WestSlope Chapter of Trout Unlimited
January 2021
A Letter From Our President

Dear WestSlope Chapter Members,

New Year’s is traditionally a time of hope and a time to both reflect on the accomplishments for the old year and to plan for the new one. While blanket statements are always risky, I don’t think many of us will regret 2020 coming to an end.

At the same time, from our chapter’s point of view, we had the most successful banquet and auction in our history, raising over $130,000, which was put to good use on conservation projects that will benefit our community and state for years to come. Look for a recap in the next newsletter.

Looking ahead, the chapter will continue supporting key conservation and fly fishing education programs in 2021. Our fixed commitments and long time supporting work add up to $34,000 and include:
  • $15,000 in support of Tess Scanlon’s position as Rock Creek Project Coordinator
  • $5,000 to the Watershed Education Network to fulfill our educational mission of installing a conservation ethic and appreciation of clean, cold water in Missoula children
  • $5,0000 to Montana Trout Unlimited to support their work including protecting stream access, representing conservation issues to the legislature and fighting the Smith River mine
  • $5,000 for member meetings, newsletters and promotion of events
  • $4,000 to the University of Montana Scholarship Fund to support undergraduate and graduate students studying and researching fisheries related projects.

Traditionally the chapter has funded projects focusing on the following areas:
  • Removing fish migration and spawning barriers
  • Installing fish screens on irrigation ditches
  • Rehabilitating mine and logging damaged streams
  • Acquiring land for conservation easements
  • Increasing stream access points for wading and floating anglers

Your board is in the process of developing funding strategies and priorities, which will be shared in the February newsletter. What we can do will depend in large part on the success of our February “Unbanquet” event. Yup…more details on that in the February newsletter.

I hope you are able to join the online Zoom meeting on January 13!

Happy New Year and Good Fishing in 2021!


Mark Kuipers, President
January 13th: Virtual Online Meeting - 7pm
Mastering Streamer Fishing with Kelly Galloup
If you are only throwing a streamer against the far bank and swinging it downstream, you are only using one streamer technique and probably not the best one. That's why we are having Kelly Galloup back for another session, this one online. Kelly will share with us his techniques and tactics to catch more and larger trout. Learn more>
Upcoming Events: Please Mark Your Calendar!
  • February 10—Skip Morris, “Make Nymph Fishing Work”
  • February 27—WSCTU Online Auction
Featured Board Member of the Month:
Rich Fahey
By Laurie Lane
Meet WSCTU board member Rich Fahey, originally from Oakland, California. His first job was as a volunteer for the Peace Corps, which explains why Rich is great as Chair of our Volunteer Programs!

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>
WestSlope Chapter of Trout Unlimited Invites You to Join Our Members Facebook Group
In these COVID times, we know it has been difficult to feel that same sense of community with the WestSlope Chapter as we have had before. In light of this, we decided to start a private Facebook Group just for our members. Groups are different from Pages in that only members of the group can post and see what has been posted. 

The WSCTU Members Group can be a place for you to connect with other members, share fishing photos, resources, events, and given proper social distancing and masking, organize small meet ups when the weather is right. There is no secret handshake required to join, we just ask that you are a current member of the WestSlope Chapter.

Please request to join our WSCTU Members Facebook Group here:
Calling All Vets by Brian Bonham
The WestSlope Chapter takes pride in partnering with the veteran community. We feel that our military men and women are uniquely equipped with qualities that make them ideal stewards for cold water conservation. One of the Veterans Committee goals is not only to get to know each of our veteran members better, but also to identify the unique skill set each individual brings to the Chapter. 

As such, we have provided below a link to a form we ask each chapter vet to fill out and return. In the next, and future newsletters we will highlight one or two veterans/service members. 

If you’re a veteran, we want to hear from you, please take a few moments to fill out the form in the link below.
Recognizing WSCTU's Veterans — Brian Bonham

We’ll kick off our recognition of chapter vet’s by introducing you to the newest member of the WSCTU board, and the Veterans Committee co-chair, Brian Bonham.

I was introduced to fly fishing as a teenager by my dad. I imagine that like other fathers attempting to connect with their sons during those particularly angst-filled years, my dad saw an opportunity to trade my increasingly dark-colored wardrobe and punk rock albums for a pair of waders and the sounds of nature. It worked, and I never looked back.

The 2021 Fly Tie-a-Thon is On!

For the past 4 years, your chapter has organized a statewide drive for flies for Warriors and Quiet Waters (WQW). During the past three years we have come to realize just how much WQW has come to rely on this annual fly donation.

Last year our chapter was responsible for a statewide donation of 3,456 flies to this worthy organization

This year, our chapter has been assigned three patterns to tie.

On your marks, get set, TIE!

WestSlope Chapter Trout Unlimited Members Jump into Citizen Science
By Deb Fassnacht and Aissa Wise, Watershed Education Network

You may have seen a group of people in waders, with nets and stadia rods, wandering in Rattlesnake Creek over the last two years. That would be the Watershed Education Network’s (WEN’s) volunteer citizen science group, Stream Team. WEN has been fortunate to team up with Trout Unlimited to assist with the monitoring of Rattlesnake Creek before, during, and after the Rattlesnake Dam removal.
Thread Head’s Fly Box Galloup Double Feature — By Brandon Dwyer
In honor of our esteemed guest speaker this month we will be looking at a couple Kelly Galloup flies: Pearl Necklace - Streamer & The Found Link – Dry Fly
Missoula Fly Gals Take to Zoom to Build Community During the Winter Months
By Hannah Leonard

The Missoula Fly Gals have been busy this winter! We started a Monday Night Fly Tying series over Zoom back in November and the events have grown in attendance each week ranging from 30–60 tiers. 

Women of all ages take to Zoom to learn a new fly pattern each week.

This has been a great way to showcase everyone’s new or sharpened fly tying skills and expand our community of fly gals!

The South Fork Westslope Cutthroat Project, My Friend Leo, Part III
By Mike Peterson

There has always been a prevailing thought that Montana’s high mountain lakes should have fish. It’s kind of our heritage to hike or pack into wild and remote places, to camp and fish. These landscapes are rugged with short seasons, so fish did not proliferate in the mountain lakes naturally. 

Fish and Wildlife Biologists helped that part of the equation for us. Supplementing mountain lakes with fish began as some of Montana’s earliest wildlife projects dating back to the 1920’s.  

Rattlesnake Wilderness Dams
By Rob Roberts, TU National

The City of Missoula acquired ten dams on eight mountain lakes in the Rattlesnake Wilderness Area during the 2017 acquisition of the Mountain Water Company. The dams were originally built in the 1920s as part of the Rattlesnake Creek water supply, which along with the former lower Rattlesnake Creek dam, formed the community’s water supply. 

Currently, the wilderness dams have not been used for water delivery in more than 30 years, suffer from a lengthy maintenance backlog and are largely nonoperational.