Barbs and Backlashes

Nebraska Walleye Association by whitetips
April 12, 2010, 3:29 pm
Filed under: Fishing | Tags: , , ,

Today I am going to brag on another Nebraska fishing organization, the Nebraska Walleye Association, .  I attended their meeting at the LaVista Cabelas yesterday.  Follow along here for a little bit while I explain what I was doing there.

I am a member of the Nebraska Chapter of the American Fisheries Society, .  The American Fisheries Society (AFS) is the professional society for “pointy-headed” fish biologists and other professionals who work with fish and aquatic organisms and aquatic habitats.  Our Nebraska Chapter has members who work for the Nebraska Game & Parks Commission, a couple of the state’s power districts, Nebraska’s Department of Environmental Quality, and professors and students from at least three Nebraska universities.  The Nebraska Chapter AFS has some awards that our chapter presents to worthy recipients; you can see a description of those awards and past winners, .  Two of the awards given by the Nebraska Chapter AFS are professional awards, and the third is given in recognition of “outstanding contributions to fisheries and the conservation of Nebraska’s aquatic resources by an individual or a citizens group.”

This year the Outstanding Aquatic Resources Conservation Award was presented to the Nebraska Walleye Association.

I believe the easiest way to tell you why the Nebraska Walleye Association won the Outstanding Aquatic Resources Conservation Award is to post a copy of the nomination letter:

“We wish to nominate the Nebraska Walleye Association (NWA) for the Nebraska Chapter of the American Fisheries Society’s “Outstanding Aquatic Resources Conservation Award”.  The criterion listed for the award is for the individual or organization to make a substantial or long-term contribution to fisheries or aquatic resources.  The NWA has been conducting fishing clinics for children nearly as long as the organization has been in existence, with the first kids fishing clinics held in 1989.  Over much of the last decade, the NWA has been holding 13 clinics a season, teaching fishing fundamentals to anywhere from 800 to 1,125 children annually, with two clinics each year designated for special needs children.  The clinics are considered by many insiders as the best-run children’s fishing events in the state, maybe in the Midwest.  The NWA clinics reach children across the state with past events occurring in Beatrice, Columbus, Holdrege, Lincoln, Norfolk, Omaha, Tecumseh, Valentine and West Point.  the Association gets local, regional, and state-wide participation, having received help or donations from at least 63 businesses, communities and agencies.  Further, the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation (RBFF) awards National Youth Fishing and Boating Initiative education grants each year.  The Nebraska Walleye Association teamed with FISHHER of Omaha and “Go Fish Girls”, a product of the Nebraska Girl Scouts organization, to submit an application to RBFF for one of these educational grants.  In 20098 they were awarded a $9,000 grant to help put on these clinics.  With their partners they have now renamed the kids fishing program “Go Fish Kids”.  With ever-increasing emphasis on “saving our children from nature deficit syndrome” as coined by Richard Louv in his book Last Child in the Woods, introducing children to nature through fishing seems to be an excellent way to address that issue”

Nebraska Chapter AFS awards committee chair, Randy Winter, presenting the Outstanding Aquatic Resources Conservation Award to Richard McShane, board member of the Nebraska Walleye Association.

This year is the 20th anniversary of the Nebraska Walleye Association!  I have worked closely with the Nebraska Walleye Association over the years, literally attended one of their very first meetings as the  “Eastern Nebraska Walleye Association” all those years ago.  I believe I hung out at the weigh-in for their very first tournament at Branched Oak Reservoir, again years ago.  I am thrilled to have seen the Nebraska Walleye Association grow from those humble beginnings to a statewide organization with over 450 members!  Way to go, guys and gals!  To borrow a line from the movie “Jeremiah Johnson”, “You’ve come a long ways, pilgrim”!

Rich with some of the long-time NWA members accepting their award.

I can already tell you what the NWA has done with the RBFF grant they received, well one thing anyhow is to buy a trailer for the kids fishing clinics.

The new "GoFishKids" trailer parked outside Cablelas.

Notice the logo!

And I can tell you that trailer is already filled with rods and reels and other equipment to be used and given away at the kids fishing clinics.  The NWA gives a fishing rod & reel to each attendee at their youth fishing clinics.  Many of the club’s activities through the year are fund-raisers to support their kid’s fishing clinics.  They will do even bigger and better things in the future.

I will crawl up on my “Recruit, Develop and Retain” soap-box again here for a minute.  It is extremely important for the sport of fishing and for the health of our aquatic habitats and fisheries that we recruit new anglers!  The more folks that appreciate and use our fisheries and aquatic resources the more people care about those resources and the better the stewardship of those resources.  Recruiting new anglers is something every angler should do; at the least we can all find someone and take ’em fishing.  The Nebraska Walleye Association has set a great example for all of us to follow, and what they are doing is extremely important in the lives of people and in the health of our Nebraska natural resources.  Thank you, and a tip of the fishing hat to the Nebraska Walleye Association!


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