Honoring an honorable Flyfisher member
The Tahoe Truckee Flyfishers (TTFF) recently began an undertaking to honor one of their members who had passed on. Cliff Frazier was a man who many of us could only hope to be like. He was the ultimate volunteer. Whenever there was a project that needed assistance, he was there.
If he saw you on the water and noticed that you were having a difficult time. He would take the time and make sure that he gave you much-needed assistance.
While the number of old-time members of the club seems to be getting smaller each year, the newer members need to be reminded of people such as Cliff Frazier, Ned Long, Jerry Cole, Jack Bachman and Wayne Poulsen, just to name a few.
Cliff’s contributions to the sport can be measured by the number of newer members who had interaction with him on stream. He was a major reason that many joined TTFF and became leaders within it.
One of the most satisfying things for him was teaching others who were new to the sport. A retired teacher, he never tired of passing things on to others ” particularly children.
On a weekend in July, with the assistance of the Truckee Donner Recreation and Park District, the inaugural Cliff Frazier Memorial Kids Fly Fishing class was undertaken by a group of volunteers from TTFF.
While instructors outnumbered students during this first event, the kids appeared to have a very good time and learned a considerable number of skills during the two-day class.
The turnout of instructors is a testament to the impact that Cliff had on the club. Steve Buelna, Rudy Knudsen, Bob Jajko, Dan LeCount, Alex Penney, Fred Wickman and myself spent the better part of two days with three incredibly enthusiastic kids ranging in age from 9 to 12.
Most of the first day was structured around classroom activities and learning how to fly cast on the lawn at the Recreation Center. The classroom activity included learning about insects, all about the fish, tying knots, learning how to set up a balanced system and learning how to flycast on the Recreation Department lawn.
The second day was an outdoor affair on the Truckee River. The kids continued their casting lessons on stream, got to collect aquatic insects and learn about them as trout food, learned where in the stream to seek out the trout and how to present the fly to the fish in order to try and catch them.
At the end of the session, the kids each went out with one of the instructors and fished for about an hour and a half. In spite of the fact that the kids were fishing in the heat of the day, all three students had fish take the fly that they presented. In fact, one even landed a small brown trout about 12 to 13 inches in length.
There were lots of smiles and a pretty happy bunch of kids and instructors at the end of our time together. All three said that they would love to do it again!
In spite of two tiring days for the instructors, all considered the inaugural event a success. While there will be some fine tuning for next year, it was an event worthy of having Cliff’s name on it. The goal for the club is to have full class of nine students next year.
Bruce Ajari is a Truckee resident and regular fishing columnist for the Sierra Sun and other area newspapers.