by Caitlin Collins
We celebrated our fifth annual Winter Fish Camp at Whitewater State Park on December 1-3 with great company, delicious chili (congrats to our chili cookoff winner, Sally Noll!), and comfortable fishing temps (for winter, at least).
On top of all of the above, attendees also had a chance to learn quite a bit.
We kicked Saturday morning off with a presentation on winter fishing gear and techniques from guide and casting instructor Monta Hayner. Monta's advice and hands-on casting instruction later that morning was a huge help for attendees, especially those who were still relatively new to winter fishing.
TCTU board member and professional fly tier Paul Johnson gave small group tying lessons. I was thrilled to get a chance to tie one of my favorite flies alongside Paul: the famous stop and go (if you don't know about the stop and go, find me or Bob Luck at a chapter meeting; we'll happily sing its praises for as long as you'll listen). Paul is a patient, encouraging teacher, and it was a pleasure to get to learn from someone so skilled in his craft.
Our final guest was Vaughn Snook, Fisheries Biologist for the Minnesota DNR's Lanesboro Fisheries Office. On top of a thorough and fascinating presentation on recent developments in trout populations and habitat in the Lanesboro area, Vaughn also brought and dissected three yearling rainbow trout from the hatchery. Attendees had a chance to learn about trout anatomy hands-on, and Vaughn treated us all to roasted trout afterwards.
Huge thank you to Kristy Malecha who co-planned the weekend with me and managed the hardest part: feeding everyone all weekend! She made the camp a joy for everyone, and I can't wait for next year!
Speaking of next year, go ahead and save the date: we'll be back at Whitewater State Park for the 6th Annual Winter Fish Camp December 6-8, 2024.
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