WestSlope Chapter of Trout Unlimited
December 2020
A Letter From Our President

Dear WestSlope Chapter Members,

We are excited to be hosting our first online meeting on Dec. 9 and we urge you to attend. Details are below. We will also be inviting the other 12 Montana TU chapters to participate and open our program up to their members.

During the time of Covid-19, many organizations are struggling to find the best ways to keep members engaged and involved and the WSCTU is no exception. To that end, we are planning online programs, have updated our website, plan to re-start the Threadheads fly tying sessions online, continue with the Missoula Fly Gals events, provide volunteer opportunities as the weather and conditions permit, and support Warriors and Quiet Waters with flies. 

We have also updated the look and feel of our email newsletter. I hope you find it appealing, easy to read, and full of interesting content. And you are invited to make an editorial contribution if you have a story or issue that you’d like to share with other members.

Perhaps our biggest challenge will be financially supporting conservation projects. Covid-19 hasn’t diminished the need for removing fish barriers, rehabilitating streams that have suffered from historical mining and logging damage, and making our voices heard by local, state and national officials. Over the last years, the chapter’s fund-raising efforts have become more successful resulting in more and more non-profit and government agencies depending on our support. 

We will be putting on an online auction (February 27, 2021) and hope for a good result so we can continue our work. But we are also sensitive about asking our local business community for donations of products and services as so many have been hurt by the pandemic. For those of us that have not been financially hurt by the virus, I’m asking that you consider the WSCTU for a year-end donation or a donation in 2021 if that works better for your tax situation. We are a 501(c)3 non-profit so your donation is deductible to the full extent of the law. You can mail your check to WSCTU, PO Box 7165, Missoula, MT 59807.

We also hope to have regular monthly sweepstakes. See details below for the first one featuring a Euro-Nymphing set up and guided instruction.

Thank you and be safe,

Mark Kuipers, President
December 9th: Virtual Online Meeting - 7pm
Steelhead Techniques, Conservation Challenges & Success Stories
John McMillian, TU's Wild Steelhead Initiative Science Director will discuss the diverse life histories of steelhead and why it is important to their resilience. Don't miss this informative meeting and expect some fly fishing tips as well! Learn more>
Upcoming Events: Please Mark Your Calendar!
  • January 13—Kelly Galloup, the Streamer Master Himself
  • February 10—Skip Morris, “Make Nymph Fishing Work”
  • February 27—WSCTU Online Auction
Please check here for more information
Missoula Fly Gals Events: Fly Tying
with Hannah Leonard

Missoula Fly Gals is going strong, but has had to temper many of its activities due to the pandemic. Join the Fly Gals for Monday night virtual fly-tying sessions this winter. Register to attend now!
Euro-Nymphing Outfit and Day's Instruction in the Technique
The hottest trend in fly fishing is Euro-Nymphing and for good reason. It is extremely effective in taking trout, especially when they are holding in deeper runs and pools. Don't miss the chance to be the lucky winner! A $1,500 value. Learn more>
Getting to Know WSCTU's Veterans Committee
By Paul Butler

It is high time for some long overdue introductions from the WSCTU’s Veterans Committee.

I am Paul, LTC, US Army retired. My "XO" Brian, SSGT, USAF, Montana Air National Guard and I know firsthand the experiences and qualities that our veterans bring to the WSCTU, as a result of their time in service.

To recognize these veterans we’d like to post a photo, and brief write-up in the chapter’s monthly newsletter about each of you. Interested in getting involved?

Fly Shop Profile: The Missoulian Angler
By Tess Scanlon

A couple WestSlope Chapter board members had the opportunity to drink beers and catch up with Taylor Scott of the Missoulian Angler recently.

Earlier this spring, the WestSlope Chapter and the Missoulian Angler had planned to co-host the 1st Annual Clark Fork Skwala Fest and raise money for TU’s Clark Fork River fishery restoration work.

After such a strange year, read about Taylor’s shift of plans for the shop’s future.

Fly Spotlight: Sex Dungeon
By Brandon Dwyer

Like it or not, fly shops, drift boats and boat ramps are a safe haven for locker room talk and handing out funny nicknames. I have to admit, getting sophomoric in the boat with fishing buddies is often just as fun as the fishing itself. 

But as far as modern risqué fly names go, perhaps no one has pushed the envelope like the Michigan transplant turned Madison Valley figurehead, Kelly Galloup

Sessions Starting in December
By Brandon Dwyer
If you are a fly tier or you are interested in fly tying, you are going to want to ZOOM in to what the WestSlope ThreadHeads have in store this fly tying season. Twice a month, we will be tying all sorts of trout patterns, as well as pike, bass, and some saltwater patterns.
Bull Trout and the Bob Marshall, My Friend Leo, Part II
By Mike Peterson

My first experience with a bull trout was on a backpacking trip near the South Fork of the Flathead in the Bob Marshall Wilderness in 1970. I was 12. My uncle was landing a really large fish on a fly rod.

I went over to help land the fish, even though I had no idea what to do. I was standing in shallow water, and the fish turned to run and its tail wacked me in the shin. The hematoma was instant, but the memory of the pain was long...

What should your strategy be when you connect with one of these memorable legends?

Mussels Research Supported by TU Volunteers
By Kristin Cook, Fish & Wildlife Biologist

The western pearlshell is the only native freshwater mussel found in western Montana’s trout streams. Unfortunately, it’s rare now, and we need to know why. The decline of western pearlshells is particularly alarming because despite their lackluster personalities they serve important functions.

Kristin, with the help of TU volunteers, investigates the unknowns regarding the basic biology of western pearlshells in Montana.

Volunteers in Action: Upper Clark Fork
By Casey Hackathorn

Trout Unlimited and the Clark Fork Coalition (CFC) recently completed installation of the first fish screen on the Clark Fork River at the Alvi-Beck Diversion near Galen.

The project included replacing the diversion dam with an engineered riffle that will allow both fish and floaters to move freely through the site while enhancing fish and wildlife habitat with additional wetlands and large wood bank structures.

LEARN HOW Trout Unlimited’s projects on the upper Clark Fork are working to change this section of the river from a drive by to a fishing destination we all can enjoy.