This school year the Coastal Watershed Council will bring 600 students to see, touch and explore the San Lorenzo River ecosystem. During these field trips, students learn about steelhead trout, native plants that create river habitat, and the bugs that support the river food chain. This fall, students will also have the opportunity to connect with the river through a historic San Lorenzo River tradition: fishing.
Through a partnership with the Santa Cruz Fly Fishermen and with support from the George H.W. Bush Vamos A Pescar Education Fund and the Packard Foundation, CWC is a leading a series of after-school classes that teach fly fishing skills and give students the equipment to kick off a new river hobby. CWC staff and the seasoned anglers from the Club will teach elementary and middle school students from Nueva Vista Community Resources after-school program, Bayview Elementary and Gault Elementary responsible water recreation, fly casting, fly tying and how to steward the San Lorenzo River habitat. Each class will begin with casting practice on land, either at school or near the river, to ensure that students feel comfortable with the basics of fishing. In subsequent classes, students will take their waders, fly rods and reels to the San Lorenzo River and practice casting in the water.
Recreation fishing along the San Lorenzo River was once a top tourist attraction for Santa Cruz. Anglers would line up along the banks of the river and along San Lorenzo Boulevard to catch a prized steelhead trout heading from the Monterey Bay up the San Lorenzo River to spawn. In early December, students will have the opportunity to join the ranks of many anglers before them, in fishing the river when the season opens and possibly even catch a migrating steelhead. All students who complete the series will be able to take their fly fishing kits home and will receive a Santa Cruz Fly Fisherman membership to help them stay connected with other fishing enthusiasts.
After school students and their families are also encouraged to build on their new skills and connect with other river enthusiasts to the 3rd Annual Dia de Pescar Fly Fishing Clinic on Saturday, October 20. CWC welcomes the entire Santa Cruz community to come on down to the San Lorenzo River to learn and practice new fly fishing skills with experienced anglers and fish experts. Stop by anytime between 10 AM and 2 PM to try your hand at casting, learn about the bugs in the river and how to tie a fly that looks like one, make a fish print, play games and win prizes. This event is open to all experience levels and no gear is necessary.