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SW Anglers look to increase membership

The Southwest Anglers Association has seen a dip in membership over the last couple of years.

The decrease has come to the point where the association is discussing dissolving.

“We’ve had some minor discussion, because it is a fairly old club,” said Curt Decker, the association’s secretary. “It seems like the trends for a lot of clubs is decreased membership for whatever reason. We’ve talked with other clubs in other areas and that’s the trend right now.”

Southwest Anglers President LeRoy Schmitt said it has been tough to see membership continuing to drop.

“The club has been around since the mid-’80’s, but unfortunately in recent years we’ve lost key members,” he said. “Some have retired. Some have moved away. Unfortunately when those members moved away, relatively speaking, no one has filled that void. Our membership in recent years has declined.”

However, Southwest Anglers — which is a non-profit organization — is always searching for new members. Its annual membership fee is $10 a year.

The association meets the second Monday of every month at 6:30 p.m. in the Dickinson Eagles Club and has a dinner before the meeting, which is free to all members. Conversation during the meetings range from fishing tips to North Dakota Game and Fish Department employees talking about the upcoming fishing seasons.

“We discuss upcoming projects or possibilities,” Decker said. “We discuss latest fishing reports and it varies through the season. Some members do little presentations on their techniques for fishing.”

Schmitt said anyone with interest in joining can attend meetings and ask questions.

“We try to establish it as a family-oriented club for anglers of all ages and both genders,” he said. “We try to promote the angling interest in southwestern North Dakota.”

Southwest Anglers hope to continue its efforts, which include hosting the popular Kids Fishing Derby in June. Decker said it takes about 35 to 40 volunteers for the derby to take place. He said volunteers are from the association, the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service.

“An average of 10 members will show up from the Southwest Anglers and we probably get 12 to 15 from each of the U.S. Forest Service office and Bureau of Land Management office,” he said. “It puts us right in the 35 to 40 people per year.”