Sorry, you need to install flash to see this content.

Hook, line and sinker

SUNY ESF's Trout Bums fishing club has found college students on The Hill who are passionate about outdoors traditions.

Late nights of revelry seem typical for most college students. But instead of standing in the line at Chuck's Cafe, imagine standing along the banks of a river, hoping a trout will take your meticulously tied fly. 

Fishing, once thought of as a hobby for people of an older generation, is picking up a younger crowd. Here in Syracuse at The State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, one group is bringing the age-old pastime to student angling enthusiasts. 

Photo: Billy Holbert
Trout Bums treasurer Chris Powers holds his fourth catch of the day.

Trout Bums

Trout Bums was founded in 2007 by then-freshmen Jamie Lyons and Daniel Liwicki. As avid fly fishermen, both were surprised to find no fishing clubs on the SUNY ESF campus. 

“We felt like it was one of the only clubs missing at ESF,” said co-founder Jamie Lyons.

With an emphasis on fly fishing, Trout Bums and its members schedule several fishing trips throughout the year, including to the famous Salmon River in Pulaski, NY. In addition to fishing, the group helps with cleanup efforts of local rivers and streams. They also hold community outreach programs for youth wanting to learn the art of fly fishing.

For members of Trout Bums, balancing school and fishing could be seen as daunting of a task as reeling in a 30 lb. salmon. 

Throughout his college career, Liwicki, a current graduate student at ESF, has considered himself a focused student. But when the opportunity presents itself to get out of the classroom and into waders, he said it is an easy decision for him. 

“Forget it, I’m going fishing,” Liwicki said. 

Now four years old, Trout Bums is the only student group in Syracuse devoted to fishing. Their group has seen an increase in members from twelve during their first year, to well over 40 members today. For some, this can be seen as representative of the growing fan base.  

Mike Kelly has been fishing rivers and streams in Central New York his whole life. As the former outdoors writer for The Post-Standard, Kelly has seen a strong increase in fishing among younger generations. 

“There are definitely a lot more young people, 20-somethings, fishing than there used to be,” Kelly said.   

Kelly attributes the spike in fishing among college students to the creation of television shows and channels devoted to fishing and the outdoors. “Now you have the Outdoor Channel or the Outdoor Network. Not that long ago you would only have a few shows on Saturday morning … and before that, nothing,” he said. 

For ESF Junior Chris Powers, the media has given the sport of fishing a larger outreach to a younger audience. 

“I’m the one in my apartment who likes to watch the fishing shows, my roommates make me change it because they all want to watch Jersey Shore,” said Powers, who is the current treasurer of Trout Bums.

Fishing Club at SU?

Although there are no fishing clubs or teams on the hill, there is potential. 

Recreation Services held Syracuse University’s first fishing workshop this semester. Students learned the ins and outs of bass fishing from a pro. George Fiorille, a professional tournament angler, taught the class and is interested in the prospect of a fishing club or tournament team at SU. 

“Cornell has a college team and RIT has one in Rochester. I think that a bass fishing team around Syracuse would be really cool,” Fiorille said.  “I’d love to coach it.”

There are more than 200 universities across the nation with fishing teams. The national collegiate fishing championship wrapped up at the beginning of the April.

Although fishing as a sport may be on the rise, some still believe in the deeper meaning.

“It is part of our connectedness with the earth and natural resources. It's more than a sport, it is something more elemental,” Kelly said. 

Where to fish in CNY

Trout Bum members Jamie Lyons and Chris Powers share their favorite fishing spots within an easy drive from the campus. 

View Fishing Hot Spots in a larger map

Post new comment

* Field must be completed for your comment to appear on The NewsHouse
The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.