|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:
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:
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”.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.