November/December 2019

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 “” 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:

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

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:

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

THIRD PRIZE: Orvis $25 gift cards for 10 winners. Redeemable 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.

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

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:

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):

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.

Youth classes feature fly tying, flyrod casting and fishing!

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.

Marvin Strauch
Education Chair – OBTU

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”