Trees for Trout and Surf Day to celebrate a tough winter month
Nature ensures January is hard. Her air is freezing, holidays have passed, daylight is fleeting and icy. Fish are deep and reluctant. But Hope is our motto and it springs eternal for anglers because we are at our core, however chilly, outdoorsmen and women and conservationists. Yes, in January, Christmas trees will come down and surf rods will be stashed like garage ornaments but this year, we can gather inside, shake hands and shop for a new fishing season after we have given our trees back to Nature. This January, celebrate a new year with trees, trout & Surf Day.
“Trout Unlimited and RIDEM Fish and Wildlife use recycled Christmas trees to improve habitat for wild trout and other aquatic organisms,” RI Trout Unlimited President Glenn Place said. Trees for Trout is an annual tradition to protect rivers and save unwanted conifers from mysteriously ending up over a neighbor’s stone wall. “We have lots and lots to sell and we all have the same goals,” Narragansett Surfcasters President Bruce Bain said about his members. Their 9th Annual Surf Day Used and New Fishing Gear Sale remains the hottest winter ticket, statewide. Surf Day is a serious day of fun organized by the Narragansett Surfcasters fishing club, a 125 member non-profit which practices what they preach: fishing, conservation and charity. Trout Unlimited shares a similar and national mission and while the Surfcasters work salty beaches, TU members hike rivers and the occasional salt pond. A tug on the line feels equally fine in fresh or salt water. So does giving something back.
“The Trees For Trout program offers the best opportunity for the river to ‘heal’ itself naturally by using conifer revetments installed by RIDEM and RITU Volunteers, securing stream banks and narrow shallow areas of the river,” RITU President Glenn Place said. “The trees collect sediment and debris, and form a new channel that is faster, deeper, and colder. With the revetments, the river holds more bends and develops better habitat for brook trout. As an extra benefit, the new channel is also more resilient to flooding and improves the rivers ability to access the natural floodplain, preventing erosion from high water events.” Trees for Trout ensures that trees cut down to celebrate the birth of Jesus will be carefully positioned along riverbanks come springtime and continue to bring us joy. Fantastic.
All 42 Surf Day tables on two floors are sold. They will be piled with new, used, collectable, and custom crafted, hand-turned plugs. Big names like Zinger Baits, Vinny’s Customs, Larson Lures, RB Plug Works and High Hook will be there. Choose a few gorgeous long casting wooden plugs, then even the scales with a handful of used lures from someone’s garage collection. There will be plenty of yard sale type deals, where anglers reluctantly agree to part with parts of their collections to generate funds to go shopping at the custom lure tables. Balance. Buy, sell, trade. Even the slightly wounded You Tube fishing sensation Mr. Poseidon will make the trek from Long Island, which might actually be one word. And that man always has a trick up his sleeve.
Trout Unlimited members share a spirit of conservation like the Narragansett Surfcasters
The Surfcasters are true to their mission of local support. That means everything they do, every dollar they raise, every bowl of chowder they sell, is returned to those who need a hand. They support South County Tri Town, the Narragansett Housing Authority and the Providence Vets Center Veteran Program, among other charitable events. “Surfcasters are generous people. Maybe not with fishing spots,” Bruce laughed, “but you know, but with everything else.” They fish and they help and they help some more. Bruce has also arranged for a table of fly tiers offering new patterns or starting you on your way to joining TU and buying a lifetime’s supply of marabou.
Surf Day happens from 9am to 1pm on January 14 at the Narraganset Community Center, 53 Mumford Road in well, Narraganset. They don’t do early birds so no sneaking in the back door or pretending you have a table. Arrive at 9am, give a little extra at the door, key in on Joe McCoy’s chowder and clam cakes, visit both floors and start shopping.
Trees for Trout happens from 10 am to 2pm on January 7, at the RIDEM Deer Check Station on Route 165 in Exeter. Oh stop, it’s not that far. Please ensure trees are free of tinsel (save that for your flies), ornaments or spray retardant. If you’re in the South County area, you can drop off your tree at my house or I’ll do my best to fetch it from yours. Contact me at email@example.com. It’s that important.
To support the Surfcasters support of veterans, Ralph Craft of Crafty One Customs has donated a hand built OsHen 7’0″ SMH 1-3 oz. 15-30# test rod. It’s beautiful and you can buy raffle tickets there to win it. All funds will go to veterans because we owe them a lot. “We all have the same goals,” Bruce said, “Because conservation is king.” January is not so bad after all.