We asked Bryan Huskey with Keepemwet, to explain the process behind the entire Keepemwet ideology. Here’s what he had to say:
Are smart phones and social media impacting our fisheries? Can we encourage better handling practices and faster, lower impact photo sessions throughout the catch & release process? Should fly fishing culture and community weigh in on this? These are questions I ask while scrolling social media, and a few years back became the foundation of Keepemwet Fishing.
In 2010 a Boise fly fishing club asked me to do a presentation on trout photography. I titled one section “Keep ‘Em Wet” encouraging anglers to get their camera down into the fish’s world rather up into ours. It makes for more interesting images, and is also better for the survival of fish that are to be released following photos. With the rise of social media, images of “catch & release” fish began to flood my screen, I wondered if there was a way to encourage lower impact photo practices for these fish. I recalled my presentation title and began hashtagging my images #keepemwet. The catchy phrase took off and soon became commonplace in social media postings. Native Fish Society contacted me about a promotion they were undertaking and how the phrase worked well for their campaign title. My friends at Fly Fishing Film Tour and Patagonia hosted photo contests based on the use of the tag. The simple phrase encapsulated a variety of important elements of fish handling, and folks were taking notice.
Defining A Movement:
With its popularity and catchiness, for some the message still failed to hit its mark. As pleased as I was to see its widespread use, I still wanted to better define its meaning as I’d intended it. I felt the phrase could be used to create meaningful awareness while uniting anglers of all kinds mindful of their own respective fisheries. Setting out to refine this message and communicate ways anglers could tilt the “fish porn” dial and reduce their impact, I created Keepemwet Fishing social media accounts to spread the message and better define it’s meaning. With the help of good friend Paul Moinester, we assembled suggested tips, principles and a wide range of supporting partners onto an official website. Dr. Andy Danylchuk kindly offered his fisheries expertise to validate the science based foundations our message.
What Lies Ahead:
The support and enthusiasm for these efforts thus far has been incredible. Partnerships and support from individuals, companies, media outlets and conservation organizations has been encouraging, inspiring really. Moving forward I hope to unify this core group of anglers from all stripes and tackles, who share the perspective that a few fundamental practices of fish handling set ideal examples for others. Promoting awareness of how easy it is to simply keep a fish wet during release and photography is a goal I feel is absolutely obtainable and can only benefit fisheries and sport angling as a whole. As I write this now, there are over 38,000 images on Instagram tagged #keepemwet. With this kind of reach I believe we really are shifting “fish selfie” photos in a fish friendlier direction and I’m grateful for each and every angler, brand and organization for supporting this movement.
All photos courtesy of Bryan Huskey.