Message from the President
If you knew me as a student at Gaylord High School, you would have never thought I’d someday be involved with a Trout Unlimted chapter, let alone, get elected as its President. My first car sported a, “Pave the Rainforest,” sticker on the trunk. While I enjoyed the outdoors, I mostly preferred spending my teen years outside on a skate or snowboard.
Skip ahead a few years to when my future father-in-law reintroduced me to the outdoors when I was 18. I’ve spent every spare minute possible playing, hunting and fishing in the wilds of northern Michigan since.
I didn’t go to college till I was in my late 20’s. Deciding to major in Environmental Science was easy, my heroes were guys like Dave Smethurst, Rusty Gates, and John Walters. My best friend and fishing buddy asked me, “What kind of job do you want to get after you graduate?” Without a second though, I answered, “I want to be a volunteer for the Headwaters Chapter of Trout Unlimited.”
That said, being President was never on my radar. Like landing one of those careers you dreamed about as a kid– say, professional athlete– being President of the Headwaters Chapter of TU seemed like the best, but most impossible to get job ever. I would have been content just being the water boy, helping out at Tie One On and ripping nuisance beaver dams out.
I remember the first time someone mentioned I could actually get that job someday. About five years ago, I was riding shotgun with Dave Smethurst while we drove around the Pigeon River Country He was showing me all these secret fishing spots I didn’t know about, and teaching me about the area’s history. I asked why he was showing me all this, and he said, “Cause someday, when you’re President, and I’m not around anymore, you’re going to fight for and protect all of these places.”
I’m officially living the dream and can’t wait to roll my sleeves up for our area’s trout and coldwater streams!
That starts with conservation projects. Working with our partners at the Michigan DNR, Huron Pines, other Trout Unlimited Chapters, and the Upper Black River Council, we’ve put together a list with just over 20 conservation projects I think we can accomplish in 2017. Over the last 10 years, our chapter has become known for fundraising. I want us to be known for having the most elbow grease and getting the most done in the field.
I also want us to be known as the TU chapter which is the most fun to be a member of. By that I mean more educational activities, more social/fun activities, and more of a “club” atmosphere. In addition to the most ambitious Tie One On itinerary of any chapter in Michigan, we have two workshops in the works for May. The first will be a beginner indoor clinic on how to fly cast. The second will be an intermediate/advanced fly casting clinic on the stream with some insanely fun ideas being thrown around in our planning meetings. And since TU is a coldwater conservation group, not a fly fishing only group, we’ll also have some instruction on how to cast/fish with spinning gear at these. I’ve never fished for trout with a spinner or worm in my life, but lets not leave those folks out of the fun.
Stepping away from educational activities, we are working on putting together a chapter breakfast during the trout opener. Pancakes and sausage on the banks of one of our local trout streams sound good to anyone else? We’re bring back the Veteran Appreciation event, and are also putting together a Women’s Only event!
If we want to set ourselves up for success for member activities and conservation projects, we can’t stop fundraising. Our Spring Banquet is scheduled for April 22 at the Ellison Place in Gaylord. We’re also going to bring back the Midnight Derby, one of the highlights of the summer. Keep an eye out for a new fundraising event or two.
We’re going to improve our communication efforts. Expect more email newsletters and a very active social media presence. Like our facbook page, join the facebook group (link below), follow us on Twitter, subscribe to our email newsletter.
I hope that all of this end up catapulting our chapter towards its ultimate goal, leaving our trout streams better than we found them, and having as much fun as possible along the way.
2017 Election Results
Annual elections were held on January 4, 2017, congrats to our newofficers and board members!
President: Alex Cerveniak
Vice President: Chad Fath
Secretary: Jordan Kettlewell
Treasurer: Eric Anderson
Board of Directors: Lloyd Sparks
Board of Directors: Gary VanWagoner
Gary VanWagoner was appointed by Alex Cerveniak as the new Headwaters Chapter Representative for the Michigan Council of Trout Unlimited. Dave Smethurst was appointed as the new Alternate Rep, should Gary be unable to attend.
In addition, we still have Scott Whitcomb and Jake Kapeller serving on the Board of Directors, with two vacancies.
Tie One On!
We had our first Tie One On of 2017 at BJ’s on January 19th! Erick Johnson from Scientific Anglers gave a great presentation on fly lines: how they’re made, what the differences are, etc. Alex Cerveniak followed up by teaching the first two flies in our instructional series. We gave away a free fly line, some hats, and every kid in attendance left with three spools of tippet!
Our next Tie One On is scheduled for 2/2/17, at BJ’s Restaurant, starting at 6pm. Andy Partlo from the Old Au Sable Fly Shop in Grayling will be giving a presentation on tying flies using items commonly found at most craft stores. The next two instructional flies Alex is teaching are the Otsego Ant, one of those “local” patterns no one should fish without, and a local variation of the Pheasant Tail Nymph.
One thing to keep in mind, if Gaylord schools close due to poor road conditions the day of Tie One On, Tie One On will also be cancelled. If you’re not sure, we will also post a cancellation notice on our Twitter and Facebook pages.
Headwaters Facebook Group
We now have a Facebook group for our chapter. This is a forum for members of the Headwaters TU, and interested parties, to communicate with each other and learn about chapter activities.
Also check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/headwaterstu