Rise to the Future

Rise to Your National Waters . . .

"It is our task in our time and in our generation to hand down undiminished . . . the natural wealth and color beauty which is ours to those who come after us, as was handed down to us by those who went before."

- John F. Kennedy

The National Forests are home to the waters that President Kennedy described as areas of natural wealth and beauty - where a fishing trip is to be enjoyed both for today and tomorrow. Under its fisheries program, Rise to the Future the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service invites you to fish National Forest waters. These streams, lakes and ponds belong to all Americans. These are your waters!

DC Area Kids Go Fishin’ on the Mall

Photograph:  Little girl poses with her fishing pole and new

David Schmid,
National Fish Program Leader

When you think of the National Mall in Washington DC, you probably don’t identify it as a fishing hot-spot. However, for more than 300 children on June 2, Constitution Garden Pond on the National Mall, provided their first experience at “wetting a line.”

“Youth Fishing Day on the Mall” is an annual event supported by a broad coalition of Federal and State agencies, and non-governmental organizations. During their time on the Mall, students quickly learned how to tie fishing knots, bait hooks and cast a bobber. Students also learned about aquatic ecology, boating safety and catch-and-release fishing. Woodsy Owl and Smokey Bear delighted kids of all ages, and posed for many photos – and shook many hands, or paws, or wings.

The day of fishing fun was the culmination of an educational fishing curriculum that began in the classrooms of the DC and Maryland schools. The kids participating in Fishing Day learned about local aquatic species and aquatic habitats before their visit to the National Mall.

 Photograph: Volunteer helps kids untangle their lines.  Fishing on the Washington DC mall.

Steve Phillips, assistant Fish Program Leader in the Washington Office explained, “This year, I think the kids caught more pond algae than sunfish, but everyone had a great time learning together. Although it may have been the kids’ first fishing experience, we hope it won’t be their last!” Phillips went on to thank the many WO staffs who made the day a success. “We couldn’t have done this without the enthusiastic assistance of the Engineering, Conservation Education, Lands, Wilderness and Ecosystem Management Coordination staffs.”

Fishing Day kicked off a weeklong celebration of National Fishing and Boating Week. During June, Ranger Districts and Forests and Grasslands across the Forest Service, host a wide variety of fishing day events. In most cases, learning about aquatic ecology is as much a focus of the event as is catching fish.

The Annual D.C. National Fishing and Boating Week Youth Fishing Event is a collaborative effort between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, The D.C. Dept. of the Environment, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Forest Service, the Recreational Fishing and Boating Foundation, Trout Unlimited and C.A.S.T. for Kids.

Photograph: Volunteer helps get pond algae off happy angler's hook.

(Note the pond algae being taken off the hook. Delicious with a little BBQ sauce.)


Unique Sport Fishing Opportunities

The 156 National Forests and 19 National Grasslands offer a wide spectrum of unique fishing experiences. The 191 million acres of the National Forest System lands contain 128,000 miles of fishing streams and rivers, over 2.2 million acres of lakes, ponds and reservoirs, and 12,500 miles of coast and shoreline.

Whether it's trolling for salmon in Alaska or casting for bass in Louisiana - Fishing is great in the National Forests.

Outdoor Family Fun

You don't have to be an expert angler to fish in the National Forests. Many visitors enjoy quality fishing along with other outdoor activities such as boating, hiking, and camping.

America's Fishing Grounds

The National Forests are the most important federal recreation lands in this country. Almost 60 million anglers take part in some type of sport fishing. Fishing enthusiasts currently spend more than 46.5 million angler days and $1.21 billion dollars a year in pursuit of their sport on the National Forests, and public demand for fishing is expected to nearly double in the next fifty years! As more Americans get involved in fishing, the need to conserve and enhance our National Forest fishing grounds becomes even more important.

Stewards of the Resource

As managers of the National Forests, the Forest Service is dedicated to meeting the needs of today's anglers, while ensuring the enjoyment of future generations fishing. At the same time, the Forest Service manages a wide array of activities ranging from picnicking to timber harvesting in a way that makes certain these valuable resources will always be available to the American public.

The Forest Service Fisheries Program

Fisheries management has been part of the National Forest Program since 1897. The Forest Service focuses on managing fish habitats and angling opportunities in cooperation with State agencies who regulate and manage fish populations. The Forest Service has re-emphasized this program through Rise to the Future which outlines an action plan to enhance fishery resources and improve fishing.  Rise to the Future is founded on the knowledge and cooperation of government agencies, private industry, researchers, and the angling public. These partnerships guarantee the enjoyment of healthy resources for generations to come.

Habitat Management and Protection

Forest fish habitats are managed to protect and maintain healthy fish populations, recover threatened or endangered species and produce fish important for sport and commercial use. During other forest resource activities such as timber harvest and mining, special measures are taken to ensure fishery resources are not impacted. Habitats are enhanced directly through projects such as reef construction for bass, and barrier removal for migrating salmon.

Fishing Opportunities and Access

Forest Service research on fish habitat is merged with population data to ensure accurate resource information is used to maintain and expand fishing opportunities. Another goal of the fisheries program is to improve fishing and boating access for forest anglers.

Public Cooperation and Education

As the Forest Service strives to enhance its partnership with States, it is also improving public cooperation and education through fishing and conservation groups. The efforts of groups such as Trout Unlimited, the Sport Fishing Institute, and the FishAmerica Foundation are vitally important to the success of the Rise to the Future fisheries program. Such partnership make certain that Americans will always be able to enjoy the bountiful resources of our National Forests.