Monday, January 22, 2007


Several years ago two things made me realize that I was officially "old":

1.) I bought a copy of "Rolling Stone" magazine at an airport which had a young blond singer on the cover and I had NO idea who she was -- turned out it was Britney Spears, and

2.) I was skiing in Colorado when I was run over by a young kid on what I soon learned was a "snow board"

No further comments on Britney Spears today but regarding the sport of "snow boarding" I want to draw an analogy to the sport of "fishing" which is seeing a very similar demographic challenge. I remember a ski resort owner quoted years ago that, "snow boarding saved the skiing industry, because it brought the children back on the slopes and their parents came with them on their skis............."

I mention this historic development because our Minnesota Department of Natural Resources issued a report stating that "fewer young Minnesotans are fishing these days and as a result , the state is losing a generation of conservation-minded anglers.........." as quoted by the Pioneer Press's Outdoors Editor, Chris Niskanen, in yesterday's newspaper. Mr. Niskanen is inviting readers to send in any and all comments, concerns, and suggestions regarding what can be done/or not done to get more youth involved in fishing for publication in the February 4th Outdoors Section.

Here are my observations:

1.) Snowboarding -- I don't have the perfect solution to offer the fishing industry but it needs to discover/invent its own version of "snow boarding" to get children involved again so they bring their parents out fishing with them.

2.) Sports -- the fishing/outdoors industry should work to get "outdoor sports" to be sanctioned sports in high schools.

3.) Restaurants -- the Minnesota restaurant industry should create a "wild game fish" program that would pay young children to catch and deliver freshly caught fish to restaurants in their home towns.

4.) Drivers Licenses -- Minnesota state law should be changed to allow for a "combination license" that would combine the ability to drive a vehicle legally with the authority to hunt and fish in Minnesota perhaps called the "M-Card" -- classic one stop shopping for citizens that would ultimately save taxpayer/fee revenues by streamlining the licensing process.

5.) Farm Bureau -- perhaps the state farm bureau should expand its outreach to promote aquaculture to get children interested in raising fish for stocking our lakes and streams.

6.) Boy Scouts of America (BSA)-- sadly I think the Girls Scouts of America have become obsessed with political correctness/left wing politics and my beloved BSA has been under attack for it perceived homophobia and even worse - belief in GOD!!!! The BSA has a "Fishing merit badge" ,, which could be a great resource for the outdoors/fishing industry. I would suggest that the outdoors industry's players -- rod/reel manufacturers, Cabela's , Gander Mountain, REI, etc. work with the BSA to host merit badge counselor training sessions and BSA-endorsed fishing tournaments to get boys interested in the sport again. Since the "Explorer" scout program of the BSA is co-ed they could take into the girl population using this same model.

Hopefully my readers have better ideas that I have presented here so if you do please send them to:

Chris Niskanen
Pioneer Press - Outdoors Editor
345 Cedar Street
St. Paul, Minnesota 55101


1 comment:

jdsqrd said...

Ideas to spark youth interest in fishing:

1. New MTV Show called "Pimp My Bassboat"
2. Circulate Photoshopped photos of James Charlesworth dating Jennifer Aniston.
3. Start rumor that walleye cheek meat is a hallucinogen with no side effects.
4. Tell teens they are forbidden to fish.
5. Have next season of "Real World" set in a fishing cabin on 10 Mile Lake.
6. New series with hot young stars similar to "The OC" called "The MN."
7. Paris Hilton designed/branded tackle boxes.
8. Add a fishing proficiency requirement to the "No Child Left Behind" Act.
9. Market lures as bling.
10. Suspend drinking age laws for occupants in a boat holding a fishing rod.