Thursday, September 16, 2010

Fly Fishing Lessons in New Hampshire: National TU Meeting held on the CT River Trophy Section

Recently, I was asked by Dave Magnon to volunteer/guide a group of TU members attending the national TU meeting held in Waterville Valley, NH.  Without hesitation, I said yes.  I did so, because I wanted to give back to those who have given so much for our natural resources (fresh water and aquatic species).

For those of you who don't know, Trout Unlimited is not just an organization of die-hard fly fisherman.  It is true that many members are fly fisherman, but Trout Unlimited is actively engaged in preserving and restoring aquatic ecosystems throughout our country.  In other words, much of the hard work is done off the river by lobbying and working with local, state and federal officials.  That being said, we (the general public) owe a great deal of thanks to the countless hours of hard work this group has put forth.  Why do I suggest a thank you is needed?

Our natural resources are priceless.  The need for healthy waters, whether fresh or salt water, is critical to our co-existence on Earth...not just fishing.  For example, here in NH, did you know there was a time that wild Brook Trout averaged five pounds?  Today, there are no wild Brook Trout left!  Did you know it was possible to catch an Atlantic Salmon, Striped Bass and Atlantic Sturgeon all in the same day?  Today, the Atlantic Salmon and Sturgeon are gone!  Did you know the old growth trees/forest in NH were as high as 300 feet?  At one time, over 90% of NH & New England forest were clear cut.  What we see today, is nothing like what our land was 200 years ago!   If you are unaware of these facts, you might be interested in reading "Fishing in New Hampshire," by Jack Noon.  Not only will you learn about our NH fishing history, but you will learn so much more about the NH/New England ecosystem of our past.  For that matter, I can also highly recommend several other books which will give you an idea of what life & land was like back in the day.  "Spiked Boots."  "Tall Tree's, Tough Men."  And, "Cod."  By reading some of these books, hopefully a new understanding and appreciation will come forth of how people and organizations like Trout Unlimited are working hard to re-store and preserve our natural resources.  Speaking of hard work...

A big thanks to Dave Magnon for coordinating this event...and making last minute changes to meet the needs of our guest.  Specifically, Dave had to call an audible at the last minute because the Pemigawasset River in the Woodstock to Thornton area was extremely low and warm.  For non-fisherman, this is extremely bad for fish and makes for poor fishing conditions.  So, the blitz was on...TU members rushed north to Pittsburgh, NH to fish the trophy section of the Connecticut River.  So, for us guides, including NH best...Angus Bozeman and Diane Mattot, we had our hands full.  And, despite 65 degree water temps and 200 CFU flow, on/off rain and the typical Fall New England chill in the air, the fish-gods were good to us!  So, we are happy to announce that all TU members caught fish: Rainbow, Brookies, Brown and land-locked Salmon.  But, before I sign-off, I should also mention that the TU members spent time visiting a local TU conservation project lead by Joe Norton (it's nice to see how real efforts and $$ are being put to good use).   Joe has been working effortlessly to restore the Indian Stream river (a famous river mentioned in the books noted above).  In fact, just recently, the TU kids fly fishing camp and myself, planted 150 trees along the stream banks.   Also, to Joe's credit, he has convinced neighboring farmers to go Organic...can you say, Got Organic Milk?  In fact, if you consume Stonyfield Yogurt, you're already enjoying the fruits of  TU's work!  In the end, it seems we are all connected.  The cows, land, wild animals, people, fish and my tummy are more happy for it!

Last, a final thanks to the TU members from MI, MN, WI, NJ (and other parts of the USA) for making this a memorable event for me and my fellow host/guides.  Please come back anytime.

Judge & Jury Box
Upper Judge & Jury
The End
Be well friends and keep up the good work.

Copyright © 2010 Mark Foley. All rights reserved
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