Trout Unlimited will honor the “First Family of Fly Fishing,” John and Elna Foust, at its 38th Annual Banquet set for Friday, Oct. 13, at the Bitterroot River Inn in Hamilton.

The Fousts owned Fish Haus in Hamilton, and he’s been the central point for fishermen for a lot of years. Flies invented by Foust are revered for fishing  in western Montana, the United States and around the world.

Marshall Bloom, spokesman for Bitterroot Trout Unlimited, said this year’s banquet is special with the quality of awards, auction and raffle items, and prizes.

“First of all, we are giving John and Elna Foust a Lifetime Achievement award for their contributions to fly fishing, fly tying and conservation,” Bloom said. “I consider them the ‘First Family of Fly Fishing in the Bitterroot’ and this award is very well deserved.”

As a special premium for the live auction, John Foust donated one of his custom folding fly boxes with more than four dozen flies from his own personal collection.

“I’m hoping many of John’s friends and admirers from over the years will make an effort to come to the banquet and help us present this lifetime achievement award to John and Elna.”

Every year Bitterroot Trout Unlimited gives a “Golden Trout” award to an individual or group who helped with the TU mission. This year that award will be given to the Keystone Enrichment Program of the Hamilton School District.

“That group has been instrumental in the great success we have with our kids fly tying, education and outreach efforts and they are worthy recipients of the ‘2017 Golden Trout Award,’” Bloom said.

The Bitterroot Trout Unlimited banquet has live and silent auctions, raffle drawings and door prizes.

There will be a special drawing for beautiful split bamboo fly rod custom made by Robert A. Ratcheson.

“Bob is a retired neurosurgeon, so to say that he is good with his hands is an obvious understatement,” Bloom said. “He has also fished extensively all over the world for the last 40 years and has put his knowledge and experience into the design of custom bamboo fly rods that he makes right here at his home in Hamilton.”

Ratcheson donated a one-of-a-kind custom rod (7 feet long, designed for a 4-weight fly line) as a raffle drawing item. The banquet will have an amazing collection of fly tackle; artwork by Monte Dolack, his late wife Mary Beth Percival, and Michele Kapor; and photographs. Other auction items include fishing adventures on the Bitterroot River, the Bit Hole River, the Missouri River, the Clark Fork River and the Kootenai River – many with overnight accommodations.

There is a first edition of Norman Maclean's A River Runs Through It, signed by his son John Norman Maclean, along with a signed copy that John wrote about the first edition.

A wine tasting for up to 10 people, donated by Mark and Marianne Holmes at The Wine Cave, also is up for grabs, along with a number of gourmet dinners including one that features banjo parlor music by Jack Mauer and Marshall Bloom.

“We really hope people will come down to the banquet on Friday the 13th and help us have a wonderful time, honor John and Elna, the Keystone program and help us to raise funds to support our bitterroot buggers program and other conservation and education efforts that we do,” Bloom said. “We are very fortunate for our banquet to have a number of sponsoring individuals and businesses who really help make our banquet the wonderful even that it is. They are too numerous to mention but without their support the banquet would not be as special.”

Tickets to the Bitterroot Trout Unlimited banquet are $50 and still available at Freestone Fly-shop, 701 S 1st St, in Hamilton. The event at the Bitterroot River Inn opens at 5 p.m. and at 6:30 p.m. is the dinner and live auction. For more information contact Marshall Bloom at 406-363-3485.

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