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May 07, 2009

Sierra Club Answers Casting Call

The Sierra Club joined the American Fly Fishing Trade Association, other outdoor and conservation groups, and government decision makers for two days of fishing events aimed to help convey the importance of collaborative fisheries conservation.

“Maintaining healthy fisheries is increasingly challenging, especially in the face of climate change” said Tim Guilfoile, Sierra Sportsmen representative. “We all want to pass on opportunities to enjoy the outdoors to future generations, and we can better achieve that goal when people work together.”

While lots of good work happened on Monday, as decision makers delved into the National Fish Habitat Action Plan, the main event was on Sunday when more than 800 kids came out and got “hooked.”         

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Children from as far away as Colorado and Pennsylvania joined those from D.C. as they lined up on the banks of the C&O Canal (which runs parallel to the Potomac) to experience the thrill of fishing first hand.

“Just about everybody caught a fish,” said Guilfoile, who volunteered at the event. “It was very cool to hear the huge cheer that went up every time a kid reeled one in.” 

Japanese fish painting, exhibits on streams and tons of other fun activities helped fill fishing down time.

The Sierra Club donated 60 rods and reels for the event, part of the Club’s ongoing work to get kids outside. Working with the Federation of Fly Fishers and other organizations, the Sierra Club donated roughly 2,000 fishing rods, half conventional spinning rods and half fly rods, to youth programs last year. Those rods helped get more than 52,000 kids across America out fishing.

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Plans are in the works to donate another 2,000 rods to Trout Unlimited, the National Military Fish & Wildlife Association and other sporting and conservation organizations in the coming year.

“We hope that many of these kids will continue to fish over the course of their lives.” Guilfoile added, “We know that getting kids outside is important. We hope that they will be more likely to care about protecting a stream if they’ve experience its value first hand by fishing it.”

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