Video: Tom Rosenbauer and Joel Johnson discuss Diversity in Fly Fishing

As a nation, we are having important and meaningful conversations about racism in our society, and this has led to the outdoor industry–including fly fishing–to examine how race plays a role in participation. This is a topic that often generates strong responses, as evidenced by the comments when we posted Alvin Dedeaux’s “Racism is Real!” video last month. While many anglers support these discussions, others believe that we are “allowing politics to intrude on fly fishing.”

At Orvis, we don’t believe that this is a political issue at all. If our vision is to inspire people to love the adventure and wonder in nature, that inspired world must be inclusive, equitable and without barriers

Joel Johnson with a wild Trinity River steelhead caught on Tsnungwe native land with guide Kayla Katayama.
Photo by Kayla Katayama

Last week, Tom had a great discussion with Joel Johnson about these issues, and we think you will find it extremely illuminating. Johnson runs an advertising agency called Admirable Devil–which has worked with many fly-fishing brands and conservation organizations–and he is the former Marketing Officer for Trout Unlimited, so he’s had tons of experience in the world of fly fishing. He also appeared on this blog way back in 2012, before I’d actually met him.

I don’t remember ever hearing such a great conversation about race and fly fishing. Joel’s perspectives on his angling life and experiences and the way black people often feel about venturing into the outdoors gives us all a lot to think about.

5 thoughts on “Video: Tom Rosenbauer and Joel Johnson discuss Diversity in Fly Fishing”

  1. This was a really a great session. I learned a lot and appreciated Joel’s comments about, mentoring, inviting people to fish with you, hiring diverse guides, and understanding different regions and watersheds. His comments about Healing Waters and the fact that TU is offering memberships to Essential Workers might be the path to getting to know anglers different from ourselves. Which will ultimately prove to be just one more learning experience while on the water!

    Thank you very much!

  2. this is so well stated and helps me distinguish between politics from barriers
    “At Orvis, we don’t believe that this is a political issue at all. If our vision is to inspire people to love the adventure and wonder in nature, that inspired world must be inclusive, equitable and without barriers”

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