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Hey Guys,

A few days ago I was floating an Eastern Washington steelhead river that I have been able to call a great friend for the past four years. During my expedition I experienced a common rejection that I have felt for my entire fishing career that has absolutely nothing to do with fishing itself. This common rejection was the immediate feeling of disrespect from almost every fisherman Generation X/Y and older. I have always found reaching out to the older generation brings nothing but a better knowledge of fly fishing and conservation for our sport, and for the past few years my encounters have troubled me. Before I go on any further let me preface that I have guided my past three summers in Alaska, I began guiding when I was 19 (by lucky fortune), and have been fishing for over 200 days a year for the past five. Salmon, steelhead, trout you name it. I have rowed and run sleds on whitewater, and have fished my whole life (like a lot of you). It truly is my passion and love. For our math aficionados out there; A calendar year sponsors 52 weeks. That means if the common working adult who is a DETERMINED weekend warrior fished conservatively 1-2 times a week they would rack up 80 days on the water. The point I’m making here is there are some young people who have fished more in the past half decade than most can say they have in almost 15 years. So what’s the issue? I have been blessed to have inspiring figures in my fly-fishing life, almost all from older generations, I owe a lot of where I am today because of them. However, I also can’t tell you how many times I have been shunned from older anglers simply based on some imaginary obvious prejudice that “I would be to young to understand”. Where a simple wave is treated with a smug glare. I faced this same prejudice in my first guiding year (which is common) and would often sense an aurora from many older clients along the lines of “I’ve been fishing my whole life so how can he know more than me?” I have then since earned the respect of other guides and lodges on my river from countless days connecting and making relationships. But what about rivers where we don’t guide? Does the amount of Instagram features, newspaper articles, pro deals, and sponsorships warrant credibility or the right to blow off respectful younger anglers? Do anglers feel threatened that there could be young people who know your “secret spots” or are actually better fisherman? Where has common courtesy gone? Don’t we all have something to learn from each other? I have nothing but the utmost respect for every angler in this state, as (most) anglers uphold their responsibility to utilize as much as conserve and educate. Like many of you I enjoy being alone on the river without seeing anyone, this is just a common observation I've made over the past years. My generation will be the one to continue our sport in the decades to come, and I know when I’m an old geezer I’ll do anything in my power to go out of my way to make a younger generation feel welcomed. I
 

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If you smell like a bong or Patchouli oil, have more than one sticker on your boat, have tea plates in your ears, tatted up like a big city street corner light post, or your beard (chin whiskers) are longer than two inches...
Well, that could just sour some peoples' perceptions and demeanor.
Sometimes it is just about the packaging. ;)
 

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Hey Guys,

A few days ago I was floating an Eastern Washington steelhead river that I have been able to call a great friend for the past four years. During my expedition I experienced a common rejection that I have felt for my entire fishing career that has absolutely nothing to do with fishing itself. This common rejection was the immediate feeling of disrespect from almost every fisherman Generation X/Y and older. I have always found reaching out to the older generation brings nothing but a better knowledge of fly fishing and conservation for our sport, and for the past few years my encounters have troubled me. Before I go on any further let me preface that I have guided my past three summers in Alaska, I began guiding when I was 19 (by lucky fortune), and have been fishing for over 200 days a year for the past five. Salmon, steelhead, trout you name it. I have rowed and run sleds on whitewater, and have fished my whole life (like a lot of you). It truly is my passion and love. For our math aficionados out there; A calendar year sponsors 52 weeks. That means if the common working adult who is a DETERMINED weekend warrior fished conservatively 1-2 times a week they would rack up 80 days on the water. The point I'm making here is there are some young people who have fished more in the past half decade than most can say they have in almost 15 years. So what's the issue? I have been blessed to have inspiring figures in my fly-fishing life, almost all from older generations, I owe a lot of where I am today because of them. However, I also can't tell you how many times I have been shunned from older anglers simply based on some imaginary obvious prejudice that "I would be to young to understand". Where a simple wave is treated with a smug glare. I faced this same prejudice in my first guiding year (which is common) and would often sense an aurora from many older clients along the lines of "I've been fishing my whole life so how can he know more than me?" I have then since earned the respect of other guides and lodges on my river from countless days connecting and making relationships. But what about rivers where we don't guide? Does the amount of Instagram features, newspaper articles, pro deals, and sponsorships warrant credibility or the right to blow off respectful younger anglers? Do anglers feel threatened that there could be young people who know your "secret spots" or are actually better fisherman? Where has common courtesy gone? Don't we all have something to learn from each other? I have nothing but the utmost respect for every angler in this state, as (most) anglers uphold their responsibility to utilize as much as conserve and educate. My generation will be the one to continue our sport in the decades to come, and I know when I'm an old geezer I'll do anything in my power to go out of my way to make a younger generation feel welcomed.
Not from me. If you fish legal, respect the lands, the fish, and other sportsman, I don't really care who you are, what age you are, or whether you adorn more hardware than what's in your sling-pack. That said, there is an old geezer in Dillon who wades in white crew socks and Hawaiian shirts that dances on the fringe of my well known tolerance and acceptance of diversity.
 

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have been fishing for over 200 days a year for the past five.
I dislike you already;)

[email protected], I don't even qualify as "common working adult who is a DETERMINED weekend warrior fished conservatively 1-2 times a week they would rack up 80 day"

Seriously though, there are jackass arrogant snob anglers young and old. I haven't noticed one being more prevalent, young or old.

Most all I run into are very friendly, young and old. Although my sample size is no where near 200 days a year.
 

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Hang in there Max, it sounds like you are doing all the right things. You have no control over the people you come in contact with and what their attitude is. Ageism, sexism and now polticism are rampant nowadays and you have to look no further than the past election to see how far things have deteriorated.

I am at the opposite end of the spectrum with very little time left to fish and have encountered some of the ageism from the younger generation. At my age everyone I fish with is much younger than me and I am grateful that they are gracious enough to put up with me.

Wadin' Boot has it nailed-find a handful of great friends and stick with them, the hell with all the haters. There is just one caveat here-you have to be a good friend to have good friends.

Ive
 
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Hmmm.

So, you seem to be seeking validation from a group of people you feel have been disrespectful of you. You seem to be doing this while hinting that you know as much as, or more than, they do. Just an observation, it might not mean anything.

I'm right on the border of being generation X/Y, but I'm a crotchety old man at heart. Ten years ago I considered myself a 'young-geezer'. Most young people irritate me...most middle-aged people irritate me. I think the only group of people who mostly don't irritate me are the dead ones. Which isn't to say that I am unfriendly, I just probably don't want to talk to you for more than three, four minutes, tops. There are people I can spend days with, but not very many. If you have a question and are willing to actually learn, I'll tell you what I know...when that is over, I'd appreciate you leaving me alone.

BTW, this is in general, not fishing related--my knowledge of fishing is about the same as my knowledge of Spanish (as in, if I went to Mexico, I know enough of the language to get myself stabbed, but not enough to ask people to not stab me).
 

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Seriously though, there are jackass arrogant snob anglers young and old. I haven't noticed one being more prevalent, young or old.

Most all I run into are very friendly, young and old. Although my sample size is no where near 200 days a year.
That pretty much mirrors my experience...similarly, gear/fly, it doesn't matter, there are always bad seeds out there in every group regardless of how you group them...but that doesn't touch on all of the really freakin' cool anglers I've run into over the years...
 

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I think generational conflicts span way beyond fly fishing, but I totally agree that older fly fishermen aren't very receptive of the younger ones. This culture doesn't exactly make it easy for young people to get involved. The evidence of that is thick here on WFF....

I don't know why they hate us... Probably because they know their daughters are going to have a thing for outdoorsy dudes and won't be able to resist my super dialed trout skills ;)
 

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If you smell like a bong or Patchouli oil, have more than one sticker on your boat, have tea plates in your ears, tatted up like a big city street corner light post, or your beard (chin whiskers) are longer than two inches...
Well, that could just sour some peoples' perceptions and demeanor.
Sometimes it is just about the packaging. ;)
The stigma has been earned, not given.
Earned by how you think someone looks? That's bullshit.

To the OP, I really haven't noticed much of a stigma from older people I've encounter while fishing. If I do, I just assume they're some old crotchety asshole that doesn't know anything anyways...oh wait...
 

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As my Millenial Brother once said,
"Fly Fishing is for grumpy old men"

at that point my Dad deadpanned

"Which is why your older brother likes it so much"
 
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No offense man, but this is exactly the sort of thing I'm glad I'm old/oblivious/stupid/enlightened enough not to care about. Stressing on what other people think of you....that way lies madness. Give everyone a chance. Some folks are great, be great to them in return. Some folks are assholes, ignore them. Lather, rinse, repeat.

 

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I first started flyfishing in my early 20s. When a local fly club was started, I joined and happened to take a liking to other guys about my age and they ended up as lifelong friends and fishing buddies. However, we never felt that the "old guys" (now I am one) snubbed us.... just the opposite. They were more than willing to teach what they knew.

Maybe it was the club setting where everyone there all shared a common passion but nope, there was no generation conflict... just the opposite. Maybe things have changed over the years...
 

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Whenever you run across a cranky fisherman, ask them to hold a sign so you can take a photo and then put them on the internet. Trust me, they will love you. Hell some may even give away their secrets.

I mean just look at this teddy bear:



Same goes for tired, cranky ladies at the gas station. Show 'em a little love and all of a sudden they turn into a princess.

 

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I reckon I've been doing it all wrong - apology extended. I promise to start being grumpy & refuse to help, talk with, or otherwise acknowledge fly fishers younger than me in the future . . . painting people with a broad brush has never been a productive approach. Assholes happen among every generation and in all venues.
 
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