The Jim Range Rowboat on the water at the Cove at Fletcher's Boat House (photo by Brian McClintock).
The National Casting Call has become an establishment in Washington, D.C. A day where the fly fishing industry, conservation organizations, and politicians gather to celebrate the good work that anglers do to preserve our nation’s fisheries. Hosted by the American Fly Fishing Trade Association on April 27, the Casting Call took on a memorial tone this year, as it was renamed in honor of Jim Range. Range, co-founder of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and AFFTA’s legislative representative, was instrumental in starting the first Casting Call 10 years ago to show D.C. politicos the role that anglers play not only in the conservation of our natural resources, but also to the economy.
The weather at this year’s casting call was vastly improved from the previous years, which led to more boats on the water and more shad caught. While the newly renamed Jim Range National Casting Call is the venue where the National Fish Habitat Action Plan announces its 10 Waters to Watch and there are awards to honor conservation work within the fly fishing community, the American and hickory shad runs are the main event. The return of these fish runs, which went from huge numbers in the 1800s of fish to a non-existent population in 1970s to a resurgence in the Potomac River today, is one of the nation’s great conservation success stories. Many fish were caught on the Monday event, but also at the day’s precursor, the Family and Youth Casting Call, which saw record numbers of attendance this year, with crowds topping 800 to learn how to flyfish, tie flies, and experience the outdoors.
The other highlight was at the Jim Range National Casting Call this year was the dedication of one of the red rowboats that Fletcher’s Cove rents in honor of Jim Range. Range spent many hours in these rowboats, and now he will always be on the water.
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