The Coosa Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited has many reasons to give thanks.
First, we give thanks for living in a country that has not lost all its natural resources to greed and thoughtless abuse.
The dodo Bird, the passenger pigeon along with many species of fish, clams and other animals have vanished forever from North America yet we are lucky that we still have brook trout and most of the other Salmonids even though their populations are not as strong as they used to be.
The Coosa Valley Chapter, CVCTU, is thankful for the loyal support of the people of Northwest Georgia that have helped to keep the chapter strong and active in and around the area.
Without the help of our sponsors, the cook teams and the attendees of the Chili Cook Off we would not have the ability to give back to the community and carry out the goals and objectives of Trout Unlimited.
CVCTU gives the North Georgia area an event that has been attended by tens of thousands of Georgians throughout the past 15 years. The CVCTU Chili Cook Off has been a huge success from the very beginning and this year was no exception. Unlike many conservation organizations TU does NOT send most of the money it raises to the National Headquarters just outside Washington DC to be distributed and spent on projects and causes far from the people who contribute, but instead TU allows the chapters to retain all funds raised except for national dues that our members pay to be part of this great organization. TU even refunds part of the dues back to the chapters and state council to help the chapters function. Most of the money raised at the Cook Off stays in or very close to the Rome area.
TU was founded to protect, enhance and restore trout and salmon habitat so that the fish could again flourish in areas that greed and thoughtless abuse destroyed or nearly destroyed the spawning populations. At one time a large part of the North Georgia mountains had reproducing populations of Brook trout but in the late 1800’s and the first half of the last century the Brook trout vanished from almost all the streams of Georgia and most of the lower half of the Appalachian Mountains.
Trout Unlimited has made a difference since then. Georgia TU recently dedicated a sign at Stover Creek and this sign marks the completion of the brook trout restoration project that has been taking place on Stover for about 2 years.
Through contributions from CVCTU and the other chapters of Georgia of both funds and manpower the creek now has a barrier to prevent the non-native trout from getting into the all native brook trout area.
Working as part of the Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture we have installed many habitat improvement structures and removed all the non-native fish. Stover is a tributary of Noontootla which is about 1.5 hours from Rome.
CVCTU is also doing habitat enhancements on wild trout steams closer to Rome. Mountaintown Creek east of Ellijay and Rock Creek south of Chatsworth have been seen many structures built with money and sweat supplied by CVCTU.
Johns Creek just north of Rome has made great strides toward becoming a premier fishing and camping destination thanks to CVCTU donations.
Many times doing hands-on work is not enough. Some people are still doing things that are harming trout habitat and the fish that live there. We dedicate a large portion of the money raised by CVCTU to education of the public and primarily the youth of the area.
The Arrowhead Outdoor Education Center just north of Rome has enlightened thousands of grade school kids and CVCTU is a major benefactor. CVCTU along with the Oconee Chapter of TU has an ever-growing endowment at the University Of Georgia for graduate students in the Cold Water Fisheries Studies.
CVCTU does support National TU programs such as the Cold Water Conservation Fund and Embrace a Stream.
Last year the Oconee Chapter received a $10,000 Embrace a Stream grant that returned money back to Georgia and that money funded College interns from UGA that helped on Stover Creek. CVCTU donation returned to our back yard.
CVCTU thanks Northwest Georgia for the continued support.
The Dream Trip is back
The only fund raiser that The Georgia Council of TU has is returning again. The Grand prize of guided fishing for two in Idaho, along with a custom made fly rod outfit for both anglers complete with boxes of flies, a thousand dollars of traveling money and food and lodging in a private cabin is a anglers’ dream come true.
There are many consolation prizes that include fishing in Canada, Michigan and Guided fishing tips in various Georgia streams. Still there is more, fly rods, fly boxes crammed with flies to mention a few. Our chapter, CVCTU has 100 chances that we must dispose of and I have an additional 50.
We need your help. Come to a meeting or stop a TU member and get some chances.
The TU Trout Expo returns this February. This is a chance to meet one on one with TU members, DNR and Forest Service Personnel, fly fishing and fly tying experts.
The tentative location is the Memorial Gym, and the date is to be announced soon.