Today is a special day for America because it is Veterans Day. Celebrated throughout the U.S. in schools and communities, it is one of the most widely acknowledged days that any veteran can imagine. We all owe a debt of thanks to those of you who gave part of your life, and in many cases, limbs to continue the freedom that we so gladly enjoy in America.
There are three special groups that I am aware of who go out of their way to help veterans enjoy their lives through fly-fishing. They are Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, Inc., Trout Unlimited Veterans Service Partnership and Hope for Heroes. There are many other groups including Warriors and Quiet Waters, Rivers of Recovery, the R4 Alliance, Embrace-A-Vet, and Sun Valley Higher Ground Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors.
Project Healing Waters is my favorite because my cousin in Cheyenne, Wyoming, is an active member of their club. I have spoken about him previously because he has made me a couple of rods and provided me with other items. This organization is dedicated to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled active military service personnel and disabled veterans through fly fishing and associated activities including education and outings. Their vision is to provide a community where all participants can heal. Their core values are to provide compassion, accountability, consistency and community to support veterans throughout the country.
Trout Unlimited Veterans Service Partnership is a nationwide effort initiated by TU in 2011 to bring the healing power of the water to those who have served our nation so boldly. It's a network of 150,000 plus members that operate out of more than 400 chapters throughout the country. Each TU chapter is a ready-made community of passionate conservationists and anglers. Every VSP member who receives a complementary membership to TU is assigned to a TU Chapter.
Hope for Heroes mission is to enable a sense of personal accomplishment, empowerment and unity for our nations disabled heroes through their favorite outdoor adventures and activities including fly-fishing.
Whatever your passion is for veterans, we can all become involved in one or more of these organizations and share some of our passion helping to teach, donate, encourage or take a veteran fishing to make someone’s life a little easier and more enjoyable. Giving a little back never hurt any of us.
Fishing the Bitterroot has been a challenge lately because of the cold weather that is striking the valley. Many hearty fishermen are out there on a regular basis when the sun shines and the temperatures are warm enough to keep the ice out of our fly rod guides. If you enjoy fishing for mountain whitefish, the time to begin is now. If you enjoy smoking them, they are at their best when the cold water hardens the meat and skin becomes oily on the inside. The best action lately has been on streamers and nymphs.