Winter is a good time to think about the flies you will need for this year’s fly fishing. Teach yourself and your kids to tie with the Bitterroot Buggers. The Bitterroot Buggers program began Tuesday, February 15 and continues through March 29, 2011 for a total of seven classes. The popular class meets each Tuesday, 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm. All classes this year are held in the gym at the Westview Center, 103 S. 9th, Hamilton, Montana.
A special “final” day on-the-water day will be held on a Saturday in April with that date to be determined by the weather.
What is Bitterroot Buggers?
Bitterroot Buggers is a program for kids, ages 8 through 13, giving them an introduction to and overview of the sport of fly fishing. The main topics covered in the curriculum are safety, etiquette, conservation, entomology, fly tying, basic knots, equipment overview and casting. After going through the classes, the course culminates in a fun filled day on the water practicing everything learned.
Fly Tying contest for kids
For every fly tying class, the kids are encouraged to enter their flies in a juried contest. Flies are scored by various criteria, but mostly on proportion, quality and execution of the pattern.
Every fly entered receives 1 point, good flies receive 2 points, and great flies receive 3 points. At the end of the program, points are added up and the top two scores earn a river float/fly fishing day trip.
How much does it cost?
With generous contributions of time from volunteers, the classes are offered for free. The Bitterroot Chapter of Trout Unlimited purchases the materials through Western Flies and Guides in Hamilton at cost and underwrites the cost of the tying kits and rods which are offered at a greatly reduced price. If a family is unable to purchase the supplies, there are kits available for use at the classes.
What is expected of students?
The success of the program depends on the continued support of volunteer instructors. Because of this, participants are expected to arrive each week ready to learn and enjoy themselves with attitudes that are respectful of everyone involved. Every child is expected to help with cleanup and treat the materials and equipment with respect. If a student’s behavior is disruptive to the program or dangerous to themselves, volunteers or other students, parents will be notified immediately, asked to pick their child up and the student will be dismissed from the program. The program attendance is large and to be fair to all participants, general rules must be followed.
What is expected of families?
Because the staffed is volunteer, it is essential that children be at the class promptly but not before 6:30 pm. They must be picked up by 8:00 pm. No supervision is provided beyond the program time. For the safety of the children, the staff must be notified in advance if a child will be walking home or someone other than those listed on the registration will be picking them up. Parents are welcome to be in class and participate but are expected to assist the child in following the directions given by the instructors. Everyone has different methods and techniques used in tying but the curriculum has been carefully developed to allow for a continuity of techniques.
Be sure and take a moment to thank the volunteer instructors. They generously give up their evenings to prepare for and work with this program.
All questions or concerns are welcome. Please call (406) 375-9999 or (406) 363-9099.
About the sponsors
- Trout Unlimited
Bitterroot Trout Unlimited (BRTU) is the local chapter and is very active in the community. To learn more about BRTU visit www.brtu.org/blog/.
Montana Trout Unlimited (MTU), or the Montana Council of Trout Unlimited, represents the 3,000 members and 13 chapters of TU in Montana.
Trout Unlimited (TU) is America’s leading trout and salmon conservation organization. Trout Unlimited has 125,000 members and 500 volunteer-based chapters spread across the United States and Canada. TU’s mission is to conserve, protect and restore the nation’s coldwater fisheries and their habitats. Trout Unlimited is a non-profit organization governed by a volunteer Board of Trustees and a grassroots board called the National Leadership Council (NLC). The NLC is comprised of a representative from each state.
- Keystone Enrichment Program
The Keystone Enrichment Program is a project of the Hamilton School District funded by a 21st Century Learning Center Grant through the Montana Office of Public Instruction. The program provides a safe and enriching place for children to go after school and during the summer. The organization offers clubs that encourage interest in the arts, nature, physical activities, creative think, reading, and problem solving. All clubs are led by school district employees or talented individuals from the community. It is open to ANY student in the Hamilton area, grades 1-8. To learn more about the Keystone Enrichment Program visit www.keystonetodiscovery.org