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Discussion Topic: Is Our Sport In Trouble?


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A great topic for consideration, though I wish I had an answer to the question posed at the end.

Maybe our members can help find it......

 

Discussion Topic: Are Our Sports in Trouble?

 

Preliminary numbers from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Survey’s eagerly anticipated five-year study of outdoor recreation are in, and a sneak peak at our August 2007 issue breaks them down: 30 million anglers, 12.5 million hunters, $64 billion dollars spent in 2006 by sportsmen. That’s a lot of folks with some serious purchase power, but a closer look also reveals some disturbing trends: hunter numbers down 4 percent since 2001, anglers down 12.

 

To learn more about what’s behind these declines, especially as it pertains to youth participation, Bill Heavey interviewed Richard Louv, journalist and author of the bestselling book, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder:

 

F&S: The USFWS is now reporting another drop in the number of sportsmen. What do you make of that?

R.L.: No surprise whatsoever. It’s consistent with what we’re seeing all over the country. In a typical week, only 6 percent of kids aged 9 to 13 play outside on their own.

 

Check out the full interview from the link below.

 

We’d like to think our coverage shows a balance of optimism, concern, and a determination to secure a healthy future for our sports. An article posted Friday by Newsweek, however, seems to take a gloomier perspective, mixed with a little sarcasm. It opens:

 

If you’re a squirrel or a trout, we’ve got some good news for you: Americans are hunting and fishing less.

 

The fact that squirrels and trout would be infinitely worse off without the conservation efforts and dollars contributed by hunters and fishermen aside, the Newsweek coverage does highlight some especially troubling numbers, including: migratory bird hunters down 22 percent and small-game hunters down 12 percent.

 

We’d like to know what you think. Does the USFWS report spell doom and gloom? Or is there room for optimism. What more should we be doing to ensure a bright future for our sports?

 

 

 

Read more...

 

Source: Field Notes

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We need to introduce our youth to the outdoors. Too many have adopted a life of being a couch potato. Too much technology like TV, internet and video games keep them indoors. Not enough playing down by the swimmin' hole in the creek like alot of us did as a kid. Like they said "nature-deficit disorder". I hope that never happens to me.

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Guest rich mc

one thing that has changed is the keeping of fish for the table. perhaps fishing is down because the fish are not as edible as they were . in older days the whole family filled the cooler, now they go to great america or the mall. rich

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That's an interesting take, Rich.

I was shocked to read something just about an hour ago while putzing around in the garage.

Found a reprint of a manual called "The Complete Fisherman and Anglers Manual" by Francis H. Buzzacott.

 

Originally published in 1903, it has an entire section on reconsidering keeping fish for the table and releasing them instead.

I do know there are historical footnotes to "catch and release" in the annals of the "Conservation Movement", but was surprised to see so much press applied to the principle around the turn of the century.

 

BUZZACOTT, FRANCIS H. – The Complete Fisherman and Anglers Manual Or How To Catch Fish. 16mo. 172 pages. 2001. Bass Anglers Sportsman Society. Montgomery AL. Soft Cover. 200 black & white illustrations. Black Bass info scattered throughout. Facsimile reprint of a 1903 edition. Foreword added by editor Dave Ellison of B.A.S.S.
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Lakes, ponds, streams and rivers, use to have a larger population of catchable fish.

As meat hungry anglers got educated on where to fish, many have havested 5 gal buckets of fish, form many bodies of water.

Most places have been harvested of sizeable fish.

IDNR is doing nothing to stock catchable fish in the Chicagoland area lakes, ponds and streams.

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I have mixed feelings about this. I have read the "natue deficit disorder" book and agree with its premise. However, I have never felt that there were not enough people fishing my favorite streams or lakes.

Gregg

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IDNR is doing nothing to stock catchable fish in the Chicagoland area lakes, ponds and streams.

That is a slippery slope, Ken.

Actually, the IDNR has done supplemental smallmouth tagging and stocking with the help of the ISA over the years.

On the other side of the coin, it isn't prudent to stock just for the case of stocking.

Studies need to be done, and that equates to money.

...of which there is very little these days.

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Personally, I think stocking catchable fish is a huge waste of money. Spend the money on habitat restoration. Combine that with more legislation or education about catch and release, and you won't HAVE to stock catchable fish.

 

As far as the future of the sport, I think there are fewer participants, but I think the participants are more serious about protecting the resource than past generations. I don't remember clubs like the ISA even existing when I was a kid. I'm really not too worried about the future.

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In this past month I've gotten two people started in fly fishing for smallmouth by taking them fishing. They are both in the process of getting a fly fishing outfit. This weekend, I'll be taking one of them out for the third time, and we will also be bringing another new person with us.

 

Both my kids love fishing, and their friends ask if they can go fishing with us, since their dads don't fish.

 

In a few weeks, 200 kids from military families will get a chance to try fishing, and go home with their own fishing rods! What a GREAT program!

 

What more should we be doing? Talk to people. Tell them how much you love fishing. If they say something like "that sounds cool", ask them if they'd like to go along the next time you go fishing.

 

What more should we be doing to ensure a bright future for our sports?
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one thing that has changed is the keeping of fish for the table. perhaps fishing is down because the fish are not as edible as they were . in older days the whole family filled the cooler, now they go to great america or the mall. rich

 

 

Fish have always been edible. There is just more scientific knowledge of the dangers. Publicly known. Water is cleaner now than it has been in a long time (despite Bush setbacks).

 

I bet this conincides more with kids not playing baseball in the sandlots- right on the money- Playstation, TV, and Computers.

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Bterrill is right, computers and video games have had a negative impact on kids not fishing as much. I have been involved in coaching for 25 years and the overall fitness level of players has declined noticeably over the years. Young players seem to know strategy (Madden 2007) but can't run 8-40 yard sprints. I guess I can't blame kids. I find that I am spending more time on-line and less time tying flies every winter.

 

I try to introduce students and players to fishing each year and most of them can't wait to go again. I think if all of us would take young people fishing it would solve more problems than just declining numbers of fishermen.

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In my opinion, there's too much focus in today's world on technology and it is enabling people to work, or be connected to work, 24x7. People no longer leave work at work and come home and focus on recreational activities. Work is becoming life as a whole. Kids, family, and outside activities are becoming secondary. People don't have time to fish and hunt like they used to. Rural areas and rural folks are becoming urbanized more and more and the "simple life" is fading away in lieu of the competition to have bigger, better, and more. We are a materialistic society owned by our possessions. I'm not surprised in the least at the decline in numbers. But, there will always be folks who make the time to enjoy...

 

;)

 

Sounds like someone has been working too much!!!!

 

I have noticed that a lot of the younger crowd (like my daughter's friends) are not that into the outdoor thing. Perhaps its just a phase, as I know I went through something like that when I was in HS. I guess a different type of nature got my attention. B)

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I have mixed feelings about this. I have read the "natue deficit disorder" book and agree with its premise. However, I have never felt that there were not enough people fishing my favorite streams or lakes.

Gregg

:rolleyes:

 

Gregg is onto something. Tackle manufacturers and fishing magazines sing the sad song about the declining fishing population. But when I arrive at my local lake on Saturday morning, I find myself wishing that there were a lot fewer people there. Locallly the available resources (lakes and rivers) are severely taxed. So I am happy to see people taking up biking, hiking, and climbing instead of fishing. It gives me some room anyway. :rolleyes:

 

Tongue in cheek, I say I am happy to see the fishing population decline. We should have mandatory fisher's ed classes just like we have driver's ed classes before kids can get a license. I don't want just anyone taking up fishing. ;)

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Perhaps its just a phase, as I know I went through something like that when I was in HS. I guess a different type of nature got my attention. B)

 

Unless your parents were really cool, that type of enjoyment of nature still involved going outside for me! ;)

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In a few weeks, 200 kids from military families will get a chance to try fishing, and go home with their own fishing rods! What a GREAT program!

We will be there.

...and in a week and a half (July 1) the ISA is sponsoring our annual Kids Fishing Day and Picnic.

August 18th, we'll be at the State Fair teaching kids to Cast.

In Sept. we'll be repeating this procedure at Fishing and Hunting Days.

 

Eventually, it has to sink in with Illinois youth that fishing and respect for our local environment are worthy of their time.

It just has to.

 

I keep telling myself this or I'll go insane.

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Great and useful thread.

 

I'll weigh in on Gregg's point:

 

I have mixed feelings about this. I have read the "natue deficit disorder" book and agree with its premise. However, I have never felt that there were not enough people fishing my favorite streams or lakes.

Gregg

 

The survival of the sport is important both to the resource and to me personally. But there is a balance to be attained here. If smallmouth bass fishing became the next "Nintendo", that would be a disaster for the resource and the sport. Growth is good, especially in light of the current decline but there are real limits to what our resource can stand.

 

Maybe the overflow can get their kicks on Nintendo Blackbass II instead. :D

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Some numbers to crunch:

 

BIG NUMBER

87: Millions of Americans -- 38 percent of the U.S. population 16 or older -- who hunted, fished or observed wildlife in 2006. They spent $120 billion, an amount roughly equal to total spending at all spectator sports, casinos, motion pictures, golf courses and country clubs, amusement parks and arcades combined, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

 

How 'bout that.

 

Credit to today's Dale Bowman column for that quote.

 

You would think with those kinds of numbers we could more easily solve the problems facing our sport and the degradation of wildlife habitat.

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I'm always fascinated by the attitudes towards fishing "our spots" since the advent of online fishing reports and the like.

 

The question always beckons:

 

Does inviting MORE people to fish ANY watershed invite more to protect it...or more to consume its resources?

I don't mean to say "consume" relates to keeping fish, but rather as an overall "impact" by man on the resource.

 

Last I checked, nobody has ever done a scientific study to determine if the demographics of a person reading a fishing report online indicates they will be on "your" river in the morning stuffing buckets full of fish or carrying a bag of garbage out with them when they leave.

 

Where does one draw the line between promoting our local waters and religiously keeping it tight to the vest?

Consider this scenario:

A local arm of government needs to acquire property for the purpose of a landfill next to some prime stretch of smallmouth fishing.

As a concerned angler, you feel it would be prudent to call out the troops to put a stop to this.

 

Will you decide to keep your mouth shut and allow the stretch to be all but killed off- or are you going to give it up for the overall health of the river?

 

I'm not trying to sway an opinion one way or another- it is a question that is always out there, and one we should be asking ourselves and each other to get a better idea of how we should be marketing the concept of conservation.

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I'm always fascinated by the attitudes towards fishing "our spots" since the advent of online fishing reports and the like.

 

The question always beckons:

 

Does inviting MORE people to fish ANY watershed invite more to protect it...or more to consume its resources?

 

Mike,

 

In simple terms,"I wouldn't even invite my mother."

 

The problem is that laying out an open invitation, that is, a detailed description of a location on a public forum puts the information in the hands of too many people. Though 9 out of 10 may be upstanding sportsmen, the 10th can be the stinker who brings in the family bucket brigade and quickly cleans out the hole. So the extremely cautious approach that many on this site promote makes sense to me.

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  • 1 month later...
Mike,

 

In simple terms,"I wouldn't even invite my mother."

 

Conversations with various people over the weekend, and a recent article prompts me to come back to this discussion.

 

First, the article:

Not a Good Fish Tale

 

Joshua Sutherland beamed in amazement at the six-inch bluegill he had managed to reel in from a small lagoon on one of the first casts of his life.

 

"That was exciting," the 10-year-old said with a wide grin at a clinic for fishing neophytes. "It was cool!"

Asked whether he would fish again, he hesitated and said, "Probably."

That is similar to what we saw and heard at our Herrick Lake military kids event on Saturday.

Almost half of the 150 kids who were signed up said it would be their first cast.

That is a remarkable percentage.

 

For the young anglers, it was a day to remember.

Saturday examples:

Brandon Andac, 10, was excited about "the third fish I ever caught."

 

Cameron Schwebl, 4, caught his first fish and vowed to "catch some more."

 

When it was my turn to take the podium, I spoke about these kids having mothers, fathers, aunts and uncles fighting abroad and leaving a void that needs to be filled with something wholesome, like sport......and what better sport than fishing.

 

Back to the article linked:

"Thirty years ago, people would get up and go fishing," he said. "Now you get up and you have a soccer game at 9, a baseball game at 11, a team picnic at 1. It's much more structured time."

Nothing wrong with keeping the kids busy with other sports, it is always better than turning them loose on the streets.

 

"The anglers are getting older. They're fishing less or dying off," said Steve Palmisano, co-owner with his brother of Henry's Bait Shop, a South Side store started by their father in 1952. "We see some children, but not enough. We hope that they keep tugging on their parents' coattails and saying, 'Take me fishing.' "

 

It was a long, hot day at the lake yesterday.

I awoke this morning very tired, looking forward to lying around the house most of the day.

My boy came running out of his bedroom with a big smile on his face and said to me "Daddy, I wanna go fishing! Are you gonna take me fishing today?".

With all that was going on at the kids event, my wife was responsible for our kids, as I was unable to be by their sides as they wet a line.

It took every last bit of energy I had this morning, but we did go to the river and caught a mess of bluegills- and it meant the world to my little boy. He wore the t-shirt he won at the ISA Casting portion and talked all morning about the day he had.

 

Back to the discussions we had over the weekend.

It was said by a quite few that the military kids event would more than likely snowball into an even larger event with more kids attending in subsequent years.

As I listened to these statements, I couldn't help but think about how hard this particular event was promoted, and that perhaps we had hit a hard target of 150+ kids already.

We were targeting one usergroup only, and the fact remains that perhaps the remaining numbers of kids (their parents and guardians specifically) are involved in other activities unrelated to fishing. They may never cast or see a fish at the end of their lines, and nobody can make them do it.

 

So if it really is about introducing more kids to fishing so that our natural resources are better managed in the future, that is a noble endeavor.

But that isn't the end of the story.

 

To anyone that honestly believes that by introducing more kids to fishing it will be more taxing on the resource, or find more people fishing their areas, I say shame on you.

Those types might like to take a look in the mirror and ask themselves what they have done to possibly turn that scenario around.

Take a kid fishing, but at the same time instill the same values in them that you exhibit out on the water, and they will in turn learn to appreciate our rivers and streams and protect them in kind for the next generation.

The ISA does this very well when we aren't out enjoying the sport ourselves.

The conservation and education portion of our mission statement covers it, and we live it day in and day out in one way or another. Our Calendar shows this to be true.

 

When he was just 5, Tommy Gilbert (the fallen soldier this event was structured around) proudly hooked his first fish, a good-looking bass out of Wheaton's Herrick Lake.

"He was all smiles: 'I caught a fish! I caught a fish!'" Mike Gilbert said with a dad's proud smile last week. "He was breathless."

 

At a club we belong to on the river, my boy stuck his first bluegill of the morning today, and as God is my witness he yelled across the whole complex "I caught a fish! I caught a fish!".

Having read the quote above in the press for the last several weeks, I got a shiver down my spine, tears welled up inside me and I couldn't help but look up as if to say "We got it covered down here, Tommy. Sleep well."

 

The point I'm trying to get across here is that our "spots" are going to be filled with other bodies when we're gone.

Spots on the river, spots in life.

The moral fabric of the people that fill those spots is up to people like us to manipulate.

It is alright to take another viewpoint on the matter, as I'm sure there are some that do.

There were around 150+ volunteers on Saturday (15 of which wore ISA colors) that will continue to reach out to every smiling kid and put a rod in their hands, if only to let them know what it feels like.

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