Golden Trout Program

by Victor (Vic) Maiello, Jr.

This is a skills/knowledge development program in which participants undertake various fly fishing and conservation-related activities in order to improve their skills and increase their understanding and enjoyment of the sport. Upon completion of program requirements, participants receive a special ‘Golden Trout Award’ pin and Certificate of Completion and have their names engraved on the club’s perpetual Golden Trout plaque that resides in the clubhouse.

The program was started in 1989 to provide a structure and curriculum that would facilitate and motivate the advancement of flyfishing skills (and related knowledge) among members and encourage club involvement. It’s hoped that participation also serves to foster future club leaders and mentors – both so crucial to sustaining the foundation and function of the club.  Most important, the program is intended to enable participants to have fun while learning!


  1. Participants must complete seven of the ten program categories shown in the Golden Trout Program handbook (and summarized below). Categories 1-4 are required to be completed by all participants. Categories 5-10 are elective: any three may be completed, for a total of seven, to fulfill the requirements of the program. There is no time limit for program completion.
  2. When a category has been completed, the participant will ask the respective category ‘sponsor’ to sign off that category in their Golden Trout Program handbook and will notify the Golden Trout Program coordinator (the coordinator will track each participant’s progress).
  3. See below for signing up for the program.

Summary of Categories


  1. Fly Casting: (Required)
    Complete the FFI Casting Challenge Bronze level challenge.  Every fly fisher should know these essential casting techniques – each of which, under certain conditions, is crucial to being able to fish in the most effective manner.  Contact John Hogg for details.
  2. Knot Tying: (Required)
    Demonstrate tying each of the following basic fishing knots: improved clinch knot, blood knot, nail knot, surgeon’s knot, uni-knot, non-slip mono-knot, and perfection loop. Tying these connections quickly and properly can definitely improve your fishing success.  Contact Jim Degnan for details.
  3. Conservation: (Required)
    Choose one of three activities: a.) Attend and report on a conservation organization meeting, b.) Research a current fisheries conservation issue and write a letter supporting your opinion, or c.) Work a day on a club conservation-related project.  In other words… get involved!  Contact the VP Conservation for details.
  4. Club Event: (Required)
    Assist directly in an organized club event, such as the annual picnic, annual dinner, Cal Expo ISE show, Salmon Festival, a youth event, etc. Other events may also qualify (except fish-outs).  Contact an event leader for details.

Elective: Any three may be completed

  1. Club Fish-outs:
    Attend two organized club fish-outs. Check The Leader or website for upcoming outings, then sign up and go.  Learn new places and ways to fish, and get to know fellow club members a little better in the process!
  2. Literature:
    Produce a one-page article for The Leader. The topic can be almost anything that’s related to fly fishing. Write something that you think readers will benefit from or just enjoy reading about. Feel free to use supporting photographs to help tell your story (as long as the photos don’t take up the entire page).
  3. Entomology:
    Capture, identify and submit specimens from three major insect groups that fish depend on for food (ie: mayflies, caddis flies, and stoneflies). Discovering exactly where the bugs live and what they really look like can help you select and present their limitations more effectively.
  4. Fly Tying:
    Tie 7 out of 10 of the following fly patterns: Parachute Adams, Stimulator, Elk Hair Caddis, Bird’s Nest, Pheasant Tail Nymph, Blood Midge, Hare’s Ear Flashback, Jay Fair’s Wiggle Tail, Denny Rickard’s Stillwater Nymph and Deer Hair Popper.
  5. Rod Building:
    Build a fly rod from a rod blank and components. Many beginners start with a rod building ‘kit’ that contains all the needed materials. Or, you can select components individually for a truly ‘custom’ rod. The price of materials starts around $100 for a very respectable trout rod.
  6. Net Building:
    Construct a wooden landing net from scratch. You select the net frame design and types of wood to make it from. Borrow the ‘jig’ (a form around which the net frame is bent to shape) from the category sponsor or design your own. In the end, you’ll have a treasured, hand-made net.

To Participate in the Golden Trout Program

Just write a check for $10 (made payable to ‘Granite Bay Flycasters’) and give it to the program coordinator (Vic Maiello) at any monthly club meeting. To pay with a credit card from the GBF Store, select Golden Trout Manual to sign up for the program and purchase the handbook.  In return, you’ll receive the Golden Trout handbook (in person or by mail) – and the club’s commitment to help you succeed in the program.

Special offer:  Sign up for the program and get one category ‘grandfathered’.  This means you can get credit for any one category that you may have completed prior to signing up for the program.  Example… last month you went on a fantastic fish-out with the club and this month you decide to sign up for the Golden Trout Program.  If the category sponsor will vouch for your participation and sign off your handbook for that prior event, then that counts toward your completion of the program!

If you have any questions about the Golden Trout Program, please contact Victor (Vic) Maiello, Jr. at