It's time to be full time conservationists
July 05, 2024

It's time to be full time conservationists

As anglers, we understand that good fishing depends on healthy, intact habitat. And, while simple awareness is a good thing, we’re often left wondering how we can make a difference, particularly in our local watersheds where we spend the most time on the water. 

It’s tough, as a single voice, to affect change when it comes to protecting and improving the watersheds in our backyards. But when we come together as a community of conservation-minded anglers, we can make a real difference. Fortunately, there are organizations around the country devoted to amplifying the voices of anglers with a conservation conscience, and getting involved is easy.

Now, you might already be a member of the more widely known conservation organizations such as Atlantic Salmon Foundation, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Fly Fishers International, Trout Unlimited  and we're sharing a few groups you, as an angler, should consider supporting — and some of them have regional and local “chapters” you can join. This allows you to direct your conservation efforts, monetary or otherwise, toward the causes you choose. Take a look: 

The Bonefish & Tarpon Trust: Focused on inshore saltwater habitat from southern Florida all across the Caribbean, BTT is a science-based conservation group that is growing its ability to do on-the-ground conservation work around the region. Not only does BTT monitor water quality and conduct important research on economically vital inshore fisheries, it works across international borders to improve flats-fishing habitat. If you fish for tarpon, permit, bonefish or redfish, investing in BTT is an investment in your angling passion. 

Coastal Conservation Association: Founded as the Gulf Coast Conservation Association in the 1970s, the group that would eventually become the Coast Conservation Association battled the commercial fishing industry in the Gulf of Mexico when speckled trout and redfish populations began to flag. The group was successful in outlawing gillnets and having both reds and specks declared as game fish — it’s one of the most profound conservation victories in modern times. Today, CCA has expanded its reach nationally, and is a great investment for anglers who fish for everything from reds and specks to striped bass and inshore fish from coast to coast. 

Theodore Gordon Flyfishers: A favorite of Joan and Lee Wulff, Theodore Gordon Flyfisher is a Northeast-based conservation group with a simple mission: rivers and streams should be protected so wild populations of game fish can reproduce in healthy, intact environments. TGF is a vocal proponent of catch-and-release fly fishing and is a vocal advocate for environmentalism and conservation education. 

Western Native Trout Initiative: Just as its name indicates, the Western Native Trout Initiative focuses on the native trout, char and salmon populations of the Western U.S. Its mission is one of collaboration — it often works with private stakeholders to protect native trout populations, both to achieve conservation goals and to ensure angling for these special fish can be passed down to future generations. If you fish for, and value, native cutthroat trout, bull trout and kokanee salmon in the West, joining the WNTI is an excellent conservation investment. 

It’s simple, really. Healthy, intact watersheds provide quality fly fishing. As anglers, we aren’t just consumers. We are the direct beneficiaries of healthy and connected waters. Therefore, it’s incumbent upon us to give back and work diligently to ensure the waters we fish are sufficiently protected for generations to come. 

Every fly fisher should make an investment in conservation. Here at Royal Wulff, we enthusiastically support conservation groups all over America. We understand the connection between habitat and opportunity, because without the first, the second doesn’t exist. 

Join us in our conservation efforts by joining one (or all) of the conservation groups listed above. As individual anglers, our voices can get lost. As part of a conservation army working toward clean, healthy habitat for our cherished game fish, our voices can be heard loud and clear.