Chuck Sams wins TU's 10 Special Places essay contest


Mark Taylor, Trout Unlimited Eastern Communications Director, 540-353-3556


Michigan angler Chuck Sams wins 10 Special Places Essay Contest

Virginians Bo Painter and Matthew Reilly garner second and third places

WASHINGTON, D.C. Chuck Sams is an engineer living within a days ride of all the great Michigan rivers. He attends trout camp in the spring, salmon camp in

the fall, hits the ice in the winter and fishes anywhere all summer, including a recent trip to Pennsylvanias Laurel Highlands.

Sams is also a writer, and a good one.

His Tributary Youghiogheny is the winner of Trout Unlimiteds 10 Special Places essay contest.

I can tell this place is trouty, Sams, 40, wrote of the Laurel Highlands area south of Pittsburgh. You can see it in the layers of the yellow limestone. There is a constant dampness, like a creek or river is always waiting to bust out and flow downhill toward the Youghiogheny River. And, indeed, there is at least a small trickle in every hollow. If you get enough of them together at the bottom of the mountain youve got a river.

The Laurel Highlands region was among the places Trout Unlimited selected for its 10 Special Places report, which focuses on iconic public hunting and fishing areas in the East that are at risk from shale gas drilling and the related infrastructure.

The special places areas included in the report are diverse, and so were the writers who submitted 500-word odes to those public lands places.

A common theme among the many essays we received was passion, said TU National Communications Director Chris Hunt, chief of the five-person judging panel. The connection these writers feel to their favorite areas is something to which all anglers can relate, and underscores the importance of protecting these public places.

Participants included attorneys, college students, computer programmers and real estate agents.

They wrote about time afield with wives, sons and daughters and fathers. About great fishing days and tough fishing days. And about friendly rivalries with fishing friends.

All of them wrote about their connections to the wild places we all hold dear.

Bo Painter, a 25-year-old outdoor gear sales representative from Virginia, earned second place for his Woods, Waters and Memories: Vacations to the River.

Painter reminisced about childhood fishing trips to Virginias George Washington National Forest with his father, who passed away two years ago.

Third place went to another Virginian, 19-year-old Matthew Reilly from Fluvanna County.

Reilly is freshman at Emory and Henry College, and wrote about the comfort found in fishing unfamiliar trout streams in the Jefferson National Forest near his new school.

Painters and Reillys pieces will be published on the blog at in the coming days.

Sams essay, which earned the angler a Scott Radian fly rod and Lamson Guru reel

package valued at $992, will appear in an upcoming edition of Trout magazine.

For second, Painter will get a Vedavoo sling pack fully loaded with a fly box, flies and fishing tools, with a total retail value of $289.90.

Third prize is a Brodin Trout Ghost net and a fly rod rod and reel carrying case for Reilly, valued at $143.


Trout Unlimited is the nations largest coldwater conservation organization, with more than 150,000 members dedicated to conserving, protecting, and restoring North Americas trout and salmon fisheries and their watersheds. Follow TU on Facebook and Twitter, and visit us online at