web1The first fly tying session for the Southwest High School Fly Fishing Club was held on Tuesday, January 6Th. This was the first of 4 sessions that will be held at the Minneapolis high school for the 2008 upstart club. The fly tying effort is a joint venture between Twin Cities Trout Unlimited and Gray Goat Fly Fishing. This fly fishing club is the first of its kind in the region and efforts by fly angling and conservation groups have been greatly appreciated by the participants. This truly is a golden opportunity for those in our area to foster the concept of conservation and fly angling, especially since these young adults belong to an age bracket who’s participation levels in outdoor activities reportedly has been steadily declining. Solutions to reversing this trend towards declining participation have been discussed at length within many circles of Nature based activities. The chance to participate and teach this group of students was both an honor and a pleasure.

The SWHS Fly Fishing Club idea was hatched by a student and avid fly angler named Evan Griggs. Evan, along withweb-81 encouragement from his mother Lori, his teacher Mitch and a nudge from the fly angling community, put his plan into action. The result was a group of  students complete with all ages and genders, eager to begin their fly fishing journey. The club has experienced a few outings and several classes and will continue to build on a solid foundation.

TCTU’s John Mowery and myself began this after school tying class amongst the buzz and chatter of the halls of Southwest High. Both of us were instantly reminded of the energy that exists in masses of students as they are released from the day’s classes. Evan and Lori escorted us to the room where the class would take place.  We arranged the desks with vices and tools. Each student was given a fly tying manual prepared and paid for by TCTU. First classes tend to be slow moving, but the students kept us entertained with their stories of family fishing experiences and the reasons why they joined the club. In the end, many in the group had completed their first fly, the “Pink Squirrel”. The pupils were attentive and quick to pick up on the tying skills that were explained in this first class. A delight for any teacher. web-42 

On this first night of tying class, a generous offer was made by TCTU’s Margaret LeBien to the new club. If someone from the club would give a short presentation about fly fishing at the upcoming TCTU’s banquet, she would enable 8 lucky members to attend the evenings festivities. All of us need to embrace this opportunity to invest in the future of these young anglers. The chance to do this is now. The club is looking to build a library of fly fishing books, videos and DVDs. Please look into your libraries and see if there is any fly fishing educational material you can part with to help support the Southwest Highschool Fly Fishing Club. Your donations will be appreciated. Contact TCTU or Gray Goat Fly Fishing to arrange the transfer.