By Linda Schuckert, CPC-TU member
Collegiate Peaks Chapter of Trout Unlimited (CPC-TU) is the oldest non-profit conservation organization in the upper Arkansas River valley. CPC-TU sponsors FlyGals, a group of women who either want to learn to fly fish, want to improve their skills with fly fishing, or just want to fly fish with other women. CPC-TU has been offering fly fishing activities for women since 2002.
Ten FlyGals met with Ken Iwamasa the first week in May for a fun, informative, and hands-on Bug Clinic on the Arkansas River. Ken, an expert fly fisherman and fly tier, led a discussion on the life cycle of the macroinvertebrate insects that we normally see on the river this time of year. In order to collect samples of these insects, Ken showed us how to seine in the river, using a special seine net to collect the bugs so we could see them up close. We learned to identify specific insects and their stage of development. Based on the abundant smiles and excitement, all of us were fascinated and in awe of the many life forms in our river. The attending FlyGals look forward to applying what we learned at the bug clinic. This knowledge will help us make better choices for which fly or flies to tie on our line on any particular day, time and place to help us catch that elusive fish!
The group coined the name FlyGals in 2009. In addition to the Bug Clinic, our FlyGals group is holding several events in 2022 following less activity in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic. In 2022 we are offering a beginner fly tying clinic, an evening tour of a local fly fishing shop (after visiting a local brewery), two different fly-casting clinics, fishing at private ponds followed by a potluck luncheon, and a multi-day camping trip to O’Haver Lake. Through these events, FlyGals not only learn about fly fishing and water quality, they learn to appreciate the need to protect our cold water fisheries. They also learn skills to enhance their outdoor fishing experiences and enjoy meeting other women interested in fly fishing. Many events are free and some have minimal fees to cover expenses. To learn more about FlyGals and their events, contact co-chairs Barbara Plake (719-221-5196) or Linda Schuckert (719-221-4044).
For more information about Collegiate Peaks Chapter including our events and projects visit our website at www.collegiatepeaksTU.org.