Kids, Adults Connect During DNR Fly-Fishing Event
They came from as far as Bemidji, Morgan and Willmar, headed for the Good Earth Village near Spring Valley in southeastern Minnesota for a weekend of fly-fishing instruction and adventure along some of the upper Midwest’s finest trout fishing waters.
Thirty-seven youngsters and adult companions traveled to the Village in May and none went away disappointed.
“It was a smashing success,” said Margaret LeBien, a guide and vice-president of the Twin Cities chapter of Trout Unlimited.
The special fly-fishing event was sponsored by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) MinnAqua Program, Trout Unlimited (TU), and the Federation of Fly Fishers (FFF).
Dan Ryan, a DNR MinnAqua Program intern at New Ulm who helped coordinate the program, said the purpose of the event had a slightly different slant than usual take-a-kid-fishing outings.
“In addition to teaching the youth how to fly-fish, their adult companions learned right alongside them,” he said. “The goal, in a sense, was to create new angling partnerships between these youngsters and adults that will continue to grow and to connect them with sporting clubs where they can find additional support back home.”
Fourteen guides from the DNR, four TU chapters, the Lew Jewitt Chapter of the FFF, and individual volunteers were on hand to teach the novice anglers. Participants attended classes in safety, reading the water, stream trout management, casting, knot and fly tying, invertebrates, caring for the catch and outdoor cooking before accompanying the guides to fish various coldwater streams in the area.
For Dan Brown, an FFF member and guide from Taylor Falls, “it was really rewarding to give back to the sport and light some fires not just in the youngsters but in the adults, as well.”
A fire was certainly lit in Kelly Gallagher of Lakeville, who attended with her husband and two children. “We had a fantastic time and can’t wait to get back out on the streams again,” Gallagher said.
Kathy Beaulieu, DNR MinnAqua Program specialist at New Ulm, said the guides “poured their hearts into working with these families over the weekend. They have incredible skills and it was really a privilege to work with all of them. Guiding was hard work, walking up and down streams as well as up and down bluffs to get to some of the waters we fished.”
Over the years, the DNR MinnAqua program has introduced thousands of kids to the pleasures of fishing while at the same time teaching them about the ecology of fish and their habitats. To learn more about MinnAqua programs or the organizations involved in this event, go to:
www.mntu.org for Trout Unlimited
www.lewjewettflyfishing.org for the Federation of Fly Fishers
Bill Hinton, Certified Casting Instructor through FFF, Bob Mitchell’s Fly Shop, Mahtomedi (guide and primary casting instructor), Bob Olsen, Elko (guide), Clarence Giloy, St. Cloud (guide) Phil Pankow, Kasson (guide and knot tying instructor).
Lew Jewett Chapter of Federation of Fly Fishers, Twin Cities
Brad Eaton, Woodbury (guide), Dan Brown, Taylors Falls (guide), David Keene, Maple Grove (guide).
Steve Young, President of Headwaters Chapter, Bemidji (guide and sponsored one youth) Margaret LeBien, Vice President of Twin Cities Chapter (guide and safety instructor) Randy Brock, President of Hiawatha Chapter, Rochester (guide and scholarship)Jim Clark, President of Win-Cres Chapter, Winona (scholarship)