Izaak Walton League

The Fishing Hole

“If I might be judge, God never did make a more calm, quiet, innocent recreation than angling.”

Excerpt From: Izaak Walton. The Compleat Angler

Basis of The Isaac Walton League

Izaak Walton LogoAs the author of The Compleat Angler, Izaak Walton’s (1594-1683) name is synonymous with fishing.  He thus became the perfect namesake for The Isaac Walton League, an association originally formed to preserve fishing opportunities for future generations. The group was founded in Chicago in 1922 and by 1924 had 100,000 members and enough political strength to have the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge designated.

The initial focus on fishing led to efforts to keep water clean and ultimately led to passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972.  Today, with around 50,000 members, the Isaac Walton League is interested in clean air and energy, fish and wildlife, soils and agriculture, woods and public lands, outdoor recreation and water.

Broader Interests

In the outdoor recreation arena, angling is, of course, a major interest, but the league also has efforts underway to generally get kids and families recreating outdoors through their family nature club initiative.  They also support hunting, shooting sports and outdoor ethics.


The purpose of a family nature club is to connect children and their families with nature through direct experience on a regular basis. The way individual family nature clubs are designed to meet that common purpose varies significantly, depending on the context within which the club operates and the specific goals of club leaders. Overall, family nature clubs offer low-cost, simple ways for individuals and organizations to foster positive social and conservation outcomes.

Getting Kids Outdoors

To support getting kids outdoors,  the League has developed a three-part webinar series called “Youth in the Outdoors”:

  1. Conservation’s Future: Why We Must Re-Connect Children to Nature – frequent, unstructured childhood play in natural settings is the most common influence on life-long conservation values. So it is vital to restore the bonds between children and nature.
  2. Engaging Youth in the Outdoors – learn about the keys to running a successful youth program.
  3. Youth Programs That Work – explore youth programs and projects developed by League chapters and how others can build on their successes.

The Bottom Line

With chapters across the U.S., although not too many in the western and southern states, there may be one in or near your community if you have an interest in supporting the group’s ideals.  If there is no chapter near you, contact the League for assistance in starting one.

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