Trout Unlimited Working in the County, Looking for New Members

Trout Unlimited members Keith Steele, Gary Gidley, Ken Schleif, Bill Johnson (and his dog, Mar), and Tony Paolino improved the condition of the Little Klickitat River at Ekone Park on Earth Day. (Photo by Laurie Wilhite)

The Klickitat County Chapter of Trout Unlimited is looking for new members who are interested in participating in upcoming youth events, learning about area fishing reports, and helping with cold-water fisheries conservation projects.

Members from both sides of Klickitat County meet in Goldendale at Columbia Bank to plan both educational and family fun events, sharing fishing stories, and learning tips about sport fishing. The main goals of Trout Unlimited are to help with cold-water fisheries conservation and promote the sport of fishing as a life-long recreation opportunity.

On April 22, Earth Day 2018, members worked together on a stream clean up of the Little Klickitat at Ekone Park. The team picked up garbage along the bank and enjoyed the beautiful spring day. Volunteer efforts can be a fun way to meet new people and make a positive difference in the community.

The board members of the Klickitat Trout Unlimited Chapter #484 are Olivia Holderman, Gary Gidley, Ken Schlief, Greg Short, Jessie Steele, Keith Steele, and Laurie Wilhite. Member Lisa Baranek had also been serving as the Northwest Volunteer Coordinator (Washington, Oregon, and Idaho) until she recently landed the National TU Volunteer Coordinator position. She will continue to be a member of the local chapter but will be traveling extensively to help TU chapters coordinate volunteer efforts.

Melyssa Graeper is the newly hired TU Northwest Volunteer Coordinator, and she attended the chapter meeting in Goldendale on May 2. She lives in Seaside, Ore., and coordinates volunteer efforts with Brad Throssell, Washington State Trout Unlimited Council President.

The members of the TU Youth Engagement Committee are Olivia Holderman, Jessie Steele, Keith Steele, and Laurie Wilhite. Providing educational and recreational opportunities to youth is the committee’s focus. Jessie, Keith, and Greg volunteered at the recent March for Science Day in White Salmon on April 28.

A Trout Unlimited booth on that day provided information about the life cycle of fish, upcoming camps, and free fishing days in the area. In addition, Greg dissected a couple of salmon at the booth table for a better understanding of fish anatomy!

During the same weekend, Laurie volunteered at Girl Scout Camp Evergreen near Longview with a group of other Trout Unlimited members from across the state to host a Science, Technology, Recreation, Engineering, Art, and Math (STREAM) Girls event.

The 5th and 6th-grade girls learned about macroinvertebrates, healthy stream components, casting, fishing gear, fly tying, and water safety.

The Klickitat Chapter #484 of Trout Unlimited recently received a $500 grant from the Washington State Council to put on a similar STREAM Explorers camp for both girls and boys in grades 4-6. The camp will be held at Brooks Memorial Retreat Center located 13 miles north of Goldendale on Highway 97.

Registration for the weekend camp on Oct. 19-20, 2018, is now open. Call Laurie Wilhite 509-941-9979 for a registration form.

The Trout Unlimited grant covers only part of the camp costs and requires matching funds from local partners. The TU chapter had an interactive fishing information booth at White Salmon Spring Fest on June 2.

There will also be a TU information booth at Goldendale Community Days on July 7 on the Courthouse Lawn with more information about the STREAM Explorers camp.

Another project of the Klickitat Chapter #484 of Trout Unlimited is serving as mentors to help teach youth about fishing and encourage them to participate in the sport. Members from TU will be volunteering at the Pathfinder Adventures Outdoor School by teaching STREAM Explorers sessions.

The two-night, three-day camp also held at Brooks is made possible with a grant from Washington State Parks to the Columbia Gorge Ecology Institute. Klickitat County students will benefit from the grant which offers recreational opportunities at area Washington State Parks and teaches hands-on math and science skills.

Pathfinder is an outdoor school offering a wide variety of sessions, but the STREAM Explorers camp grant focuses entirely on fishing and conservation.

This year the Kids’ Fishing Days will be held at Spearfish Lake on Saturday, June 9. The Dalles Dam Corps of Engineers sponsors this event during the Washington State Free Fishing Weekend annually.

The other Kids’ Fishing Day will be held on June 16 at Goose Lake and Forlorn Lake. Contact the Trout Lake Ranger Station for more information. Trout Unlimited members volunteer at these events to help kids have a successful fishing experience.

The next meeting of the Klickitat Chapter #484 of Trout Unlimited will be on Wednesday, July 11. Matt Gardener, district fish biologist, will be present for a meet-and-greet session.

The TU meeting will be held at Columbia Bank in Goldendale and starts at 6:30 p.m. Potential new members and those interested in learning more about fishing are welcome to attend.

If you would like to join, come to any meeting of the Klickitat #484 Chapter of Trout Unlimited.

The annual chapter picnic will be held on Saturday, Aug. 18, at Horsethief Lake from 1 to 5 p.m.

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