White River

Trout Unlimited cabin fever fund raiser

Posted by John Berry on February 17th, 2012
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The White River Chapter #698 of Trout Unlimited (our local chapter) has scheduled its annual fund raising banquet. Trout Unlimited is a not for profit conservation organization (501 C3) dedicated to protect, reconnect, restore and sustain our cold water fisheries. The function will be held on Saturday February 27, 2012 at the Elks Club in Mountain Home. The festivities begin at 7:00 PM. The theme is Cabin Fever Fund Raiser. I think that is incredibly appealing. It has been pretty cold here for the last few days and it is snowing, as I write this column. Lori and I are looking for an excuse to get out of the house and have some fun.

This year’s banquet includes some changes. Instead of a sit down dinner, this year’s banquet will be a buffet of finger foods. This will make things go faster and will allow for more mingling among the attendees. There will also be a DJ and the opportunity for some dancing. This really appeals to Lori and I must say that I am ready for an opportunity to do some dancing myself.

The cost stays at $35.00 per individual and $50.00 for a couple. This includes two drink tickets per person (there will also be a cash bar). The cost for a child under sixteen is $10.00 but they must be accompanied by an adult. There is also an option to sponsor a table for $500.00 which will seat eight and includes favors for each sponsor’s guest and a special favor for the sponsor.

There will be a live auction and a silent auction. Local fishing tackle guru and guide Jerry McCoy is handling the auctioneer duties once again. There are some spectacular items on the auction. There is a framed original Duane Hada brown trout with three flies tied by Duane. There are several full and half day guide trips by some of the most respected guides in the area to include full day trips with Kevin Brantonies (current TU president), Kristopher Bouldin and Scott Branyan. Then there are half day Trips with Mark Crawford, Ken Minsky and Joe Salisbury (this one includes a free night and breakfast at PJ’s and a fifty dollar certificate for dinner there).

One unusual item is a day with Davy Wotton at the Twin Lakes Gun Club. This includes a full round of sporting clays, shells, entry to the Twin Lakes Gun Club, all fees and the loan of a shotgun if needed. Another highly desired item is a custom cedar fly tying desk made by former TU president, Bill Thorne. One item that should generate a bit of interest is a selection of twelve one and a half liter bottles of California wine donated by the House of Realty.

In spite of the prospect of having a good time, why should you attend this event? It is simple; they do a lot of very important things around here. They have been the watchdog group to help protect our fisheries. They were instrumental in the lawsuit brought against Norfork Overlook Estates when they allowed tons of silt enter the Norfork River.

This year they donated $25,000.00, of the money awarded them by the lawsuit, to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission for use in bank stabilization and habitat projects on the Norfork River. I have seen these projects and have fished around them. I think that they were necessary and have helped fishing.

They sponsor a summer youth camp. This program introduces youths to the sport and science of fishing and trains the river stewards of tomorrow. My friend, Henry Seay, manages this camp and has done a bang up job. The camp takes place on Dry Run Creek and the adjacent Norfork National Fish Hatchery. In addition to lots of class room instruction, there is also time to fish for a big one or tube the creek.

One five year project that really interests me is establishment of a rainbow trout spawn. The idea is to plant trout eggs in Whitlock Vibert boxes in key gravel locations to create spawning trout. TU brought in Dave Whitlock as a consultant and began the project last year. They are working with a hardy strain of rainbow trout. This was done by the Arkansas Fly Fishers and the Mid South Fly Fishers in the early eighties that resulted in a world record brown trout. I think a rainbow trout spawn in the spring would add a new dimension to our trout fishery.

In an educational vein our TU chapter is working on an educational program where they donate aquariums and coolers to schools for use in the classroom.

As you can see this is a great opportunity to have a good time and help a great organization. Tickets are available at Blue Ribbon Fly Shop in Mountain Home, Dally’s Ozark Fly Fisher in Cotter or you can contact Kurt Sleighter at (870) 580-0089. Lori and I will be there. I hope to see you!

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