First annual teen trout camp offered by Stonefly Society

A dozen teenagers enjoyed good fishing, fun instructors and the creation of lifelong memories at the first Stonefly Society TU Youth Camp.

By David E. Leta

Paradise, Utah — Can you remember the last time you had so much fun fly fishing that stopping to eat or hydrate was a distraction?  How about sitting down at breakfast with your pack on, your sun gaiter, your hat, your sunglasses and your rod in hand? 

That is an apt description of the experience 12 teenagers had recently at White’s Ranch during the first Stonefly Society TU Youth Camp.

Scott Antonetti, president of the Stonefly Society Trout Unlimited chapter in Salt Lake County, spearheaded the camp, which provided the participants three days of casting, catching and instruction that will be remembered for a long time, and, hopefully, repeated in years to come. 

The event took place at White’s Ranch, in aptly named Paradise. With the generous support of owner Grant White, this incredible 35,000 acre trout ranch and nature conservatory was made available to the youthful enthusiasm of eight boys and four girls, who, over the course of two nights and three days, not only learned how to catch and release big fish, but also learned how to tie flies, identify bugs and make lasting friendships. 

Participants and volunteer instructors from the first Stonefly Society TU Teen Trout Camp held recently in Paradise, Utah.

Each of the attendees was provided with a rod and reel, courtesy of Allen Fly fishing, Hardy Greys, and Fishtech (Redington), a William Joseph model fishing sling pack provided by William Joseph and Stonefly. A fly box and a collection of dry and wet flies, via Tacky Fly boxes and Rainey’s flies, and a variety of nippers, forceps, hats, Buffs, and miscellaneous gear. Donations came from a variety of merchants, including Rising Fly Fishing, Green Drake Outdoors, Scientific Angler, Fincognito, Zeal Optics, Simms, Patagonia, and Vedavoo.

Casting help and a huge amount of enthusiasm was provided by the Twin Territory boys.

Fly tying lessons were provided by Brad Clawson, Stephanie Jones and Tom Doxey, with vices, scissors and materials donated by Fishtech and Stonefly. 

Entomology instruction was provided by Mark Borovatz with a lot of rock turning and bug catching immediately thereafter.

A young participant gets some help figuring out where to make the first cast during the Stonefly Society TU Teen Trout Camp.

Perhaps the most fun was swimming a mouse pattern to big fish just as the last rays of a warm summer sun disappeared over the Wasatch Mountains and into the night, because you just did not want the day of fishing to end. The mice were donated by Dave Allison and the attendees became known as “Uncle Dave’s Mouse Patrol.”  When you discover the sport in this fashion in your youth, it is sure to last a lifetime.

Big fish were willing to help set the hook on the teenagers during the first Stonefly Society TU Teen Trout Camp

Feedback from the parents has been amazing and most of the camp participants already have moved on to fish other water in Idaho, Wyoming and Utah, with great results. 

The Stonefly Society is planning to do this camp again next year with the hope that a TU council in another state will sponsor two kids. The Wisconsin council has already indicated its intention to send two teens to the Utah program in 2017.  Thereafter, the plan is to expand the program to include kids from several other TU councils and offer scholarships to those who otherwise might not ever have the opportunity to pick up a fly rod.

David E. Leta is the youth education coordinator for the Stonefly Society chapter of Trout Unlimited in Salt Lake City.



said on Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

Kudos to Stonefly Society and all the volunteers for putting forth the effort to host this camp. 


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