One of the great honors in my life is to serve as the current president of the Guadalupe River chapter of Trout Unlimited. We are the largest chapter (5,000+ members) in TU, and are stewards of the southernmost sustainable trout fishery in the United States. We are proud that the Guadalupe River is listed as one of TU’s top 100 trout streams in our nation..
One of the opportunities I have as president is to attend the TU annual meeting. This year we traveled to Asheville, North Carolina to participate in two days of meetings with other chapter, state, and national leaders. The gathering includes an annual business meeting and workshops on various topics of interest to coldwater conservation..
It is also a great opportunity to network with other TU leaders at all levels and build relationships with like- minded conservationists.
We flew in a couple of days before the meetings officially began. On Wednesday we attended a hosted fishing day, guided by local TU’ers.
|Home for the week|
|Preparing for the day|
|Our fabulous hostess, @Flygirl_Reba!|
Thursday was consumed by an all-day conservation tour of some of the native brook trout restoration and riparian restoration that has been tackled by the local TU chapters. This is always a highlight because it creates a valuable exchange of ideas that have worked on local waters that may work in our rivers back home.Because the people who have worked on these restorations are the ones giving the tour, some very intense question and answer exchanges ensue.
|Bank protection – note the large rocks on the left which are preventing the bank from excessive erosion|
|Protecting the work done to prevent bank and habitat degradation|
|Newly installed span bridge (no in-stream pilings)|
|Phil and Rafael examine the kiosk explaining the bank restoration on the Davidson River|
|New wheelchair accessible fishing pier|
|Before bank restoration|
|After restoration and installation of selective river access steps|
|Native brook trout restoration near Blue Ridge Parkway|
In the evenings after the meetings had concluded, we had a little time to explore Asheville and the surrounding area. Since two of our party (including me) are Bluegrass fans, we were able to spend a couple nights listening to music at a local pub not far from our hotel. The food was fantastic, and the music did not disappoint.
|“No Strings Attached” Bluegrass band|
Friday and Saturday were mainly spent attending meetings and the annual banquet.
We learned a lot, shared strategies, debated and had a great time. Many of the ideas that were planted that week I hope will take root back here on the Guadalupe in the coming days.
Asheville is a cool city in a beautiful place with many miles of trout streams. I hope to visit again soon.