The Au Sable River, in Grayling, Michigan, was the last stop for students participating in the Center for Conservation Leadership's Great Lakes Field Trip. Under the leadership of Director Susie Hoffmann, the group spent several months learning about caring for the environment and taking action to conserve and protect our natural resources. This group of 10 youths from Lake County, Illinois spent a week visiting various locations in Michigan, experiencing many aspects of conservation. Coordinated through TU volunteer Barry Coddens (who holds leadership positions for youth education at the local, state and national levels), the youths spent about 24 hours dedicated to fly fishing and cold water fisheries.
Ready to get started upon arrival at the Roscommon DNR facility, Darwin Adams went through the basics of fly casting and the kids took up their fishing rods to practice. After dinner we discussed the insects that trout feed on and how flies imitate those insects in various life stages. Then each camper tied flies, following techniques demonstrated to them. The next morning, despite the rainy weather, everyone went fishing. Posted along the main branch of the Au Sable River, campers and mentors were paired up to fish Keystone, Louie’s Landing, Thundera and Burton’s Landing.
This great group of youths were attentive, eager, respectful and fun-loving. Some had experience with fly fishing. In fact, in previous years two have attended the Youth Fly Fishing and Conservation camp sponsored by the Illinois Council of Trout Unlimited.
Our thanks to camp director Susie Hoffmann, counselors Charlie Hoffmann, Erika Rodriguez and Mike Hahn, and the volunteers from TU’s Gary Borger Chapter Evelyn and Darwin Adams, and Myra Coddens.