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local fishing group does more than streams of fish | Local News

Shortly after moving to Payson, while fishing in Green Valley Lake, a guy in a Payson Flycasters Club hat and Trout Unlimited shirt struck up a conversation with me. In addition to inviting me to the next monthly meeting of the Gila Trout Chapter of Trout Unlimited / Payson Flycasters Club (GTTU / PFC), he gave me an indirect compliment for being a good fly thrower, although I was a left-hander from Pennsylvania. This was my introduction to Tom Herman, co-president of the Payson Flycasters Club.

I have often witnessed his generosity and willingness to give other fly fishermen the flies that work well for him, and even show people how to tie their favorite fly models.

This camaraderie was certainly my initial attraction to joining GTTU / PFC. I learned about the lakes and streams in Rim Country and was happy to find a group with similar fishing interests.

What I didn’t realize upon joining was that members do so much more than fish. When one hears about Trout Unlimited, perhaps the natural assumption is that all that this group is interested in is trout, but Trout Unlimited’s vision statement shows that their work extends beyond trout.

It reads: “For communities across America to engage in the work of repairing and renewing the rivers, streams and other waters on which we all depend.” “

While our members love to fish and trout is one of our favorite fish to catch, in our section many members spend more time doing a lot of community work than fishing.

Our members have been involved in several projects over the years to improve the waterways in Rim Country. We have helped fund improvements to the streams and banks of the East Verde River at Flowing Springs, 2nd Crossing, 3rd Crossing, and Upper East Verde near Washington Park.

We also planted willow saplings to provide shelter for the trout on 2nd and 3rd passes, and were part of the team of volunteers who helped AZGFD, USFS and Natural Channel Design install four rafters. Stream upgrades in the Upper East Verde to improve habitat in an arid rocky rim section of the creek that now provides wonderful cover for trout.

Trout Unlimited volunteers have also participated in projects on several other streams in Rim Country.

Lower Canyon Creek was devastated by the Rodeo-Chediski Forest Fire. The tremendous runoff from this fire necessitated major improvements to the watercourse that we helped provide. Part of this project also included the construction of enclosures to reduce the impact of elk grazing on recovering vegetation. When we helped remove the fence a few years ago, the willows and other vegetation in the streams are now thick enough to withstand the grazing of the elk. These expanses now provide shade for large sections of the stream which cool the water to improve conditions for trout.

Our chapter purchased and helped install several stream temperature monitors that AZGFD uses to assess stream temperature trends on several streams throughout the year. With help from the Payson Water Department, we also installed temperature monitors in the Green Valley lakes to help confirm the best window to store trout in all three lakes.

You may have noticed the orange buoys in Green Valley 3 Lake. The buoys mark the location of the fish structures. In total, 15 were deployed by the Payson Water Service and paid for with a grant to improve the lake. The construction of these fishing structures was carried out by students of the after-school fly fishing lessons at Julia Randall Elementary School and Rim Country Middle School, taught by members of GTTU / PFC. The refrigerated aquariums provided by our section as part of the Trout in the Classroom program allow children in Rim Country schools to take turns raising rainbow trout from eggs provided by the school. ‘AZGFD throughout the school year. This helps kids understand the importance of cold, clean water for trout and allows teachers to use this hands-on science activity to engage kids in a variety of content areas.

The involvement and leadership with the 4FRI stakeholder group and CC Cragin watershed protection efforts is an important contribution that our volunteers make to help improve the health of our forests, minimize the risk of forest fires and improve the region’s watersheds.

Our members provide fly fishing lessons through the Payson Parks and Recreation Department three or four times a year to anyone who wants to learn fly fishing. One of our activities that we are honored to host, and look forward to generally twice a year, is working with Project Healing Waters (PHW) veterans who come over for coffee and donuts on a morning. fishing with our members at Green Valley Lake, and a lunch we provide. Our next PHW event will be in November.

To say that TU’s Gila Trout Chapter members are excited about the Gila Canyon Creek Trout Propagation Program doesn’t begin to capture our excitement for the tremendous work AZGFD is doing in bringing the recreational Gila trout fishery to the regions. Rim Country waters. for the pleasure of all fishermen. We, along with other fly fishing clubs and TU sections across the state, have helped raise over $ 8,000 to support this program. Our Chapter recently commissioned a painting of a Gila Trout from local artist Roxanne Almblade, and intends to sell prints of her beautiful Gila Trout painting to benefit the Canyon Creek Hatchery Gila Trout program.

The week of September 25 to October 2 is recognized by Trout Unlimited as Trout Week. This is the opportunity for non-members to discover Trout Unlimited.

A regular activity of our members is to engage in the cleaning of the lakes and streams of Rim Country. Our next cleaning is scheduled for Tuesday, September 28 to coincide with Trout Week. We plan to clean up and then fish in Tonto Creek. We will meet at the Home Depot parking lot at the exit of the roundabout at 1 p.m. We would love to have you join us to learn more about GTTU / PFC.

This would be a great opportunity to clean up a favorite trout stream, and if you’ve never fished in Tonto Creek before, be sure to bring your fly rod as several members will be happy to give you some tips to help you navigate. land a trout. on a fly rod.

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