January/February 2020

Oak Brook TU Awarded Bass Pro Shops  and Cabela’s Outdoor Fund Grant for “Trout in the Classroom” Program

Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Outdoor Fund has awarded a financial grant to support the Oak Brook chapter of Trout Unlimited with its purchase of an aquarium set-up for schools and 2020 program-wide support for its “live bugs” entomology classes at other Chicago area participating schools.

Bolingbrook Bass Pro Shops Store Manager Marty Nealon (right) presents a Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Outdoor Fund financial grant to Marvin Strauch (left) and Willie Beshire (center)

 


President’s Letter

Greetings Oak Brook TU members and friends:

As I write this letter, my thoughts are of a great Oak Brook TU “Trout-on-Tap” gathering that took place on January 29 at Miller’s Ale House in Lombard.   Sixteen members braved the brisk winter  weather including a good mix of chapter old-timers and newer members.   Tall tales were swapped, members enjoyed getting better acquainted and upcoming chapter events were discussed.  As I was departing, two attendees asked me, “When is the next Trout-on-Tap?”  I went home inflated by the camaraderie. I hope you are able to join us for our next social event.

This month, I would like to shine some light on our chapter’s advocacy effort, a key part of Trout Unlimited’s conservation program.  Advocacy includes activities to influence decisions regarding our coldwater conservation mission within political, economic and social institutions.    Advocacy can include media campaigns, public speaking, lobbying efforts, direct communication with members of the Illinois state and federal legislature, and other activities.  From time to time, Oak Brook Trout Unlimited (OBTU) will request your assistance with our advocacy efforts through our “Advocacy Alert” email messages requesting you to take specific actions.

You may be interested in the results of our most recent Advocacy Alert to communicate our support for federal funding of fish habitat improvements which includes continued funding for our beloved four-state “Driftless Area”.  The Advocacy Alert was emailed to 880 OBTU members this past December. 11.  The message was opened by 252 members (32%).  Based on members who opened the draft letter to our legislators, as many as 24 email messages were sent to Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, as well as each individual member’s Congress person (e.g. Sean Casten in my case).  I was encouraged by the OBTU response and actions.  At the same time, we can do much better. Imagine the day when 800 messages from OBTU members turn up in Senator Durbin’s email box!  We have power in our numbers.  Please consider participating in future advocacy alerts.  For this recent call to action, I took very little time and effort to make a couple of edits to the provided draft letter and send it out.  I received email letters from Senators Durbin and Duckworth, as well as Congressman Casten giving me the satisfaction that my voice had been heard.

I would like to thank Ed Michael for leading the Illinois TU Council and OBTU advocacy efforts for many years.  Ed likes to remind me that even when the major coldwater issues arise in places like Alaska and other western states, Illinois often has more congressional seats and votes due to our larger state population.  Our Illinois voice on issues across the country (such as Alaska’s Pebble Mine) matters in addition to our advocacy of local issues (e.g. Asian Carp).

If anyone would like to help Ed lead our chapter advocacy efforts, please let me know.

Sincerely,

Willie Beshire
President, Oak Brook Chapter of Trout Unlimited
E:  wbeshire@aol.com
M:  630.200.2532


2019 Rod Raffle Reels In $2,830!

Oak Brook Trout Unlimited would like to thank everyone who participated in our 2019 Rod Raffle which generated $2,830 toward covering our annual operating costs covering monthly meeting facility rental fees, speaker fee and/or travel expense, membership communications, our website and administrative expenses (insurance and miscellaneous fees).  We must provide Chapter funding for these programs because there are no other outside sources of funding. National Trout Unlimited membership dues are not shared with our Chapter for funding our local conservation activities, youth programs and general operating expenses.

The annual fundraiser featured 75 participants, with another 26 providing $1,589 “restricted” donations to the chapter’s conservation, youth camp scholarships and endowment fund.

The first prize winner was Ed Costin of Oak Lawn, who selected a Loop 4wt Evotec Rod and Q Reel—a $625 retail value.  The Loop rod and reel outfit was donated by Javier Guevara of In the Loop Outfitters.

The second prize winner was Tom Wilhelm of Wheaton who received a Yeti 45-Quart Tundra Cooler.

Ten third prize winners received a $25 Orvis Gift Card:  Willie Beshire and Tom Wilhelm of Wheaton; Lisa Gilmore of Riverside; Brian McPheters of Champaign; Rick Rowe of Glen Ellyn; Allan Sherman of Wheeling; Pete Sullivan of Naperville; James Watts of Forest Park; and Joe Weisenberger of Ashland, Oregon.

Javier Guevara, owner and guide for “In the Loop Outfitters” (left), presents Ed Costin of Oak Lawn with a Loop 4wt rod and reel as the 2019 Rod Raffle first prize.

 


December Annual Holiday Party a Social  and Financial Success!

Our December 11 Holiday Party at the Arrowhead Golf Club in Wheaton drew 51 members and guests for our annual social event and fundraiser. The Holiday Party–which included a silent auction and bucket raffles–netted a record $5,833 after expenses.

Special thanks to the following guides who donated one-day trips for two anglers:

Betsie River–Pat Moore of Moore Outfitters.
Driftless Area–Kyle Zempel of Black Earth Angling.
Muskegon River–Kevin Feenstra of Feenstra Guide Service.

Northern Illinois Rivers–Mike Allen and Kurt Nelson of Midwest Waters Angling Co.

Please support these guides as you make your 2020 fishing plans. For a list of other OBTU “business partners” and past donors to our Holiday Party and monthly raffles, please see our website Business Partners page in the “About Us” section.

Fred Hodge proudly displays a commemorative fly box created by Carl Hueter for his lifetime of service to Oak Brook Trout Unlimited at the Holiday Party.

OBTU Kicks Off Monthly Fly Fishing Tips Forum Starting Febuary 25

Join Oak Brook TU once a month for a fly fishing forum we are calling “Fishing Tip(pet)s”.  All skill levels are welcome as we meet to discuss all things fly fishing and Oak Brook TU on the last Tuesday of each month.  Each night will have a theme, but all topics are welcome in this informal roundtable format.

Our inaugural event centered on the theme of “gear”. The March 31 theme will be “Fly selection and knot basics” at a location TBD.

The plan is to rotate meeting locations at area libraries.

Contact Phil McCluskey for more information:
E:  mccluskeyph@gmail.com
M: 815-641-2725

OBTU Announces Monthly Fly Fishing Tips Fly Fishing Forum Starting Febuary 25

 


March 18 “Spring Fling” Open House 

Mark your calendar now for an Open House on Wednesday, March 18, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Oak Brook Recreation Center Central Park West Building.
The organization’s open house event is free to its members, friends and general public.
The event has something for everyone:
—  An evening of fellowship and networking with your TU colleagues.
—  Fishing information for Midwest locations for trout, steelhead, salmon and smallmouth bass.
—  Oak Brook TU membership-hosted weekend fishing trips. See the “Fishing Trips” page on our website for more details.
—  Oak Brook TU information tables on conservation volunteer activities planned for the 2020 summer and fall seasons as well as youth education and advocacy programs.
—  Orvis, Loop, DuPage Fly Fishing and Filson representatives will be on hand with their latest 2020 fishing gear and apparel.
—  Illinois guides Will Winans of Big River Fly Fishing, and Mike Allen and Kurt Nelson of Midwest Waters Angling will be there to talk Illinois river smallmouth fly fishing.
—  $50 gift card to the new Filson Naperville store as a door prize raffle for all attendees plus a bucket raffle featuring fishing gear, wine, beer and other prizes.

Learn about Midwest fishing locations, meet local guides and fishing gear reps, and sign up for Spring and Fall Fly Fishing Weekends.

Iron Fish Distillery Newest Business Partner

Iron Fish Distillery is Michigan’s first working farm solely dedicated to the practice of distilling small-batch craft spirits. It reclaimed a late 1890s abandoned farmstead with a simple mission: create exceptional spirits from the ground up, growing its own grain and sourcing grain from Michigan farmers with practices that respect the health of nearby watersheds, including the Betsie River.
Located in Thompsonville, Michigan, the Iron Fish Distillery takes its name and logo from the wild steelhead that run in the nearby Betsie River.

Iron Fish Distillery products are available for home delivery orders through their Chicago distributor Big Fish Spirits website. Iron Fish products can be found through their Big Fish Spiits profile here:Iron Fish Distillery Products

The Big Fish Spirits code for free shipping for orders over $75 (this is usually at the $150 mark) is: SHIP75

Iron Fish Distillery products are available for home delivery orders through their Chicago distributor Big Fish Spirits website.

The Michigan Arctic Grayling Initiative

By Jim Schmiedeskamp

At our November 18 membership meeting, Nicole Watson, a Ph.D. student at Michigan State University, reviewed her research work in support of the Michigan Arctic Grayling Initiative.  The reintroduction of Arctic Grayling—a historical species that was extirpated in the early 1900s—to their native Michigan rivers and streams is being led by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, in partnership with the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians (LRBOI).

Michigan’s history with the Arctic Grayling is long and storied. A striking fish with a sail-like dorsal fin and a slate blue color on its body, it was virtually the only native stream salmonid in the Lower Peninsula until the resident population died off nearly a century ago.

Michigan’s Arctic Grayling Initiative consists of more than 40 organizations in addition to the DNR’s and LRBOI’s foundational partnership and is committed to re-introducing this culturally significant species.

“Our formal mission as an initiative is to restore self-sustaining populations of Arctic Grayling within its historic range in Michigan,” said DNR Fisheries Division Assistant Chief Todd Grischke.

“The fact we have a town named after this fish indicates to me just how iconic it was and still is to many in this state,” Grischke said. “When you add in other factors—such as the fact they’re only native to Michigan and Montana out of all the lower 48 states—it just adds to their legendary status.”

19th Century Extinction Causes
In the 19th century, northern Michigan streams were filled with Arctic Grayling offering anglers plenty of opportunity to catch these unique fish. But a variety of factors slowly erased their presence, including the cutting of Michigan’s vast virgin forest in the 1800s.

“Logging practices during that time period used streams to transport trees that were harvested. The streams carried logs to mills for processing,” explained Grischke. “These practices greatly impacted the physical nature of those streams and basically destroyed stream habitats for fish, including grayling spawning areas.”

Additionally, the physical cutting of the trees caused blockages in many of those same streams, often displacing grayling from where they lived.

But this was just one issue that affected Michigan’s Arctic Grayling.  Another was the introduction of non-native fish species.

“Other species of trout were introduced into Michigan’s waters to create additional opportunities for anglers to pursue, but a consequence of this action was that grayling couldn’t compete with more aggressive fish like brown, rainbow or brook trout,” Grischke said.

The final nail in the coffin was over fishing that occurred readily with people harvesting the grayling in large quantities with no possession limits or other regulations to stop them.

The last Arctic Grayling on record in Michigan were taken in 1936, but since that time natural resource managers have repeatedly looked for options to reintroduce it.

Previous Re-introduction Attempts Fail
“In the late 1800s and early 1900s, millions of Arctic Grayling fry were stocked into Michigan streams, but that didn’t work,” said Grischke.  “And then in the 1980s, the DNR stocked hatchery-reared yearlings into lakes and streams, but again to no avail.”

In each of these previous re-introduction efforts something critical was missing that prevented these populations from flourishing, but the Michigan Arctic Grayling Initiative hopes to rectify that.

“We have learned from these previous re-introduction events and plan to capitalize on new approaches, dedicated partnerships, and advanced technology,” Grischke explained.

Initiative’s Action Plan
Much of the initiative’s focus is detailed in its official Action Plan, unveiled in July 2017 and reflective of the vast work to be done by the various partners. The group is gleaning as much information as possible from the state of Montana and their successful effort at re-establishing stable Arctic Grayling populations.

“Within our Action Plan we’ve identified four focus areas and associated goals that were developed by all the partners and that we believe will give us the best chance of success moving forward,” said Grischke.

The four focus areas on the Action Plan include research; management; fish production; and outreach and education.

Research Focus
This component actually began prior to the foundational partnership.  In 2013, Michigan Technological University and the LRBOI completed research on the Manistee River that evaluated current conditions for Arctic Grayling suitability.  Then, immediately after forming the official partnership, the DNR received a grant from Consumers Energy Foundation to fund a comprehensive habitat evaluation in the Upper Manistee watershed.  This work was performed in 2017. Also in 2017, the LRBOI initiated research on in-stream Remote Site Incubators (RSIs). RSIs allow fish to be reared and released directly into streams to better allow them to imprint to the waters they will hopefully reproduce in later on.  Better imprinting means the initiative will be one-step closer to establishing a self-sustaining population of Arctic Grayling, which is the ultimate outcome of this effort. This technology was pivotal to the success of Montana’s Arctic Grayling reintroduction efforts.

Additional research began in 2018 with Michigan State University and Nicole Watson, which has looked at understanding imprinting through thyroid hormone analysis and water choice trials; and to understand the relationships between young resident trout and grayling including competition and predation.  The third year of Nicole Watson’s work at Michigan State University will start in the spring of this year.

According to Grischke, much more research is needed into the future over the next 5 to 15 years as the initiative addresses river habitats, genetics, inter-species competition, RSI technology and function.

“A best-case scenario would be Arctic Grayling being introduced into Michigan waters in the next 3-5 years,” said Grischke. In the meantime, additional streams are being evaluated for the initial introduction.

Management, Production and Education Phases
Goals for the management focus area will include evaluating key habitat criteria, establishing population goals, and working on regulations related to fishing for grayling.

The fish production focus area’s work will center on experimenting with Remote Site Incubator designs, ensuring fish health standards are upheld, and developing and maintaining a genetically diverse brood stock which will be housed at a state hatchery facility.

Lastly, goals for the outreach and education focus area will be concentrated on informing the public on this initiative’s efforts, identifying future partners, and creating a stewardship plan.

“The goals of these focus areas will be accomplished by partner representatives working together,” Grischke shared. “The only way this initiative will be successful is if we continue to work together towards our mission.”

Funding Is Another Priority
Funding is needed for each of these four focus areas, but primarily in the areas of research and fish production.  The initiative has raised approximately $700,000 to date, with a goal of $1.2 million.  In the next 2-3 years, most of the funding will go towards stream habitat evaluations, fish rearing, equipment, and travel.  According to Grischke, funding is not “complete” for any of the focus areas at this point in time and will focus on private donations, Trout Unlimited national and local chapter support, foundations and company sponsors.

Individual donors can contribute directly to the State of Michigan with checks payable to Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Fisheries Division, and mailed to: Cashiers Office, Attn: MDNR Fisheries Division, PO Box 30451, Lansing, MI 48909-7951.  The donations should indicate that the money is to be used for the Arctic Grayling Initiative. 

To learn more about Nicole Watson’s research work, see her bylined article which appeared in Grayling Reintroduction_MI TROUT_2019

To learn more about Michigan’s Arctic Grayling Initiative, visit migrayling.org.

The last Arctic Grayling on record in Michigan were taken in 1936 but since that time natural resource managers have repeatedly looked for options to reintroduce it.

Guide Jay Allen Yellowstone Trip Information

Jay Allen drew a large crowd at our January 15 membership meeting with 62 attendees learning about various Yellowstone national park and Wyoming area fishing destinations he guides.

Jay lives year round in Newaygo, Michigan where he guides for Spring steelhead and Fall salmon and steelhead on the Muskegon River.

However, come summer time, Jay heads west to the Turpin Meadow Ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Here’s an overview of the various fly fishing trips Jay discussed:

Yellowstone Park—Firehole River for early Spring cutthroat trout and Lewis River Fall brown trout fishing. Walk-and-wade day fishing trips available. Pricing: $625.00/person/day; add a third angler for $200.

Buffalo Fork backcountry—4 day/3 night trips with a mixture of canyons, pocket water, and meadow fishing for Westslope and Snake River fine spot cutthroat trout. Pricing: $625/person/day with a four angler minimum. All meals and camping gear included.

Yellowstone River back country—7 day/6 night 30-mile horseback camping trip for native cutthroat. Pricing: $625/person/day with a four angler minimum for a seven-day booking.  All meals and camping gear included.

Wind River Reservation—fishing options include Wind River drift boat fishing for brown trout and Lower and Upper Bull Lake Creeks for walk-and-wade day trips for brown and cutthroat trout.

Pricing: $625.00/person/day and 2 anglers; add a third angler for $200.

For more information visit the Turpin Meadow Ranch website or contact Jay Allen via email: guidejayallen@gmail.com

Wyoming fly fishing options with guide Jay Allen include both wade and drift boat fishing as well as backcountry camping trips on horseback.

Volunteers Needed for Spring-Summer Youth Fly Fishing Classes; Sign Up For February 29 Training Session

Oak Brook TU is seeking volunteers for its 16th year of youth fly fishing classes.

These classes cover a basic discussion of fly fishing tackle–rods, reels lines and leaders–and the different types of flies to imitate different foods as well as flyrod casting instruction. There are sections on knot tying, outdoor safety, and fly tying. All of these activities provided a hands-on taste of the sport of fly fishing.

Classes are held once a month from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Camp Sagawau Environmental Learning Center — a unit of the Cook County Forest Preserves located at 12545 West 111th Street, Lemont, IL, with fishing on nearby Cook County Forest Preserve ponds and Lakes in the Palos area.

To sign up for our “Training Session” on Saturday, February 29, from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Camp Sagawau Forest Preserve Learning Center please contact Mike Lesiak:
E:   Michael.Lesiak@cbservices.org
M:  630.300.4997

See our Youth Fly Fishing Class web page for 2020 dates.

Youth classes feature fly tying, flyrod casting and fishing!

 


OBTU Elects New Officers and Directors

The January 15, 2019 Oak Brook TU membership meeting featured the chapter’s annual election of Officers and Directors nominated by the Leadership Development and Nominating Committee.
The current Board of Directors elected the following officers to serve a term of one year in the offices as indicated below:
President:  Willie Beshire
Vice President:  Dave Carlson
Secretary:  Carol Hennessy
Treasurer: Jack Potts
Meeting attendees elected as returning Board Directors Ken Krueger and Lisa Gilmore to three-year terms. Ken will continue to serve as the chapter’s Membership Chair responsible for new membership recruitment and management of the chapter’s current membership database. Lisa Gilmore will continue to serve as the Leadership Development Chair.
To learn more about Board positions and other volunteer opportunities, please contact Lisa Gilmore, Leadership Development and Nominating Committee Chair or the appropriate Officer or Director listed in the OBTU Board Contact Listing on the website “Leadership” page.

April 15 Membership Meeting CANCELLED

April 15 Membership Meeting CANCELLED

Because of the coronavirus threat the April 15 Oak Brook Trout Unlimited Chapter meeting is cancelled.

Please check back regarding the status of the May 20 membership meeting at 7:00-9:00 p.m.
Speaker: Dustan Harley on “Fly Fishing Southwest Michigan”
Oak Brook Recreation Center, Central Park West Building
Guest are welcome

 

See our Calendar for more information including directions.

November/December 2019

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 for our First Prize Winner a choice of two Loop rod and reel outfits.

FIRST PRIZE:  Loop Evotec Single-Handed Rod and Q Reel (without Line). A $625 retail value!  2wt to 11wt options.  Or…
Loop Q Rod and Reel Outfit (with Line and Backing).  A $500 Retail Value.   5wt, 6wt, 7wt or 8wt options.

Donated by IN THE LOOP OUTFITTERS.For more information on Loop fly fishing gear visit:  intheloopoutfitters.com

SECOND PRIZE:  Yeti 45 QT Tundra Cooler with TU Logo. A $299 Retail Value.

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:  jimschmieds@gmail.com

Your ticket stubs with or without a donation should be mailed by December 1, 2019 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 11th at Arrowhead Golf Club in Wheaton.  You are welcome to come to our next monthly membership meeting on Wednesday, November 20th and drop off your ticket stubs and money in person in lieu of mailing them.  Or purchase raffle tickets at the meeting.

Your ticket stubs should be mailed by December 1, 2019.  You do not have to be in attendance at the December 11 Holiday Party to be selected as a winner.

Loop Q Rod and Reel Outfit

 


President’s Letter

Greetings Oak Brook TU members and friends:

I would like to begin this month’s letter by reminding you of our new calendar on our “obtu.org” website.  This tool should become your “go to” location for the details of upcoming events and opportunities to participate in OBTU.  Just to make sure you have experienced the new capability, here check out our “Calendar” web page by going to the “12-Month Calendar” link.  You can view all meetings and events by month. Individual events feature detailed information including Google map locations.  While the new calendar will serve as our central repository of all scheduled upcoming events, OBTU will also continue to send out electronic bimonthly newsletters and “e-blast” announcements.

I would like to recognize Jim Schmiedeskamp, OBTU Communications Chair, for his leadership in delivering our new calendar as well as all of our chapter’s technology-based communications capabilities. For the past several years, Jim has been the driving force in developing our advanced website capability as well as more recently helping OBTU enter the world of social media through successful Facebook and Instagram initiatives.  Well done Jim!

On another subject, I’m pleased to report that our chapter’s September 27-29 Wisconsin “Driftless Area” Fly Fishing Outing was enjoyed by the 12 people who attended. The group included a good mix of new and old colleagues. Everyone quickly bonded and had a wonderful time.

Despite challenging weather and water conditions, the group had fly fishing success on a number of Driftless Area streams including the West Fork of the Kickapoo, the Timber Coulee, Weister Creek, Camp Creek, North Branch of the Bad Axe, Reed’s Creek and the Little LaCrosse.  We split up into small fishing teams with experienced mentors. Teams and locations were rotated so that everyone had ample opportunity to explore the various streams and creeks.

The lodging at “Nature Nooks Retreat” on the West Fork of the Kickapoo near Viroqua provided an excellent base for our operations.  The “Retreat” provided a great atmosphere for our group outing.  We enjoyed striking views of the West Fork’s river valley from our front porch.  The “Kinship Place” conference facility provided a place for congregating, socializing and more than a little story telling.    Blue ribbon fly fishing was only a short walk away.

Everyone raved about Saturday night dinner and two breakfasts prepared by OBTU member Bob Hutchinson (who doubles as a banker in his spare time).  The group feasted on Bob’s “penne pasta drizzled with four-meat ragout”, “chorizo and taco egg bake”, and other delicacies.   While Bob was willing to share the intricacies of using a pheasant tail nymph to bring trout from a deep run to hand, I regret to inform that the details of Bob’s recipes shall forever remain a mystery.

Participants gained appreciation of some of the key conservation challenges in the Driftless Area.   Weister Creek stream restoration work (partially funded by OBTU) was in good repair despite the region’s recent high-water events.  Accomplishments of the Trout Unlimited Driftless Area Restoration Effort (TUDARE) were evident at many of our fishing locations. Also apparent was the significant erosion damage from recent high-water events highlighting the need for continued habitat improvement efforts.

In summary, the group shared many blessings:  fellowship of old and new friends; appreciation of the “Driftless Area’s version of the great outdoors; a passion for the sport of fly fishing for wild stream trout; escape from our daily pressures; and so much more.  In the immortal words of William Shakespeare: “Parting was such sweet sorrow”.  Stay tuned for 2020 outings!

On another note, please plan to attend our annual Holiday Party Fundraiser on Wednesday, December 11, 7-9:30 p.m., at the Arrowhead Golf Club in Wheaton for our year-end social get-together.  See the related article and save the date on your calendar!

Hope to see you there.

Willie Beshire
President, Oak Brook Trout Unlimited Chapter
M: 630-200-2532  E: wbeshire@aol.com

Participants in the chapter’s September 27-29 Driftless Area fly fishing weekend.

 


New Business Partner: “In the Loop Outfitters”

“In the Loop Outfitters” is the chapter’s new Business Partner offering Loop fly fishing gear through their online store. Javier Guevara, who many of our members know from his Ecuador Fly Fishing Tours international guide service, launched “In the Loop Outfitters” earlier this year and is an Oak Brook TU member.  For more information visit their website:  intheloopoutfitters.com


Fall and 2020 Winter Speaker Line Up

November 20, 7:00-9:00 p.m.
Speaker:  Nicole Watson, Ph.D Student, Michigan State University, on “Michigan’s Grayling Reintroduction”.
Location:  Oak Brook Recreation Center Central Park West Building.  Guests are welcome.

January 15, 7:00-9:00 pm
Speaker: Jay Allen, Yellowstone Backbacking Guide, on: “Fly Fishing Yellowstone”
Location:  Oak Recreation Center Main Building, Canterberry Room.

February 19, 7:00-9:00 pm
Speaker:  Kip Vieth, Wildwood Float Trips Guide and 2017 Orvis Guide of the Year, on: “Minnesota Smallmouth and Muskie Fly Fishing”
Location: Oak Brook Recreation Center Main Building, Canterberry Room.


Save the Date: Holiday Party Fundraiser and Rod Raffle Drawing December 11

Mark your calendar now for our annual Holiday Party Fundraiser and Rod Raffle drawing scheduled Wednesday, December 11, from 7-9:30 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 $50 apiece and cover appetizers, desserts and your choice of wine, beer, cocktails or soft drinks.  Tickets will be available for sale at our November 20 chapter meeting and at the door on December 11 via check, cash 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 Jim Dickens with your RSVP(s):  james.dickens@me.com

 


Youth Fly Fishing Classes Complete 15th Year

By Marvin Strauch

This year has been a very successful year for the Youth Fly Fishing program at Oak Brook TU.  We’ve now been doing the program for 15 years!  As in the past couple years, we offered monthly classes from May through September conducted at the Sagawau Environmental Education Center of the Cook County Forest Preserves near Lemont.  Actual outdoor fly rod casting instruction and fishing took place at nearby Horsetail Lake. Classes typically ran from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The classes cover a basic discussion of fly tackle—rods, reels lines and leaders—and the different types of flies to imitate different foods. There were sections on knot tying, outdoor safety, and fly tying.  Each participant tied two flies (a foam beetle and a soft hackle wet fly).  After a lunch break, each class left Camp Sagawau and headed to a Forest Preserve lake for fly casting instruction and plenty of fishing.  All of these activities provided a hands-on taste of the sport of fly fishing.

Apparently, someone posted our 2019 youth program flyer on a Chicago Boy Scouts of America merit badge Facebook page and for a week in March, my phone and computer just lit up.  In order to respond to the demand, we added a second class in August, for a total of 6 classes.  We taught 84 boys and girls to fly fish, and I’m confident that many of these young people will enjoy their new sport, and hopefully remember the nice folks at Trout Unlimited and our conservation concern for coldwater fisheries.

Also, as in recent years, we not only had participants from our south and west suburban areas along with the city of Chicago, but young people came from Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa and Missouri.  In addition, I had very good conversations with folks looking to establish a Youth Fly Fishing program in downstate Illinois, in northern Michigan, and in Iowa.  I wish them success.

Of course, this program could not exist with the enthusiastic support of our membership volunteers.  We had 26 volunteers helping.  Many of these volunteers not only acted as fishing mentors, but also presenting one or more of the programs segments.  My thanks go out to:  Miguel and Mirella Alvarez, Ted Bernhard, Wally Bock, Willie Beshire, Steve Carlson, Art Cottrell, Lisa Gilmore, Carol Hennessy, Fred Hodge, Ken Krueger, Dan LaFave, Mike Lesiak, Dave Lunardini, Dale MacDonald, Phil McCluskey, Max Odena, Greg Prosen, Brian Ross, Mitch Schwarz, Bill Thoms, Tom Wilhelm, Phil Young, Stan Zarnowiecki, and Frank Zbylski.

We are already beginning to plan for next year, and hopefully the program will continue to grow.  While we have been pleased by the response we get from Boy Scouts each year, we would like to reach out to those young people who are just interested in fly fishing, or in coldwater conservation.

And of course, we can always use more volunteers, as it takes 8-10 volunteers to conduct each class day.  Please consider volunteering for next year and join in on the fun of passing your knowledge of fly fishing and the conservation mission of TU to another generation.

Thanks,
Marvin Strauch
Education Chair – OBTU

Fly Fishing Class participants learn to tie their first flies.

 


International Guides Now on Website

In addition to “Preferred Guides” listed on the Oak Brook TU website’s 18 Midwest fishing pages, we have now included guides who offer international fly fishing trips from Alaska to Argentina. Several of these guides are currently Preferred Guides located in the Midwest who offer special seasonal trips to locations like British Columbia and Patagonia by Mat Wagner of Wisconsin’s Driftless Angler fly shop. Other listed guides specialize in trips like Javier Guevara of Ecuador Fly Fishing Tours (Central and South America) and Ouzel International Expeditions (Alaska and Kamchatka, Russia).

 

See the Business Partners page on the chapter’s website for all international destinations.

Javier Guevara of Ecuador Fly Fishing Tours

 


Member Profile:  Meet Phil Young

Phil Young has been a member of the Oak Brook Chapter of Trout Unlimited for 17 years and is easily recognized by his distinguished mustache. He’s one of the folks that many of us know from our monthly membership meetings as a regular attendee and long-time chapter “Librarian” of our extensive fly fishing DVD and video collection which he has managed for five years.

Phil served as a Board member from 2007 through 2010, and has held a number of other roles in the chapter. He has also been an active conservation and youth education volunteer.

Phil has been a real driver of the OBTU youth education effort which he was instrumental in starting 15 years ago.  According to our current Youth Education Chair Marvin Strauch, it was Phil who stood up at a membership meeting in 2005 asked why we didn’t do anything for kids.  He immediately got involved by developing our chapter’s youth fly fishing classes, and three years later helped launch the Illinois Council of Trout Unlimited summer youth camp, which just concluded its 12 successful year.  Phil has also been a “Trout in the Classroom” program volunteer.  In 2011, Phil was recognized with Trout Unlimited’s national Youth Education Award and proudly feels the Oak Brook chapter’s youth education outreach programs are the best in the country.  Phil says if he ever retires from his current job as a Professional Land Surveyor, he’d like to participate in the annual Illinois TU summer camp as a mentor.

Phil has been married for 49 years.  He and his wife Marlys have two adult sons.

Hometown:  Durant, Iowa
Current home: Bristol, Illinois
How long as a TU member: 17 years
Introduction to fly fishing:  I had a fly fishing uncle who introduced my Dad and me to fly fishing in
northeastern Iowa when I was a teenager.  However, I did not get serious about fly fishing until I graduated
from the University of Iowa where I majored in geology.
Favorite fishing holes:  I have fly fished from the Boundary Waters of northern Minnesota to the Florida Keys
and south Texas and many places in between.  I love them all, but my favorite freshwater spots are farm ponds
with bass and bluegills and my favorite saltwater spots are the Everglades and Florida Bay.

Phil Young with a Muskegon River steelhead on a Kevin Feenstra
guide trip

 


This Issue’s “Fishtoon”

July/August 2019

Illinois TU Summer Youth Camp a Success!

By Dan LaFave, Illinois TU Council Camp Director and OBTU Board member

The 12th annual Illinois Council of Trout Unlimited’s Youth Conservation and Fly Fishing Camp is now in the books, with another successful camp concluded. As in recent years, 12 boys and girls ages 13-18 learned the importance of conserving, protecting, and restoring the coldwater environment needed for trout and salmon survival. They also learned basic fly fishing skills, made new friends, and learned a lot about the world around them.

The camp ran from July 21 to 26 along the fabled Au Sable River around Grayling, Michigan, with campers and staff staying at the Michigan DNR’s RAM Conference Center in nearby Roscommon. The 10 boys and two girls were supported by a group of 12 mentors from Illinois and Michigan TU chapters, with numerous outside volunteers from universities, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and others who generously supported the camp with their time and talents.

Camp Highlights
The goal of the Illinois TU Youth Conservation and Fly Fishing Camp is to introduce young people to Trout Unlimited while teaching the importance of conserving our coldwater resources, and providing them an outdoors education experience which they will value for many years. Campers also learned the basics of fly fishing and had the opportunity to fish for wild brook, brown, and rainbow trout each morning and evening on different parts of the beautiful Au Sable River. Each day was filled with educational activities such as entomology (study of the insects that live in the water and are a food source for the trout), hydrology, fish anatomy, helping the DNR with an electro-shocking survey of fish population, and learning of the history of logging and how humans can affect the environment. Ultimately, Illinois TU hopes that the campers’ experiences will motivate them to become better stewards of the environment and future leaders in conservation, as well as providing a life-long love of the sport.

We had a great group of campers in 2019 who eagerly participated in and enjoyed all activities (sometimes to their own surprise!). One camper who had only fished once previously was very proud of the flies that she tied herself. All were very motivated and enthused to learn new things; at all times they displayed respect for each other and the mentors. They supported one another in their fishing and conservation successes. As in recent years, the weather cooperated throughout the week except for some brief showers during the stream restoration project. But even that didn’t dampen the enthusiasm for the restoration work.

This year’s camp began with flyrod casting instruction by guest instructor Ron Kilgren, a certified fly casting teacher with decades of experience teaching both new and advanced fly fishers. Ron taught the basic pick-up and lay-down cast, the roll cast, and feeding line, while demonstrating different techniques of the leading casting experts. More advanced techniques were taught throughout the week. Campers also learned that they can continue to improve their casting skills at home in their yards, parks, or at local ponds.

Campers also learned about macroinvertebrates and entomology—the study of the aquatic insects trout feed upon. They gathered samples from the river and identified them, while learning how the sampling reflects water quality. Past camp director Willie Beshire admirably filled in for Western Michigan University Professor Steve Kohler, who was unable to join us this year due to a conflicting meeting of the Michigan Water Resources Council. Campers learned fish anatomy and dissection from Michigan State University professor Dan Hayes, as well as water quality testing. Stream hydrology was demonstrated by fisheries biologist Patrick Ertel of the Michigan DNR. Campers also assisted the DNR with a fish count through electro-shocking on the Sturgeon River. The impact of human logging activities and the environmental impact when nature is not considered was apparent at the Hartwick Pines State Park, where one of the only original stands of Michigan old growth white pine trees remains. The crosscut sawing competition at the re-created logging camp was a highlight of the week, as always.

In addition to the fishing and stream restoration project, fly tying was a favorite mentioned on the campers’ evaluation forms. Despite the days that began before 7 a.m. and ended at 9:30 p.m., several campers expressed that they wished they could have fished later each evening. Overall, their comments reflected a high level of satisfaction with the camp (e.g., “the best camp I have ever been to”, and “camp is perfect how it is”), while also making some thoughtful suggestions (e.g. “more hands-on activities” and “giving an hour break” during the day).

The Youth Camp could not be a success without its volunteer mentors (as well as all the outsider support!). This year we had eight mentors from the Oak Brook chapter: OBTU president and past camp director Willie Beshire, stalwart Fred Hodge (veteran of all but 1 previous Illinois TU camp), Lisa Gilmore, Carol Hennessy, camp director Dan LaFave, Nancy Richardson, John Snyder, and Dr. Mike Youssi. Also mentoring again were Randy Daniel and Mark Wortsmann of the Gary Borger Chapter in Illinois, as well as Ric Augustine and Carl Hueter, both Michigan TU leaders and longstanding supporters of the Illinois youth camp. Without the many hours of planning meetings, recruiting, fundraising, equipment care and cleaning, and other work (plus their own personal donations), we would not have a camp to bring along the next generation of conservation leaders. Many, many thanks to all involved.

Thanks for OBTU Financial Support
Thanks also to all the Illinois Trout Unlimited chapters for your support of the Illinois Council’s Youth Conservation and Fly Fishing Camp, and to DRiFT, Whitetail Fly Tieing Supplies, and to the individual donors for their ongoing financial support and by spreading the word. That financial support, plus the proceeds of the bamboo rod raffle (made possible by the generous donation of a hand-crafted bamboo fly rod by OBTU member and Youth Education Chair Marvin Strauch), have so far enabled the camp to keep the tuition fee at $575, which only covers about 45% of the actual cost of camp. It also enables the camp to make scholarships available to campers who would not otherwise be able to attend. This year we happily provided that opportunity to four campers in need of financial aid.

2020 Youth Camp
Mark your calendars now for next year’s camp which will be conducted from July 26 to 31, 2020, along the beautiful Au Sable River in Michigan. We had much interest in this year’s camp after we were already filled and anticipate a rush of early applications next year. Updated information can be found on the OBTU website on the Youth Summer Camp page. New application forms will be available near the end of this year and will be accepted beginning January 1, 2020.

 


Fishing the Iowa Driftless Area Want to go fishing?

Want to go fishing but need someone to show you the right location, successful fishing tips and help coordinate carpooling?  Plus meet new fishing friends?

Oak Brook TU held a successful Wisconsin Driftless fishing weekend June 28-30 with six anglers paired up with three mentors.  More on this event in the following report by John Snyder.  The June fishing weekend will be followed by two Fall weekends with information below.  Look forward to more of these chapter outings in 2020.

Oak Brook TU Membership Fishing Weekend–Wisconsin Driftless Area
September 27 @ 5:00 pm – September 29 @ 5:00 pm
The Oak Brook TU chapter is hosting a weekend fishing trip to introduce members to the Wisconsin Driftless Area with lodging and carpooling coordinated by the chapter the weekend of September 27-29.

There are 12 spots open with at least three mentors. There is no cost other than for lodging and your Wisconsin fishing license if you don’t have one.  Your fishing license can be purchased online.  Visit the chapter’s Wisconsin Driftless Area Fishing page for more information including a Wisconsin fishing license.

Oak Brook TU Membership Fishing Weekend–Iowa Driftless Area
October 18 @ 5:00 pm – October 20 @ 5:00 pm

Want to go fishing in the Iowa Driftless Area?  The Oak Brook TU chapter is hosting a weekend fishing trip to introduce members to the Iowa Driftless Area with lodging and carpooling coordinated by the chapter the weekend of October 18-20.

There are 12 spots open.  There is no cost other than for lodging and your Iowa fishing license if you don’t have one.   Licenses can be purchased online.  Visit the chapter’s Iowa Driftless Area web page for more information including an Iowa fishing license.

Contact Willie Beshire to register and for more information.
M: 630-200-2532   E: wbeshire@aol.com

 


President’s Letter

Greetings Oak Brook TU members and friends:

OBTU has an exciting Fall lineup with numerous opportunities for members.   I encourage you to get out your calendar and enter some dates!

Please don’t hesitate to contact me or other OBTU board members if you want more information on how to get involved (refer to website Leadership page for board member contact info.)

Here’s a preview of upcoming events. Our September 18 and November 20 meetings will at the Oak Brook Recreation Center Central Park West Building.  The October 16 meeting will be at the Oak Brook Recreation Center Main Building in the Canterberry Room.  Guests are welcome.

September 18 Chapter Meeting at 7 p.m. featuring Robert Thompson, fly fishing film producer, on his most recent fly fishing films: “Spey Daze” (Great Lakes steelhead) and “Summer Haze” (on Midwest warm water species).

September 27-29 OBTU Wisconsin Driftless Area Fishing Weekend. Visit the website “Fishing Trips” page for more information and how to sign up.

October 8 Fly Tying Workshop at Bass Pro Shops in Bolingbrook.  This 7-9 p.m. introductory class is hosted by OBTU members.  Participants will be provided with fly tying equipment and materials.  There is no cost.

October 12 Coldwater River Entomology Survey Work Day in Alto, Michigan.  See the Conservation Projects web page for more information.  Plan on including some local fishing in the Grand Rapids area.

October 16 Chapter Meeting featuring Jake Lemon, TU Eastern Angler Science Coordinator on “Stream Monitoring Technology and Angler Science” and Aaron Snell, Co-founder of Streamside Ecological Service, on “Coldwater Watershed Habitat Strategy”. In addition, OBTU’s recent investment in stream monitoring technology on the Coldwater River will be highlighted.  (OBTU has been assisting with the Coldwater River Watershed in the Grand Rapids area for many years.)

October 18-20 OBTU Chapter Iowa Driftless Area Fishing Weekend

October 26 DuPage River Cleanup work day at Pioneer Park in Naperville.  This local cleanup day is being held twice a year as part of the “Adopt-a-Stream” program.

November kickoff of the OBTU 2019-2020 Trout-in-the-Classroom program with the fall delivery of fertilized brown trout eggs to participating schools.

November 12 Fly Tying Workshop at Bass Pro Shops in Bolingbrook.  This 7-9 p.m. introductory class is hosted by OBTU members.  Participants will be provided with fly tying equipment and materials.  There is no cost.

November 20 Chapter Meeting featuring Nicole Watson, Michigan State University PhD Student, on the reintroduction of Graying into Michigan.

December 11 Annual Holiday Party and Fundraiser at Arrowhead Park in Wheaton.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to OBTU’s spring fundraising drive. We are wrapping up a successful campaign with results to date that are similar to recent years. (See related story below).   OBTU could not continue making contributions to coldwater conservation and education programs in our region without your generous on-going support.

Hope to see you soon.

Willie Beshire
President, Oak Brook Trout Unlimited Chapter
M: 630-200-2532  E: wbeshire@aol.com

 


We Have A Great Fall Meeting Speaker Line-up

Our monthly meetings resume on Wednesday, September 18 at the Oak Brook Recreation Center at 7 p.m. in the Central Park West Building.  Guests are welcome. Please note that our October 16 meeting will be in the Canterberry Room in the Oak Brook Recreation Center Main Building. We will return to the Central Park West Building for our November.

September 18, 7-9 p.m.
Speaker:  Robert Thompson on Great Lakes steelhead and conservation issues as well as his latest film-“Summer Haze” on smallmouth fishing in Illinois and Wisconsin. Robert will be showing video highlights from “Spey Daze” and “Summer Haze”films which will be available for sale as DVDs. The meeting will in the Oak Park Recreation Center Central Park West Building.

Come early from 6-7 p.m. for a special LOOP fishing gear preview by Javier Guevara of In the Loop Outfitters, a U.S. authorized online dealer of LOOP gear and clothing from Sweden.  LOOP is a global premium brand of fly fishing gear and operator of fly fishing lodges around the world. Javier has donated a LOOP rod/reel outfit for our 2019 Annual Rod Raffle.

October 16, 7-9 p.m.
Speakers: Jake Lemon, TU Eastern Angler Science Coordinator on “Stream Monitoring Technology” and Aaron Snell, Co-Founder of Streamside Ecological Service, on “Coldwater Watershed Habitat Strategy”. The meeting is will be held at the Oak Brook Recreation Center Main Building, Canterberry Room.

November 20, 7:00 pm – 9:00 p.m.
Speaker:  Nicole Watson, Ph.D Student, Michigan State University, on “Michigan’s Grayling Reintroduction”.  Nicole will review the history of Michigan Grayling including their extirpation from Michigan waters and multiple failed attempts at reintroduction.  However, with a successful Montana reintroduction, there is renewed hope.   The meeting will be in the Oak Brook Central Park West Building.

See our new online Calendar for all OBTU meetings and events including directions

Film Producer Robert Thompson

 

Jake Lemon, TU Eastern Angler Science Coordinator
Aaron Snell, Co-Founder of Streamside Ecological Service
Nicole Watson, Ph.D Student, Michigan State University

 


Chapter Website Visits on Record Pace

The OBTU website saw an increase in unique pageviews of 63% through June 30, 2019 compared to the same six-month timeframe in 2018. Total 2018 12-month unique pageviews were 10,737 which was a 27% increase over 2017 visits.

The new website was launched in August 2016 after a major rebranding and strategic communications program implementation.

“Our legacy website in 2015 featured only six pages and was not mobile-responsive,” said Jim Schmiedeskamp, Oak Brook TU Communications Chair. “Today we have over 60 pages of content featuring our conservation and youth education programs as well as relevant and timely fishing information for six Midwest states–llinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin.”

Visitors can find information on area guides, fly fishing shops, lodging, and restaurants as well as real-time USGS river flow and weather information and state fishing license links.

The website’s most popular 2019 web pages after its home page are the chapter’s youth fly fishing classes, annual summer youth camp, Wisconsin Driftless Area and Michigan’s Dowagiac, Muskegon and St. Joseph Rivers.

The website’s newest feature is a rolling 12-month calendar featuring all chapter meetings and events, including Google map location information and the ability to save specific events to your online Google and Apple calendars.

Check out and book mark the OBTU website at: obtu.org

 


First Driftless Weekend To Remember

By John Snyder

After a few weeks of planning, we kicked off our OBTU Summer Driftless Area fishing trip with an evening “pre-meeting” hosted by Jeremy Spaccapaniccia at the DuPage Fly Fishing Co. shop in Naperville where he is the store manager.  As our weekend guide, Jeremy provided an overview of what to expect and supplies along with a cold beer.

Fishing the Driftless Area is more than just fishin’—it’s a real adventure to a somewhat wild and remote area of valleys, hollows, and hilltop hay farms that seems like another world in a different time.  Abundant wildlife, birds, ripe blackberries and wildflowers abound along with local cheese purveyors and craft beer.

We kicked off our trip Saturday morning on June 30, meeting mid-morning at the Citgo station in Monfort, Wisconsin—about 20 miles west of Dodgeville on Highway 18, and a three-hour drive from Chicago’s western suburbs.  We were in the southwestern portion of the Driftless Area with our focus on the Blue and Green Rivers and Castle Rock Creek. The primary fishable areas were secret pockets, hidden bends and undercut banks that stretched along the rolling valley floors.

Our Driftless Area fishing first-timers were Rich Tworek, Jim Moravak, Steve Schmidt, Mark Wandtke and Dave Dial along with his son Dave Jr. and grandson Noah.

We carpooled about five miles to the Cohaut farm on Castle Rock Creek to set up for some basic angling instruction and “fly fishing 101” tips.  Careful not to hook a Holstein on the back cast, everyone tested and honed their flyrod casting skills before learning how avoid snagging flies in streamside foliage.

Jeremy and his associate Dan helped everyone get their rods and flies rigged.  All just really took ownership and hit the water . . . occasionally followed by dairy cows and horses. It was quite hot, so all fished in shorts or long pants.

The water was muddy from recent local rains and therefore the fishing was slow, although Dave Dial did manage to land a few brown trout.  Dave noted that this was the inaugural grandfather, son, grandson fishing trip ever they shared.

Following an H20 break and a sandwich, we set off over the ridge for the Green River—heading west through Fennimore and onto Green River Road and down past Wherly, Wisconsin (don’t blink our you will miss it!)

The difference in water quality was amazing with clear, cold and good flowage indicating a number of spring feeder streams.

We split up at three different bridges and all anglers found brown trout rising to small dries or emergers.  This was really the first experience for most to see actual water conditions, and read water currents and holding spots for trout.

We finished up our Saturday fishing around 6:30 p.m. (we had to drag these guys off the water), and headed for the Fenway House Hotel in Fennimore.  We were greeted by wonderful folks who were waiting cheerfully for us with cold beer, cheese and sausage and lots of local lore—including the locally preferred bug spray—Absorbine, Jr.  Yep, the bug repellant preferred by farmers and locals and, of course, sold out at the local grocery store.  The Fenway House Hotel gave us a bottle, and boy the stuff worked wonders for all of us. Jeff, Renee and Sheri run the Fenway House Hotel and they were really a joy. We recommend using this place again.

At dinner, I suggested breakfast at a local restaurant at 8 a.m. on Sunday, and was roundly voted down.  Instead, we got an earlier start with coffee and donuts, boiled eggs and fruit at 7:30 a.m. and hit the water sooner.  There was no slowing these new guys down!

Now experienced and aware of cows and trees and high streamside grasses, surgeons knots and 6/7x tippet , almost all caught at least one nice brown trout.  Rich Tworek put on a #14 pink squirrel below the second bridge, mastered “high sticking” his line with a nymph, and landed a fat and beautiful 14” brown.

I drove back through a beautiful rolling hail storm about 10:30 a.m. Sunday morning after Rich caught his brown.  I drove south through the old mining and tourist town of Mineral Point where I stopped at an art gallery and picked up a growler of Mineral Point Brewery ale.

Only a few know the best locations in Wisconsin’s Driftless Area, like where exactly those three bridges are located on the Green River.

The best of friendships are often made on the water.

Tight lines and God Bless.

John Snyder

In the Driftless Area you may have to share a stream bank

 


Smallmouth Fly Fishing Available Within 60 Miles of Chicago

If you haven’t gotten hooked on smallmouth fishing yet, give it a try this Fall.  Pound for pound, a smallie when hooked never wants to surrender, providing great fight and sport, especially on a fly rod.  Streamers and topwater poppers imitating frogs and damsel or dragon flies work best.

Area waters supporting populations of smallmouth bass include:
Kankakee River, about 60 miles south of Chicago.  Preferred guide Will Winans fishes the Kankakee River exclusively from a drift boat.  Visit Big River Fly Fishing for more information.

Northern Illinois rivers and tributaries.  Preferred guides Mike Allen and Kurt Nelson fish several rivers with their rafts including the Kishwaukee River, DuPage River, Fox River and tributaries with private property access.  Visit their Midwest Waters Angling website for more information.

Fox River tributaries 30 miles west of Chicago which are easily wadeable.

DuPage River West Branch which runs through Warrenville and Naperville and is wadeable.

If you don’t mine driving 90 miles, you can fish Michigan’s St. Joseph River with guide Jay Anglin.  See Jay’s website Anglin Outdoors for more information.  

Jim Schmiedeskamp with a Kankakee River smallmouth (top left), Dan LaFave with a Northern Illinois River tributary smallie (bottom left), and Dave Calson with a Fox River tributary smallmouth.


This Issue’s “Fishtoon”

May/June 2019

OBTU Chapter Graduates 11th Year of “Trout in the Classroom” Students

The Oak Brook TU Chapter has successfully completed its 11th year of “Trout in the Classroom” (TIC) with over 700 student participants.  TIC is a program that allows participating schools to raise trout from eggs to juvenile trout in a classroom from an aquarium tank and release them in a northern Illinois trout stream or Lake Michigan.  This year OBTU supported 12 school programs.  Students from these schools released their trout during the week of May 6.

The program helps students learn the complexities and fragility of coldwater stream ecosystems, and hopefully to develop a conservation ethic through the TIC program.  TIC is a nationwide but highly localized program where teachers and their students raise trout from eggs to fingerlings over the course of one school year.  They learn to care for their fish and trout habitat, and the program culminates with a field trip where the students release their trout in a northern Illinois trout stream, or in Lake Michigan.

 

These release field trips are the culmination of a year’s activity for these students, as they visit the trout stream, test the water quality for comparison to their school tank, and seine and survey for aquatic nymphs and

organisms that are part of the trout’s ecosystem.  And of course, they release their trout fingerlings.

This program could not have been successfully completed without the support of OBTU volunteers.  In fact, this year between the April entomology presentations at TIC schools and the release week, 25 OBTU volunteers worked a total of 400 volunteer hours.

For the 2019-2020 school year, we will see the return of Burroughs School in Chicago, as well as two new schools–Percy Julian Middle School in Oak Park (recipients of Oak Brook TU’s annual TIC grant) and Gower Middle School in Burr Ridge (recipients of the Illinois Council TU TIC grant).

“This is a healthy and growing program,” said Marvin Strauch, OBTU Youth

Education Chair.  “Of course, the day to day work of TIC is conducted by the individual teachers and students, who without exception, take serious ownership of their troutlings.

These young people are very concerned for the health of their fish, and excited to release them in their natural home.”

The program could not continue without the participation of OBTU volunteers and financial support of the chapter’s fundraising efforts. These volunteers help the schools set up the 55-gallon aquariums, and prepare the water for the arrival of the trout eggs. They deliver the eggs in November and visit the schools periodically during the school year to ensure that the trout remain healthy. The program kicks into high gear in mid-April when OBTU volunteers, along with retired entomologist Dean Hansen, present a very hands-on entomology program which is called our “Wet Bugs” program. Twenty-three OBTU volunteers brought this program to more than 450 students over six school days.

Three weeks later, the program culminated in the release field trips. Ten school groups released their brown trout in a northern Illinois trout stream. The other schools conducted releases of rainbow trout in Lake Michigan. The stream releases were assisted by 21 OBTU volunteers, who helped students seine for stream insects to learn what their trout will feed on, conduct water quality tests to compare the stream conditions to their aquarium results, and understand what makes a healthy tr

out stream.  And of course, to release their trout.

Special thanks go to the following OBTU volunteers: Miguel and Mirella Alvarez, Ted Bernhard, Willie Beshire, Steve Carlson, Dave Carlson, Art Cottrell, Lisa Gilmore, Fred Hodge, Ken Krueger, Dan LaFave, Mike Lesiak, Dave Lunardini, Dale MacDonald, Phil McCluskey, Ed Michael, Jim Schmiedeskamp, John Snyder, Bill Thoms, Walter Wahlfeldt, Tom Wilhelm, Phil Young, Stan Zarnowiecki, Frank Zbylski.

Marvin Strauch discusses the “Trout in the Classroom” program with students at Prairieview Middle School in Tinley Park.
John Snyder (left) helps students identify macroinvertebrates during a “Trout in the Classroom” session.
A Prairie View student gets up close and hands on with a hellgrammite.

“Trout in the Classroom” students release their brown trout fingerlings in a northern Illinois stream.


An Interview with Jeff Hastings on TU’s Driftless Area Restoration Success and Challenges

Jeff Hastings is one of the world’s most knowledgeable experts on coldwater steam restoration and upland watershed management. He has been the Project Manager for TUDARE (Trout Unlimited Driftless Area Restoration Effort) for over 10 years.

Jeff spoke at the OBTU’s March meeting on the planning and construction of stream restoration projects, the many benefits of habitat improvement and what projects TUDARE is working on now. He also shared an update on the damage to many Wisconsin Driftless Area streams as a result of the heavy rains in August 2018 and subsequent changes to some stream restoration practices.

Read an-depth interview with Jeff as a follow up to his March presentation including the potential for Illinois Driftless Area streams supporting trout.

Jeff Hastings, Project Manager for Trout Unlimited Driftless Area Effort

 

 


President’s Letter

Greetings Oak Brook TU members and friends:

I would like to report that we are working harder than ever to provide OBTU members opportunities to become more actively involved.  You may ask, “Why are we doing this?”   It is no secret.   By creating attractive opportunities for our members, we hope to increase membership engagement and attract new members through referrals so that we can continue to strengthen and grow our chapter.   In this way, we can make a bigger impact on the TU mission of “conserving, protecting and restoring” North America’s coldwater habitats—especially those close to home.

To summarize what we are doing to increase participation in our conservation, youth education and recreational activities, I have listed recent events, as well as numerous upcoming events where you are encouraged to join in the fun:

Youth Fly Fishing Classes held monthly at Sagawau Forest Preserve in Lemont.  This program—in its 15th year and open to boys and girls 11 years and older—is setting a registration record this year.  Fly fishing class dates are May 15, June 15, July 13, August 10, August 24 and September 7.   About 10 adult volunteers are needed to help mentor each session.  Contact Marvin Strauch if you are interested in learning more about this program and volunteer opportunities.

May 15 Spring Fling Open House and cookout at Naperville White Eagle subdivision clubhouse which was well- attended by 58 members and guests.  We had numerous sign-ups for chapter-hosted fishing weekends this Spring and Fall in the Wisconsin Driftless Area as well as a special Orvis Yorktown hosted half-day smallmouth trip on the DuPage River in the Warrenville/Naperville area.  See more information below.

Summer Flyrod Casting Sessions feature Sunday morning and Tuesday night instruction opportunities from June 4 through August 27.  The Tuesday night sessions begin at 6 p.m. and run until dark at Oak Brook Recreation Center behind the Central Park West Building where we have our monthly meetings.  Sunday morning sessions feature overhand or two-hand casting on the water at Clark Island Park on the Fox River in Batavia.  See our website for more information including directions and contact information.

Michigan Coldwater River Work Days with Fishing Outings. The spring session was held the weekend of May 18 with a strong turnout.  This very popular outing is held twice a year and includes an entomology survey of the Coldwater River Watershed.  Look for information on this year’s October work in upcoming emails and on our website Calendar.

“Trout on Tap” evening social event June 18 to 8 p.m. at the Rock Bottom Brewery, Yorktown Center, Lombard.  This was our first summer social get-together and we will probably schedule another one this summer for members and guests to share their fishing tall tales and fellowship.

Wisconsin Driftless Area Work Day to build lunker structures took place at Fisherman’s Park in Sparta, Wisconsin on June 22 with the option for weekend fishing in the area.

“Adopt-a-Stream Work Day” to clean up the West Branch of the DuPage River in Naperville was rescheduled for Saturday, June 29, followed by lunch in Naperville.

Upcoming OBTU Chapter Driftless Area Fly Fishing Outings:
— June 28-30 introduction to wade fishing the Wisconsin Driftless Area (this session was fully booked)
—  September 27-29 wade fishing in the Wisconsin Driftless Area (7 expressions of interest to date; planning is underway)
—  October 18-20 wade fishing the Iowa Driftless Area (10 expressions of interest to date; planning underway)
We will attempt to arrange carpooling opportunities as well as provide lodging options.

Our Monthly Chapter meetings reconvene Wednesday, September 18.  We are currently finalizing our speaker schedule on both fly fishing destinations and conservation topics of interest.

Please stay tuned to obtu.org, chapter newsletters and email announcements for upcoming event details.   Don’t hesitate to contact me or other OBTU board members for more information.  See you on the water!

Willie Beshire
Oak Brook TU President

 


OBTU Fundraising Short of $8,000 Goal

The Oakbrook Chapter of Trout Unlimited (OBTU) requests your support through our Spring Solicitation  earmarked for our 2019-2020 conservation and youth education programs. Your donations are the primary funding for OBTU’s ambitious programs to strengthen the local coldwater fisheries we enjoy.

While your membership dues benefit the national organization, your OBTU donations fund local projects and improve fishing close to home. This year we have some special needs.  Historic flooding in the Driftless Area last August destroyed several dams and ruined miles of streams that now need restoration. Michigan’s Dowagiac River 2019 dam removal will need watershed improvement.  And, we have more demand than ever for OBTU’s Trout in the Classroom program.  See related newsletter articles on our Trout in the Classroom program and the TU Driftless Area Restoration initiative.

A strong Spring Solicitation will enable us to work on all of these projects.  With that in mind, all OBTU board members are donating a minimum of $100 each and will raise at least $3,000 in total.  Please join in with your donation so we can raise over $8,000.  It’s good to be a Trout Unlimited member and it’s great to be an OBTU supporter.

If you haven’t already mailed your donation, you can still do so by sending your check payable to “Oak Brook Trout Unlimited” to:
Oak Brook Chapter Trout Unlimited
P.O. Box 5046
Oak Brook, IL  60522-5046

Alternatively, you may donate via our website’s “Donate” page.

OBTU is a 501(c)(3) non-profit. Your donation is tax deductible and may also be MATCHED BY YOUR EMPLOYER.  Our Employer Identification Number (EIN) is 38-1612715 and a copy of our 501(3)(c) Tax Identification Letter is available for download on our website:  www.obtu.org

All donors will receive a documentation letter for your file.

 


OBTU May 15 Spring Fling Event Engages Members

Our May 15 Spring Fling open house in Naperville drew 43 OBTU members and 15 guests looking to learn more about our chapter’s various activities and opportunities for fellowship.  Grilled brats were served by Stan Zarnowiecki and enjoyed during a 70-degree spring evening overlooking White Eagle Lake.  Fly tying demonstrations were provided by Steve Carlson, Fred Hodge, Dave Lunardini, Jim Jones, Dale MacDonald, and Marvin Strauch.  Sales associates from the DuPage Fly Fishing Co. and Orvis Yorktown were on hand to showcase their latest equipment and gear.

A key feature of the meeting were the various weekend fishing trips that will be hosted by the chapter to introduce members to the Wisconsin and Iowa Driftless Area with lodging and carpooling coordinated by the chapter.

Orvis Yorktown also provided a sign-up for a summer half-day smallmouth trip on the DuPage River in the western suburbs.

Informational handouts were provided featuring popular fishing locations and our preferred guides in Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin.

OBTU members also staffed information tables on upcoming volunteer activities for conservation work days,    youth education and advocacy programs.

“Our Spring Fling event attracted both OBTU members that typically don’t attend our monthly meetings as well as anglers interested in learning more about Trout Unlimited and our chapter,” said Willie Beshire, OBTU President.  “We had a terrific response to our three, chapter-hosted summer and fall fishing weekends.  These trips are perfect for members looking to connect with other fly fishers, and those who want to learn more about fly fishing the Driftless Area for trout.”

Driftless Area Weekend “Trout Fly Fishing” Trips Hosted by OBTU
The June 28-30, Wisconsin, weekend trip sold out with six anglers signed up for a maximum of six spots.  Additional weekend trips are being planned to Wisconsin (September 27-29) and Iowa (October 18-20). Numerous people signed up for one or both of these trips. A formal registration process will commence soon.   Be alert for more information via upcoming membership communications.

If you are interested in the September 27-29 Wisconsin and/or October 18-20 Iowa Driftless Area trips, please contact Willie Beshire via email:  wbeshire@aol.com

OBTU President Willie Beshires discusses Driftless fishing trips.

OBTU members demonstrate fly tying techniques at the 2019 Spring Fling event.

 


Member Profile: Meet Marvin Strauch

Our featured Oak Brook TU Chapter member profile is Marvin Strauch who leads our Youth and Adult Education programs as well as overseeing our Michigan conservation programs such as our Coldwater River watershed macroinvertebrate studies and new focus on the Dowagiac River and its restoration as a Lake Michigan tributary after the removal of the Niles Street dam this summer.

One of the reasons for Marvin’s focus on Michigan projects is that as a principal in Strauch Chemical Distributors—a regional industrial sales company—the wolverine state is conveniently one of his primary sales territories allowing him to combine sales calls with the occasional fishing trip as well as participating as a member of both the Coldwater River and Dowagiac River watershed conservation organizations.

Another reason for Marvin’s affinity for Michigan were his childhood annual family summer vacations in the Michigan Upper Peninsula, where his family built a “getaway” cabin in 1974.  This tie to Michigan’s Northwoods instilled a love of the outdoors, and a conservation ethic, from an early age.  Marvin can’t remember a time when going “to the lake” wasn’t a part of his life and where he developed an early interest in fishing—mostly for bass and bluegills.

Marvin joined Trout Unlimited in 2000 and has served in various board leadership positions including both President and Vice President.  Marvin credits OBTU leaders Wally Bock, Ed Michael, Doug Vanerka, Ken Voight, Doug Greenwood, Clyde Alho, Greg Prosen and Phil Young with introducing him to TU, fly fishing for trout, and becoming involved in the chapter’s youth fly fishing programs.

The chapter’s primary youth education programs are its Youth Fly Fishing Classes which are scheduled monthly from May through September, and its Trout in the Classroom (TIC) program.  It was Phil Young who introduced the youth fly fishing program to OBTU 16 years ago in 2003 and later handed it to Marvin.  Our Trout in the Classroom program was conceived by Greg Prosen and Marvin in 2008 after learning about a similar initiatives in the U.S.

According to Marvin, the idea of reaching out to young people and bringing his enthusiasm for coldwater conservation, really struck a chord. He finds great satisfaction seeing a young boy or girl catch a fish on a fly rod.  And it is equally a joy for him to see young people enjoying themselves walking in a stream and releasing the trout fingerlings they have raised over six months in their classroom aquarium. In many cases, these are things that too few kids get to do today.

Marvin is very proud of our chapter’s youth education accomplishments. By next year we will have taught over a thousand kids to fly fish.  On the TIC front, we will be adding our 15th participating school next year, which may be the largest TU chapter TIC program in the country which is also close to half of all of the TIC programs in Illinois.  Marvin recognizes that the success of these programs is highly dependent on the 35 volunteers who regularly help with our youth activity programs.

Marvin is married and the father of three adult children including a participating TIC teacher at Prairie View Middle School in Tinley Park.

Hometown:  South Side of Chicago
Current home: Hickory Hills
How long as a TU member: 19 years
Introduction to fly fishing:  Originally through outdoors/fishing magazines growing up until he joined TU.
Favorite fishing holes:  Michigan’s Ontonagon, Muskegon, Au Sable River and Pere Marquette Rivers.

 

March/April 2019

Dave Carlson Previews 2019 Conservation Work Day Projects and Financial Support

Oak Brook TU’s 2019 conservation activities include financial and volunteer support for projects in both Wisconsin and Michigan in support of Trout Unlimited’s mission of conserving, protecting and restoring coldwater fisheries and their watersheds in the Midwest.

Our conservation financial commitments this year include support for the Trout Unlimited Driftless Area Restoration Effort (TUDARE); Kickapoo River watershed stream restorations in Vernon County, Wisconsin; continued stream improvement work near Sparta, Wisconsin; and biological monitoring and survey work on the Coldwater and Dowagiac Rivers in Michigan.

Volunteer support is needed for our May 18 and October macroinvertebrate studies on the Coldwater River Watershed in Alto, Michigan outside of Grand Rapids and a June 22 stream improvement work day in Sparta.

“We plan to continue the important conservation work on our Chapter’s priority projects in support of the Wisconsin’s Driftless Area and Michigan’s Coldwater River watershed,” said Dave Carlson, Conservation Committee Chair.  “The Conservation Committee is also pursuing new opportunities ‘closer to home’, such as a DuPage River Cleanup Day on May 4 in Naperville, Illinois. Interested volunteers should contact Dave Carlson via email (dmcarlson@hotmail.com).

“Planned work days provide an opportunity for fun and friendship along with making a valuable contribution to stream conservation. As our projects are several hours from Chicago, we try to coordinate carpooling, lodging and fishing opportunities for interested members,” said Dave Carlson.

2019 Conservation Project Highlights
The Trout Unlimited Driftless Area Restoration Effort (TUDARE) is a long-term initiative to protect, restore and enhance cold water rivers in the Driftless Area of southeast Minnesota, southwest Wisconsin, northeast Iowa, and northwest Illinois. TUDARE relies greatly on the work and passion of TU volunteers. OBTU’s support includes money donated to directly support TUDARE general operations. For more information on TUDARE, read the interview with Duke Welter, who helped found the effort over 15 years ago.  For more information on TUDARE, read the interview with Duke Welter, TUDARE Coordinator, who helped founded the effort over 15 years ago.

Several creeks in the Kickapoo River watershed are scheduled for improvement work in 2019, including Warner Creek, Billings Creek, Tainter Creek and Weister Creek. Weister Creek is a great example of a stream restoration in the Driftless Area supported by OBTU. For the past several years, OBTU along with a wide range of other organizations have provided financial support for this project within the Kickapoo Valley Reserve. It is a multi-year project with a total length of 2.6 miles that, in addition to stream improvement, provides habitat for hunting and is a demonstration site for many nongame wildlife habitat practices. In-stream work on the final Phase 5 section is expected to be completed this summer. See the interview with project manager Paul Hayes for more information on the Weister Creek restoration plan which was originally published in the OBTU Flyer newsletter.

Other stream restoration projects in the Driftless Area encompass work to reduce soil erosion and phosphorus discharge near the city of Sparta. Since 2014, OBTU has provided both volunteer manpower and financial support that has been leveraged with local government funds. This year, stream restoration work will continue on Beaver Creek just north of Sparta. A half-day project planned in June will provide an opportunity to get together for some fishing in the heart of the Driftless Area before and after our work.

Conservation activities in Michigan will be focused on the Coldwater River watershed near Grand Rapids and the Dowagiac River near Niles. Two macroinvertebrate survey work days will be part of our ongoing cooperative effort with the Coldwater River Watershed Council (CRWC) that began 14 years ago. Members collect stream samples from designated sites, then count and classify the aquatic insects and various macroinvertebrates found. By classifying and trending the population data, the CRWC gets an idea of how stream health is evolving. This year, we will be expanding data collected at the Coldwater survey sites to include water temperature monitoring. Volunteers are encouraged to plan some fishing on the Coldwater River watershed or other rivers in the area such as the Rouge, Muskegon or Pere Marquette.  OBTU is represented on the Coldwater River Watershed Council by Marvin Strauch.

The Dowagiac River represents a relatively new stream restoration opportunity for OBTU. It is one of the closest rivers to our chapter with potential for a high-quality coldwater fishery. The planned removal of the Pucker Street Dam in Niles, Michigan appears to be on track for this summer. This will open up the entire river system to upstream migrations of steelhead, salmon, and other fish species. It will also expand opportunities for volunteers to help with watershed planning and habitat monitoring. Conservation efforts on the Dowagiac River are driven by MEANDRS (Meeting Ecological and Agricultural Needs within the Dowagiac River System), of which OBTU is a Board member. (See the interview with Marcy Hamilton, Senior Planner with the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission, for more information on the Niles dam removal and Dowagiac River restoration plan which was originally published in the OBTU Flyer newsletter).

An exciting initiative closer to home is development of coldwater habitat and fishing access in the Illinois Driftless Area. TUDARE and its partners were awarded a large grant from the USDA’S Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) that includes areas not been served in the past, including part of northwest Illinois. The grant will provide funding for restoration projects for the period from 2019-2023. This funding will cover a significant share of individual project costs, with matching dollars—usually around 20-35% of the costs—provided by state or county agencies, foundations, businesses, individuals, TU and other conservation nonprofits. OBTU activities in 2019 will be focused on planning, bringing together local landowners and agency partners and identifying potential conservation projects. Plans include expanding a pilot project to monitor water temperatures in Coon Creek in Jo Davies County that was begun in 2018.

2019 Volunteers Needed
Volunteers are needed to make these 2019 commitments happen. The Conservation Committee is looking for members who are interested in leading or supporting an event. If you’d like to be on the Conservation Committee, email Dave Carlson at dmcarlson@hotmail.com. The Committee meets by phone conference calls each month, so location should not be an issue for ongoing participation.

The financial support of conservation efforts is made possible by the fundraising efforts of the chapter. Watch for additional information on fundraising activities in the OBTU May-June newsletter.

Wisconsin Driftless Area 2018 flood damage.

 


 

MAY 15 “SPRING FLING” OPEN HOUSE SCHEDULED FOR NAPERVILLE

We will conclude our 2018-19 chapter meeting schedule with a “Spring Fling” open house on Wednesday, May 15, from 5 to 9 p.m. at the White Eagle Homeowners Clubhouse at 4265 White Eagle Drive in Naperville.

The organization’s Spring Fling event is free to its members, friends and general public and has something for everyone:

—  An evening of fellowship and networking with your TU colleagues.
—  Fishing information for Midwest locations for trout, steelhead, salmon and smallmouth bass.
—  Oak Brook TU membership-hosted weekend fishing trips.
—  Fly tying workshops for novice and experienced tiers.
—  Oak Brook TU information tables on conservation volunteer activities planned for the 2019 summer and fall seasons as well as youth education and advocacy programs.
—  Orvis and DuPage Fly Fishing representatives will on hand with their latest 2019 fishing gear and apparel.
—  Door prizes for all attendees from Orvis Yorktown, new L.L. Bean Oak Brook store, and DuPage Fly Fishing Co. store, plus a bucket raffle featuring fishing gear and other prizes.
— A free dinner featuring grilled bratwurst and hot dogs for attendees.

See the 2019 Spring Event Open House Flyer for more information and save the date today.

2019 Oak Brook Trout Unlimited Spring Fling Open House, May 15, 5-9 p.m.

President’s Letter

You may be wondering: “What has Oak Brook TU been doing lately?”   I am proud to say that our chapter continues to put “runs on the board.”  I’ve summarized recent OBTU accomplishments in my membership letter.  In the past year Oak Brook TU conservation efforts have contributed funding and/or work days to a number of significant projects including:

  • Weister Creek improvement project in the Wisconsin Driftless Area
  • Beaver Creek stream improvement in the Driftless area near Sparta, WI.
  • Funding of TUDARE (Driftless Area Restoration Effort)
  • Coldwater River Watershed semi-annual entomology surveys and stream improvement work        near Grand Rapids, Michigan.
  • Water temperature monitoring in the Coldwater River and Coon Creek in northwest Illinois.
  • Stream survey work preparing for the Dowagiac River Pucker Street Dam removal in Niles, MI.
  • Funding earmarked for Great Lakes Coaster Brook Trout Restoration.

And closer to home, we recently “adopted” a Naperville section of the West DuPage River for a semi-annual stream clean-up.  Hopefully many of you will join us on Saturday, May 4, from 9am to 12 noon for our first clean-up followed by an informal lunch at a local restaurant.

Oak Brook TU continues to be at the forefront of providing youth education to help develop the next generation of coldwater conservation advocates through the following programs:

  • Our popular youth fly fishing classes are scheduled monthly on Saturdays from May through September. Thanks to our volunteers we have taught fly fishing basics to over 1,000 students over the past 15 years.
  • Our chapter has taken a lead role in establishing and growing the “Trout-in-the-Classroom” program which is now delivered to 28 schools in Illinois. Twelve of these schools are directly managed by our chapter.
  • Oak Brook TU continues to take a leadership role in the Illinois Council of Trout Unlimited’s Youth Conservation and Fly Fishing Camp which takes place on Michigan’s Au Sable River each summer for 13 to 18 year-olds.

For adults, our chapter offers free adult education programs such as the Tuesday night fly rod casting instruction during the summer months and fall fly tying sessions at the Bolingbrook Bass Pro Shops store.

Our chapter also continues to advocate for coldwater conservation.  Most recently, we participated in meetings with two Illinois congressional offices regarding the Asian Carp Issue. We expect the Army Core of Engineers Plan for the Brandon Roads Project to be recommended to Congress in the near future.  Be on the lookout for opportunities to do some personal advocacy on this issue.

All of these good works would not be possible without strong support from many of our 1,200 members.  In recent years we have had fundraising success through our Spring Donation Solicitation, Fall Rod Raffle and December Holiday Party; these programs have kept our conservation and education programs strong.

Over the past year, our publicity and communications outreach efforts have resulted in major articles in both Chicago and national publications, and our relatively new website generated over 10,000 visits—a 27% increase over 2017.  And in November, we launched our Instagram account.  Make sure you are signed up for it along with our Facebook page to stay abreast of other chapter news!

Due to our strong membership and some very committed Board members, Oak Brook TU continues to thrive.

The key to our success as a Trout Unlimited chapter is volunteerism, and I encourage members to contact committee chairpersons for more information on areas of personal interest.  A list of all committee chairs is included in our OBTU website Leadership page.

Thank you for all that you do to “conserve, protect and restore North America’s cold water fisheries and their watersheds”.

Willie Beshire
President, Oak Brook Trout Unlimited Chapter
E:  wbeshire@aol.com
M: 630-200-2532

 


Member Profile: Meet Fred Hodge

By Jim Schmiedeskamp

This newsletter issue marks our second Oak Brook TU Chapter member profile, which is a way for our membership to get to know each other better.  This issue’s profile features Fred Hodge.

Fred Hodge has always been a “man in motion”—both on the ground, on the water and in the air. He can be found at most chapter youth education volunteer activities—and usually well-tanned thanks to his seasonal visits to a second home in Kauai, one of the more scenic Hawaiian islands.

Fred has enjoyed three primary passions throughout most of his 84 years: fly fishing and fly tying, being involved in the Boy Scouts of America, and aviation.

Fred’s aviation career started after being drafted and trained as an Air Force pilot where he flew single-engine jets, B-25 bombers and C-47 cargo planes.  His only “near death” experience occurred when an Air Force T-28 training airplane he was piloting blew up on take-off during his flight training school.  Fred moved onto a successful commercial airline career at United Airlines where he spent most of his time piloting DC-6s and 747s for over 30 years. After flying over 40 different Air Force and commercial aircraft, Fred retired as a professional pilot in 1994.  However, he continued flying as a volunteer pilot for another 25 years for the Medinah’s Aviators organization, which comprised pilots who flew Shrine Hospital children and their parents or guardians to a Shrine Hospital.  Fred’s flights took critically burned children from Chicago to a special Shrine hospital in Cincinnati.

Fred’s involvement in the Boy Scouts started as a youth and attained Eagle Scout status at age 17.  He continues to combine his passion for fly fishing education and the Boy Scouts by being a Fly Fishing Merit Badge Counselor and teacher at two annual Boy Scout summer camps in Minnesota and New Mexico in addition to the annual Illinois TU annual summer youth camp in Michigan.

Fred’s commitment to TU youth education was recognized in 2010 with its Youth Counselor Award at its annual celebration.

Fred is the father of three daughters and seven grandchildren.

Hometown:  East Lansing, Michigan
Current home: Oak Brook
How long as a TU member: 19 years as a “TU Life Member”
Introduction to fly fishing:  At age 12 trout fishing with his father on the Two Hearted River located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula made famous by Ernest Hemingway’s short story on it.
Favorite fishing holes:  Michigan’s Au Sable River, the Kenai River in Alaska, and the Madison River in Montana.

Fred Hodge

 


2019 Illinois TU Youth Fly Fishing and Conservation Camp Seeking Applicants

The 12th annual edition of the Illinois Council of Trout Unlimited Youth Conservation and Fly Fishing camp is scheduled July 21-26, 2019 at the RAM Conference Center in Roscommon, Michigan.

The 2019 camp delivers a rigorous introduction to the sport of fly fishing on the famed Au Sable River in Michigan while also developing the next generation of cold water conservation advocates.  An experienced Trout Unlimited mentor team will conduct fly fishing instruction and guide twelve 13- to 18-year-old campers through prime time morning and evening trout fishing sessions on several sections of the Au Sable River.  Throughout the mid-day periods, field trips include an electro-shock survey of the local trout population, entomology surveys to capture and identify aquatic insect life, a stream improvement project to enhance trout habitat, a trout dissection with anatomy lesson, and explorations of the natural environment and its history.

“The camp is designed to be an intense experience that makes a significant impact on youth,” said Dan LaFave, Oak Brook Trout Unlimited board member and camp director.  “Campers will learn more about conservation and fly fishing in a week than many of us learn in a lifetime. It is an enjoyable and educational experience.”

The camp cost includes round-trip transportation from Chicago, lodging, meals and equipment.  The tuition fee is $575 (comprised of a $75 deposit at the time of application plus a $500 remaining balance due one month before camp).  Sponsorship is available for campers with financial need.  For detailed information, including an application, please visit the Youth Camp web page for more information and application.

2018 Illinois Trout Unlimited Youth Conservation and Fly Fishing Camp Participants and Mentors

OBTU Among Top 5 Trout Unlimited Instagram Accounts in Followers

Since its launch last November, Oak Brook TU’s Instagram account has over 700 followers ranking #5 among TU’s 52 Instagram accounts according to Chris Pierson, who created and manages our photo sharing social media channel.

You can check out our new  Instagram account and follow it for fly fishing information from Oak Brook TU and news from other TU chapters, as well as our business partners and preferred guides, fly fishing gear companies and other conservation organizations.

Follow Oak Brook TU on Instagram for chapter and fly fishing news and great photos.

New Sponsor and Business Partners

Oak Brook TU is pleased to announce the addition of a new “Valued Sponsor” and two new “Business Partners.”

Rush Creek Distilling of Harvard, Illinois is our latest Valued Sponsor who is donating their craft-made whiskey, vodka and gin products in support of our 2019 fundraising programs. Rush Creek Distilling’s inspiration comes from founders and brothers Mark and Todd Stricker who proudly craft their distilled spirits with no shortcuts using nearby pure spring water, select local grains and uncompromising craftmanship.

Offering live music, craft cocktails, tastings and tours. You can get there by car en route to a Driftless Area fishing trip. Visit their website for more information.

Visit Rush Creek Distilling, in Harvard, Illinois for live music, craft cocktails, tastings and a tour.


Two New Business Partners

Trails & Tides is a downtown Naperville retail store featuring Southern Tide and Patagonia apparel and accessories for men, women, boys and girls. Visit their website for more information.

Sandhill Coffee debuts as another new business partner.  Founded by Phil Wingo, his vision is to provide a premium coffee that makes connections to others and the environment. As a proud member of 1% for the Planet, Sandhill Cofee will donate 1% of its yearly revenue to an environmental non-profit.  It is currently available at Casey’s Foods and DuPage Fly Fishing in Naperville, and Gene’s Sausage and Deli in Chicago.

Learn more about their small batch sustainable specialty coffees by visiting the Sandhill Coffee website.

Sandhill Coffee is a premium specialty coffee available at Casey’s Foods and DuPage Fly Fishing in Naperville, and Gene’s Sausage and Deli in Chicago.


 Librarian’s Corner

By Phil Young
Providence (Confluence Films) 70m / DVD
In 2003, two South Africans began a fly fishing guide service and searched for fishing sites along the east coast of Africa. They found a relatively untouched fishery in the Seychelles Islands and soon wondered how they were going to handle their increasing number of clients. Then in 2009, Somali pirates invaded the area and the local government closed the area to tourism and fishing. This DVD is the story of what they found when the area was opened in 2015 and they returned to the flats of the Seychelles. Providence is an exciting fly fishing adventure story that is so beautifully filmed that my wife sat with me and watched it from beginning to end. You will enjoy it too.
This DVD, 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.

Providence (Confluence Films) 70m / DVD now available throught the Oak Brook TU chapter library.


Award-winning Wildlife Photography Exhibits on Display in Chicago

The Notebaert Nature Museum in Lincoln Park is showcasing Thomas Mangelsen’s award-winning wildlife photography through June 2. Named “A Life in the Wild,” the noted wildlife photographer’s work will features 40 large-scale prints. Admission is $9 for adults and $7 for seniors. For more information visit the museum’s website  for hours and additional information.

The Field Museum is now featuring a “Wildlife Photographer of the Year” exhibit through January 12, 2020. The exhibit–with over 100 mostly large images–was produced by the Natural History Museum in London. Started in 1965, this is the longest-running nature photography competition in the world and involved 45,000 submissions from 95 countries. Visit the Field Museum’s website for hours and additional information.

The Notebaert Nature Museum in Lincoln Park is showcasing Thomas Mangelsen’s award-winning wildlife photography through June 2.

 

 


Labrador Also a Home to Trophy Pike

At the April 17 membership meeting, speaker Carl Hueter his shared his success catching trophy brook trout in Labrador, Canada’s most eastern province.
He also described the abundance of large northern pike in the region’s many lakes that connect the streams and rivers where brook trout reside. For more information on Labrador’s trophy northern pike, see the DUN Magazine 2018 Fall issue story.

DUN Magazine is currently offering one-year subscriptions for $40.00 which is 50% off their newsstand price.

Learn about Labrador trophy pike in an online story published by DUN Magazine.

“Our Planet” Debuts New Series on Netflix

Sir David Attenborough narrates this new eight-part series that explores the unique wonders of the natural world. Produced in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund, “Out Planet” uses a combination of stunning photography and technology to present Earth’s remaining wilderness areas and their animal inhabitants.
The project took four years to complete, with more than 600 crew members filming in 50 countries across the world to showcase the diversity that exists among habitats, from the remote Arctic wilderness to the jungles of South America.
The series made its debut April 5.  For a special preview and one month free membership, visit the Netflix “Our Planet” page.

January/February 2019

2018 Rod Raffle Reels In $2,684!

Oak Brook Trout Unlimited would like to thank everyone who participated in our 2018 Rod Raffle which generated $2,684 toward covering our annual operating costs covering monthly meeting facility rental fees, speaker fee and/or travel expense, membership communications, our website and administrative expenses (insurance and miscellaneous fees).  We must provide Chapter funding for these programs because there are no other outside sources of funding. National Trout Unlimited membership dues are not shared with our Chapter for funding our local conservation activities, youth programs and general operating expenses.

The annual fundraiser featured 80 participants, with another 16 providing “restricted” donations to the chapter’s conservation, youth camp scholarships and endowment fund. The $4,410 gross revenue netted $2,684 after expenses. The 80 rod raffle participants was a drop off from 96 in 2017.

The first prize winner was Paul Stinsa of Glenview Heights, who selected an Orvis Recon 4wt Recon Rod and Battenkill Reel with fly line—a $648 retail value.

The second prize winner was Frank Zbyliski of Palos Heights who received a Fishpond Westwater Roll Top Duffel and Ice Storm Cooler.

The 10 Third Prize winners of a $25 Orvis Gift Card were:
Wayne Bernahl, Elmhurst
Mark Bethke, Naperville
Mike Finney, Channahon
Chris Mehuys, Chatham
Clifford Pixler, Glen Ellyn
Joe Weisenberger, Ashland, Oregon
Jim White, Oak Park
Phil Uhl, Oak Forest
Joe Vitti, Downers Grove
Frank Zbyliski, Palos Heights

Orvis Yorktown store manager Glenn Martenson (right) presents Paul Stinsa of Glenview Heights with an Orvis Recon 4wt rod and Hydros reel as the 2018 Rod Raffle first prize.

Frank Zybliski of Palos Heights was the second prize winner of Fishpond gear.

Holiday Party a Social and Financial Success!

Our December 12 Holiday Party at the Arrowhead Golf Club in Wheaton drew 57 members and guests for our annual social event and fundraiser.  The Holiday Party—which included a silent auction and bucket raffles—netted $4,052 after expenses.

Special thanks to the following guides who donated one-day trips for two anglers:
Dowagiac River—Jay Anglin of Anglin Outdoors.
Driftless Area—Mat Wagner of The Driftless Angler.
Muskegon River—Kevin Feenstra of Feenstra Guide Service.
Northern Illinois Rivers—Mike Allen of Midwest Waters Angling Co.

Please support these guides as you make your 2019 fishing plans.  For a list of other OBTU “business partners” and past donors to our Holiday Party and monthly raffles, please see our website “Business Partners” page in the “About Us” section.

Your donations to our annual rod raffle and holiday party event help fund our Chapter’s general operating expenses for the year for monthly meetings, speakers, and various conservation and youth education activities.

Arrowhead Golf Club was our new 2018 Holiday Party venue where 57 members and guests gathered. Tom Wilhelm kept things moving as our MC with Rod Raffle, Bucket Raffle and Silent Auction winner announcements.

 


Oak Brook TU Chapter Elects New Officers and Directors

The January 16, 2019 Oak Brook TU membership meeting featured the chapter’s annual election of Officers and Directors nominated by the Leadership Development and Nominating Committee.

The current Board of Directors elected the following officers to serve a term of one year in the offices as indicated below:
President:  Willie Beshire
Vice President:  Dave Carlson
Secretary:  Carol Hennessy
Treasurer: Jack Potts

Willie Beshire, formerly Vice President, has been elected as the chapter’s new President.  Dave Carlson, the chapter’s current Conservation Committee Chair, has been elected Vice President.  Dave will continue to serve as the Conservation Committee Chair.  Carol Hennessy and Jack Potts will continue to serve in their current roles as Secretary and Treasurer, respectively.

Meeting attendees formerly elected as returning Board Directors for a three-year term Jim Schmiedeskamp and John Snyder.  Jim will continue to serve as the chapter’s Communications Chair responsible for membership communications, publicity and our website.  John Snyder, who has served as the Fundraising Committee Chair the past two years, will join the Conservation Committee.

Dan LaFave was elected as a Director to complete the remaining two years of an open Director position.  Dan is currently the Illinois TU Youth Camp Director and member of the Membership Committee.

To learn more about Board positions and other volunteer opportunities, please contact Lisa Gilmore, Leadership Development and Nominating Committee Chair or the appropriate Officer or Director listed in the 2019 OBTU Board Contacts List 

 


Oak Brook TU Chapter 2018 Financial Report

The highlights of the Oak Brook TU Chapter’s 2018 Finance Report follow:

Revenue
$31,036 was raised in the chapter’s 2018 fiscal year (October 1, 2017 to September 30, 2018) through the following sources per the Revenue chart below:
—  Spring Solicitation, Annual Rod Raffle, Holiday Party Fundraiser and Meeting Raffles.
—  Contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations.
—  Investment and interest income.

Expenses
$23,057 in expenses were incurred across the following consolidated categories per the chart below.
—  $15,701 for conservation, youth education and membership programs.
—  $5,326 for fundraising costs including printing, mailing and prize expenses.
—  $2,303 for general administrative expenses which includes accounting software, email services, website support costs, and miscellaneous printing/mailing costs.

The Chapter ended the 2018 fiscal year with net income of $7,979.  See the detailed 2018 Financial Report_Newsletter.

The Oak Brook TU Endowment Fund ended the 2018 fiscal year with $35,642.  The objective of the Oak Brook TU Endowment Fund is to provide long-term funding of key chapter conservation initiatives through the fund’s investment earnings. The Endowment Fund principal is permanently restricted to generate earnings for future chapter conservation initiative.  The fund is invested with Vanguard.  For questions about the Oak Brook TU Endowment Fund, please contact Fred Hodge (630.267.9643).


February 20 Meeting Speaker:  Guide Abe Downs on Fly Fishing Wisconsin’s North Woods for Smallmouth, Pike and Muskie

Abe Downs will speak on fly fishing Wisconsin’s northern waters for smallmouth bass, northern pike and muskie. The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Oak Brook Recreation Center Central Park West Building.  Guests are welcome.

Abe Downs, owner of Great Northern Fly Fishing, is an Orvis endorsed guide, serving both experienced and novice fly fishers.  Located in the heart of Wisconsin in Stevens Point, Great Northern Fly Fishing specializes in guided fly fishing trips on northern Wisconsin rivers.  Anglers can choose between McKenzie drift boat and wade fishing on the beautiful and historic Wisconsin River and surrounding waters. Stevens Point is a 4.5-hour drive from Chicago.

For more information, visit the Northern Fly Fishing website.

Great Northern Fly Fishing serves both experienced and novice fly fishers in pursuit of smallmouth bass, northern pike and muskie.

 


The 2019 TU Upper Midwest Regional is Coming to Illinois

The Trout Unlimited national organization is excited to be bringing the 2019 TU Upper Midwest Regional Rendezvous to Illinois. Save the date and plan to attend the conference in Zion, Illinois on March 29-31.

Designed specifically for TU volunteers, TU’s regional rendezvous is an occasion to be inspired and learn from the work of your fellow volunteers and TU staff across the region.

Featuring a mix of workshops, round-table discussions, and networking opportunities and, of course, steelhead fishing, the Upper Midwest Regional Rendezvous is a great way to meet people who share your passion for conservation and learn from each other tips, tactics and ideas to take home and make your own chapter or council stronger!

The cost of the rendezvous will be $125 for the full weekend, with options to attend for just one day, as well as other options for joining parts of the event.

See the TU Upper Midwest Rendevous website for more details including the three-day agenda.


Meet Willie Beshire

By Jim Schmiedeskamp

Starting with this newsletter issue, I will be profiling various members of the Oak Brook TU Chapter as a way to for our membership to get to know each other better.  With the election of our 2019 Officers at our January 16 annual meeting, I thought I’d start with our new President—Willie Beshire.

Willie became involved in Oak Brook TU after retiring as a teacher at Wheaton Warrenville South High School where he taught various math courses for 10 years.  Teaching became a second career after working for 27 years as a management consultant for two global consulting firms, including Accenture (formerly Andersen Consulting).  His last consulting location was Australia where he worked for nine years.

Willie’s first OBTU volunteer role was as an Illinois TU Council Summer Youth Camp mentor in 2014 which grew into the Camp Director position in 2015.  He has been the Camp Director through 2018.  With his new responsibilities as Chapter President, Willie has turned over the Camp Director reins to Dan LaFave.  As Camp Director, Willie has traveled the Chicago area visiting other TU chapters, attending various fishing and outdoor shows, and staffing special year-round events at Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shops promoting the camp and its educational benefits for 13-18 young men and women.  Besides the Illinois TU Council Camp Director position,  Willie became more involved in the OBTU Chapter overseeing our membership meeting content as the Meeting Programs Committee Chairman in 2016.  He became the chapter’s Vice President in 2017, a role he served through the end of 2018.

Like many OBTU volunteers, getting involved has provided many post-career benefits. “My experience at OBTU has exceeded my own expectations in many ways,” says Willie. “I look forward to continue developing new friendships and working with the OBTU team to optimize our collective experience.  Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with any ideas for improving our chapter.  Also, let me know if you would like to get more involved.”

Hometown:  Medina, Ohio
Current home: Wheaton, IL
How long as a TU member: 7 years
Introduction to fly fishing:  About 15 years ago by friends who were leading the Fly Fishing Field Studies course at the College of DuPage (COD).  Later became an “Adjunct Instructor” assisting with the COD program.
Favorite “fishing hole”:  Too many to count!  Any good trout stream in the Driftless Area.  The Muskegon River is a great place to chase steelhead.  And the Au Sable River, the home of the IL Youth Camp and birth place of TU, is a sentimental favorite.
Email:  wbeshire@aol.com

Oak Brook TU President Willie Beshire with a Muskegon River spring steelhead.

Orvis Yorktown Offers Free February Introductory Fly Tying Workshops

Saturdays 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.
February 2 through February 23

Learn the basics of fly tying for free at Orvis Fly Tying 101! During this two-hour class you will learn essential fly tying techniques and leave having tied your first fly.

As a thank you for taking the class, you will receive special offers on fly tying materials, accessories, and kits. Classes will be offered through Saturday, February 23. 8 students per class, and registration is required.  Fly tying equipment and materials are provided.

View the Orvis Yorktown website event calendar for upcoming dates and to sign up on their website. Participants must register online.  Contact the store directly for any questions.

Orvis Yorktown
306 Yorktown Center
Lombard, IL 60148
Phone: 630-932-6573
Email:  retail-yorktownstr042@orvis.com

Sign up for free introductory fly tying workshops on Saturdays from 9-11 a.m. in February.


Volunteer for our May 4 “Adopt-a-Stream” Naperville Project

Come out for the Oak Brook TU spring 2019 DuPage River Cleanup Day—9 a.m. to 12 noon!   Bring your river shoes or waders and join us for a morning of removing debris and litter along the West Branch of the DuPage River from Gartner Road to 75th Street in Naperville. This event is part of the DuPage County “Adopt-A-Stream” program to help keep local water resources clean.

Volunteers will meet at 9 a.m. at Pioneer Park which is located at 1212 S. Washington Street in Naperville.  Lunch will follow at a downtown Naperville restaurant TBD for interested members.

Gloves, trash pokers, garbage bags, water and technical support will be provided. For more information and/or to sign up please contact:
Chris Pierson—chris.pierson.630@gmail.com; 630-470-8183
Dave Carlson— dmcarlson@hotmail.com; 312-953-6759

Naperville’s Pioneer Park will be the meeting location for the May 4 Adopt-a-Stream project.

Follow Oak Brook TU Via Facebook and Instagram

If you have a Facebook account, help spread our chapter’s news, meeting information and volunteer activities by visiting our Facebook page and “Follow” and “Like” our page as well as individual posts and share our information with Facebook friends.

Also feel free to post your own photos from personal fishing trips and Oak Brook TU activities you participate in.

Connect to our Facebook page here.

You can check out our new Instagram account and follow it for fly fishing information from Oak Brook TU and news from other TU chapters, our business partners, our preferred guides, fly fishing gear companies and other conservation organizations.

Follow Oak Brook TU on Instagram for chapter and fly fishing news and great photos.

Two Brothers Artisan Brewing Latest OBTU Business Partner 

Two Brothers Artisan Brewing of Warrenville has become OBTU’s newest business partner.

Twenty-one years ago, brothers Jim and Jason Ebel followed their passion for craft beer when they founded Two Brothers Brewing Company.  Since then, Two Brothers has helped revolutionize the Chicago craft beer scene with a passion for creating high-quality, well-balanced beers that push the boundaries of flavor and innovation.

A Chicago craft beer pioneer, Two Brothers has been instrumental in introducing and popularizing a number of beer styles to the area, including German Hefeweizens, French Country Ales and Sours.  Currently, Two Brothers boasts an extensive lineup, featuring seven year-rounds, nine seasonals and a number of artisan beers released throughout the year.

Two Brothers beers can be purchased at most Binny’s locations as well as at its three Chicago western suburb restaurants: the Taphouse in Warrenville, the Craftsman in downtown Naperville, and the Roundhouse in Aurora.

Visit the Two Brothers website for more information on its craft beers and area restaurants.

Two Brothers artisan beers are available at Binny’s locations in Chicagoland and at its three western suburb restaurants.

The Librarian’s Corner

By Phil Young

Urban Warfare:  In Pursuit of the Poor Man’s Bonefish (BT Productions) 40m / DVD
Okay.  Fly fishing for common carp is fun and the fish are readily available almost everywhere in Illinois.  But, contrary to the above title, they are more like redfish than bonefish.  This is not a “how to” DVD, but a look at pursuing a tough, technically challenging, selective feeder that can put you into your backing.  Try it.  You will like it.

Wet Fly Ways with Davy Wotton (Cascade Mediaworks, LLC / 2005) 120m / DVD
You and I both enjoy swinging wet flies down and across a stream.  But, in this DVD, Davy Wotton demonstrates the traditional method of presenting a cast of three wet flies.  Learn how to choose the proper flies, tie the knots and correct dropper lengths, and cast this rig to every quadrant of the stream.  Davy Wotton will help you to rediscover this lost art.

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.

 


Smithsonian Channel Debuts “America’s Mississippi”

It begins at Minnesota’s Lake Itasca and ends in the Gulf of Mexico. From north to south, the mighty Mississippi River is a 2,300-mile marvel and America’s lifeline to the world.  Follow the river as it carves its path from the northern headwaters to the nation’s heartland to the southern bayou.  Discover how the Mississippi operates as an engine of commerce, and see how its wildlife thrive in and above its rushing waters and along its lush, green banks.

The three-part series on the Smithsonian Channel features 60-minute segments as follows:

“The Headwaters” traces the birth of the Mississippi River at Minnesota’s Lake Itasca through the Driftless Area of Wisconsin and Iowa.

“The Heartland” covers the Mississippi River from the confluence of the Missouri River into the heart of America and witness life under water, in the skies, and along its banks.

“The Bayou” follows the Mississippi River into the Deep South, through Cajun country, and finally the Gulf of Mexico.

Also available for viewing on the Smithsonian Channel is a three-part series on Yellowstone Park.  Of special interest is the “Mystery in Yellowstone” episode which traces the decline in the Park’s elk population from 20,000 to 5,000 over the last decade due to the introduction of invasive lake trout in Yellowstone Lake.  It’s a very interesting biologist investigation connecting natural predators like wolves and grizzly bears to the declining elk population and the role Yellowstone Lake’s lake trout played in the elk decline.

Visit the Smithsonian Channel website for viewing dates and times for both programs.

 


Dun Magazine Now Offering 50% off One-Year Subscription

Dun Magazine is no ordinary fly fishing publication.  This quarterly publication is a work of art perfect for both reading and display on your coffee table.  Published by OBTU business partner and friend Jen Ripple, Dun Magazine is over-sized to showcase the stunning photography inside.

Priced at $20.00 per issue at retail, Dun Magazine is now accepting one-year subscriptions for $40.00.  Visit the Dun Magazine website for more information and to have it delivered to your front door.

A Dun Magazine subscription for four quarterly issues is now available at 50% savings.

 

November/December 2018

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:  jimschmieds@gmail.com

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 (www.instagram.com). 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 tuoakbrook@gmail.com 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:
Email:  fnh435@aol.com
Phone: 630-267-9643

 

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:
Email:  fnh435@aol.com
Phone: 630-267-9643

 

 

September/October 2018

President’s Letter–September 2018

Members and Friends:

We have wrapped up a busy and productive spring and summer of Youth Education Programs, Conservation projects and Fundraising, and with our fiscal year ending September 30, we are setting our budgets and formulating our plans and objectives for our new fiscal year.

The critical component to achieving our goals will be member involvement and engagement in the form of volunteering time and energies.

One of our objectives during the past few years has been to expand the proactive nature of our various committees and encourage the committee chairpersons to develop and execute activities consistent with our strategic plan.

To this end, our Committee Chairpersons need volunteers to periodically step up and assist them. It could be as simple as a singular event or activity or assisting on a more regular and consistent basis.

Below I have listed our current Chairpersons and their respective committees.

I am asking ALL our members and friends to review the list and if an area appeals to you please contact myself or the Chairperson for more information on the committee’s activities and needs.

Finance/Accounting—Jack Potts
Membership—Ken Krueger
Fundraising—John Snyder
Communication/Publicity—Jim Schmiedeskamp
Conservation—Dave Carlson
Youth/Adult Education—Marv Strauch
Women’s Initiative/Events—Carol Hennessy
Meeting Programs/Events Planning—Willie Beshire
Endowment Committee Chair—Fred Hodge
Leadership Development Committee Chair—Lisa Gilmore

These individuals can be reached by visiting our website’s “Leadership” page. If you haven’t visited our website, please check it out at:  obtu.org.   Each Committee Chairperson is listed along with their email address to request contact or more information. Or you can call me at 630-939-3471.

Our Chapter—the Oak Brook Chapter of Trout Unlimited—is well positioned to continue making a difference in the lives of numerous young boys and girls in the Chicago area and coldwater streams in Michigan, Illinois, and Wisconsin.

Only through the efforts of all our members will we achieve our goals.

Respectfully,

David Lunardini
Chapter President


Fly Fishing Author Jason Randall To Speak October 17

“Nymph Masters: Fly Fishing Secrets From Expert Anglers.”  The book is currently available on Amazon.com.

Ever wonder what it would be like to take a fishing trip with the country’s best anglers? Author Jason Randall fishes with fly fishing giants such as George Daniel, Landon Mayer, Lefty Kreh, Ed Jaworowski, Ed Engle, Gary Borger, and Joe Humphreys and shares their top nymphing techniques, flies, and tactics in his latest book “Nymph Masters: Fly Fishing Secrets From Expert Anglers.”  The book is currently available on Amazon.com.

Jason will be our featured speaker at the October 17 membership meeting, at 7 p.m. at the Canterberry Room in the Oak Brook Recreation Center  main building.  Guests are welcome.

Jason covers everything from rigging flies, reading the water, casting, and fighting fish as he travels the United States, from Pennsylvania to Alaska, in his quest to learn the methods of the masters.  He last spoke at an Oak Brook TU meeting in February 2017.

Jason Randall is a resident of Woodstock, Illinois and a member of the Lee Wulff TU Chapter. He has been an outdoor writer for the last 12 years with feature articles appearing regularly in American Angler, as well as Fly Fisherman, Eastern Fly Fishing, Northwest Fly Fishing and many other outdoor magazines. He is a veterinarian certified in fish health and medicine and is also a member of the World Aquatic Veterinary Medical Association and the Society for Freshwater Science.

His first book, Moving Water: A Fly Fisher’s Guide to Currents was released in 2012. It studies the effect of current on trout, their prey species and presentation, where vertical layers of current create drag and requires adjustments to improve nymph fishing success.

His second book Feeding Time: A Fly Fisher’s Guide to What, Where and When Trout Eat, was released in August of 2013. It focuses on matching your fishing strategies to the trout’s feeding strategies, especially when targeting large trout.

In 2014, the third book in the Fly Fisher’s Guide trilogy was released. Titled Trout Sense; A Fly Fisher’s Guide to What Trout See, Hear and Smell, it offers anglers an opportunity to know more about the quarry they seek.

 


Free Introductory Fly Tying Workshops

Attend a free fly tying workshop at Bass Pro Shops Bolingbrook store.

OBTU is sponsoring a series of free introductory fly tying workshops for both its members and the general public on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. at the Bass Pro Shops Bolingbrook store on the following dates:

October 9
October 23
November 6

Fly tying equipment and materials will be provided.  There will be 12 participants per class.  Sign up today by contacting Lisa Piggott, Bass Pro Shops, at 630.296.2702

Bass Pro Shops is located at 709 Janes Avenue, Bolingbrook.

Come Early for Dinner and Save 15%
Have dinner at the Islamorada Fish Company Restaurant at Bass Pro Shops and save 15% (beer, wine and mixed drinks excluded).  Bring the coupon below.  Offer good only on October 9, October 23 and November 6.

 


Volunteer for October 13 Coldwater River Watershed Macroinvertebrate Study

Oak Brook TU members will return to the Coldwater River near Alto, Michigan on October 13 to continue the four-year macroinvertebrate survey as part of a Michigan Clean Water Corps grant which commenced in 2014.

The study will take place Saturday, October 13 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., with the meeting location at the Tyler Creek Country Club in Alto, Michigan.

As with the past spring and fall surveys, audit teams will be formed, and each team will visit one of five sites along the Coldwater River or its major tributaries.  Each site will be observed for any physical changes since the June audit.  Then samples will be taken by volunteers using D-nets from the various habitat types within each site.  Samples will be collected into large pails before each team returns to our base at Tyler Creek Country Club where we will identify and count everything collected.

Volunteers need to bring their waders.

The Saturday morning activity is usually followed by a cookout and the opportunity to do some local fishing.  Drive time from Chicago to the Tyler Creek Country Club is about 3.5 hours.

To volunteer for the October 13 Coldwater Study, please contact Marv Strauch at your earliest opportunity if you plan to be attend.
E:  mjstrauchjr@gmail.com
M:  708-638-1318.


Marvin Strauch Discusses “Trout in the Classroom” on August 26 Radio Program

Download the Mike Nowak podcast featuring our Trout in the Classroom program.

Marvin Strauch, OBTU Youth Education Chair, was the featured guest on Mike Nowak’s 1590 AM Sunday morning radio show on August 26. Marvin and Joe Lentino, a Burroughs Junior High School teacher whose class has participated in the program since the 2013 school year, discussed the chapter’s “Trout in the Classroom” program and Trout Unlimited’s coldwater conservation mission during the show’s 10:15-11:00 a.m. segment.

Listen to the Mike Nowak podcast of this segment.