Students learn the basics of fly fishing
The Tahoe Truckee Flyfishers held its second annual Cliff Frazier youth program through the Truckee Donner Recreation & Park District on July 21-22. A full class of nine students greeted the instructors on Saturday morning.The program was started last year in memory of one of the most active members of the local fly fishing club who passed away. Cliff was such an integral part of the club. He would help many a novice at the inlet at Boca and would get many new members to join as a result of his helpfulness.Money was donated in Cliffs name to the club, and deciding what to do with it became an easy choice. Cliff loved helping people learn to fly fish, and he had a passion for helping kids. Thus the youth fly fishing class was formed in his honor.The money was used to start up the local youth program to teach 11- to 15-year-olds the basics of fly fishing. Equipment, text books and other items were purchased to get the program underway.Saturday began with a Powerpoint presentation on the basics, including information about trout, bugs (entomology) and other topics. The kids were broken into groups of three and learned more about the equipment that is used, how to set up a balanced system and knot tying. Then they were given a session on fly casting.Sunday was spent on the water on the Truckee River near Glenshire Drive. The students got in more casting while learning about stream hydrology, more on bugs and other food available to the trout by collecting samples and identifying them and, finally, how to present a dry fly, nymph and streamer.After the instruction part was over on Sunday, each child was sent out with an instructor and allowed to fish the rest of the afternoon. Whether they realize it or not at this point, the skills the children picked up during this event will make them successful fly fishermen. All that is needed now is more practice.The instructors were amazed at the progress of the students. By the time they went fishing, the skills they had were very impressive.Special acknowledgment should go to Rudy Knudsen, who organized the event the past two years. He works tirelessly on this event.Recognition should also go to the instructors who take a weekend to pass along their knowledge to the children. Many have been involved both years. This year the instructors who took part during the two-day clinic were Steve Buelna, Dave Devoe, Vickie Fenner, Bob Jajko, Rudy Knudsen, Dave Lass, Dan Lecount, Stefan McLeod, Terry Schnepp, Keith Tucker and myself.Special recognition should also go to the owner, Dave Stanley of the Truckee River Outfitters/Reno Fly Shop, for offering discounts on rod combinations for the nine kids who took the class. Much of the terminal tackle comes from the store as well. In addition the two store managers, and guides of the local store, Lecount and Tucker came out on Sunday and instructed.The goal of the local club is to get new fly fishermen into the sport. Children these days do not always have someone who can get them started on the right path to fly fish. This class fills the void, and perhaps years from now we can account for a number of new lifelong fly fishers.Bruce Ajari is a Truckee resident and regular fishing columnist for the Sierra Sun and other area newspapers.