Global Conservation – Now is the Time
This past year has been difficult for everyone. It has also served to reinforce the importance of things that really matter: time with family, friends, our health, and the environment.
We approach 2021, however, with excitement and hope. In addition to our new all-around fly rods (AIR 2) new trout reels (RVR), and new trout-themed fly fishing accessories collection, we are significantly stepping up our efforts to support, promote and otherwise be more active in a range of conservation issues. We need to be better stewards of the earth. We need to love it and protect it as we do our children.
We are all subject to the inherent contradiction of wanting to be environmentally responsible and eager to promote change, yet also loving to travel to beautiful places, being consumers, having our houses and apartments heated by fossil fuels, and otherwise living in the developed world. How do we address this? We press on. We can all be environmentally active anyway. By caring enough to want change, we can help make it happen. If you want to find a more personal and green equilibrium, you can try to take it one step further as some of us have. You can buy carbon credits, use an electric car, use solar. Regardless of your own personal footprint, you can still be active and believe in the possibility of a healthier planet.
It’s a beautiful world. It’s ours.
If you’re interested in purchasing carbon offsets, The Carbonfund.org Foundation is one of many entities you can use.
Winston Commitment to Conservation and Fisheries Resources
As anglers, we need to protect the waters we fish to ensure a sustainable and fishable future for future generations. For decades, our domestic fly rod and fly reel sales have supported preservation efforts. Through an excise tax that supports U.S. Fish & Wildlife programs, and additional donations to Trout Unlimited chapters and other conservation initiatives, we have paid as much as 10% of our total domestic rod and reel sales. Conservation is part of how we choose to do business, part of our DNA, and part of our legacy. For 2021, in addition to the amounts already being paid to support conservation from our domestic fly rod and fly reel sales, we are adding to our conservation commitment by pledging to donate a portion of all flyfishing accessory sales.
2021 Accessories for Conservation
For 2021, we are excited to unveil our new trout-themed fly fishing accessories and gifts to highlight the importance of preserving trout habitat. We came up with these new designs working with the beautiful trout paintings from artist and conservationist James Prosek who donated the use of his artwork. Together we have donated to “Montana Trout Unlimited” and “Keep Fish Wet,” and will continue to donate a portion of all accessory sales to these and other conservation initiatives. Click here (same link as above) to explore our full selection of accessories.
Working with James Prosek
We have been admirers of James Prosek’s paintings, writings and conservation work for over 20 years. As an artist, author and naturalist, James Prosek has established himself as one of the leaders in conservation initiatives protecting wild trout and coldwater habitat. Prosek has raised awareness about the importance of conservation and has set the standard for what it means to be committed to preserving clean water and a fishable future. We are proud of our longtime association with James and to feature his beautiful paintings in our new accessories program to help conservation.
A few of the many conservation groups we support:
For more than 65 years, Montana Trout Unlimited (MTU) has led the charge in advocating for trout in as many ways as there are trout streams and rivers under the Big Sky. Made up of 13 volunteer local chapters and over 4,500 members, they bring their mission to life through grassroots action and engagement. Montana TU improves and restores cold, clean water and habitat for wild and native trout by removing deadbeat dams, planting willows, increasing spawning habitat, and more. Montana TU is Montana’s leading voice in the Montana Legislature and they work hard to inspire the next generation of anglers and conservationists in Montana through education and outreach.
Recently, we donated two rods to the Jefferson Watershed Project which is a regionally focused branch of Montana Trout Unlimited. These rods, together with matching funds, helped Montana TU raise nearly $20,000 which will be used for conservation projects across the greater Jefferson River Basin, including the rivers surrounding our home in Twin Bridges, Montana.
We are encouraged by how widespread the practice of catch-and-release has become for the fly fishing community. This has had a dramatic impact on protecting fish populations. However, catch-and-release is only effective if fish survive. The mission of Keep Fish Wet is to help anglers create better outcomes for each fish they release. They have done important work in helping us better understand the science about catch-and-release and how to best handle fish when releasing them.
Here is what you can do to help ensure the fish you catch have the best chance of survival:
- Minimize air exposure. Ten seconds or less is best
- Eliminate contact with dry surfaces. Wet your hands before holding fish and keep them in or over the water
- Reduce Handling Time. Fish are wild animals and handling is stressful for them, whether they are in your hands or in a net. Reduce the amount of time that fish are restrained.
Bonefish and Tarpon Trust’s mission is to conserve and restore bonefish, tarpon, and permit fisheries and habitats through research, stewardship, education and advocacy. Through science-based approaches, they work to protect and enhance healthy, functioning flats fisheries and habitats in the Western Hemisphere, and to restore those in decline. Bonefish and Tarpon Trust works in collaboration with other institutions and governments to get effect change.
Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers is a call to action that empowers recreational users of aquatic resources in the United States and other countries to help stop the spread of harmful aquatic invasive species through outreach and partnerships. Invasive aquatic species are a direct driver of biodiversity loss, hinder economic development, serve as vectors of disease, decrease the aesthetic value of nature, and prevent recreational activities.
Using their “clean, drain, dry” best practices you can help stop the spread of harmful invasive species.
- CLEAN off visible aquatic plants, animals, and mud from all equipment before leaving water access.
- DRAIN motor, bilge, livewell, and other water containing devices before leaving water access.
- DRY everything for at least five days OR wipe with a towel before reuse.
What Can You Do?
If you’d like to be more informed about the issues facing not simply anglers and stream conservation, we strongly recommend you watch the new David Attenborough movie (on Netflix), and read Bill Gates’ new book about how it is possible to solve these problems. You can make the biggest difference by being informed, buying carbon offsets, believing in a the possibility of change, and by working to keep governments focused on taking steps to mitigate damage and creating incentives for renewable energy.
Watching David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet will change your view of the world. It is that important. The issues facing us are more problematic than most of us realize.
We have long been fans of Planet Earth and other movies documenting nature by David Attenborough and the BBC. David Attenborough narrates this beautifully filmed documentary as he reflects on the beauty of nature and how the world has changed during his lifetime. Please watch it.