Dear MMTU members, I hope everyone has been having a wonderful winter; but, I am sure we are all looking forward to spring.
Unfortunately there has been some sad new about some of our members.
I learned shortly before composing this message of the sad news that Neal Miller and his wife Nancy have suffered a major fire loss that completely destroyed their home. Many of us will remember Neal from our chapter meetings and from his display of multiple bamboo rods during a meeting at Stephens park. Fortunately they feel they have been blessed by many friends and family who have sheltered, prayed and cared for them. They suggest that if you would like to help that you donate or volunteer with your favorite charity supporting disaster victims and the homeless and that you increase your church pledge.
Last month I learned of the passing of Bill Carter when we received a donation in his memory. Bill was a long time member of our chapter. I am a relatively new member of MMTU and unfortunately I never knew Bill, so at our last chapter meeting I asked the membership about him. Bill was remembered as warm, gregarious guy who was very active in our chapter. Bill loved fly fishing. Everyone remembered him as a guy that people were blessed to have spent time with. It is unfortunate that I never meet him, having folks like that around brings joy to our lives.
Last month at our chapter meeting some of us tied flies. All of us had fun being with each other. We had a member of our chapter at the meeting who we had not met before. Scott is a former active member of a TU chapter in Virginia. Scott is now a local resident and we hope that he will continue to come to our meetings.
Our next meeting will again be at Rock Query House. The meeting is on Tuesday, March 1 from 6:00 pm to 8:30 or 9:00 pm. I have not finalized the arrangements for a speaker but I hope to have a presentation of the Trout Egg Hatching project that the Gateway Chapter is engaged in. The project, is pilot study for something that could become much bigger. The project is fascinating and while the study is not finished it appears to be a success. If we have the Egg Hatch presentation it will be a video conference. I will bring a large screen TV. I hope we will have more new and returning members come to the meeting.
We received a message from Tri-Lakes Fly Fishers They are having a Fly Fishing Exposition on April 9 th from 9 AM to 4 PM at the Benson Convention Center in Clinton Missouri. Admission is free. It sounds like fun and I think I will go. If anyone else would like to go I will be glad to take riders and if we have enough interest maybe we can caravan. Details about the Exposition can be obtained by an email to email@example.com or by calling 417-646- 5568. They also have a Facebook page: Tri-Lakes Fly Fishers. They will be having fly tiers from around the country, fishing and outdoor sporting vendors, casting instruction, a silent auctions and live fly fishing seminars.
I think we have a full spring program developing. See Curt Morgret’s Wisconsin trip article in this newsletter. We will be doing our Stream Team assessment of the Little Piney at our usual sampling location. There is also a member planning a stream clean-up that we can all participate in. Okay that's it. Tight lines everyone. Hope to see you March 1 at the chapter meeting.
Wisconsin Road Trip Curt is planning:
“Never really been but I’d sure like to go.” “Hey, Isn’t that a line from ‘Mexico’? Aren’t we going to Wisconsin?” “Yeah, but in any given situation, with a couple of beers, I can pretty much find a James Taylor lyric that fits.”
It’s true. We’re going to Wisconsin to fish and camp and just generally commune with the Wisconsians. Put it on your calendar: June 9-12. Show up when you want, leave when you want. Bring some food or beg off the others, but, personally, I’m putting some bacon and eggs, burgers and maybe some peanut butter in my cooler. Well, peanut butter doesn’t have to go in a cooler, but you get my meaning.
We’re camping at Jerome Kohout’s farm at 14870 Crow Valley Road, Fennimore, WI 53809. Put it in your phone and don’t get lost. Firewood is available and I think its $10 per tent per night (double up if you want to save some money.) Bring a chair and some Deep Woods Off for comfortable socializing in the evenings.
If you’re not a camper, nearby Fennimore has several places that can accommodate you. https://fennimore.com/community-life/accommodations/ But if you do, you might be considerate of the campers and not show up smelling shower fresh with a shave. That would just be rude.
There’s a multiverse of streams within 12 miles of where we will camp, including the Big Green, Blue River, Big Spring Branch, Big Rock Branch, Sixmile branch, Bronson Creek, Castle Rock, Doc Smith Branch, Crooked Creek, Sanders Creek, Grant River, Rogers Branch and Borah Creek. All have had improvements and have easements. There are a couple of folks in our group that have some experience on these, so, you can probably at least get some directions where to park. Also, Wisconsin has a great interactive map for finding trout streams as well. https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/Fishing/trout/TROUT.html
You’ll need to buy a fishing license unless you like the outlaw kinda life. If you don’t, camp a little further away from me; the bright lights from the police cars wake me up. https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/Fishing/outreach/FishingLicenses I know between Bill and me, and maybe Mike, we have a plethora of camp cooking appliances. We’ll have at least a small grill, two-burner stove, a Dutch oven or maybe two, and some coffee making supplies. If you’re not a camp cook, the Castlerock Inn is close by. And if you need a tent or a sleeping bag, you can ask around at a meeting. Somebody will have extra stuff and the last time I used some of Bill’s he didn’t charge me too much.
We’re going to invite Duke Welter and some of the local TU folks to join us one evening and we’ll post that info if it comes together. Duke is a failed retiree, first as a lawyer, then as a TU representative for the Driftless Area effort, and he said they would enjoy the opportunity to greet Mid Mo TU. Its Wisconsin, so, you know, beer and brats.
Anyway, it’s a good opportunity to shuck the COVID blues and get the heck outta town. Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re going so we can get a head count. See you there!
Bill's Best Books:
At a MMTU strategic planning meeting a while back, Jim Washabaugh noted that it appeared the growth demographic for our group is retirees! Likewise in the TU forum there has been much recent discussion of aging. This has got me to thinking – when they send me off to assisted living, which handful of my ~ 300 fishing titles will I take along?
The books that appeal to me these days are unlikely to help me catch more or bigger trout, but perhaps I’ve caught nearly enough trout in my lifetime. For me, trout fishing is no longer about how many or how big (not so however for bluegill or crappie for my dinner), but rather where I want to be.
Most of these books take me to these locations in my mind. Recently I had the opportunity to fish Dupuy’s spring creek in Montana for a couple days. I can’t say that I caught many, but the challenge was fabulous. Nick Lyons in ‘Spring Creek’ describes spending a summer having exclusive access to a phenomenal spring creek and fishing it daily. It would be like having Dupuy’s or Armstrong’s to yourself for the season, a fantasy made real, a chance to get to know each fish. It is also roughly equivalent to $160,000 in rod fees . . .
I occasionally send copies of my favorite books to my children. Maybe it is a chance for them to get to know me better, now that we are half-way across the country from one another. I recently sent them a copy of Harry Middleton’s ‘The Earth is Enough’. This book describes Middleton’s youth under the care of his grandfather and great-uncle,. Although I lived with my parents, I came late and my older brothers were mostly gone as I was growing up and my parents were older. We spent days working on the farm and evenings reading or looking at maps dreaming of places we would never go. I, however, have been fortunate to be able to travel quite extensively, often with trout in mind.
My son, P.J., has been my frequent companion on trips to the east and west and Arctic. We have had some adventures, such as losing him in the Yellowstone backcountry for a very long day. Tom McGuane’s ‘Sons’ brings those to mind. McGuane is a fine writer of essays and ‘Sons’ can be found as a slim volume to itself and it is also included in collections, ‘Live Water’ and it’s the final essay in ‘The Longest Silence’. Perhaps it is one of McGuane’s favorites as well.
Although not really a fishing book per se, this one is about travel on a river and one I would include. Ted Kerasote’s ‘Out There’ was part of the reason that I led four of us on a 300 mile canoe trip to the Arctic Ocean on the Horton River. The Horton is the northern-most river in mainland Canada. It is remote. That doesn’t really describe the reality. It is traveled by 5-6 groups per year. Kerasote writes, “We’re not on a 300,000 acre national park or a million acre wilderness area. No bridge crosses the Horton, no ranger station sits on its banks, no sign will tell us when we’ve reached a campsite. The nearest road is a 15 day walk to the west, if a person could walk 20 miles per day over this terrain. Millions of acres doesn’t seem worth talking about up here. This is another planet.” Aside from my personal connection to the Horton, this book has a very interesting take on technology in the wilderness. My thought is, carry a sat phone and don’t use it.
It would be hard to leave out one of John Gierach’s titles, maybe ‘Trout Bum’ or ‘Even Brook Trout Get the Blues’. A recent post on the TU forum suggested ‘No Shortage of Good Days’. I have 19 titles among which to choose. Gierach just seems like a guy with whom it would be fun to have a beer, although when I have met him he doesn’t really come across that way. A little like me perhaps . . .
I’ve gone on too long, but I’ll list a few others. Dave Hughes ‘Big Indian Creek’ describes a weekend of fishing on a creek in eastern Oregon. It could just as well be on Crane or Mill Creek. He does as well at taking you there as any author I’ve read.
Finally I’ll list Pete Fromm’s ‘Indian Creek Chronicles’. It also isn’t about fishing, but describes Fromm’s winter tending salmon fry at a hatchery in remote Idaho wilderness. It was the second book that I sent to my children, perhaps my very favorite book. I unfortunately lost my heavily annotated copy on a flight to Chile, I regret that because the annotations capture my thoughts as a reread it over time. I like used books with annotations because they give me insight into the readers’ thoughts. I nearly always buy used copies of books when I can.
These are all books that I read again and again. There are others, I’ll leave them for another day.
Other Club Business
If you want to learn more about water quality and what the fish are eating, sign up for Introductory and Level 1 training: Certification for each level requires completion of a 2-part virtual training and stream-side training.
Step 1. Virtual Training
Register for Part A and B of the live virtual training or watch the recorded lessons at your convenience. These educational presentations are open to anyone!
Introduction to VWQM: Intro level certified volunteers can collect stream discharge and biological data.
PART A: INTRODUCTION TO VWQM, SITE SELECTION, and STREAM DISCHARGE
PART B: SAFETY, BIOLOGICAL MONITORING, WATERSHED MAPPING and ONLINE TOOLS
LIVE 02/22/2022 9:30 AM-11:30 AM
LIVE 02/23/2022 9:30 AM-11:30 AM
LIVE 03/01/2022 5:30 PM-7:30 PM
LIVE 03/03/2022 5:30 PM-7:30 PM RECORDED (Watch any time – Paste this link into your browser!) youtube.com/c/missouristreamteam
Level 1 certified volunteers can collect visual survey and water chemistry data. PART A: INTRODUCTION TO LEVEL 1, VISUAL SURVEY PART B: SAFETY and WATER CHEMISTRY LIVE 03/08/2022 5:30PM-7:30PM LIVE 03/10/2022 5:30PM-7:30PM
RECORDED (Watch any time - Paste this link into your browser!) youtube.com/c/missouristreamteam
Step 2. Field Training
After completing Part A and Part B virtual trainings for a level of training, you are eligible to attend the field training. During which, you will practice monitoring methods at a stream site under the direction of Stream Team staff.
Paste this link to register for the virtual and stream-side certification trainings: Paste this link into your browser:
FIELD TRAININGS ARE SCHEDULED AROUND THE STATE
As you know, many of us in TU are working to keep climate change from doing more harm to cold-water fisheries. It is nice to know other groups are also protecting our fish. https://thesustainableangler.com/
If you did not see this in the last newsletter, check out TU's conservation work: https://vimeo.com/585113735? embedded=true&source=vimeo_logo&owner=7977203 in a video by lead scientist, Helen Neville.
I just listened to a timely podcast on the Wisconsin Driftless Area: https://www.askaboutflyfishing.com/shows/driftless-area/. It offers tips on streams and flies and hatches. if you are thinking of joining Curt and the crew in June, you may want to check it out.
Stay safe and share your stories and pictures for the newsletter, web site and Facebook page. Hope you are getting so time to fish,
Council Climate Change Coordinator
NLC Climate Change Workgroup Co-chair