Fly fishing: the next generation

Getting out on the river lately has been difficult due to work related inconveniences, i.e. too much of it. So I have had a LOT of time at my desk to reflect upon recent fishing experiences. I keep coming back to the Fishmas Eve fundraiser. During the event, TRTU president Stefan McLeod announced that the organization had reached the $10K fundraising milestone, which is no small feat considering the state of the economy over the last 8 years. Currently, TRTU is is planning on allocating these funds, along with other sources of funding for a $500K restoration project on the Little Truckee River.

A worthy cause, as the current topography of this river offers a very limited amount of areas for fish to rest; creating a high pressure fishing environment and stressed out, spooky fish. As of late, I have heard too many stories about fish being landed with broken mandibles and fungus from being over handled on this stretch of river. The restoration project will allow for greater stretches of the river to be hospitable for fish, creating a better habitat and less pressured fishing areas.

The Truckee chapter of Trout Unlimited is a group of industry experts that decided it was finally time to establish a “REAL” conservation group based out of Truckee, CA. Their inspiring initiative to pass on the watershed to the next generation in BETTER condition than it came to this one, pretty much sums up the bright future that TRTU is creating.

Fun fact: the board members’ of TRTU average an age of 29! It’s not everyday that you find a group of young individuals who are willing to go the extra mile to make a huge difference for the local watershed.  Time is a major factor in making it all work, and at such a young age, time is in high demand. Along with working on their careers or starting their own businesses AND having a life: Stefan McLeod, David Lass, Morgan Hargrave, Matt Hargrave, Jordan Romney, Matthew Heron, Brian Slusser, Morgan Thalken (VP), George Walker, Dan LeCount, Jason Renfro and John Jewett have diligently donated their time, expertise and hard work to making it happen.

It’s far from easy; being a new chapter, there are no prior board members or Presidents to ask questions and show them the ropes. “…at times, it feels like wandering around a dark room searching for the light switch…. BUT, we always seem to find that light switch and get the job done.”  That is an understatement, these guys are killing it! Bravo!

People tend to have the impression that fly fishing is a pursuit for old men; these “young guns” illustrate an entirely different picture. All hale the next generation of fly fishers who are passionate, outdoor-loving conservationists’ with a vision for the future.

When Stefan took the time out of his busy schedule to answer the questions I had about TRTU (thanks again!!!) , he mentioned the following on what everyone can do to help out. I implore you to heed his advice.

“Volunteering is crucial…. We urge people to visit our FB page and our website at to keep up on the events we have planned and scheduled for the year. As far as helping goes, just being a steward of the river is a must. Practice proper etiquette, leave no trace, pack out what you pack in, practice catch and release, and as always…. Take a kid fishing!”

The next TRTU event is June 28, 2013, I encourage everyone to attend. Come meet the people who are volunteering their time to make the Truckee watershed a better place to fish and enjoy for generations to come. You’re in for a great time and sure to learn something new. Oh and did I mention they will be raffling off a lifetime CA fishing license at the BBQ?! Awesome.


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Tahoe Trout Bummin’

At lower inlet of the LT

Last week, I spent another week of fishing in and around Truckee, CA. Returning here feels instinctual; a calling I can’t resist; like a steelhead returning to the waters it was born in. Through the week, the days blurred into a looping sequence of casts, stunning scenery, and meditation with one constant; significant hatches but no fish rising to the surface to slurp. The holes across the street from my childhood home are usually obliging and generously offer up at least one fish, usually more. Not this trip, the river found me wanting and I walked away from the Truckee River with my rod unbent but never-the-less, still grinning.

Aside from the fishing, I was in town for a local Trout Unlimited event I’d heard talked about with intense enthusiasm from many fishing buddies. The trout bum acclaimed Fishmas Eve: a fundraiser, raffle and shindig to mark the opening day of the Truckee River (the Truckee River is now a open to fishing year round, but this event marks the original opening day). It did not disappoint! A crisp twenty bought as much pizza and beer you could eat/guzzle, and a raffle ticket. I’d struck gold, trout bum gold that is. Beer, pizza,  a bunch of fellow fishing fanatics to talk all things fish with AND a raffle table loaded with rad fishing gear? Yup, make that platinum actually. The local guides, shops and reps had donated items from flies, stickers and apparel to rods, waders, line and even a few guide trips. Pretty much like the title describes, Christmas for a fly fishing enthusiast. I must have been on the “nice” list this year because I scored a buff, hat and dog collar for Marl’s!

Later, all of the hardcore Tahoe Trout Bums assemble after the fundraiser for some camping and midnight streamer fishing all while enjoying  TTB’s beer of choice, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Ahhh the good life. The next morning, everyone goes fishing; I love being able to wake up, throw on waders and walk 20 ft and start fishing.  I hooked into one of the biggest brown’s I have ever caught (she was a fighter, still brings a smile to my face)…. only to have it break off when it was almost ready to land. Why you ask? Because my drag was set waaay too tight. What is this? Amateur hour?! I learned from my Dad eons ago, always check your drag and back it off at the end of fishing to keep your reel in optimal condition. Gah, I know I’ll never make that mistake again. Ever. No matter how much beer I drink the night before.

Trout Unlimited Truckee Chapter #103’s efforts for the conservation of the local watershed is extraordinary. President Stefan McLeod and board members volunteer their time to organize spectacular events like Fishmas Eve so that all who visit these waters can enjoy the world class fishing. Thank you guys for all of your continued hard work!!! Stay tuned for a sequel article and learn more about Truckee TU. Additional information at

Tahoe Trout Bum

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