At that time there were a few trout camps around the nation but nothing similar in Georgia. A committee was formed to explore the idea and within a year the concept had matured into a reality.
Charlie Breithaupt was chosen to lead the camp and the first trout camp was held at Nacoochee Bend School near Clayton in Rabun County. The camp was open to girls and boys from 12-15 and ran for five days with campers and instructors staying in the school’s dorms.
This year’s camp is in Clayton at Tallulah Falls School and will be from June 2-7. Each child receives all the items needed to be equipped for most any fly fishing trip including vests, sunglasses, complete rod reel and lines as well as nets, line nippers and fly boxes with flies.
During the camp the kids receive instructions in both fly tying and fly casting from highly experienced fishermen and women and the instructors, known as mentors, are almost always one on one with the campers. The kids also practice what they learn each day under the supervision of the mentors. The kids learn trout biology, macro invertebrates and stream etiquette.
One day is always set aside for a trip to a wild brook trout stream where, under supervision of U.S. Forest Service biologist, they electroshock the stream to see what fish are in the stream as well as where the fish hide.
During the day the kids assist in the construction of a habitat enhancement structure.
There is usually one day set aside for fishing that takes place in heavily stocked waters near the school. It is rare that someone goes fishless because their mentor will guide them in where to cast as well as how the drift or retrieve is made to best fool the fish.
On the last day of camp there is always a casting competition. There are several prizes, with the grand prize winner taking home a high quality fly rod. These are just a few aspects of trout camp.
Trout campers are usually chosen from within the thirteen TU chapters in Georgia. If you would like to have a kid you know to be chosen for trout camp, get involved with your local TU chapter. Campers are now required to be 13-15 years old.
It does cost a lot of money to put on a trout camp this complete, and while tuition is $600 per child, the full cost of the camp as a whole is even more. Local chapters often pay the tuition for the campers they sponsor, but the additional costs of camp are offset by the annual Dream Trip Raffle.
Originally, the TU state council wanted it to be the trip of a lifetime for a fly fisherman and his partner to a great destination out west complete with food and lodging, equipment, flies and a little traveling money was suggested and approved. This turned into the Dream Trip.
Deam Trip Raffle
This year’s grand prize is five days hosted fishing and six nights lodging in Idaho from July 21-26 (plus other goodies too). The winner and his partner will fish with John McGarity and stay in his fabulous log cabin, as well as receive $500 in travel expenses.
They will take a float trip on the Madison River, a choice of either a Winston B111-x or Air 4, 5, or 7 weight rod, a fly reel with Scientific Anglers fly line and a box of 6 to 7 dozen flies tied specifically for the trip.
Tickets are $10 each and benefit Trout Unlimited’s Cold Water Conservation and Trout Camp. Runner-up prizes include fly rods, fly boxes, a half-day guided fishing trip, a half-day float trip and many more.
Those interested in buying a few chances can contact Paul Diprima at 706-766-5083 or by email email@example.com. Tickets will also be available at the Trout Expo.
The 2019 Trout Expo will be on Saturday, Feb. 16 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Rome-Floyd River Education ECO Center. The expo will feature is everything you want to know about Trout Unlimited, trout and trout fishing. The event is free to the public and door prizes will be given away throughout the day.