Headwaters Chapter

History of Headwater’s Chapter 642

January 1993 was the first official meeting date. The three founding fathers, Gale Brooks, Bob Frazey and John Sorenson presented and adopted Headwaters as the chapter name. 2018 will mark our 25th anniversary where we will proudly celebrate our major accomplishments of:

1. A continuous 16 year youth fly fishing program.

2. A 9 year continuous Trout in the Classroom program.

3. A 12 year focused Straight River Restoration Program with four helicopter tree drops.

4. Brook trout reproduction restored in several streams, plus brown trout naturalized in streams and rivers.

5. Increased involvement and membership through collaborative projects and ongoing fly tying and fly fishing events.

Here in the Headwaters Chapter we know that our region has a lot more to offer than simply trout. Our chapter happily crosses over into any and all species of fish that are available to catch on a fly in our area. Pike, bass, panfish and more all make it into our instruction days and tying nights. The most important goal for us is to bring an angling community together that has a strong conservation ethic.

June 2020 Chapter Update

This spring has not been what I expected. Just a couple months ago we were looking forward to the Great Waters Fly Fishing Expo, meeting on a regular basis to tie flies, and socializing without much thought. Just a few short days later and everything came to a standstill. In March COVID-19 changed the way we do everything. I know I’m not alone when saying this either. I’m spending more time at home and getting into the new norm of working from home and meeting via video conferencing. I get excited now when I can see and talk to someone other than my own family. The money I save on gas I’m spending on extra groceries and buying unnecessary items online. I really need to get out fishing.  


COVID-19 has changed, cancelled, or postponed many things in our lives. For TU 642, the Women’s Fly Fishing Retreat has been moved to July 10 and 11, 2020. If you are interested or have questions, call Val Wagner at 218-556-7660. Our Trout in the Classroom program ended abruptly in March, but we were able to release the fish into the river with a little help from some students. We couldn’t complete our fly tying nights this year either. And we all missed the Great Waters Fly Fishing Expo. The annual Pike Hunt has changed this year as well. Hopefully we will be able to keep the momentum going with our new format. Many of us have familiarized ourselves with having online meetings using various video platforms, and we will likely be having our board meetings using this technology as well. We will get through this if we just take precautions and adjust how we do things.


Passing of a Founder

In April the Headwaters Chapter lost one of its founding members. Gail Brooks passed away on April 28, 2020 at the age of 94. He learned to love fishing at a young age and took many wonderful trips with his sons, grandsons and close friends across the country. He was an avid fly fisherman and made many of his own flies. He helped teach fly tying to fifth grade students at Northern Elementary School and was one of the founding members of TU Headwaters Chapter 642.

For the full obituary go to https://www.bemidjipioneer.com/obituaries/obits/6467373-Gail-Brooks.


Trout in the Classroom

 We had a very successful release day on April 23, 2020 at the Clearwater River and the weather cooperated beautifully. The teachers from Gene Dillon Elementary School had coordinated the inclusion of some students who have been spending the day at school because one of their parents is in the healthcare field. This led to a bit more excitement and energy. Coincidentally, Tony and the DNR also ended up releasing 650 rainbows from the Spire Valley Hatchery so the teachers and students also helped with the release of those fish. With the release of fish at Kelliher, that concludes our release activities for the year. 


Pike Hunt

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone in just a few short months. TU 642 is being mindful of social distancing by adapting this year’s annual Pike Hunt to try something new. To mark the sixth year of this event, we will observe social distancing guidelines by not having a day fishing followed by a fish-fry gathering. Instead, we are planning to have a fishing tournament-style event that will take place over an eight-week period starting on May 9, 2020 and running through July 4. Our hope is to have a gathering in the fall if social distancing rules allow. 


This year’s Pike Hunt will allow people to participate in fly fishing for pike while following the Minnesota DNR’s safe social distancing rules. We have four categories of fishing, and fans of Fly vs Jerk on YouTube will recognize them. We will give prizes out for the top five combined pike over 26”, the single longest pike, the heaviest pike, and the total number of pike (any size counts) in a single day. To keep participants engaged, we are giving out prizes every two weeks. At the end of the event we will give out the final awards where all participants are eligible. 


The Pike Hunt is one of TU 642’s yearly fundraisers, and we want to continue it this year. If anyone is interested in finding out more information, they can email mntu642@gmail.com or look for information and updates on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/mnheadwatersTU.

Join us on our next project or tying night!

Contact the Headwaters Chapter

Kris Williams, Chapter President