October Trout Unlimited Announcements

WSCTU Receives 2019 Silver Trout Award from TU National


On October 5 in Fayetteville, AK at the Trout Unlimited National Meeting, the WestSlope Chapter of Trout Unlimited was honored with the Silver Trout Award. Trout Unlimited has 387 chapters across the country and the Silver Trout is its second highest chapter award. 
In presenting the award, Jeff Yates, VP for Volunteer Programs cited the following reasons for receiving the Silver Trout:
  • Membership engagement with great programs and significant member turn outs from 125 to 275 members attending per meeting, with growth in chapter membership to 750 people.
  • Conservation funding with $132,750 returned to stream passage, irrigation screening, dam removal and stream stabilization among other projects, with another $15,000 returned to fly fishing education and advocacy.
  • Funding half of the salary for a Rock Creek Project Coordinator for two years, which directly led to other Montana TU chapters providing similar funding on the Jefferson.
  • The successful Women’s Initiative led by Kate Hastelik, with 13 events in the last year with more than 100 women involved.
  • The Chapter’s Veteran Program, led by Paul Butler, which marshaled the tying and donation power of the Montana TU chapters to deliver a stunning 32,000 flies to Warriors and Quiet Waters over two years. Plus, based on our work, an anonymous donor contributed $18,000 for a wheelchair accessible drift boat.
  • The Chapter’s work to share its successes with fundraising, banquets and auctions and programs with other Montana TU chapters.
Mark Kuipers, Chapter President, was in Fayetteville to accept the award and in his remarks said: “This award is a testament to the hard work and generosity of our chapter members, the board of directors, our four great fly shops and the Missoula business community. Missoula is a very special place and together we are making it even better for generations to come.”

Women's Initiative


The WSCTU Women’s Initiative is moving so fast and getting so much accomplished, it was cited at the Silver Trout presentation ceremony for how far it has come in such a short time. Much of this success is due to Kate Hasterlik’s tireless work in organizing so many different events, including Shop Hops, Knotty Nights and overnight outings at some of our finest fishing spots in Western Montana. Kate has designed these programs to be hands on and active, so not only are the outings fun but they’re informative as well. A potent combo for driving participation!

2020 holds even more in store for the Women’s Initiative.

The successful programs will continue, and Kate, Laurie Lane and others are cooking up more interesting ideas to keep the female members of WSCTU engaged and active in the chapter. If you have interest in getting involved with these fun and enjoyable activities, shoot Kate an email and find out when the next event will be. We can pretty much guarantee it’s coming up soon.

WSCTU Veteran’s Program Needs Help

Written by Paul Butler, Veteran’s Committee Chair

Over the last two years the WSCTU has organized fly tying sessions and fly donations that have resulted in over 32,000 flies being given to Warriors and Quiet Waters a Montana-based organization that takes severely wounded Post 9/11 combat vets on a week long fly fishing adventure. Through our Chapter’s and Paul Butler's tireless efforts, an anonymous donor contributed $18,000 toward a wheelchair accessible drift boat. It is now taking vets down the river. How cool is that!
There is more to be done, but the Chapter and Paul needs some help. If you are a veteran and want to get involved and make a real difference in the lives of combat vets that have given so much, please contact me. This could be your opportunity to help your fellow vets. Thank you very much.

Casting for Recovery Sweetgrass Rod Fundraiser

Our sister chapter in Butte, the George Grant Chapter, who won the Winston Rod by donating the most flies per member to the Tie-A-Thon Warriors and Quiet Waters challenge, has come up with a challenge of their own as a way to “pay it forward.” 
Here’s the deal:
This is a raffle for the benefit of Casting for Recovery, a great organization that helps women recover from breast cancer surgery. Only 400 tickets will be sold at $50 each, raising $20,000. The lucky winner will receive a 3 weight Sweetgrass rod by Glenn Brackett with a synthetic ivory scrimshaw reel seat along with a Bozeman Reel Company classic designed reel, matching 406 Fly Line Company line, a bamboo walking stick, a box of flies and a personal visit to the Sweetgrass shop to meet with the “Boo” team. For all the amazing details, go to GGTU.org
And there’s more!
The chapter that sells the most tickets per capita of chapter membership will win an Orvis H3 9’ 5 weight donated by Orvis. If the WSCTU wins, we will then raffle the H3 off during the banquet, earning more money for Casting for Recovery or local conservation.
Tickets will be available at the November chapter meeting and the drawing will be held when all 400 are sold. If you want to buy tickets and won’t be at the meeting, please email me and we will work out a way to get you raffle tickets.
All of us have been touched by someone who has been stricken with breast cancer. Buying a raffle ticket is one small way to honor their fight and to help other women.
Thank you for support this important cause and our chapter.

Fostering the Future: The Mayfly Project

Written by Laurie Lane

We all know that fly fishing is good therapy. Stepping away from whatever is weighing us down and getting out on the river is good for one’s health whether we catch a fish or not. Once out on the river, our focus is on things other than ourselves. Sometimes we find the answers we were looking for.

Having gone through some major issues in the last three years, I realize all too well the importance of getting out on the river. Casting a fly to a rising fish in a beautiful place, helps me realize how fortunate I am. When I’m not able to make it to the river, I have family or friends to lean on when the burden is too heavy. Imagine if you didn’t have anyone to lean on or anywhere to go with a purpose.

Recently, I volunteered with The Mayfly Project while they were in Missoula. The Mayfly Project mentors foster children through fly fishing. This was with a group of young foster girls who were interested in learning about fly fishing. There are rules when working with these kids. No touching, hugging, or asking personal questions. The first thing I wanted to do was hug each girl to let her know I care. However, I stood back and waited for them to feel comfortable enough to engage in talking. At first, they didn’t seem too interested in anything.

We had different stations with mentors at each. One was for tying flies, making art, and casting. I led the conservation group, talking about the trout species, safe handling, and the importance of clean water. I asked them if they knew why some of the fish were threatened or a species of concern. I was pleasantly surprised by their answers. It was amazing once the girls started opening up. They started talking a little bit about their situations. The first girl I mentored said her mother had died at a young age. She went on to say she wished she could change the world. I asked what she would change first. She said the way people judge and treat each other. I agreed.

I stood back and watched as a group of mentors helped each girl get their gear on. I could tell the girls hadn’t been shown that much attention before and they were loving it. Perhaps they felt special and important. To top it off, they were each handed their very own fly rod to keep. They gave it their best shot at casting. We were at Frenchtown Pond and one of the mentors caught the biggest rainbow trout she’d ever caught. She let one of the girls bring it in. They giggled as they released the trout back into the water.

They showed me the flies they had tied on their own and the art they made. Dunn magazine gave each girl a copy of the magazine made by women for women. Hope was swelling all around us. Once again, I was reminded of how lucky I am. I’m glad to know these girls and I can’t wait to take them fishing again. The Mayfly Project can change lives. It can even change yours without you even knowing it. I think it was Chris Wood while referring to our youth who said, one of these kids might be the president of TU someday.

Thanks to West Slope Chapter for providing lunch for the group!

Written by Tess Scanlon

Did you know about Trout Unlimited’s Rock Creek Restoration Program that the WestSlope Chapter is sponsoring in order to protect and improve the iconic Rock Creek fishery outside Missoula? Tess Scanlon was hired as Rock Creek’s project manager in 2018 to coordinate with partners and landowners throughout the 600,000-acre basin. The program is gaining momentum and seeing early successes. For starters, if you’re not watching the annual Race Up Rock Creek - DON’T MISS OUT in 2020! We’re upgrading the competition rules and adding prizes…Go to MontanaTU.org/Race-Up-Rock-Creek this spring to get involved. The gist: FWP will tag 60 adult trout with radio transmitters and we will track their locations in real-time. You can sponsor and watch a fish move and earn points throughout the season. WILL YOUR FISH WIN?

This summer, Ms. Scanlon and partners restored a mile of Gilbert Creek, an important spawning tributary to lower Rock Creek that drains the Welcome Creek wilderness. A HUGE thanks to the 30 awesome WestSlope Chapter and UM lacrosse player volunteers that helped revegetate the restored site with native plants! Construction also took place on Ross Fork Rock Creek, which is a major bull trout and spawning stream in the headwaters of Rock Creek. Thanks to the landowners, FWP, and local contractors, the only known upstream fish passage barrier in Ross Fork was removed. A bridge replaced two undersized culverts and opened at least 16 miles of upstream fish passage for migratory trout in the watershed. There are plenty other collaborative efforts and projects on the horizon in Rock Creek, so stay tuned.

We have a busy calendar filled with fun events for the year ahead!
First Event: November 13 at the DoubleTree

Jeff Currier talks about Trout Bumming The World

Look for the full schedule here and set your Calendar accordingly. In addition to the main program, each meeting will have a short conservation update as well as a “Skill You Use” component before the program. Look for a lot more to be going on at the membership meetings! The only place the Orvis 50/50 movie will be shown in Montana is the Wilma Theater in Missoula, so don’t miss it. More to follow in the next Newsletter!

ThreadHeads Unite! 

For a town the size of Missoula to not have an active fly tying club strikes us as just wrong. So much fishing, so much fly tying, so many fly tying skills but without an enjoyable outlet where Tyers gather to share ideas, patterns and maybe a beer. Brandon Dwyer, Vice President of WSCTU and Tyer extraordinaire, has contacted the Great Burn Brewery, and they’re excited to start hosting WSCTU’s newest venture, the ThreadHeads. Tentatively, we’re talking about getting together 2 times a month on Monday nights, and just sitting down and tying. It will be pretty non-structured, and geared to those who have some tying experience under their belts. The ThreadHeads are being established to allow Fly Tyers a chance to get out into the community and see new patterns, meet new Tyers and exchange information that doesn’t often find it’s way into the community. The only thing we lack to get this started immediately is participants! If you have any interest in getting together with other new and old fly tying friends, please email Brandon and let him know you want in.

See Everyone On November 13 at the DoubleTree for Jeff Currier's Trout Bumming Around The World!