Engaging the next generation: Sierra Trout Camp 2016

By Sam Sedillo


When reflecting on the steps that a younger generation takes in their paths to finding their passion or interests, you can usually link that path to a profound experience in their life.

Sierra Trout Camp, Trout Unlimited of California’s annual youth fly fishing camp, is tailored to be that experience.

On June 18th and 19th, Sierra Trout Camp again brought in a full camp of 20 boys and girls to teach them everything there is to know about fly fishing. This year, the camp took place at two new locations, the trout ponds at the Resort at Squaw Creek and at Sawmill Lake, a private fishing lake above Northstar Ski Resort, both located near the town of Truckee, California.

These locations hold large trout with even bigger appetites, and the campers were happy to bring many to the net.

The activities of the first day of camp focused on getting the kids prepared to be a complete fly fisher, covering everything from learning how to cast a fly rod to identifying aquatic insects, analyzing a stream for where trout live, knot tying, and fly selection.

The first day finished with casting to the plethora of trout that live in the ponds at Squaw Creek, with expert help from an accomplished group of TU volunteer leaders and local guides. The campers were ecstatic to see fish take their flies, and for many of them, this was their first time landing a fish.

The second day of camp put everything together for the kids at Sawmill Lake. There, they were taught to tie their own flies for use later that day, by a group of guides with an amazing wealth of knowledge to share. Throughout the day they campers eagerly absorbed the lessons and stories that the guides dished out. Every single camper transformed into a more complete angler.

Sierra Trout Camp is made possible by many volunteers, including local guides and TU leaders. Our guides for the 2016 Sierra Trout Camp included Dan LeCount, Dave Stanley, Tyler Penn, Dan Ring, Steve Johnson, Kate Blubaugh, Laura Murph, Katie Stanley, Betsy Clark, Doug Ouellette, Jack Childress, Dave Fujiyama, Reb Dobson, Adam Eisenman, Ron Davidson, Ray Nunez, Tom Smith, and Mel Odemar. Their collective donation of time and fly fishing skill was extraordinary.

Sierra Trout Camp also depends on support from the business community. This year, Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters donated use of Sawmill Lake for a day, and Matt Heron Fly Fishing and The Resort at Squaw Creek donated use of their trout ponds to the camp. Camp prizes were donated by Waterworks Lamson, Redington, Echo Fly Fishing, Sage Rods, Loon Outdoors, the Patagonia Outlet in Reno, Cabela’s, and Rio Fly Lines.

The Truckee River Chapter of Trout Unlimited and Granite Bay Flycasters helped to underwrite the camp.

TU hosts Sierra Trout Camp every year, and the enthusiasm of the campers, the skill of our volunteer leaders and the quality of the hands-on fly fishing curriculum continues to grow. Even though this year's camp is now finished, its legacy can be seen in the enthusiasm of the campers, many of whom will be tomorrow’s conservation minded, nature focused anglers -- and advocates for trout, fishing, and a future for the wild places that we care about.

To stay informed about next year’s camp please email Sam Sedillo at: ssedillo@tu.org.


Sam Sedillo is Sierra-Cascades Field Coordinator for Trout Unlimited. Photos courtesy Jack Childress.





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