Do you remember the first time you put on waders and stepped into a river? Walking forward, you watched your boots disappear as the water deepened. You felt a cold pressure wrap around each leg, and maybe you wondered, is there a hole where the water is seeping in?
If you never have, then a group of local fly fisherman and avid river-lovers probably didn’t come to your school and introduce you to river recreation and fly fishing. This fall, the Santa Cruz Fly Fishermen, spearheaded by President Tom Hogye and Vice President Kevin Murdock supported CWC in creating a river experience that most adults, let alone 10-year-olds, have never had.
During the Vamos A Pescar fly fishing after-school program, Coastal Watershed Council staff and SCFF members introduced 95 youth from Bayview Elementary, Gault Elementary and Nueva Vista Community Resources after-school programs to the San Lorenzo River through the sport of fly fishing.
SCFF taught the basic of fly fishing like casting, fly tying, and safe water recreation. Each group of youth visited the San Lorenzo River lagoon and with the guidance of SCFF and CWC, put on waders, took a fly fishing rod in hand and practiced their casting skills on the open water. Through the sport, students learned about the steelhead trout that call the San Lorenzo River home, the aquatic ecosystem and hydrology that support these special fish, and how they can take action to protect their San Lorenzo River.
The Coastal Watershed Council recognizes the members of the Santa Cruz Fly Fishermen as River Champions, for their commitment to education and stewardship around the San Lorenzo River.
Thank you to Tom Hogye, Elaine Cook, Michael McGannon, Kevin Murdock, Kathy Powers, Jeff Gose, Sam Bishop, Keith Munger, Steve Rudzinski, George Pike and Ernie Klinski. You brought your energy and passion for fish and rivers to each class, inspiring a new generation of river stewards.
The after-school program was also made possible by the George H. W. Bush Vamos A Pescar Education Fund. Thank you!