By Carol Anderson
VP Education and Academy Co-Director
The 2023 NW Youth Conservation and Fly-Fishing academy began on Sunday June 18th and ran through Saturday June 24th and was a huge success thanks to the support of many national and local organizations, clubs, fly fishing shops, and a cadre of wonderful and knowledgeable volunteers!
We held this year’s NWYCFFA in a new location – Panhandle Lake 4H camp just outside of Shelton, WA. Thirteen boys and three girls ages 12-16 made up the camp attendees this year from mostly local Washington kids. Kids from Texas, Arizona and Oregon also traveled to camp to learn how to get on the river and fly fish.
Because we were able to get the kid’s out on the lake in canoes and pontoon boats this year, we required all kids to take a swim test on the first day.
These young troopers braved air temperatures in the low 60’s on a lake which was only about 56 degrees. They really wanted to be on the boats!
The kids learned about wearing PFD’s and small boat navigation.
Knots and Fly Tying made up inside instructions early in the week.
From day one and on each day the kids moved from an inside instruction class to outside classes in Casting, Conservation, Inva- sive Species, on-the-lake or river instruction or practice. They had lessons in fish biology complete from a representative from US Fish and Wildlife who dissected a salmon and then let the kids dissect some trout.
Instructions also included Moving Water Tactics, Lake and Stillwater Tactics, Entomology – with on-the-water insect capture and identification plus a “Match the Hatch” instruction class.