The decline in the number of anglers is obvious, not worth debating IMO. We have virtually no juniors on the river; and at 50 years of age I am one of the youngsters. There is a cottage I can see from the kitchen window that 15 years ago during the season was almost fully booked with anglers during the season; now they get maybe 4 weeks angling booking per season. Part of this could be put down to the decline of Watten but the locals are not buying permits either; and the club meetings are changing rules to facilitate the lack of attendance at meetings.
I have my doubts whether the association on the river will be viable in 10 -15 years time. So that's one negative. The bigger one will be if angling participation continues falling at present rates the anti brigade will have a far easier target without our collective voting presence.
We are of a similar age and I'm soon to be 50. I joined angling club in my kneck of the woods about 20 years ago and the membership was around 280-300 at its peak. I joined the committee a few years ago to help out. We are now down to 60 members, people are literally passing away. This is a coarse angling club that leases around 5 miles of river. The youngest of our members is around 40 years of age. This season when the river has not been in the fields I've encountered six members fishing when checking permits. I'm lucky that I'm lure fishing or latterly fishing for Pike with a fly rod so I can walk more or less all of it while out enjoying myself.
As to what the future holds angling wise, time will out I guess.