GBF Supports Youth Fly Fishing

“We Will Love Only That Which We Understand…”

By Dave Fujiyama, GBF VP Conservation 2017-18

I bet that you, like me, have enjoyed a lifetime’s worth of fishing adventures:  catching bluegill on mealworms from a farm pond, watching rainbows rise to an evening hatch, turning over rocks in a trout stream to glimpse the life underneath.  I bet you, too, feel the need to pass that passion along to the next generation, right?  Now’s your chance at the annual TU Trout Camp!  Each year, your GBF teams up with the Truckee Chapter of Trout Unlimited to teach kids about the joys of flyfishing, and we need your help.  You can donate extra flies that you’ve never used, volunteer to teach the kids how to tie up a wooly bugger, or send some cash to the Conservation VP to help fund the program!  Let’s make sure the next generation is as committed to protecting fisheries as we are, not to mention getting an early start on a lifetime of enjoyment in the art of fly fishing.

Meet the future of fly fishing! Twenty youngsters spent a fun-filled weekend in our beloved Tahoe, learning to tie knots and flies, cast into headwinds, and land fish!

Kudos to Trout Unlimited’s Truckee Chapter for organizing this event so that the future of fly fishing is secure in the hands of well-educated anglers. These kids will remember the joy of casting under bluebird skies to fat, healthy rainbows, and they’ll fight to keep the habitat clean so that their kids will be able to enjoy the tug at the end of a fly line!

Our club was represented by Michael Kaul, Kent Ripley, Jared Shakin, and Dave Fujiyama, who helped kids to discover the underwater world of macroinvertebrates from Squaw Creek on Saturday June 8, and to find the joy in tying and catching fish on your own wooly buggers on Sunday at Sawmill Lake. Won’t you mark your calendars for June 2020 to help out? Ask any one of us…it was a hoot!

After each day, all participants were asked during a debriefing session to share what they’d learned. Notable are the many comments from the adult guides who remarked that they were impressed with the positive attitude of the young anglers—there was always a brisk headwind to cast into, our marabou kept flying off the tying table, and Sawmill’s trout were somewhat reticent on Day 2. There could have been a lot of whining, but to the kids’ credit, they kept on casting and hoping for a tug. In that, they may have learned the first lesson: it’s called fishing, not catching!

Volunteer guides coached kids in tying up wooly buggers, zebra midges, and foam ants. Do you remember our own disbelief in catching our first trout on our own flies? It was magical to see the whoops around the ponds when a kid hollered, “I got one! I got one! I got one on my own fly!” And true to form, all the neighboring kids would ask, “So, which fly? Which fly? How’d you get it?” I’m betting that we took some of the mystery out of fly fishing that weekend, and I’m sure some kids recognize that you don’t need to be some kind of trout zen-master to catch a trout on a fly rod!

Recognize that straw hat? It’s our own Michael Kaul, helping kids at the ponds at Squaw Valley.

It has been an honor to serve as your Conservation VP for the last two years, and I take this opportunity now to ask you to volunteer often and enthusiastically for upcoming projects under the direction of incoming Conservation VP Ed Lloyd. Ed will assume my role in July, and I know that he will appreciate your willingness to help in outreach activities like TU’s Sierra Trout Camp 2020. Ed has a lot of experience in making connections with community leaders, and you can bet it’ll be fun to help. Let’s face it: it’s in our youth that our hopes lie for the future of trout waters! As Senegalese environmentalist Baba Dioum said so wisely half a century ago, “For in the end, we will conserve only that which we love; we will love only that which we understand; and we will understand only that which we have been taught.” Let’s pull together to educate the next generation of fly fishers!