Fly Fishing Clubs

Bob Triggs

Stop Killing Wild Steelhead!
I have been a member of a few different fly fishing clubs around the country over the past 40 years. Most of them were good for meeting new people, making a few new friends and fishing buddies. The friendships have endured. Most of the fly clubs I joined were great for meetings, activities, outings, volunteer conservation projects, presentations on fishing, fly tying, casting, trips, etc. All of this has enriched my fly fishing life. I have given presentations to several fly clubs around the Puget Sound region over the last 20 years. That's been a great way to connect with other fly fishers too. Overall my experiences with fly clubs have been positive. If you try a few different fly club meetings around your region, you'll likely connect with something that works for you. A big part of having a good experience in a club is being an active participant. Get involved, volunteer, be active. I know quite a few good people who give of their own time to support others in the learning curve of fly fishing skills, fly casting, knot work, fly tying etc. They have discovered the secret to happiness in their giving.
 

Steve Saville

Active Member
It's been said twice already that you get out of a club what you put into it. I've belonged to Puget Sound Flyfishers for about fifteen years now. It was slow going getting to know folks at first but once I decided that I needed to become an active part of the club things changed. We have outings scheduled and ad hoc outings as well. We have speakers, some good, some not so good depending on your perspective. But the best thing I have gotten from the meetings is the friendship that I gained from many of the other members.

This past week I went to a Veterans Breakfast put on by the locals and was delighted to see and sit with a couple who I met at a club meeting more than ten years ago. I see them occasionally at meetings but like me they are aging and don't get out much any more but they were there and we have established a long relationship.

I met my best buddy years ago and we fished together for more than twelve years. Sadly he passed in September, far too young but I look back at our friendship established at a fly fishing club. It's like every other thing. You get from it what you put into it. But you have to be willing to put something into it if you expect something in return. Clubs wane because people aren't willing to get involved.
 

GOTY

6x Puget Sound Steelhead Guide of the Year
Never been to a fly club meeting, mainly due to a combination of 1) lack of need to and 2) I have no idea which clubs are out there, when they meet, what they do, etc. In no way am I opposed to them.

I will say tho, I think the narrative of many here about age being the issue is quite misguided. From where I sit, age really isn't an issue: I fish with dudes 3x my age and don't think much of it. I'd fish with older chicks too but I understand my sexual charisma can be quite intimidating.

IMO the real issue is technology. Forums like this are one thing, but access to quick and instant communication is what's reduced the need to set up gatherings. If I just scroll through my text messages I can easily count over 30 different group texts I have going with different fishing buds/crews (or should I say gangs?), all ranging from 3-20 people in each text. In a sense I'm literally talking about fishing all day every day, so it's a never ending fly club meeting in a sense.

Amongst these folks we obviously fish together a bunch but also do more "club stuff" like grab beers, have fly tying nights, etc. In a sense my phone is my fly club, and it's a damn good one. If I showed up to a club meeting and left my cell phone in my truck, there's a good chance that after the meeting I'd have more fishing discussion, info, reports, photos, etc in unread texts than what I got out of the meeting. Not that that's all that matters (that's a lot of that's), but still.
 
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Bonsai

Jerry
To many comments to try to answer everything. In the last few years I have belong to 4 fishing clubs, Kitsap Fly Anglers, Port Ludlow Fly Fishers, Greywolf Fly Fishers, and the Kitsap Poggie Club. First comment I hate the word "Fishers". It is a personnel problem. The Greywolf has reorganized and moved the meeting place to far away for me to continue participation. The reorganization was a result of no one willing to step up and take up leadership rolls. The Port Ludlow Fly Fishers reorganized a few years back for the same reason. They are in a community predominantly made up of retirees and don't worry about their meeting being held during the day. They tried to hold their meetings in the evening but that didn't attract any new younger members and they lost a few because some of the gray hairs didn't like driving in the dark. Kitsap Fly Anglers (my home club) is trying to figure out what they want to do. The Poggie Club has diminishing membership but is still going strong. They are attracting some younger people but not many 20 or 30 year-old's. With all of this we have to recognize that clubs are in decline. YouTube is the new club. I use it and I would guess most of you use it as well. While we all recognize the internet is a wonderful source of information IT DOSE NOT fill my need for any kind of socialization I want. Young people get information from the internet but they socialize only with the same people the did in high school and college. When any of us join an organization we have as much responsibility to step up and join in to the workings of the club as the club has to reach out to new members. I think to many young people want to walk into a room and expect to know everyone. They lack the kind of socialization skills us gray hairs grew up with. This is long enough. Have a good day.
 

Thrasybulus

Crush all c-hawks
Never been to a fly club meeting, mainly due to a combination of 1) lack of need to and 2) I have no idea which clubs are out there, when they meet, what they do, etc. In no way am I opposed to them.

I will say tho, I think the narrative of many here about age being the issue is quite misguided. From where I sit, age really isn't an issue: I fish with dudes 3x my age and don't think much of it. I'd fish with older chicks too but I understand my sexual charisma can be quite intimidating.

IMO the real issue is technology. Forums like this are one thing, but access to quick and instant communication is what's reduced the need to set up gatherings. If I just scroll through my text messages I can easily count over 30 different group texts I have going with different fishing buds/crews (or should I say gangs?), all ranging from 3-20 people in each text. In a sense I'm literally talking about fishing all day every day, so it's a never ending fly club meeting in a sense.

Amongst these folks we obviously fish together a bunch but also do more "club stuff" like grab beers, have fly tying nights, etc. In a sense my phone is my fly club, and it's a damn good one. If I showed up to a club meeting and left my cell phone in my truck, there's a good chance that after the meeting I'd have more fishing discussion, info, reports, photos, etc in unread texts than what I got out of the meeting. Not that that's all that matters (that's a lot of that's), but still.
Remember The League of Extraordinary Traveling Fly Anglers
 

skagitdolly

New Member
I joined the Mountain Muskies Chapter 60 club years ago when a friend and I were randomly fishing Clear Lake outside of Spokane. They asked for $30/ piece for us to join. We just got done roasting doobies behind the portapotty and joining a fishing club made all the sense in the world. The reason we joined was because they were having a muskie fishing tournament and there were only 7 guys present. I randomly got chosen for second place for prizes that day after the “leader” of the club was the only person to catch a muskie. After the tournament we never saw those guys again - the spot they were supposed to meet at they didnt meet at, and the magazine subscription the $30 bought me, well, there was no magazine. I still have the hat, second place plaque, and lure I won in that club.

I was also part of the Spokane Mycological Society which was mainly old folks (I love old people.) The problem is there were only a handful of people and eventually that club disbanded but I still have my best mushroom loving friends from that club.

I tried a couple local (Snohomish County) clubs in different areas of interest swearing I would never return due to the fact that 90% of the meeting were bylaws and blowby regulations of members.

I have found one awesome club which kicks ass and sticks true to what they do and its the Marysville Rock and Gem club. Mostly retired folks there, but also some kids, as well as a smaller 30-40 year old population.

Seeing that Im moving across the street from the Skagit river by Rockport in two weeks, I had some inclination to look into a local flyfishing club (most likely isnt one) in order to get some hands on at building a fly or two, maybe tagging along with a willing tutor, but realistically Im probably going to just make friends with whoever is selling gear at the little fishing shop down in Concrete and stick to reading older articles/ threads on here for advice.

A couple posts back somebody mentioned a bring your own tools and tie some flies and drink beer and eat grilled stuff type of club. That sounded pretty good.
 

Whitewater

Active Member
No more clubs of any kind for me. Did the usual ones for 35+ years, TU, Ducks Unlimited, 2 fishing clubs, local gun range, Rotary, kids soccer league, Elks, Boy Scout leader and board member.

It seems one thing in common with clubs and non profits; they burn out new motivated members in few years. Those members are doing the heavy lifting, the inert ones (read mostly old farts) sit around and play " ain't it awful," complain and gradually the club disintegrates.

The cure seems to be recruiting new members, making them feel welcome, involving them, rinse and repeat.
 
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Bonsai

Jerry
Skagitdolly brings up a good point He is moving across the street from the Skagit river by Rockport and might be wanting to join a fly fishing club. Even if there isn't one he should check out whatever shop is in the area and see if there is a coffee clutch where he can meet people. I think every shop should have a table in the back to tie flies and a small fridge (for donated drinks) and a coffee pot going. Sounds like the good old days. I think we all have a responsibility to do what we can to fill the need to make friends, to learn and teach one another. If this is done right the shops could only benefit from a coffee clutch. I have a Sportsmans Wearhouse a mile or so from the house and my local fly shop is about 10 miles from the house. I can buy fly tying material at either place. When I go to the coffee clutch I often pick up my tying material while I am there. I tie every week at a club meeting and teach a 7 or 8 week class in the winter to beginners.
 

Rock Creek Fan

Active Member
My guess it is a group of people that meet informally/casually. An open place to sit and shoot the breeze. Sorta like then I go to a local donut shop, there is always a group of people, participants vary (if you are there, join in) that get together to discuss stuff. Rock Creek Mercantile had Saturday get togethers to BS, tie flies, talk fishing and other stuff. Some of my most memorable times...
 

snarlac

Active Member
Yeah. I do, joined one when they were looking for new members to fill out a trip. Don't really hear from anyone since beyond blanket emails for annual dues, etc.
 

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