Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The More You Give, The More You Receive

Centennial Valley, MT.
What is more exciting than to share your fly fishing knowledge with others so that they may also enjoy the pastime?  Pretty much least for me.  Fly fishing involves so many different have the solitude, the water, the fish, the ecosystem.  It is all incompassing.  Of course, I go out to the river to catch a few trout.  But, when I look back at why I first was interested in learning about this great was the education and conservation that was intriguing to me...and the rest was frosting on the cake!

Elk Lake, Mt.
And now we have Trout Unlimited’s Sportsmen’s Conservation Project, which is inviting four OBN bloggers this summer for a tour of Montana’s Centennial Valley and Elk Lake Resort.  Oh, what a beautiful place to learn more about.  What a lifetime opportunity!!   Why not fish and learn about TU’s work in “The Last, Best Place.”   I think that most anglers are in some form conservationalists.  We have to be...don't we want our children and our children's children to have the same opportunities as we have had?  Of course, it is a huge responsibility that one person can't do alone.  I would like to think that most of the fish that I have caught and released responsibly, have continued their journey.  I love to teach someone new to fly fishing...the skills, but also the importance of being responsible and taking care of the banks and waterways that have been given to us to appreciate nature's greatest beauties.  I have been personally involved with a Utah group that helps clean up the rivers and banks from debris, so that others might enjoy their outdoor experience even more.  I have admired Trout Unlimited for their great efforts in conservation and protecting our cold water fisheries in even greater ways.

Red Rock Lakes, MT.

The wild trout, salmon, and other wildlife need our help.  It takes many volunteers to get involved with the restoration and watershed projects.  We need to make wiser ground water management decisions.  Many rivers in the Western Region have been adversely affected as a result of ground water pumping.  Now, more than ever, we need to find other strategies that will allow the West to grow while protecting our fisheries and wildlife.  Groups like Trout Unlimited are there to guide us in the right direction.

As part of the Trout Unlimited's writing contest, I am now going to tell you about my favorite fishing trip.

The Lamar River, Yellowstone
So, we go back to last July, 2010...I only had three days to see as much as I could of Eastern Idaho and the Yellowstone area.  It was a whirlwind trip to say the least!  Eight rivers in three days.  Well, yes, it did include different stretches of the Snake River.  We started at Herriman Ranch (Henry's Fork of the Snake) which will challenge the most seasoned angler, then moved to the Warm River, Buffalo River and Box Canyon of the Snake.  Then, the Firehole, Gibbon, Lamar and Lava Creek in Yellowstone, Wy.  Yes, you read that right.  So, if you ever want to fish with me, you better be ready to move!!!  Ahh, I'm just kidding around...well, maybe.  Anyhoot, I'm going to share a story that happened on the Lava Creek in Yellowstone on this trip.  A few friends and I had been fishing the Lamar River for most of the day.  On our way back to our camping area, we spotted this creek and just couldn't pass it by.  Had to, had know how it goes!  What a pretty setting on the side of the main highway.  A nice little picnic area with benches, lots of shade, and a creek full of bubbling brookies!  We got geared up and headed down the grassy slope to the contingency of trout.  Oh, this was quite the find...we worked one side of the highway and then the other side.  Some very nice 6 to 12 in brook trout in this creek.

Lava Creek, Yellowstone
We headed back to our vehicles to get some different flies and there was a family gearing up. We chatted for a few minutes and came to find out the parents of a young boy (about 8-10 yrs old)  had brought their son to Yellowstone for his first fly fishing experience.  What a great thing, right?  Well, it was a great idea, except there was no one to teach him the basics...hmmmm.  His dad had fished with a spin rod a little and that was about the size of it.  But, they had bought a fly rod for the youngster.  So, one of my friends decided that they looked perplexed enough to offer some assistance.  Kind of like Fishing 911...something in a hurry, but effective.  No time for a Fishing 101 class!

So, my friend pulls out the fly boxes and tippet and with a big smile says, "Let's start!"  In twenty minutes, tops...the young boy was at the creek pulling out a brookie.  He screamed and then laughed and what a sight it was.  What could have been a frustrating vacation with that fly rod turned out to be a great first experience which will probably lead to a life long journey for him.  It was the best moment of our trip, for sure.  Nothing could top that afternoon when we saw that smiling face with the trout on the end of his line!  We packed up and headed to camp.  A memorable day for the boy and for us too.  Sometimes it is about giving a little time and sharing your talents to make someone else's day a little brighter...and once's the giver that receives the most out of it.  The joy of it all!

Special Note:  I would like to thank Trout Unlimited for reaching out to the OBN family of bloggers and offering this once in a lifetime adventure!  May we all unite together and fish our waters with passion and respect and help protect and restore the lands and waters that we enjoy so much.  Fly fishing is a privilege...I feel a rebirth every time I go out as it can be a spiritual, emotional and learning experience if you let it be.  Give a little and it will give back ten fold.  


  1. As fishermen and ladies we have a huge responsibility, if we do not look after what is there very few others will.

    Nice stuff RD

  2. Teaching kids to fly fish is a special reward. Well done. Good luck with the contest!

  3. "...most anglers are in some form conservationalists. We have to be." Those words are golden.

  4. Since everyone has covered the serious side in their comments, let me be the first to say that there are soooo many places I can go with that title.

  5. Great post!! 'Teaching someone to fish' also means teaching them how to maintain the resource for the next generation and beyond! oh...and your flies are on there way, hope you enjoy!

  6. Really nice post RD! It's always rewarding to give back :-)

    Good luck in the contest!

  7. I hate to say this ( because I'm in it, too) but this is the best post yet IMHO. If I were a judge, you'll be #1 on the list, RD. Very nice article.

  8. Being a steward encompasses many different facets, you guys showing that young boy how to fish with a fly rod is exactly what being a good steward is all about. You showed a youngster the joys of catching a fish, and his joy could lead to a life long angler with a passion for preserving cold water habitats.

    Furthermore, you also embrace the nitty, gritty work like cleaning the banks. Then you go a step further and address the water issues here in the West. Being an active, outspoken letter writer is also part of being a good steward. At the heart of it, that is what TU is all about, stewardship.

    Great post, RD. I can tell it was written from the heart.


  9. Nicely done Damsel! I enjoyed this a lot, especially the story of the young boy fly fishing for the first time. Good luck...

  10. A long day...just got home! Thanks to all of you for the blog love and support!!

  11. I agree with most everyone else, stewardship and conservation is about more than just cleaning streams, it about passing down values to the next generation of fly fishermen and damsels.

  12. Great post Damsel, I hope you win the contest so we can here another story. :)