's incumbent on newbie AND club officers to reach out in these cases. I think the earlier comment that JGF made is true - they CAN become old boys' clubs if there is not enough new blood coming in on a regular basis. It's not that they are purposely trying to exclude outsiders from taking part; they're just in there with their buddies, and hang out with them. It's natural. Hey, the same thing happens at TrapFests. People are greeting old friends, and new folks tend to get overlooked.
Bob Williams, "Weiliwen"
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