Help Us Make Project Healing Waters a Success for Local Injured Veterans
November 11, 2016

You can help wounded veterans by joining your fellow Twin Cities Trout Unlimited volunteers in our Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing program.  We are the local sponsor of this national program that helps active and retired military veterans with disabilities rehabilitate, emotionally and physically, through education and activities involving fly fishing.  We help them learn about trout, teach them how to tie flies, and take them fishing.

We work closely with the dedicated medical staff members at Minneapolis Veterans Administration Health Care Services, who integrate our activities with their treatment programs.  Since we began the program with the Minneapolis VA in 2010, more than 40 volunteers have come forward, helping about 300 local vets.

If you’d like to help us with Project Healing Waters, contact TCTU volunteer Rob Noirjean. You can reach him at (651) 408-5635, or r email him:

Everyone of us in the Twin Cities chapter is a volunteer, including elected officers and board members. So thank you for your continued donations and support in this and all our activities. Here’s a link to our donations page, that supports PHW and all our other work:


Our History

Retired TCTU board member Don Eckenrode started our program. He’s the guy in the tan shirt in the above photo. We were taking a group of vets, who use wheelchairs, fishing at Taft Lake in Richfield in October.

He said, “The dream is, you take a guy fishing in the summer, and he catches a fish on a fly you helped him tie in the winter.  You made the fly by using two hands–one his, and the other yours. There is nothing like it, when you see that look of satisfaction in his eye.”

He recently handed off leadership to tireless board member Rob Noirjean (, who can help you get involved.  He coordinates with the VA staff and has expanded collaboration with other volunteer groups, broadening the community support we can give to these vets, who have given so much to us and our country.

Rob said we’ve had great success this year, both in our outreach and in the support we’ve been getting.

  • We’ve held 20 events that gave 125 disabled vets the chance to fish, tie flies and enjoy spending time with each other.
  • Volunteers have donated about 180 hours.
  • A generous financial donation in April allowed us to upgrade our fly fishing and fly tying equipment and materials.

The donation also allows us to give rods to 10 vets this year, who show a keen interest in continuing to fly fish, and have actively participated in all our activities at the VA.  Caregivers  encourage vets to get involved in PHW, because studies show it can reduce PTSD symptoms, as well as increase re-connection with other people.

Our first recipient, Mike, (we don’t use last names at the request of the VA), was beaming when he got the rod.

Later one of his nurses wrote Rob:

That was soooo nice!  He was very touched and smiling.  (He rarely smiles…)  He has had a really rough time with his medical issues and this is the best thing that has happened to him in a long time!”