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A recent conversation motivates me to ask a few questions. Are fly fishing clubs becoming less relevant in this age of high technology? It used to be that one could get general information about various fly fishing topics from books and magazines, but key specific information was shared by word of mouth among friends and acquaintances, and clubs have been a way of coalescing that information, long before there was an internet.

I have had the benefit and immense joy and satisfaction of knowing and learning about fly fishing for steelhead from some of the regional pioneers of the sport: Syd Glasso, Wes Drain, Walt Johnson, Ralph Wahl, Harry Lemire, Brace Hayden, Mike Kennedy, Al Knudsen, and others. Other than the socializing aspect, I wonder if the one-on-one angler and cross-generation interaction is as essential as it once was.

It was put to me that younger anglers, Gen Xers and Millennials, may experience fly fishing differently than members of the Boomer generation. I wonder if that's true. Most of the people I fish with are indifferent to the "pics or it didn't happen" approach to fishing, but there have always been anglers who were into documenting their trips - somebody had to write the magazine articles.

Clubs have typically used monthly or quarterly newsletters for their primary means of internal communication. Many have recently added web sites and or Facebook pages, since electronic communication has become so popular. Maybe other internet based applications are relevant as well, but that's all beyond my tech skill and interest level. I mention them because they might be a critical difference among younger anglers.

People move away, and old people die, so infusing new blood into memberships has been essential to the continuity of any association, not just fishing clubs. But if people now experience fly fishing differently than by traditional means, does that foretell the gradual decline in club membership? I have to take up this conversation again soon, so I'm interested in your feedback.

Sg
 

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Sg -
Interesting subject and question for us to think about and quite timely for me as well. Tonight is the local fly club meeting in Moses Lake. I am a "new member", paid my dues last year but only made it to three or four functions. The local club seldom has a program, which is somewhat of a disappointment to me, but they do have outings and sponsored a casting clinic last summer. It is nice to meet up with folks and find someone who shares a passion. Heck, I might even get to go fishing with some of the guys (even if it is for walleye with bait, eh Bill?).

In 1979 I was living in Port Orchard and started travelling to Tacoma to Puget Sound Fly Fishers. I joined the club. They were very active, had awesome programs, great outings (outings to Dry Falls and Lenice/Bobby/Merry is one reason I moved over here) and made life long friends and fishing buddies. To say that I learned a lot from that experience is understated.

On the other hand, through the WFF forum I've met some great guys and have enjoyed fishing with them. I'm looking forward to more fishing trips with them and hopefully, other members as well!

Patrick
 

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I tend to agree with golfman44. I can get real time fishing intel from the guys in my fishing circle via a quick text or phone call. Working 40 to 60 hours a week leaves me very little spare time, especially if I want to get out and fish. That being said meeting up with fellow anglers in a fishing club type environment is fun, just not as practical for someone with a full time job that enjoys to fish as much as possible.
 

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I am a millennial and have never been a member of a local club. I would say this website serves as a "club" for me. I enjoy the conversations in the steelhead and saltwater forums, and have learned a lot over the years. I've thought about joining a local club, primarily for the purpose of learning information that isn't or shouldn't be shared on the internet, but haven't done so yet. From what I've seen most club meetings are scheduled for something like a Wednesday at 6 pm. That's a tough time to go anywhere in today's Seattle with traffic and all. Fishing for me is mostly a solo thing, so I don't have any interest in group outings.
 

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Interesting question. I'm an old millennial (born in 1981). I've never really been drawn to join a fly fishing club. It's interesting, because with my other main hobby (homebrewing) I've been heavily involved with my local club, though less since my wife's been sick, so it's interesting why I haven't felt the same draw to a fly club. Maybe it's the fact that homebrewing (and let's be honest, drinking) has more of a social aspect to it (at least for me). Maybe it's the fact that the local fly fishing club seems like a very formal club (requiring paperwork and participation in activities to join). Most of my fishing is solo, and I have this place to talk fishing, so I guess I haven't felt the need to join a club. Plus I have less time for this kind of stuff these days.
 

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Interesting question. I'm an old millennial (born in 1981). I've never really been drawn to join a fly fishing club. It's interesting, because with my other main hobby (homebrewing) I've been heavily involved with my local club, though less since my wife's been sick, so it's interesting why I haven't felt the same draw to a fly club. Maybe it's the fact that homebrewing (and let's be honest, drinking) has more of a social aspect to it (at least for me). Maybe it's the fact that the local fly fishing club seems like a very formal club (requiring paperwork and participation in activities to join). Most of my fishing is solo, and I have this place to talk fishing, so I guess I haven't felt the need to join a club. Plus I have less time for this kind of stuff these days.
Not too sure about the local club's members and how much they fish but way back when (1979.... ;-)) it seemed that many of the PSFF members came to drink and socialize. Wetting their throats was about as wet as some of them got.

And unlike so many members who are your age(ish), I have time and I don't live in congested Seattle.
 

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The internet makes us all lazy. I could be too lazy to even put clothes on while I type this and communicate with the world -no worries, I have a a full set of clothes PLUS a puffy down coat and hat on in a house.
"The bar scene" dating is a full step above online dating.... or so I have heard. Face to face is really what old-timers like me remember (I am born in 60's..not sure what ecto-generian capsule I am pushed into name-wise..baby booming/grunge/remembers life before cell phones/post disco-pre crap..I mean Rap..)

While the internet keeps people connected and bites into the need to join a club of fellow like-minded weirdos.."friends" I mean, it also keeps more people off the roads and streams some. Maybe? Maybe not.
 

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local fly fishing club seems like a very formal club (requiring paperwork and participation in activities to join).
This gave me a good excuse to not join.
 

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Make my day
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I have been a member of a club for years.

In that time I've taken their tying class. Had help with my casting. Been on countless outings. Learned a lot about our local waters. I've had the opportunity to meet some of the people who pioneered some for the techniques used in fly fishing around here.

Some of our club members are authors. Some are famious builders of the old school. And I've gotten to fish with them! And learn from them!!

I've been on a fishing trip to Alaska where we floated a river so far from civilization we had to take two plane rides from Anchorage.

I could go on and on about what it has ment to me. But, I think of what it has allowed me to mean to the sport of fly fishing. We raise/donate thousands of dollars to worthy causes every year. Help with funding for things like extra stockings for local lakes. Salmon recovery projects and Western rivers. Or get a needed outhouse paid for at a boat ramp. Our conservation chairman has been working with the other local clubs for years, trying to get a lake designated quality water.

I have taken on jobs in the club. Barman, Outings, VP. And starting a week from today, President!

My goal for the coming year is to try and get some younger members looking for what I found there.

My club:
http://olympicflyfish.com
Edmonds, WA.
We meet the second Wednesday at the Edmonds senior center.
If you have any questions about the club, you can send me a conversation.
 

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Group texts with my fishing buddies are more efficient than driving to a club meeting in my opinion. 50hr work weeks leaves limited time for that kind of stuff, I'd rather spend those spare hours on the water.
Hear hear...club adjourned!
Would be nice to shoot the breeze with a group to learn and grow but there's just no time. Barely enough, no make that not enough, time for fishing as is.
 

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Veðrfölnir
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I have a local trout focused fly fishing club on my Ranger 360v boat, known locally as "Jobu", roughly 8 months of the year.

"The club" hosts so many generous folks from all over, I rarely ever have to buy gas or beer. It's mostly comprised of doctors, professionals, and fish bums, all of who seem to be beer drinkers.

Club fees are donations only, and usually a 6 pack. The six pack is solemnly offered to one the Jobu's "beer wells", as live wells are illegal in BC.

Some people claim the boat should be named "Jesus", but I am always quick to remind them that "Ah Jesus, I like him very much, but Jesus no help me catch fish".

Best club ever!
 

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A recent conversation motivates me to ask a few questions. Are fly fishing clubs becoming less relevant in this age of high technology? It used to be that one could get general information about various fly fishing topics from books and magazines, but key specific information was shared by word of mouth among friends and acquaintances, and clubs have been a way of coalescing that information, long before there was an internet.

I have had the benefit and immense joy and satisfaction of knowing and learning about fly fishing for steelhead from some of the regional pioneers of the sport: Syd Glasso, Wes Drain, Walt Johnson, Ralph Wahl, Harry Lemire, Brace Hayden, Mike Kennedy, Al Knudsen, and others. Other than the socializing aspect, I wonder if the one-on-one angler and cross-generation interaction is as essential as it once was.

It was put to me that younger anglers, Gen Xers and Millennials, may experience fly fishing differently than members of the Boomer generation. I wonder if that's true. Most of the people I fish with are indifferent to the "pics or it didn't happen" approach to fishing, but there have always been anglers who were into documenting their trips - somebody had to write the magazine articles.

Clubs have typically used monthly or quarterly newsletters for their primary means of internal communication. Many have recently added web sites and or Facebook pages, since electronic communication has become so popular. Maybe other internet based applications are relevant as well, but that's all beyond my tech skill and interest level. I mention them because they might be a critical difference among younger anglers.

People move away, and old people die, so infusing new blood into memberships has been essential to the continuity of any association, not just fishing clubs. But if people now experience fly fishing differently than by traditional means, does that foretell the gradual decline in club membership? I have to take up this conversation again soon, so I'm interested in your feedback.

Sg
Yes, they are becoming obsolete. The times they are a changin'. The internet is part of it, but I believe that instant/constant communication (cell phones, text messaging, etc) itself has changed us.

Part of the fun of fishing clubs is hanging out with your fishing friends and eating/drinking/telling stories and watching presentations by a club member or visiting angler.

But now we have constant access to online "stories" by experts (just look at the success of Catch magazine). Most clubs devolve into a collection of cliques of close fishing buddies. Now you don't need the club to hang with them, you just create your own facebook group where you can share pics and plans for the next outing. Nobody telling you what you can or can't do/say/post.

And, as Golfman44 noted, we're all tired and beat after long days at the office. Who wants to fight I5 traffic to get to a fishing club meeting when you can stay at home and eat/drink while checking in with your friends online.

I'm a good example of this - having belonged to or visited a number of flyfishing clubs since I first started flyfishing in my teenage years. Met some great people too. But each year I'm more likely to connect online with the ones I enjoy fishing with and skip the club meetings.

In my humble opinion, the number of willing mentors is also decreasing with each passing year. It's being replaced with the advent of online advice and demonstrations, allowing the "Instant Expert" to hit the water ready to slay the fish.

Salmo, we've both been around since the early days of the Internet. Remember [email protected] and how exciting it was to be able to connect with other flyfishermen from around the globe? I remember striking up a friendship with a fine gentleman in Arkansas who helped me understand how to prepare to fish the White River when my father first retired there. I really appreciated this amazing new technology. I also remember that first Clave on the Skagit. Fun times indeed!

For better or worse, if fishing clubs want to continue to be relevant they'll have to find ways to adapt to this new culture. What about online meetings, with presentations streamed real time? Maybe some conservation goals - setting up meetings at the river or lake for cleanup days? Contests for the best fishing video? Hell, I don't know.

But something that allows members to get the most out of the club experience while minimizing the reason most people don't attend = the time investment.

My .02,

Brian
 

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I'll take a stab at Sg's post. I first scraped quarters to buy gas to drive from Clear Lake to Anacortes to attend the Fidalgo Flyfishers when I was a mid 20's angler first cutting my teeth at the sport. I was hoping to rub shoulders with the more experienced, specifically looking for tips on how to more effectively fish Pass Lake. I was certainly out of place and felt a little awkward. Most seemed more content with drinking rather than talking fishing; me being a non-drinker, I wanted to soak up fly fishing information, not alcohol.

I paid my membership fee and attended a few meetings but the best information I ever got on fishing Pass Lake was through a former contributor of this site, Daryle Holmstrom, who has since gone on to that great fishing stream in the sky. He first told me about chironomids and the TDC. Best information I ever got on lake fishing. We spent a lot of time talking fly fishing while traveling days up the inside passage to Alaska to fish salmon in Ketchikan.

Here's to you Daryle!

My next attempt was the locally infamous Wildcat Steelheader's group in Sedro Woolley, not necessarily a fly club but some of the members were fly anglers. This attempt at fishing camaraderie was met with about the same result as the Fidalgo group. The one obvious difference was the mean age of the member was probably 10 years younger as most members were in their 50s rather than 60s, and most fished out of sleds rather than prams. My membership lasted about as long.

My interest in a fishing club has waned over the years though I still send annual membership fees to the Methow Valley Fly Club and attend their monthly meeting whenever possible. Last year I didn't make one meeting; I wonder if there is any correlation with there not being a a steelhead season on the Methow? I usually make the Sept-Nov meetings on years when there is a season. This month one of the local fish biologists is giving a presentation on whitefishing tips. I am actually hoping to attend and pay my dues again for 2017. I am often in the Methow valley during the spring and summer but with the extra daylight and good fishing conditions, I often skip out on the club meeting and continue fishing, rather than going to a meeting to talk about it. I do enough of that at work.

The funny thing with fishing clubs, especially fly fishing clubs is the mean age of the group seems to stay the same over the years. I tend to think this might be due to the guy who is retired has a lot more leisure time to attend functions like this, which may not be the case for the younger crowd. This is likely to remain the same in the future with social media and the internet potentially leaving a void for the old-school fishing club. But I would imagine there will always be enough old timers to have a group setting, much like the Elks, Lions, Eagles, or Masons, where you can get together with like-minded individuals drink some alcohol. If nothing else, it is an excuse to get away from the spouse for a few hours once a month. ;)
 

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I would not mind joining a club. Do not know of any out their though. Have not really looked either. Always thought it would be fun to drink beer and tie flies around a table. All my buddies in my inner circle never want to do that which sucks.
I used to buy the local Thursday paper, which had the outdoor reports. They often reported when and where a certain fishing club was meeting. That is how I found a few over the years.
 

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