Trout Unlimited – Local:
Our Twin Cities Trout Unlimited (TCTU) chapter includes over 2000 volunteers. We work at the local and state level to restore trout streams such as the Vermillion River in Lakeville and Farmington. Together with the other six other chapters that form Minnesota Trout Unlimited (MNTU), we’ve restored more than 40 miles of trout streams across the state, raising money to fund construction costs, and donating volunteer labor, all in cooperation with the MNDNR.
Our mission is to “conserve, protect, restore, and sustain coldwater fisheries and their watersheds.” That includes educating local and state lawmakers about the nonpartisan goal of caring for Minnesotan’s public waters, and conserving natural resources now, and for the generations that will follow us.
We hold regular events such as free clinics to learn how to fly fish and presentations on where to catch trout in the metro area. We also volunteer to teach fly tying and educate people about our water resources through events such as the Dakota County Fair, the State Fair, and local celebrations.
From Trout Run in Troy, to Hay Creek in Red Wing, to the Vermillion River in Lakeville and Farmington, the positive environmental impact we’ve made on these resources is incredible. We not only have rebuilt riverbanks, which keeps sediment from washing downstream into rivers such as the Minnesota, St. Croix and Mississippi, but we’ve also restored adjoining native prairies: 12 acres of praire for every mile of stream we restore. Restoration starts with protecting the land that sheds water to a stream–its “watershed.” Protecting the landscape also protects wildlife habitat.
TCTU members know that to preserve these valuable resources for future generations, we must educate, engage and involve our youth.
- Trout In the Classroom: In 2015, MNTU began a three-year program to bring watershed education into Minnesota schools. The program was piloted in 10 schools and has grown to 17 schools in 2016. Check out the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/mntutic/info
- T.U.N.E Camp (The Ultimate Nature Experience) We also partner with Pheasants Forever and their Minnesota Lady Slippers chapter to develop youth programs which give kids the opportunity get a blend of fun outdoor experiences while learning about the value and importance of preserving and restoring fish and wildlife habitat.
TCTU also extends its reach beyond conservation, into our community, with special projects such as:
- Project Healing Waters: Designed for the rehabilitation of disabled active military service personnel and veterans through the sport of fly fishing.
- Casting for Recovery: Provides an opportunity for women whose lives have been profoundly affected by breast cancer to experience physical, emotional, and spiritual healing through retreats in a beautiful natural setting; and learn fly fishing, a sport for life.
June 2020 Chapter Update
This spring’s fishing season has seen some unusual circumstances in unprecedented times. We are a part of history in a way that no one could have ever imagined. Reflecting back on the past few months, it has been both sad, but hopeful.
COVID-19 has made its mark around the world and continues to do so. It has impacted our families, work, schools, healthcare systems, and plans for habitat restoration, recreation opportunities, social gatherings and fundraising. It has been unfortunate to cancel TCTU events, but know that these decisions have been made to protect the health of individuals across Minnesota and beyond.
As a result, our chapter board has been very focused on ways to reach out and support the angling community. We have a new, incredibly talented communications/special events team that hosted an online late-spring fishing photo contest which was very well received by our TCTU members and the public. We had so much fun seeing the photos from people having a great time on the water. Winners have been announced and will be receiving gift cards from our local fly shops. Thank you to all who took part. We plan to continue creative ways to help our chapter connect with each other as we continue to navigate the world in its changed status for the time being. Stay tuned for our next fishing contest starting in mid-June. Our committee teams will continue to meet up through the summer (virtually) and we plan to host a Zoom chapter meeting with speaker Gina Quiram in June, so look for this announcement on the TCTU Facebook site.
I want to share that we have received several positive letters and notes of support from members appreciating our newer focus on engaging the chapter and angling community in a variety of ways. Through the generosity of TU’s national executive director, many have joined TCTU with a complimentary membership for being a first responder. We welcome all new members and appreciate our current TCTU members as our membership continues to climb past the 2,000 mark.
Looking onward, my hope for all anglers is to connect with nature more as we head into summer. Connect with your families, neighbors and communities in healthy and safe ways. When you can, impart your love of fishing with a youth and share your passion for clean water with others as you support the natural resources that provide these opportunities. Take a break (if you can) from technology and enjoy the outdoors as it unfolds its beauty. This can also be done in your backyard by observing a hummingbird at the feeder, or watching an eagle land in your tree with its fishy-lunch! Mother Nature has provided these gifts and our hope is that you enjoy the summer in a different way.
We look forward to reconnecting this fall (hopefully in person), so until then, stay safe, enjoy the season, get out on the water as much as you can and please share your experiences with us. In these uncertain times, positive stories are just what we all need!