Federation of Fly Fishers History
The Federation of Fly Fishers (FFF) is a unique non-profit organization
concerned with sport fishing and fisheries*.
FIRST, FFF supports conservation of all fish in all waters. That is, FFF believes that:
(1) clean waters and healthy ecosystems are important for bluegills, smallmouth
bass, walleye, northern pike, muskie, largemouth bass, redfish, bonefish,
perch, crappie - not just trout and salmon,
(2) some of the world's most productive, largest and most used fisheries
are in the greatest need of help,
(3) one cannot focus on just an isolated part of our water resources - healthy
rivers, oceans, streams and lakes are inherently interconnected, living
systems from trickling springs upstream to big rivers and warm lakes
downstream, with wetlands and woodlands in between.
With this philosophy, we feel that a broad ecosystem view is the only
biologically sound approach to fisheries conservation. We try to avoid a
focus that is too narrow; highly focused special interest efforts often
result in critical issues being ignored; at the present time we need to
protect all species and all fishery habitat, not just a favored few.
SECONDLY, FFF has a long-standing commitment to solving fisheries problems
at the grass roots level. By charter and inclination, we are organized
from the bottom up; each of our 260+ clubs, all over North America and
the world, is a unique and self-directed group.
Our grass roots focus reflects the reality that most fisheries solutions
must come at that local level. Catch and kill fishing regulations, hatchery
displacement of wild fish, riparian degradation, pollution of ground water
primarily require decisions and actions at the grass roots level. Local
state, county or even township officials enforce federal water and
Clearly what appears to be the most serious problem facing fisheries in
North America, polluted runoff from feedlots, ranches, fields, lawns,
streets and golf courses - is almost exclusively a local responsibility.
On National Forest Service or BLM land, the local regulations on catch
and release, bag and size limits, whether to plant fish or not, etc. are
usually local or state decisions. Even the widely publicized FERC (Federal
Energy Regulatory Commission) re-licensing of hydroelectric dams is
conducted as a series of negotiations and agreements within each state.
Only a very small percentage of the dams in the U.S. are under FERC (less
than 2% in Wisconsin, New York and Montana). In fact, the most destructive
dams (with top discharge and low flows) are exclusively under local control.
For these reasons, almost all of the estimated $400,000 raised by fly fishing
clubs and at FFF Regional auctions, conclaves, raffles is used locally; our
national office - in Bozeman, Montana, exists to serve clubs and members,
with a minimum of administrative expense.
FINALLY, our members believe that fly fishing is the most fun way to fish
because of its diversity (it works very well for all fish in all waters),
the continuing need to learn more about all those species and their habitat
and the challenge to always improve our fly fishing skills.
Fly fishers also share the common experience that once an angler tries to
imitate aquatic food in a lake or stream, a transformation takes place and
that individual, like most fly fishers, becomes a more dedicated conservationist.
For this reason, 80% of the 260+ FFF clubs with approximately 35,000 club members,
have active programs aimed at teaching kids and other adults about fly casting,
fly tying, insects, with club outings to get beginners on the water and into fish.
Many believe that the best conservation efforts come through education in fly fishing.
Based upon these principles FFF has been quietly effective for over 32 years,
including the very earliest promotions of catch and release, distribution of
thousands of Whitlock-Vibert trout boxes, as the most effective tool for raising
wild trout, participation in fishery management of the National Parks as well as
thousands of local projects and political battles. Because of our historical
position on catch and release, regional Councils of FFF as well as individual
FFF clubs have also been instrumental in getting no-kill, fly fishing regulations
implemented, from the New Haven River in Vermont to Robidoux Creek in Missouri
to the Willamette River in Oregon, and many others. For all of these reasons,
belonging to FFF and an FFF club is not only an enjoyable and growing experience
it is good for fisheries too.
*From a statement originally from Jim Abbs, former FFF Vice President and
editor of the FFF Quill.
If you are an avid angler, we urge you to join the chapter if you are within
the Greater Salt Lake City area or contact Federation of Fly Fishers to find
a chapter near you. Help us preserve our nation's beautiful wild fisheries.