Outdoor Recreation is Booming and Fly Fishing is No Exception
Since the introduction of relatively inexpensive fly fishing equipment, the sport has grown steadily in popularity. Guides and outfitters have been responsible for shepherding that slow and steady growth. They teach responsible, efficient angling practices with care, patience, and concern for waterways and those who use them. In 2020, the slow growth of fly fishing saw a sharp increase.
As many businesses slowed or halted operations, individual interest in outdoor recreation saw dramatic growth. Though this may seem like a wholly positive development, it has created some challenges.
For one, the recreation business is subject to supply chain interruptions like any other market sector. Thanks to the increased demand for equipment, outfitters emptied their shelves. Great news, right? Well, for long-time, dedicated fly anglers, it hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows.
While an influx of new blood can help outfitters prosper, seasoned anglers represent the backbone of the industry long-term. As some waterways became crowded with inexperienced anglers, veterans of the sport have had a less than ideal experience. When reliable customers hang up their waders because their favorite fishing spots are crowded and noisy, that’s bad for fly fishing.
How Lodges Can Navigate These Waters
As public waterways brim with more anglers vying for fewer fish, more guides consider raising their rates and getting creative with their schedules. This is why the boom represents a win for Lodges on private land. Dedicated fly anglers are looking for fishing opportunities away from the crowds, on well-maintained, capacity-managed property. Public access is vital for the future of hunting and fishing. At the same time, private land lodges serve an important role for long-term enthusiasts who want a more refined experience.
Fishing lodges, guides, and outfitters serve a vital purpose. They make sustainable growth possible by providing responsible guidance to new anglers. But even in the midst of increased interest in outdoor recreation, reliable returning guests must be prioritized.
Though hazardous, the growth of the sport is exciting. It shows that people still desire a connection with nature and historical fishing practices. If guides, outfitters, and lodges can meet the demands of newcomers and preserve great experiences for long-time enthusiasts, the future of fly fishing will be bright indeed.