Annual Holiday Party and Fundraiser–December 12, 7-9 p.m. at Wheaton’s Arrowhead Golf Club

Plan to attend our annual Holiday Party Fundraiser and Rod Raffle drawing scheduled Wednesday, December 12, from 7-9 p.m. at the Arrowhead Golf Club in Wheaton.  Spouses, friends and guests are welcome!

This year’s event features a new location. In addition to the Rod Raffle drawing, a silent auction will feature Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin guide trips; Fishpond and Simms fly fishing gear; plus plenty of bucket raffle items including wine, spirits, and craft beer baskets in addition to other great prizes.

Tickets to the event will cost $45 apiece and cover appetizers, desserts and your choice of wine, beer, cocktails or soft drinks.  Tickets will be available for sale at the door on December 12 via cash, check and credit card.

Holiday Party Fundraiser and Rod Raffle Drawing December 12

Mark your calendar now for our annual Holiday Party Fundraiser and Rod Raffle drawing scheduled Wednesday, December 12, from 7-9 p.m. at the Arrowhead Golf Club in Wheaton.

This year’s event features a new location. In addition to the Rod Raffle drawing, a silent auction will feature Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin guide trips; Fishpond and Simms fly fishing gear; plus plenty of bucket raffle items including wine, spirits, and craft beer baskets in addition to other great prizes.

Tickets to the event will cost $45 apiece and cover appetizers, desserts and your choice of wine, beer, cocktails or soft drinks.  Tickets will be available for sale at our November 28 chapter meeting and at the door on December 12 via check and credit card.

Participants in the Annual Rod Raffle do not need to attend the Holiday Party to be eligible for winning one of 12 great prizes.

We need your RSVP before December 1 for planning. Spouses and guests are invited!  Email John Snyder with your RSVP(s):

Arrowhead Golf Club in Wheaton will host our 2018 Holiday Party and Fundraiser on December 12.

Annual Rod Raffle Features 12 Great Prizes

Your donation to our annual rod raffle helps fund our Chapter’s general operating expenses for the year for monthly meetings, speakers, and various activities.  We are again selling booklets of five raffle tickets for $20.

This year, we are offering a choice for both our First and Second Prize Winners. 

FIRST PRIZE:  Your Choice: Orvis Recon Rod and Hydros Reel Trout Outfit.  A $648 retail value!
If trout fishing is your focus, choose a 4wt, 5wt or 6wt outfit with line from the Orvis Lombard store. Or…

Sage 8wt Rod & Reel Outfit for Smallmouth and/or Steelhead–A $654 retail value!
If your preference is smallmouth or steelhead fishing, Bass Pro Shops is offering an 8wt Sage Rod and Reel outfit featuring a Sage Platinum Spectrum Reel and Sage 8wt Graphite Rod.

SECOND PRIZE:  Your Choice of 2 of 3 Great Fishpond Fishing Gear Items!
Westwater Roll Top Duffel
Nomad Mid-length Net
Ice Storm Cooler

THIRD PRIZE: Orvis $25 gift cards for 10 winnersRedeemable at any Orvis store or via a website or catalog phone order.

If you do not receive your tickets in the mail or would like to purchase additional tickets, please contact Jim Schmiedeskamp via email and include “Raffle Tickets” in the subject line.  Email:

Your ticket stubs with or without a donation should be mailed by December 1, 2018 to:
Oak Brook Chapter Trout Unlimited
P.O. Box 5046
Oak Brook, IL 60522-5046

The winning ticket will be drawn at our December Holiday party on Wednesday December 12th.  You are welcome to come to our next monthly membership meeting on Wednesday, November 28th and drop off your ticket stubs and money in person in lieu of mailing them.

Your ticket stubs should be mailed by December 1, 2018.  You do not have to be in attendance at the December 12 Holiday Party to be selected as a winner.

An Orvis Recon Rod with Hydros Reel and line is a great trout outfit in your choice of 4wt, 5wt or 6wt options as one of two First Prizes to pick from with a Sage 8wt smallmouth/steelhead outfit as another option.

For our Second Prize, the winner gets to select two of three great Fishpond gear items including the Westwater Roll Top Duffel (depicted here), Ice Storm Cooler and a Mid-length Nomad Net.


On November 28 Learn about Kamchatka, Russia—30” Rainbows in the Land of Volcanoes

Oak Brook TU member John Snyder reports on his September 2018 trip to Kamchatka, Russia and his pursuit of its giant 30-inch rainbows at our November 28, 2018 membership meeting at the Oak Brook Recreation Center Central Park West Building at 7 p.m. Guests are welcome.

 Note: Because of the Thanksgiving holiday, our November membership meeting was moved back a week to the fourth Wednesday of the month and returns to our usual meeting location.

OBTU’s John Snyder will share his recent Kamchatka, Russia trip highlights at our November 28 membership meeting.
Well known for its 30-inch trophy rainbow trout, the Zhupanova River in Kamchatka, Russia is considered one of the best fly fishing rivers in the world.



Oak Brook Trout Unlimited Debuts on Instagram!

“Thanks to OBTU member Chris Pierson, our chapter is now on Instagram, the photo-sharing social media platform,” said Jim Schmiedeskamp, Communications and Publicity Committee Chair.

“Our chapter now has an Instagram account that will regularly feature photos from our chapter activities, sponsors, business partners and like-minded conservation organizations. This account will help us get the word out about what our local chapter is doing and will help create many wonderful networking opportunities not only for Oak Brook TU but for also our chapter members as well as many others who will follow us on Instagram. Chris will be a great asset to our chapter’s publicity and membership communications!”

To view photo postings, download or visit the Instagram website ( Once you’ve logged in, search for “tuoakbrook” and click on our account. Here you’ll find photos from meetings and other members as well as photos from other Trout unlimited chapters and companies who support Trout Unlimited.  Or you go directly to our Oakbrook TU Instagram account here.  Click on any photo for more information.

If you would like to submit any photos of your own, please email your photos to Chris Pierson at and he will work on posting them. Please be sure to include your name, rough location of where the photo was taken (who wants to give up their best fishing spots anyways?), and any details you’d like for us to include in the caption.

We look forward to sharing many memorable moments from our chapter!

Oak Brook TU is now on Instagram–the leading photo-sharing social media platform.
Oak Brook Trout Unlimited announcements will now be included on Instagram.

Driftless Area Floods Becoming the New Normal

The current Fall issue of Wisconsin Trout features a cover story written by Duke Welter on the recent disastrous floods in Wisconsin’s Driftless Area and their impact due to record-breaking rainfalls in late August and early September.  Duke Welter is the Outreach Coordinator for TU’s Driftless Area Restoration Effort (TUDARE) and an OBTU 2018 February  meeting speaker.

Read the article in the 2018 Wisconsin Trout Fall Issue.

Over a 10-day period, 23 inches of rain fell in Wisconsin’s Driftless Area.

The Richardson’s Professionally Tie One On

By Jim Schmiedeskamp

Nancy and Mike Richardson decided it was time to wind down their greenhouse operation that they owned and ran seven days a week for 28 years in Geneva, Illinois.  Selling herbs to retailers involved growing and caring for the delicate plants 24/7 from seed to store, which included transporting them to market in their own trucks.  A day off to go fishing or take a vacation was a dream postponed based on the demands of their business.

Five years ago, the Richardson’s decided to sell their greenhouse business and pursue something different, something less demanding as a “pre-retirement business.”

Originally from Toledo, Ohio, Nancy’s brother Steve was good friends with Chris Helm, a retired University of Toledo administrator and owner of Whitetail Fly Tieing Supplies, a mail order business he had started out of the basement of his house in Toledo.  Steve introduced his brother-in-law Mike Richardson to fly tying and subsequently to Chris Helm, who was a nationally known fly tier and fly fishing speaker.

Their casual friendship resulted in an offer by the Richardson’s to buy Whitetail Fly Tieing Supplies when Chris Helm decided to sell his business due to cancer in 2014.  After the purchase agreement was finalized, Nancy spent three months in Toledo conducting a full inventory assessment in preparation for transporting all fly tying supplies to Geneva, while Mike was starting to transform their home’s basement to a warehouse and retail showroom through the build-out of innovative displays and space-efficient product storage units.

Over 1,800 Customers Coast to Coast—and Worldwide
Four years later, the Richardson’s have grown their fly tying retail e-commerce business from over 700 customers to 1,800 with orders coming from fly tiers coast to coast—from Washington and Oregon to Pennsylvania—as well as worldwide.  After creating their website and on-line catalog, the Richardson’s marketed their business through advertising in fly fishing magazines and participating in fly fishing shows throughout the country.  Today, their business continues to grow thanks to customer referrals and the power of internet search engines.  Their website now features a video tour of their “virtual” store.

“We continue to acquire new customers who have found us by searching the internet,” said Nancy Richardson. “In fact, we have had pilots flying company executives into the DuPage Airport for business trips, who have Googled “fly shop near me” and decided to make a personal shopping trip to visit us while killing downtime.”

Today the e-commerce business stocks over 13,000 SKUs or unique items with their specialty being in deer, elk and other animal hair materials.  Nancy is primarily responsible for sales and marketing, while Mike can be found processing entire deer hides as well doing the dyeing, grading and packaging of individual products. While not a retail “walk-in” business, the Richardson’s will welcome OBTU members on an appointment basis.

About the Business
Whitetail Fly Tieing Supplies carries a full range of fly tying materials including adhesives, natural materials, synthetics, tube fly materials, threads, tools, books, DVDs and hooks. They stock hard-to-find items such as discontinued Partridge hooks, Gudebrod thread, and McClean’s Velveteen Dubbing, and manufacture the Brassie Hair Packer and the Magnum Hair Stacker exclusively for their business. Mike has also designed and built a Zonker Jig and Cutter. They also carry a large assortment of German scissors that are micro serrated on both blades.

Deer hair is one of the company’s custom items. Hides are hand selected to assure top quality, specific hair for numerous patterns. Mike personally grades all hides by season of harvest, color, texture, and length of hair. Hides are processed and custom cut to their customers’ specific needs.

OBTU Valued Sponsor and TU Business Partner
As an Oak Brook TU “valued sponsor,” Whitetail Fly Tieing Supplies supports the TU mission to conserve and restore our coldwater fisheries and donates products and gift certificates in support of the chapter’s fundraising programs such as our monthly meeting raffles and annual Holiday Party fundraiser. The firm is also a Trout Unlimited national Business Partner.

While running an e-commerce business is still a 24/7 operation with a commitment to fill orders within 24 hours, the Richardson’s are now able to do a little fishing, fly tieing and spending time with their two grandchildren.  This past summer, Nancy volunteered as a mentor for the 2018 Illinois TU Youth Camp in Michigan.

Outdoors Camp Commitment
“I really believe in camps for kids as a learning experience, and being outdoors is a big thing with me,” said Nancy Richardson. “The TU camp was well run with lots of scheduled activities for both the campers and mentors. I really enjoyed the experience and plan on volunteering to be a mentor again in 2019.”

“I was delighted that Nancy joined our 2018 youth camp team,” said Willie Beshire, Oak Brook TU Vice President and Illinois TU Council Youth Camp Director. “As a first-year volunteer, Nancy jumped right in, helping with the camp planning and being a camp mentor supervising both girls and boys. I am very excited that Nancy has re-enlisted for our 2019 youth camp.”

Mike Richardson (center) and Nancy Richardson with a customer at a fly tying trade show.
Whitetail Fly Tieing Supplies stocks over 1,300 unique items with deer hair as one of its specialty items.


Oak Brook TU in the News

Oak Brook TU is featured in the new Fall issue of TROUT Magazine, the national publication of Trout Unlimited, on pages 61-62. The chapter is the lead story in the publication’s “Actionline News from the Field” section covering TU local chapter news.  The article, written by OBTU’s Jim Schmiedeskamp, highlights the chapter’s recently completed 10th year of its signature “Trout in the Classroom” youth education program and Dean Hansen, OBTU’s “Bug Keeper.”  As a retired entomologist, Dean Hansen has been migrating from his home in Minneapolis to Chicago each April for a week of “Trout in the Classroom” presentations featuring live aquatic insects.  Read the article in the TROUT online issue.

TROUT 2018 Fall Issue

Oak Brook TU’s Endowment Fund

The Oak Brook Chapter of Trout Unlimited Conservation and Conservation Education Endowment Fund was created in 1992 as a distinct, independent entity governed by its own Board of Trustees as a repository for a permanently restricted endowment principle and unrestricted endowment earnings. In 1999, the Endowment Fund and Oak Brook Trout Unlimited (OBTU) Boards agreed to changes to the OBTU by-laws bringing the Fund and its separate Board under the Chapter’s organizational umbrella. In accord with those by-laws provisions, the renamed Oak Brook Chapter of Trout Unlimited Conservation Endowment Fund has continued to serve as a repository for its permanently restricted endowment principal and the unrestricted earnings it has produced.

The OBTU Board of Directors selects Endowment Trustees from members and friends of the OBTU Chapter on the basis of their long-term familiarity with the Chapter’s financial needs and aspirations and on the basis of their financial management and fund-raising skills. The Trustees manage the Fund in accord with policies adopted and filed in 2013. At its discretion, the Fund’s Board of Trustees may disburse from the Fund only its earnings on principal in response to requests from the OBTU Board of Directors to pay for specific conservation stream restoration and conservation education projects.

Earnings from gifts to the Endowment Fund principal will enhance the Chapter’s future contributions to the conservation, protection and restoration of coldwater fisheries and their watersheds.

“Donations from family foundations and trusts represent opportunities to help grow our Endowment Fund,” said Fred Hodge, Endowment Committee Chair. “Members interested in making a donation to our Endowment Fund can contact me for more information.  Donations are tax deductible.”

Fred Hodge’s contact information:
Phone: 630-267-9643



The Librarian’s Corner

By Phil Young

Stepping into the Stream (Klufilms / 2010) 49m / DVD
This is a great video in which women fly fishers tell their stories about their introduction to fly fishing and what fly fishing means to them.  They explore their connection with the fish in the fish’s world, how the flow of a river is related to life, and women guides reveal what they have learned from their women clients.  There is a short history of influential women in fly fishing.  Stepping into the Stream is an excellent video for women fly fishers and for men who would like to see fly fishing from a different point of view.

The Compleat Clouser Minnow (Real Sources Productions / 2010) 90m / DVD
What could be better than Bob Clouser teaching you how to tie one of the most versatile flies in your fly box that can be used to catch almost every fresh and saltwater fish available.  Bob ties and fishes the basic clouser minnow, and then discusses the role of hooks, threads, eyes, synthetics, and rattles in tying variations of the fly.  Everyone can learn something new from this video.

These DVDs, as well as others in the chapter’s library, are available for check out at chapter meetings.  If you are holding any of the chapter’s other videos, please return them when you are finished so that others may view them.