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.

Fall 2021 Chapter Update

We had hoped that we would have returned to everyday life by now, but in an attempt to stay safe, that hasn’t happened. We wanted to keep our members safe, so we postponed projects and events this past summer. Some things are returning to normal, but there will still be precautions.

Things didn’t go as planned this summer. We had plans to do a couple of stream restoration projects but that didn’t pan out. We had delays in planning, scorching weather, and concerns over the Delta variant. We will get to these projects when we can, but for now, we are erring on the side of caution. Even fishing was hard to do. We postponed our annual Pike hunt this spring. We usually do it in the first part of June, but this year the temperature reached 97 degrees. It was downright dangerous for us to be hunting for pike. On a brighter note, we will be returning to in-person fly tying this fall. I think many of us are looking forward to social interaction again.

Our Trout in the Classroom program is continuing this year with some changes. Northome School has suspended its TIC program for this year. The other schools are still on schedule. John Latimer from radio station KAXE will be visiting Gene Dillon and Kelliher schools to talk about Fall phenology. It is still unknown if the fifth grade fly fishing program will take place but our fingers are crossed.

This summer, Headwaters Chapter participated in the Youth Outdoor Activity Day in Alexandria (https://youthoutdooractivityday.org). This is a free, family-friendly event for youth to learn about outdoor recreation activities including trap shooting, archery, hunting, angling, and many other related skills. Our chapter assisted with teaching fly casting to youths and adults. My daughter started teaching kids and adults how to fly cast and she had a blast. Over 2,000 people participated in this Sunday event. Our chapter also gave away two fly rods with an assortment of flies. Our lucky winners were Fearghus and Kinley. Hopefully, we have inspired them to continue with fly fishing. A special shout out to Bob Gibson who invited us to participate. I’m sure we will be back next year with more volunteers.

Several of our members participated in the 2nd annual Fly Fish Minnesota Contest hosted by the Front 20 Outfitters. This contest promotes fly fishing for many species found in Minnesota. Participants can fish any body of water in Minnesota, but all fish must be caught on a fly rod. Our own Steve Young managed to catch 12 of the 14 species of fish this year and took the top prize. Thanks to Front 20 Outfitters and Umpqua, Steve won this Umpqua Steamboat ZS2 sling pack. Steve said, “It’s a great activity for getting people out to stretch the limits of their fly fishing interests and abilities.”

Front 20 Outfitter celebrated its 10th anniversary earlier this year. They are a rare find in Minnesota. They held six one-day fly fishing workshops this past summer with four of them being Co-Ed and two female events. They also held four Community Ed classes. Overall, they had introduced 70 participants to fly fishing this past season alone. 

Doug and Roxanne Harthan run fly fishing classes through Front 20 Outfitters as well as full fishing guide service and fly tying classes all from the “Biggest little fly shop in Minnesota!” Visit http://www.front20outfitters.com to learn more. And remember to sign up for their fishing contest next summer.

Kris Williams

Join us on our next project or tying night!

Contact the Headwaters Chapter

Kris Williams, Chapter President