Foster the Outdoors Program 

Connecting Minnesota Families to the Outdoors Through Fly Fishing with a Volunteer Mentor

Trout Unlimited’s mission is to conserve, protect and restore North America’s coldwater fisheries and their watersheds. For our mission to succeed beyond our current generation, we must reach out now to children and youth to teach them to fish, to teach them about conservation, and to encourage them to become future leaders in our organization. Today’s children and youth are the ones who must take over from us in caring deeply for the fish that we love and the places where they live.

How it Works

Foster the Outdoors connects Minnesota youth/adult pairs with fly-fishing mentors for an entire year! Starting them down the path of becoming future anglers and ensuring that the streams we care deeply about today, will continue to thrive tomorrow. With a commitment of roughly 4-6 hours every few months, we invite you join us as a volunteer mentor.

May – Mentor-Match-Up
As a volunteer mentor, we pair you up with a local Minnesota youth and a guardian. We meet as a group for introductions and catch a few sunnies on a local lake. MNTU provides 2 fly rods for each mentee pair to use for the year.

Summer – Go Fishing!
Continue the pursuit of sunnies or bass on local lakes or raise the bar and shoot for a trout stream. After exchanging contact information, the fishing schedule is yours to coordinate. Set dates for 2-3 outings over the course of the summer.

October – Fly Tying
After the school year begins, we meet as a group for a fly-tying session with a local fly-tying group.

January – Shop Tour
After the new year, we get back together for a tour of a local fly shop. Introducing the newbies to some gear options and a chance to ask questions in a group setting.

March – Great Waters Fly Fishing Expo
What better way to introduce a new-comer to the community of fly fishing?

April – End of Season
We end the program with a final group outing to a trout stream. We formally thank our mentors and look forward to seeing our mentee pairs at TU meetings, future Expo’s and as future mentors themselves.

May – Begin again…
The fun begins again with a new group of mentees.

Check out this segment from Prairie Sportsman on PBS highlighting MNTU’s Foster the Outdoors Program.

The full episode titled “Things that Fly” can be found here. 

But don’t take my word for it, below is a testimonial from one of our mentors.

“Growing up neither of my parents were that outdoorsy. But our next door neighbor, Brian Grivna, was. When I was in 3rd grade he took me to the local pond and caught a bass on a fly while I watched – he asked me to touch the slimy, scaly creature and I cried. Been hooked ever since. Through trips to northern Wisconsin to the Driftless in WI and SW MN, Brian’s mentorship created a passion for the outdoors that has deeply influenced my life.  I joined the mentor program to repay in some small part what Brian has given me. My experience this summer was really challenging and rewarding. First the challenging part: I discovered that it’s really difficult to tell someone how to cast with a fly rod. But I tell you what, I should’ve just put the rod in my mentee Isaiah’s hand because he intuitively picked it up faster than I could explain it! The entire experience was rewarding and reminded me of the joy I experience fishing, from losing a sandal in the muck of Lake Hiawatha to Isaiah out-catching all of us on Lake Nokomis. Sharing this hobby and re-experiencing it, as I did when I was young, was so much fun!”
-Kevin M. Krueger

Sign-up deadline to be a volunteer mentor is the end of March each year.
Please contact:

Foster the Outdoors Co-coordinators

Kevin Wier 612-867-5768

Rich Femling 763-807-5878

Helping out
First catch on the fly