A Fence Stands In The Sticks by Gavin Nupp The Trout Unlimited Teen Summit this year was for me one of excitement, exploration, and experience. I started my journey to the Summit at the same place as all of my fellow Summiteers: my Home. My parents and I left for my home state of Ohio’s capitol, Columbus, on a Sunday. A pleasant surprise greeted me there in the form of a dugout pond. A few sunfish were fooled at the sight of a gold Wooly Bugger that night. Before leaving, I spotted a 3 foot grass carp making his way through the shallows, just out of reach! “No problem,” I thought, thinking of the week to come. I flew out at 6:00 the next morning. Everyone arrived at the Summit unscathed. We all had the chance to fish Georgetown Lake, where we stayed, upon arrival. I decided to drop a gold Wooly Bugger underneath the dock, and soon had a feisty Brook Trout on my line! Heart beating with excitement (though the fish was lost), I headed back to the lodge to meet those who I would correspond with in the following months.The next day was devoted to introducing everyone to what TU is, who each of us are, and what the new people signed themselves up for. My favorite part of those first few days was learning about my fellow TU Teens are passionate about in their daily lives; among the crowd were several who actively held a job in fly-fishing, a studious Crayfish enthusiast, a devout Dry-Or-Die-Fly fisherman (who helped put me on my first wild brown, thanks Nick!), and, most importantly, myself. The first night was 36 degrees. In retrospect, some wool socks or even a sleeping bag would’ve been nice. P6210383.JPG
Carrying down the materials; “Nail Guy” aka Ryan; Summiteers building a stream restoration fence on USFS land. Eventually, in true Montana Style, we made it up to a place that shall be identified only as “The Sticks”. There, we did what needed done, and didn’t complain about getting it done: the cows (evil critters) needed fenced out of a stream, and had broken through the barbed wire. Together with the USFWS, we trekked logs on our shoulders through the woods, and built the finest fence that ever was, much thanks to “Nail Guy,” who faithfully delivered us nails. I believe that in building that fence, our spirit as a group became one. Whether excluding [menacing] cattle from a tiny bubbling brook, or perpetuating the spirit of conservation so important to us all, or both, and/or much more, a fence stands in the Sticks to hold as evidence that the youth can do anything they set their minds to.P6210525.JPG
Fence is complete and no cows will be getting in this pristine native bull trout and cutthroat stream any time soon! Fishing Note: The stream we protected that day holds one of the finest populations of Cutthroat and Bull Trout in the continental US. After completing the fence, we rushed back to the truck and grabbed our gear. I grabbed my pack and bolted to a particularly fishy stretch I had spotted. Tenkara rod in hand, I made two casts and had a Cutthroat! After several little trout, I waded down to where a giant spruce had reached the end of its life and had fallen into the creek, creating a deep blue hole. In awe of opportunity, I rustled through my sack and brought out a gold Wooly Bugger. Drifting it through the hole, I felt a tug, and suddenly had the largest orange-bellied, green-backed, red-throated fish on my line I had ever seen! After a quick photo, back into the water he went. Before leaving I took the GPS coordinates, and someday in the not-so-distant future, Montana can expect me back.” Gavin is a member of the Clear Fork River chapter in Ohio. This is his second Summit and he has been a representative for the Youth Leadership Council (YLC) since June 2015. The YLC is the volunteer body made up of TU Teens that helps to set the direction of TU’s Youth Education Initiative. Members of the YLC are passionate leaders bringing the mission of TU to their local communities while working on a broader scale to contribute to TU’s Youth Education Initiative at the national level.