What is Fishing for Wellness?

Fishing for Wellness (FFW) is an individual, group, and community-based approach to overcoming challenge and adversity. FFW is an application of the research-based frameworks of EcoWellness and mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR). FFW teaches participants how to fish (traditional and/or fly-fishing) with the intention to bolster wellness and encourage sustainable, balanced living. From the rhythm of casting to seeing someone else on the river, FFW is designed to help individuals approach living with greater purpose and intentionality. Check out the new website fishingforwellness.com


Reach and teach youth and adults purpose-driven fishing strategies to promote wellness across the lifespan. 


To provide individuals, groups, and communities with creative and sustainable ways of overcoming normal and abnormal life challenges, to foster outlets for healing among those who hurt, and to teach life-long skills that may improve wellness and aid in the prevention of social, mental, physical, and spiritual angst.    

FFW Core Values

Enhance direct and indirect access to fishing, including the actual experience of getting outside on the river, creek, lake, or pond—and in the contemplation of a fishing trip, including getting prepared for a trip the night or week before, reading about fishing destinations, and learning more about the species of fish one is pursuing.

Facilitate positive connections with angling that include the exploration of memories (positive, neutral, and negative), the feelings and thoughts one has around particular experiences on the water, and the physical connections one has with themselves (i.e., noticing one’s experienced joy, anxiety, gratitude, judgment, etc.).

 Develop an appropriate sense of self-efficacy and self-esteem on the water (and off!) in participants through the learning, implementation, and ongoing reflection of skills including 1) self/other safety, 2) target species knowledge, and 3) fishing skills and techniques.

 Preserve the fish and the environments in which they inhabit with the purpose of fostering participant environmental, community, and self-agency.

Strengthen one’s experience of connecting with something bigger than themselves through the mindful engagement of one’s surroundings and his or her connection with the surrounding space.

 Expand one’s sense of self to include positive connections with others on the water and off through the exploration of one’s connection with fishing, the environment, and others individuals may encounter at the places the fish. 

Context for FFW’s Development

Dr. Reese has fished seriously for steelhead, salmon, and trout for 20 years, including several years of professional guiding. Fishing has been therapeutic in his own life, which has contributed to his passion for helping others heal through fishing. He earned his masters and education specialist degrees in School Counseling & Guidance at the University of Florida and completed his PhD in Counseling & Counselor Education at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He is currently an assistant professor at Oregon State University Cascades in Bend, Oregon in the Master of Counseling program. He developed the construct of EcoWellness and integrates it in his work with a variety of populations in the community. Dr. Reese is in private practice at EcoWellness Counseling & Consulting LLC and works with children, adolescents, and adults experiencing mental health and life transition challenges.