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Fishing is more than just catching fish. It is a ritual, a rite of passage, and a way to close the gap between generations of people.

The sport of fishing most likely was taught to many of us by a dad, an uncle, a friend or a sibling. I was taught to fish by my grandmother. For centuries, this is how the sport was handed down to the next generation. It is my fear that the next generation of anglers is being taught (by a few anglers) to be a secret sport, one which is never shared with others to ensure personal gain.

There are individuals which take from the sport and never give back. This has always bothered me, but everyone has to live their life the way they choose, and I am not their judge. In addition, there often is so much bickering, complaining and negativism that it takes away the enjoyment of the sport. This is not limited to personal conversations, but now has grown to social media and other public message forums.

More on fishing: Fishing news from around the state | Your fishing photos | Build a map | Read fishing reports | We're blogging about fishing

I would like to encourage all anglers to give back to the sport, regardless of what role you play inside the fishing society. Spend that negative energy in a more positive fashion. For those individuals which are willing to help here are some local groups which would love your support. That support can come through financial means or volunteerism.

Fishing has No Boundaries:

The Fond du Lac Chapter has their annual event on August 24/25, and is seeking individuals to help with the event. http://www.fhnbinc.org/chapters/fond-du-lac-wi/

Youth Clinics:

There are always youth clinics that need donations or assistance. Feel free to contact the organizers. The National Professional Anglers Association (NPAA) holds dozen of clinics throughout the area. There are also events like Kids Wish for Fish, Get Kids Hooked on Fishing, or Fish for Kids, which give plenty of opportunities to give back to the sport.

Join a fishing club:

Every club I am a member of has opportunities each month for individuals to volunteer for projects which help the fisheries.

Area High School Fishing Teams:

Some High schools are forming fishing teams. They are inadequately funded and need supplies. Your gently used or new equipment could make a substantial impact to their programs.

Mark Schram is an avid tournament fisherman, focusing most of his efforts on the Winnebago System in East Central Wisconsin. Mark's blog will focus on the current fishing conditions and selected topics related to the Lake Winnebago region, outdoor sports and life in general. As an angler, he ultimately strives to educate new and established fishermen on the joys of nature. Mark is the founder of www.myfishingpartner.com, a published outdoor writer and an active member of many fishing organizations including the National Professional Anglers Association (NPAA #182).

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