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The Magic City Fly Fishers chapter of Trout Unlimited was officially organized on January 9, 1990 in Billings, Montana. It is one of thirteen Trout Unlimited chapters in Montana, serving south central and southeastern Montana, and currently has over 600 members. MCFF is a non-profit organization, governed by the Chapter By Laws that were approved when it was first organized. A Board of Directors establishes the policies of the Chapter and oversees the conduct of business and activities on behalf of the members. MCFF holds monthly membership meetings, September though June, with each meeting featuring a guest program. MCFF also publishes a monthly newsletter, The Hackle Bender.
May 5, 2019
Matt Wilhelm Tuesday night - fishing Yellowstone National Park
Yes, on April 7 we announced there would not be a May meeting. However, now there is a meeting. That was a hectic week for members of your board. We found out that there was a fly fishing film festival in town scheduled for the same night as our banquet. Then we learned that because of a communication error we really did not have that date. With that short notice, we decided that the best course of action was to look at a fall, Tuesday banquet. Maybe November 5 or December 3. What do you think? Too close to the holidays? Or just right to pick up some cool Christmas presents. Wouldn't you like to pick up a new Carol Hagan print? Or win a great new fly rod to give to your special someone? Let me know by replying to this email.
As luck would have it, this week is when Matt Wilhelm settles into Billings for a week of "Fishing Is Fun" in which Matt and many of our MCFF/TU members volunteer to help kids learn to tie flies. A different school every day - it is a blast. Think about helping out in the future. This is where Matt thrills the kids by tying a fly blindfolded. Very cool.
Anyway, Matt happened to mention he was preparing a brand new presentation on fishing Yellowstone National Park in June when most every Montana stream is flowing wild and crazy. It just happens that the Firehole, Madison, and Gibbon present some great fishing in June, soon after the park opens its fishing season. Originally he was going to premiere it in Bozeman. Now, it is premiering in Billings on Tuesday, May 7 at our newly scheduled May meeting. You do not want to miss it. First, you know Matt's presentations on fishing Montana waters are excellent, and you learn about great places to fish, and how to fish them. So, consider fishing YNP this June and learning how Tuesday night - details in the attached Hacklebender.
Brown Bag Grab Bag Raffle
Plus a new, pretty neat, raffle type event. Do you remember when you were a kid and you could win a grab bag of cheap, plastic toys by tossing a yarn rod over a curtain and reeling in a brown, paper bag of goodies -
Tuesday night you have a chance to relive this form of excitement. We don't have the curtain and yarn rod, but we do have brown bag grab bags. Instead of bucket raffles, you can buy a grab bag for $10, guaranteed $20 worth of stuff in it - probably more - up to $50 maybe - higher? A lot of fun anyway.
And why are we doing this? Recently MCFF has received several, mammoth donations of high-quality fly tying supplies, flies, and fishing supplies. Generally, we have agreed to whatever we can do with these donations to support MCFF/TU's youth mission. There is more than enough to support some of the key flies the kids' tie, but there are other needs as well - vices, reels, rods, grizzly, etc. So, we are testing the grab bag idea. Limited supply. Buy a couple and have fun.
Fly Fishing International Fly Fishing Expo
Fly Fishers International is hosting their annual Fly Fishing Fair in Bozeman, July 23 - July 27 at the MSU Bozeman campus. Click Here for detailed information of the FFI Expo
We are going to take 15 - 20 minutes or so, starting at 6:45 to talk about the show and FFI. Kit Seaton, a former leader of the FFI fly tyers group will stop by as will Kevin Davis, Ed Knight, and myself, plus anyone else who is interested. This event is spending more time in other states, so we should take advantage of it. There is simply no other event, anywhere, in my opinion, that matches this for a diverse combination of learning and fun. There is a women's program, a youth program, beginning/expert fly tying, fly casting, demo fly tyers everywhere, a great trade show, and my favorite, free seminars for three days.
Financial Report + May 2018 - April 2017
May is a good time to report on the MCFF/TU 582 financial condition. The report is attached. It tracks the 12 months starting in May 2018, which includes the fund-raising banquet and goes through April 2019. This gives a good picture of funds flow. What it does not present are the hours and hours of volunteer time that go into supporting conservation activities, working with our local young people to ensure that they grow up with the conservation and outdoor ethics, searching and producing great monthly programs that reflect our conservation values as well as our desire to learn about new places and techniques to fly fish. Gee, just the hours several members spend at the storage shed keeping track of materials for youth programs and meetings are phenomenal. Last May's banquet required many hours from many volunteers, and I'm sure you will help us out next fall. Look at that Expo number - $20,012. Hard to cover those other numbers without it. The hard copy Hacklebender runs a little over $200 for each month we send it out - roughly 350 copies. We send out another 500 electronic copies - cost other than time is quite reasonable for it.
Next year should be great as well. We kick off the year on Tuesday, September 3. Not sure of the format yet, maybe a pint night or BBQ/Fish Fry. The October 1 meeting features fly fishing in Canada and the Bow River. We'll bring back Mike Ruggles Big Horn Report - many of you have asked about it. Trying to finalize programs with a South Dakota fly shop, a Casper guide on the North Platte, a Cody guide would like to come up. Now just need to find some good Montana ideas - any suggestions?
See you Tuesday, Matt Wilhelm will be great.
April 2, 2019
What a great conclusion to our 2018 - 2019 TU MCFF year this Tuesday evening at the Billings Rod and Gun Club. Kevin Croff headlines the evening with a new presentation, Fishing New Waters. I'm looking forward to Kevin's latest installment of ways we can improve our fishing experience. Everyone should benefit from this presentation, folks new to fly fishing, the kids, even all of us crusty old fly fishermen.
Have you ever fished the Blackfoot in northwest Montana? I have. What a beautiful, fun fishing adventure. This is the location of Norman Mclean's book A River Runs Through It (even though the movie was filmed elsewhere). A lot of people think the Blackfoot and its tributary the Clearwater are special and important. In fact, for over 10 years various groups including timber, agriculture, fishermen, conservationists, snowmobilers and others have been trying to find a way to protect this area for everyone's best interests. Senator Tester introduced legislation in 2017, The Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act. Now the Montana Wilderness Association is taking the lead to move this act forward. Eastern Chapter Executive Director Aubrey Bertram will introduce us to their effort by showing the new short film "Hallowed Waters."
Social at 6:30. Aubrey at 7:00 and Kevin 7:30. Free and open to the public.
Fly Fishing Class:
I'm always getting questions on where can I learn to fly fish? Or improve? Here is a great opportunity coming up April 27 at Stillwater Anglers in Columbus. Chris Fleck is bringing back Matt Wilhelm for a full day of "Introduction to Fly Fishing." Click here more info on Matt's class Chis and Stillwater Anglers are a proud member of Trout Unlimited's business group and give MCFF and TU members a discount on shop purchases and services.
Volunteers Needed for Rocky Camp, Girl Scout Stream Girls, VOWS Retreat
1. Rocky Camp, June 3 - 7, young campers spend the week learning to be independent fly fishers from entomology, fly tying, casting and a trip to Wild Bill Lake near Red Lodge. Wonderful experience for both the kids and everyone helping. Contact Kevin Davis or send email to email@example.com
2. Girl Scout Stream Girls, Saturday, May 18, young girls spend the day learning to tie flies, casting and fish the popular Wild Bill Lake.
3. The VOWS retreat, June 11th at Beartooth Basin Bunkhouse. Mike Casey coordinated the MCFF portion of this day to support wounded/disabled law enforcement, officers. Contact Mike if you can help teach some fly tying or work with the retreat participants on their fly fishing,
East Rosebud has a couple of cool classes coming up, Introductory Fly Tying class, April 6 and 13th plus a Ladies Fly Fishing class on April 13th. Call Rich or stop by and see Rich at the store or check out the East Rosebud Facebook Page.
Annual Fundraising Banquet
We ran into some scheduling problems with May 7 that we did not anticipate. Consequently, we are looking to reschedule the event. We will keep you up to date.
Looking forward to seeing you on Tuesday.
March 7, 2019
Jason Rhoten, Region V FWP Fisheries Biologist, and Brian Ertel, Yellowstone National Park Fisheries Restoration Biologist have prepared a presentation that lays out the background of conservation issues and an update of the Lamar River drainage. Of course, wrapped around the Lamar (also a tributary to the Yellowstone, is the preservation and restoration of wild, native Yellowstone cutthroat trout. Plus if you have ever fished Yellowstone, you must have stopped by the Lamar, or its tributaries Slough Creek and the Buffalo Fork of Slough Creek. In fact, click here for good background, history and fishing the Lamar
Tomorrow night, Brian and Jason will include in the discussion of the Lamar and its importance to Yellowstone cutthroat, the role of Slough Creek and Buffalo Fork, which runs into Slough Creek close to Slough Creek campground. These two streams head up in Montana, just north of Yellowstone National Park. Consequently, both are important in terms of helping assure the survival of wild Yellowstone cutthroat. Brian and Jason include joint projects that, along with the National Forest Service, the organizations are working on to enhance these fisheries.
In addition to Brian and Jason's presentation, Bob Short and Patrick McNelley will open the meeting at 7:00 with a review of last year's Missouri River trip, and an overview of this year's trip. The trip is scheduled for June 12 - 15. Beau McFadyean has agreed to supply guides at a slight discount. The group is staying at the 7R Guest Ranch with rooms available for $50 a night or an RV site for $25. Hey, you can bring your own boat, or wade (assuming less water than last year) or just show up for some of the fun activities that Patrick and Bob are planning. If you can not make the meeting, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get you in touch with Bob to help you plan the trip. Montana Trout Unlimited is doing a great job tracking the 2019 Montana legislative session in Helena. Now at the halfway point, there is still a lot to accomplish. MTU hired a new Government Affairs Coordinator this year, Clayton Elliot. Click here to learn more about Clayton: Background Summary of Clayton Elliott, new MTU Government Affairs Coordinator Clayton has extensive experience lobbying and the legislative process. You can track, or learn more about the key issues Montana Trout Unlimited is following here: MTU Montana Legislation Tracker
Progress is moving ahead on the new Blue Creek fishing access. I joined up with the folks from Yellowstone River Parks Association, Our Montana, FWP, and several other groups to help clear the way for construction by burning old Russian olive trees. Great fun. Billings Gazette story on Blue Creek Fishing Access Site. The goal is to have the access site ready to go by spring. We'll see how the cold weather affects the timing. YRPA and Our Montana helped secure the funding for the project and FWP will maintain the site. One goal of the project is to establish enough access sites between Duck Creek and the new Dover Memorial Park to allow for a series of two-hour floats. Here is a photo of Mike Ruggles and myself at the site. No, really we were tugging on Russian olive branches before and after the Gazette reporter snapped this photo.
Look forward to these events:
Congratulations to Curt Jensen for getting the Project Healing Waters set up through a new Fly Fishers International chapter in Roundup . The initial meeting was February 12th at East Rosebud Fly Shop.
Plus, do not forget, we can always use more volunteers to help kids learn to tie flies. And Kevin will even teach you how to tie the flies we teach the kids. In March we are working with students from Central Heights and Burlington.
See you Tuesday night.
February 4, 2019
Great program tomorrow - Tuesday - night. TU members Sharon Scharosch and Terri Hogan relate their adventures on a five-day fly fishing trip to Fernie, British Columbia. Along with three other women, Terri and Sharon fished for westslope cutthroat, bull trout, and whitefish on several rivers including the Elk, Michel, Bull, and St Mary's. The ladies share not only fun stories and wonderful photographs but talk about how women can plan and participate in adventurous fly fishing trips like Fernie, or just get together on the Stillwater or Bighorn.
In addition to learning about Fernie, BC, Jeremy Gilbertson, Bighorn River fishing guide, kicks of the evening with a demonstration of how to tie some great flies for the season ahead.
This meeting is at Scheels second-floor conference room - north side of the building. Next month we are back at the Rod and Gun Club.
Adding to the fun are some cool door prizes. Everyone attending receives a free dry fly and an entry for these prizes: the grand prize is a guided trip with Alice Owsley of Riverside Anglers in West Yellowstone on either the Madison or in Yellowstone National Park. In addition, you could win a new fly rod or one of Ken Beck's Black Sheep lanyards. These are really neat lanyards. You'll love one if you win.
You can also reserve space or find out more information on the third annual Missouri River fly fishing trip - scheduled for June 12 - 14. Patrick McNelly and Bob Short are organizing the trip again. Lodging ($50/night or RV space ($20/night) is available at the 7R guest ranch. A continental breakfast is included in the price. You can reserve a guide and boat for $225/day per person from Beau McFadyean. Patrick and Bob will be at the meeting, showing some slides of last year's trip, taking reservations or just visiting about the trip.
Take a look at the coming events in the Hacklebender. Next month, March 5, at the Rod and Gun Club, we'll have an FWP report plus a presentation by Region V biologist Jason Rhoten on their project in the Buffalo Fork region, just north of the Slough Creek region of Yellowstone National Park. Then on April 2, we welcome back Kenin Croff for an in-depth look at fishing new waters. The annual fundraising banquet is scheduled for May 7 at the downtown Billings Depot. Tickets available soon.
One last note. A couple of weeks ago I was able to join the Yellowstone River Parks Association and Our Montana folks in cutting and burning Russian olive trees at the new Blue Creek fishing access. Construction begins soon with a goal of opening the access late spring. One of the goals of YRPA and Our Montana is to help create enough Yellowstone River access points that you can float from the Duck Creek access to the new Dover Memorial Park in two hour segments. Plus, fishing is a lot better than a lot of folks think. In fact, that will be a topic in next years line up of programs, urban fishing in Billings including the Yellowstone River.
Stay warm and join us for a fun evening at Scheels. Doors open at 6:00. Patrick and Bob will be there to talk about the Missouri River trip. We'll put up some of the photos. Jerremy ties around 7:00 and Sharon and Terri should get going around 7:45. The store closes at 9:00 so we'll be out by 8:45.
January 6, 2019
And, January is already off to a cold, stormy start with lots of snow to shovel. Magic City Fly Fishers is shifting its Tuesday, January 8th meeting to a nice, warm, fun and friendly location, a Pint Night at the Last Chance Pub and Cider Mill. Join us for a casual, fun evening. Ed Knight will offer you a chance to check out your cast with yarn rods and hoops - harder than you think. Yellowstone River Parks Association (YRPA) will have some updates on the new fishing access off Blue Creek, the eastern branch of the Montana Wilderness is stopping by to promote the Public Lands rally coming up on Friday, and maybe even a demo tyer. The main thing is to have fun and meet up with old friends and make new ones. Plus, Last Chance Pub and Cider Mill is donating $1 for each draft of Red Lodge Ales beer or Cider Mill cider. Note: this not your typical sweet ole apple cider. It's great.
February's meeting is one you will not want to miss. TU members Sharon Scharosch and Terri Hogan had a marvelous trip to the Fernie BC and Elk River region of British Columbia last summer. This is a cool area to visit and fish. Now you can learn all about how to plan a trip to southeast BC and what the fishing is like. Tuesday, February 5. One time location change - we are at Scheels Conference room - north end, second floor.
TU Magic City Fly Fishers members have always supported the strong public lands ethic in Montana - one reason Montanans enjoy some of the best local access to fishing. Now you can support public lands by attending the Public Lands rally Friday, January 11, Helena, the state capital, noon. Can't attend? Let your legislators know you support public lands. Attending? The Montana wilderness association is taking RSVP and coordinating transportation if you need it. RSVP here for Public Lands Rally
See you on Tuesday.
Lyle Courtnage, PresidentMagic City Fly Fishers Trout Unlimited 582
Billings Rod and Gun Club
2931 Rod and Gun Club Rd.
Billings, MT 59106