Many of my readers do not know the many things that Trout Unlimited does.

Most folks know that TU works very hard to see to it that the streams and rivers of this beautiful country stay healthy and beautiful and that those streams that are cool enough to support trout stay healthy so that people of all ages can enjoy catching trout.

There are work days that are dedicated to improving and maintaining the water quality as well as enhancing the streams to increase the holding capacity and supply spawning areas so that trout may reproduce naturally.

Many folks have participated in kids fishing days, veterans fishing days and ladies fishing days. All these events are free of charge to the public, and almost all the costs are covered by the local chapters of TU.

Many of the state councils of Trout Unlimited have camps for kids that teach our youth about trout, trout biology, how the trout require quality water and food to survive, as well as teaching kids the art of fly fishing.

Georgia has a great state council comprised of the leaders of the twelve chapters located in Georgia. Georgia TU also has one of the most successful trout camps for kids in the nation that is the envy of most state councils. This camp lasts for five days and is normally attended by 24 kids ages 13 through 15, with chapters sending two kids each.

The kids and volunteer “mentors” stay in dorms at Tallulah Falls School and fish one-on-one with the mentors in various streams in the area. These youth, both boys and girls, not only fish but also participate in a stream enhancement project on a brook trout stream.

All the kids receive a quality fly fishing outfit, flies, vest, polarized sunglasses and all items needed to catch trout. Most of the instructors are quality fly casters and many are master anglers. Some of the graduates of trout camp have not only become TU members but some have developed into TU leaders.

It is not cheap to put together a camp such as this. It involves feeding, housing, transporting and outfitting the kids and the adults that educate the kids. Just where does the money come from?

Dream trip

In order to pay most of the cost of trout camp, the Georgia Council of Trout Unlimited has a raffle each year to raise the money needed to have a successful camp. When the trout camp was conceived, the idea of having a raffle was suggested to help pay for the camp. We finally came up with a trip to Idaho complete with meals, lodging and the gear needed to fish along with some cash to offset travel costs.

The Georgia council is extremely lucky to have a member, John McGarity, who operated a fine restaurant in Northeast Georgia and owns a great cabin between the Madison River and Yellowstone National Park. He is not only a wonderful cook that will prepare all your meals, but is a knowledgeable trout guide.

If you win the trip for two, each person will receive their choice of a custom-built fly rod complete with reel, line, leader and a box full of flies tied special for the trip. There is $500 to offset your expenses while you enjoy six nights at the cabin and five days of fishing including a float trip on the historic Madison River.

If you are not lucky enough to win the trip, there are 16 great runner-up prizes such as fly rods, reels, guided trout floats, fly casting instructions, trout fishing classes, boxes of bass flies, boxes of trout flies, guided bass or carp trips, gift certificates and more. All it takes is a $10 chance bought from a TU member.

TU needs your help

The Coosa Valley chapter has 100 tickets to sell and I personally have 50 more. All these tickets must be sold by March, and if you are interested in helping to send some kids to trout camp contact a TU member or call or email me, Paul Diprima at 706-766-5083 or pauldiprima@aol.com.

I will be happy to get you some tickets. If anyone is willing to buy five or more, I will make arrangements to get the tickets to you.

TU meeting

Our next meeting will be at Sams’ Deli in Armuchee on Martha Berry Highway — the place with a Volkswagen bus with wings. The meeting will start at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 20. Our speaker will be Jeff Wright, the Southeastern Trout Unlimited Representative. I am sure that he will enlighten all of us. We will also have dream trip tickets for sale at the meeting. Please arrive about 5:30 p.m. to place your food order.

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