Fun at the June picnic: The CWTU June picnic and meeting was held at Veteran's Park in Redgranite. Linn Beck and Mike Schaefers hosted and provided the food. President John Tucker orchestrated the productive meeting. The July meeting will be held at Laura and John Tucker's home on the Pine River in Saxeville. More info on this will be coming.
Participants from the 2013 CWTU/FVTC "Introduction to Fly Fishing and Fly Tying Class", and their CWTU guides, gather in the Waupaca River before an evening of guided fly fishing on May 21. The class had 25 members and was taught by Jim Murphy, David Pable, Mike Sandretto, Bob Haase, and John Gremmer.
Below is the article published by the Waushara Argus Newspaper in July of 2011. It is about the work that CWTU and the WDNR is doing on the Mecan River near Richfield. This is being re-published with the permission of the Waushara Argus:
From April through September, approximately 20-25 volunteers assemble one Saturday every month on the banks of the Mecan River, about nine miles west of Wautoma on State Hwy. 21, for a “work day” in the river. Most of the volunteers are members of Central Wisconsin Trout Unlimited (CWTU),although other Trout Unlimited (TU) chapter members, DNR volunteers, and some non-affiliated volunteers also come to help.
Since April, the volunteers have completed five trout habitat structures, with two in various stages of completion, and with a goal of completing five more structures by the end of September. Each trout habitat structure involves about 75-85 feet of riverbank/stream restoration.
“The streams get wider from high-water events,” said CWTU member Bob Smaglik. “As they get wider, they get slower, the water gets warmer, and the trout die. They need to have at least a 65-degree water temperature to survive.”
Linn Beck, CWTU president and workday coordinator explained that trout also need a safe place to spawn and a safe place to survive, noting that certain birds, bigger fish, and otters are among the biggest trout predators.
The trout habitat restoration involves DNR Specialist Shawn Sullivan identifying areas where the river has widened and become shallow and slow due to high-water episodes and erosion. The volunteers then“jet” (with a device) logs, called pilings, vertically into the river bottom, followed by “stringers” (two-inch thick pine planks) nailed to the top of the stringers, like rafters on a house. After that, the volunteers install planking (or decking) on top of the pilings. A quarter-round log serves as the face-board on the front of the structure, with rocks then piled on top of the front edge of the structure, up tight to the face-board log; the rock edge helps diminish erosion of the river bank. Once complete, DNR(fisheries) employees will backfill and landscape the space from the current bank to the rock and face-board, creating a new river bank, a safe habitat for trout underneath the bank, and a narrower, deeper river area. The backfill material, which is a matted grass mixture, will also prevent further erosion during high-water events.
Beck said that the wood is interwoven underneath the planking so that the trout can swim into the safe structure, but otters cannot. According to reports, otters can consume approximately 1,000 trout in one week.
Trout Unlimited is a national organization with chapters nationwide. The Central Wisconsin Trout Unlimited chapter includes about 370 members and represents not only Waushara County, but also Winnebago, GreenLake, Fond du Lac, and Marquette Counties. There are thirteen TU chapters in Wisconsin. “TU is not a fishing club,” said Haase, “It’s a conservation club.”
This year the CWTU and Chicago’s Elliott-Donnelly TU Chapterdonated $11,000 to the DNR Fisheries Division to pay for two long-term employee(LTE) positions to work specifically on the Mecan River trout habitat project in August, September, and October. On weekends Sullivan and the two DNR LTEs work on the project on a volunteer basis, but the monetary donation will enable the LTEs to work on the project during the week for those months. “We are so happy to have the extra help,” said Beck.
The CWTU has worked side-by-side with volunteers and the DNR on the Mecan River trout habitat project for the past two years, with 3,700 feet of work nearly completed. “Our long-term goal is to go up river about 5 miles and do the same work near the Mecan Springs,” said Beck.
New structures keep trout safe from predators
This picture shows a completed trout structure. It is ready for dirt to be placed on top of the structure decking, out to the outer edge of the rocks and then seeded with matting that contains a mixture of natural grasses. The new bank will extend from the former bank to the outer edge of the rocks. Within a couple of years, the new bank will look completely natural, and more importantly it is already providing the trout with a safe habitat.
After Bob Haase, past president of CWTU, sticks a tree branch underneath the Mecan River bank to demonstrate the horizontal depth of the trout habitat structure built by volunteers a couple of years ago, he shows volunteers and the public how the trout are protected from their predators. Once the structure was completed, the DNR filled in the space between the former bank and the front face of the structure with matted grass material and brush to also help prevent erosion in high-water events. This created a new bank that provides a safe haven for trout, a deeper river bottom, and prevents erosion.
CWTU River Keeper News
Our first meeting will be Tuesday, April 19, 6:30 pm, at the Fin ?N Feather in Winneconne. This is a most important meeting and it is essential that all River Keepers attend---old and new. The meeting will last around an hour and during this time we?ll get organized for 2011. (See agenda below.)
Our second meeting will be for training the new River Keepers and it will be held on Saturday, April 30, 10:00 am until noon, at Riverside Park in W
aupaca(same as last year). The rain date for this training will be the next day, May 1, in the same place from 2:00 pm until 4:00 pm. All River Keepers are encouraged to attend and help train new River Keepers. Note: In case there is a question of a postponement---check the www.cwtu.org homepage or the River Keeper Wiki(http://cwriverkeepers.wikispaces.com/). We will post any changes there. We will not be calling people--although if you have questions you can call me.
Congratulations Everyone: CWTU River Keepers was just named the Wisconsin Water Monitoring group of the year. This is a great honor. The reco
gnition is due to all the work that individual River Keepers did last year. We have a good thing going here! Thanks to all
for your efforts.
If you know of anybody who would enjoy being a River Keeper---bring them along. Kids are welcomed!
Please contact me if you have any questions about this message.
John Gremmer, 920-582-7802 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Pictured from left to right are State Council Chair Kim McCarthy, Past President John Tucker, President Linn Beck, and Vice President John Gremmer.
CWTU has long been one of Wisconsin TU's "overachievers." They seem to do it all, from education, to training, to conservation. The chapter is being recognized this year for really stepping up their stream restoration efforts. CWTU's recent improvement efforts have focused on the Mecan River in Waushara County. They did this work with a grant from the Trout and Salmon Foundation and matching grants from Central and the Elliott Donnelley Chapter from Illinois. Led by stream workday Chair Linn Beck and WDNR Supervisor Shawn Sullivan, the chapter improved 1,800 feet of the Mecan River in 2010. The chapter also worked on Lawrence Creek in Marquette County and Cedar Springs Creek.
Last November CWTU got a second grant from the Trout and Salmon Foundation. With the matches from CWTU and EDTU, they have $22,000 in the bank for future work on the Mecan. These funds will support improvements on about a mile of water over the next couple years. CWTU hopes that the beautiful work completed in 2010 will increase the interest in the Central Sand Hills Ecoregion Restoration Initiative recently proposed by Alistair Stewart and Bob Hunt.
Another CWTU success story has been their River Keepers initiative. In recent years, the chapter's water monitoring program has been in decline, going from 12 active teams to just 5 in 2009. Fortunately, John Gremmer, Jim Murphy, Rick Fahrenkrug, Mike Schaefers, Phil Peterson, and Bob Smaglik jumped to the challenge of reconstructing the program. One of the first things they did was rename it River Keepers, signifying an active group doing more than just monitoring. The leadership team has expanded from two to six active leaders. One of the new leaders Rick Fahrenkrug, successfully applied for a $5000 grant that is being used to purchase needed equipment. More people were recruited, and training was provided in the Spring. There are now 14 active teams, testing 20 stream sites in a six-county area.
Because of his love of fly tying and education, it seemed a perfect fit that Bob would volunteer to be the State Council's Education Chair. In this position, Bob has lined up dozens of volunteers to teach fly tying and casting to thousands of elementary school students who attend the annual Wisconsin Outdoor Expo. Every year the Outdoor Expo serves about 3,000 kids, and about 1,000 of them stop by the TU tent to tie their first fly or cast a fly rod. A couple of years ago Bob volunteered to be the State Council's Central Region Vice Chair.
In between all this, Bob has been Executive Director of the Musky Clubs Alliance for 12 years. he works with 25 musky clubs on various research, education, and musky management projects. A lot of these activities are brought to the attention of the general public in a weekly 20-minute radio program Bob produces for the KFIZ radio in Fond du Lac. Bob's "Outdoor Thursdays" program is one of the most popular shows on KFIZ.
Would it surprise you if we said that we're leaving a lot of Bob's outdoor education and conservation activities out of this summary? With all he does, we're happy that Trout Unlimited gets so much of Bob's time.
We have a Special Appreciation Award this year for Alistair Stewart. Although Alistair lives in Chicago, his heart is in the Central Sands area. As a member of the Central Wisconsin Chapter, Alistair is being recognized for his recent efforts to raise funds and generate enthusiasm for habitat work on the Mecan River.
Alistair got two significant grants for CWTU recently from the Trout & Salmon Foundation. One grant was for $5,000 and the other for $6,000. These grants went even further because they were matched by Central Wisconsin TU and Illinois' Elliott Donnelley Chapter. Alistair has also gotten contributions from the Anglers' Club of Chicago.
Alistair is a CWTU Board member, and he works actively on stream work projects. He also volunteers at CWTU's fly fishing school and TroutFest. And keep your ears open for a possible long-term restoration effort Alistair is working on with other CWTU members called the Central Sand Hills Restoration Initiative. If that proposal takes off, Central Wisconsin streams will get some major habitat improvement attention in coming years.
Twenty CWTU and FVTU members braved the winter weather to spend a day learning new flies and techniques from Dennis Potter, owner of Riverhouse Fly Company. Dennis traveled from Grand Rapids, MI to put on the six hour seminar. Dennis was featured in the Summer edition of Flytyer magazine in an interview by David Klausmeyer.
Dennis is a featured tyer at many events around the country. Some of you may have seen him at the Minneapolis Fly Fishing Show. Dennis was impressed with our chapter for being able to put on this event. If you want to learn more about Dennis Potter and see some of his featured flies, go to his website at www.riverhouseflyco.com/. Thanks go to Ira Giese for organizing and orchestrating this event.
Scott and Carolyn Grady created this wonderful three sided CWTU display for the Wisconsin State TU Banquet and meetings. The materials on the display tell the story of our chapter and its many activities. Thanks go to the Gradys for their efforts.
Last year "Night of the Hex" and this year "Night of the Caddis". This has been a very popular program and even with bad weather we had good attendance. The "Night of" programs feature a different aquatic insect or terrestrial every year and we have one person talking about the entomology aspects of the insect, and another person talking about fishing presentation techniques. During this time we have around 15 to 20 tiers tying their favorite patterns.On January 17th, despite bad weather conditions, we had a great turnout to listen to Dr. Bob Steltzer talk about the life cycles of the Caddis and Charlie Piette from Tightlines Fly Shop talk about presentation techniques. From the turnout and positive response from those attending, I think we will be making this an annual program.
This award is considered the chapter's most prestigious award and is presented to professional and non-professionals whose efforts have been to preserve our cold water resource. This award is given in alternate years in these categories at the disgression of the committee.
This year the award was presented to Scott Grady in the non-professional category. The award was presented to Scott at the chapter's annual banquet by Awards Committee Chairman, Dan Harmon III.
This years recipient has been a tireless worker for the chapter for many, many years and currently holds the office of Treasurer. He has been an integral part of the chapter's finances, fund raising, and all of the chapters many financial reports that are required. He has selfishly produced the chapter's "Brookie News" newsletter on a monthly basis for years. He has served on the banquet committee and has been instrumental in producing brochures for the chapter's Annual Fly Fishing School. He has put on bamboo fly rod making seminars and demonstrations and has donated some of his fine rods for the chapter's fund raising efforts. This award is richly deserved.
This award is a lifetime achievement award and is presented to an individual who has demonstrated, not only the love of trout and its cold water resources, but pursued activities for the betterment of his fellow man.
This year the award was presented to Richard Kraus on behalf of the chapter by Dan Harmon III, Chapter Awards Chairman. Richard's achievements have been many, starting with being the chapter president, twice. He has been the State Council Chairman, Trout Unlimited Water Resources Chairman, and State Trout Management Chairman. He has spent many years as an instructor at the chapter's annual Fly Fishing School. He has served on most of the chapter's committees at one time or another, been involved in the chapters work days and other events. He has served his church and its various committees for many years and has been active in civic affairs in his community as well.
Master chefs Pat Walters and Aaron Luce, from the Fin 'N Feather Restaurant in Winneconne, teamed up to share some tips and techniques on preparing several simple, yet, delicious fish dishes, at September 20th's, CWTU program "Catch and Cook". Pan fried trout, Trout Scampi, Parmesan Salmon, crab stuffed haddock and cubed salmon were all on the menu. The small, but engaged, audience got many of their fish prep questions answered and look forward to receiving the recipes of that nights dishes. Pat and Aaron did a fantastic job making the evening program entertaining and educational. Many thanks go out to them as well as to Jim Ryf for catching the salmon we dined on that night.
The following 2009 CWTU honors were awarded at the October 15th, 2009 CWTU Banquet in Oshkosh.
President John Tucker presented a Chapter Appreciation Award to Rawhide Boys Ranch for their extensive help in restoring parts of Lawrence Creek. Abe Auer and a cadet from Rawhide accepted the award. John Was assisted in this presentation by Jim Humphrey and a check for $250.00 was also presented.
Jim Humphrey received the "Arling Erickson Work Day Award" for his dedicated service in supervising, directing, and planning the chapters work days for the last four years. Dan Harmon III presented this award to Jim for his outstanding efforts.
Tom Poullette presented a CPR Plaque to Bob Hunt that was written in four different languages and obtained from The Henry's Fork Foundation. Bob's efforts in this endeavor have spread to the west and have made more people aware of the term "Consider Proper Release".
Tom Poullette also presented the "Curmudgeon Award" to David Seligman, who certainly looks and acts the part. Seriously, David did and outstandin job of organizing and orchestrating this year's banquet.
The "WCTU Award" was presented to Tracy Moran by Dan Harmon III. This is fun award that spoofs a chapter member's efforts on the part of the chapter. This was for Tracy being a: "MC, Fly Tier, Welder, Road Kill Chef".
A Service - Appreciation Award was presented to Pat Strom by Dan Harmon III for her many framed, pencil drawings she has donated over the years and sold at auction at the chapter's annual banquet.
Tom Poullette presented the "Ozzie Award" for Lifetime Humanitarian Achievement to Elward Engle. The award was named in honor of Richard W. Osborn and a moment of silence was observed to honor Ozzies passing on October 5, 2009. Elward's accomplishments are many through the years he spent working for the DNR, his tireless dedication to projects for his church and the beautiful flower slide show / nature walks conducted through out central Wisconsin. Elward has been doing this for many years and if you have ever been to one of his slide shows or a nature walk, you will have had a truly memorable experience.
Dan Harmon III presented the "Brookie Award", the chapter's highest award, for the second time, to a team, Russ and Sue Bouck. This award is presented to professionals and non-professionals, in alternate years, at the disgression of the awards committee. Russ and Sue have been chapter officers, president and secretary during the same term, respectively and have served the chapter in many other ways as well. To name a few: Annual Fly Fishing School, Trout Fest, Fly Casting Spring Tune-Up, and Masters Fly Tying Classes. They have participated in chapters work days and many other events around the state promoting the chapter and Trout Unlimited. Russ has donated an untold number of his hand tied flies and fly tying benches for the chapter's fund raising efforts.This award could not go to a better couple.
Thanks go to Dan Harmon III, Chair of the Awards Committee, for putting together this summary.