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Messages From The President

September 2017

posted Sep 19, 2017, 5:49 AM by Mike Balogh

Another summer has come and gone, and I surely hope that it was as good to all of you as it was to me. Our North Jersey TU chapter was not in summer hibernation, as much as it might appear to have been: in July we sponsored the Annual Jefferson Township Youth Fishing Derby, followed by three nights of Fly Fishing for Beginners Classes at Station Park in Sparta, NJ; a presence during the New Jersey State Fair at the Sussex County Fair Grounds, and another enjoyable Chapter Picnic at Camp Mohican in Blairstown. A BIG thank you to all who turned out and lent a hand to make it all happen.

While most of these events were repeats of prior year’s activities, the Fly Fishing Course was not. The course represented something new and different and was directly aimed to benefit the residents of our host community, Sparta. Some 25 to 30 people took advantage of learning about our fly fishing passion, more than we ever had expected.

But wait… more new and exciting things are coming in the weeks ahead: on Saturday, September 23, we are participating in the annual Sparta Day event in Sparta NJ. We will have a table and offer activities for the kids in addition to fly casting and perhaps fly tying demonstrations.

And a month later, on Saturday October 21 our chapter is sponsoring the SPARTA GLEN FALL FUN DAY, a first year anniversary celebration of the successful completion of the 2016 Glen Brook restoration project.

We’re bringing together organizations, supporters, and volunteers responsible for the restoration work --- all of whom have a common interest in the long-term health of the Sparta Glen Brook. We're aiming to increase community awareness of this special place, and to foster interest in nature and an appreciation of life in and around the brook and Glen, especially in children.

The Township will be placing a commemorative plaque in the Glen, in recognition of last year’s stream restoration and riparian planting project in and around the stream bed. Activities will include: stream restoration overview, aquatic insect identification, crafts/games for kids, fly tying demonstration, dedication ceremony, refreshments, and the informational tables.

All of this cannot be accomplished by only a handful of people. WE NEED ALL OF YOU to chip in and help to make this a success! Please don’t wait for a phone call or an e-mail. Let us know by phone or e-mail of your willingness to help, thereby contributing to the vitality and future of our Trout Unlimited Chapter. Fred S. Burroughs would!

Gone fishing!

Willi Huber

July Message from the VP

posted Jul 24, 2017, 6:42 AM by Mike Balogh

How do you assess a successful trout fishing season? Did you catch your “personal best” or had a day when you “hammered” them on your favorite stream. For many, success is measured by the size or number of fish caught. And that’s alright. After all, that’s what fisherman and women talk about. And why join TU if not to share the enjoyment from catching trout.

But should that be the only measure of success? 

For me, this year’s highlight was landing a trout on a fly I tied myself. But more important, was seeing the joy in the eyes of those who taught the class as I told them of my success.

That feeling of sharing the joy of fishing is what turns me on. And TU provides us with many opportunities to do just that. What better high is there to see a new member grinning ear to ear after catching his first trout on a dry fly? Or helping a kid and his bewildered Mom catch a fish at the Jefferson Derby.

How great is the feeling after a stranger hands you a $20 donation for picking up trash on the Flatbrook or when you hear a “Thank You” while float stocking. Or sharing in the excitement of a classroom full of kids when delivering trout fingerlings or an onion sack full of strange bottom dwelling creatures.

Sharing the joy may take the form of simply making the effort to introduce yourself to a new member and inviting them to go fishing. Or volunteering for an activity outside your comfort zone such as helping a Vet with the Healing Water’s program learn to fly cast or stepping up to manage a chapter event.

Sharing the joy is infectious. Whether you are exposed to it by presenting a new idea at a chapter meeting or by participating in a stream restoration project as ambitious as Sparta Glen, I would encourage all to catch the joy of fishing.

Hope you have a successful trout fishing season.

Rich Egge

Want to Feel Young Again? Meet an Old Timer

posted Apr 27, 2017, 7:14 AM by Mike Balogh   [ updated Apr 27, 2017, 7:22 AM ]

Life sometimes takes unexpected turns. So it was with our recently completed State-wide raffle. When the first prize winner was picked out of the hundreds of ticket stubs and George Nimmo was announced as the lucky one, immediately some of those in attendance recognized the name. Back in 1969 George was one of a small group of local conservationists who were at the center of opposition to the Tocks Island Dam project. (you can learn more about this project by visiting the links below). It also was this small group of activists led by Fred S. Burroughs that, in the same year, laid the ground work and founded our Trout Unlimited Chapter, the first of its kind in New Jersey. 
 
Fast forward to 1975, when the dam was disapproved by a majority vote of the Delaware River Basin Commission. One of our present charter members, Chet Johnstone recalls that it was George Nimmo who called him from Trenton on that fateful day with the words “we won!”. Chet had not seen nor been in contact with George for many years, and when I approached Chet to find out if he would be interested in meeting up with George over lunch, we had a plan. So on Tuesday after Easter, Chet, Danny Rodriguez (another old timer) and myself got together with George and his wife Jeanne at Bill’s Luncheonette in Chester, NJ. What a reunion and what a lovely time of reminiscing and reflecting on the old times! Too much to mention all of it here, but of course there was the dam, many prior leaders and old friends, George’s service as vice president, treasurer, State Council representative and finally his recognition as a honorary Life Member of State Council. At one point, George became melancholic. He explained how his “mom required more and more of his time and care, he got married and had a child and he left his chosen profession, never to return. TU took a back seat….and eventual his eyes failed him – trout fishing became the odd man out. Not bitter – just realistic – sometimes we have to play the hand life deals us, and so it came to past, he said. The last time he wet a line was in 1999, in the Adirondacks. 

Nothing more for me to add, except to say two things: “Thank You” to all you [old] guys who have done so much for our cause, and to call on today’s newer members to hold high the torch they lit in 1969.

Willi Huber

George left me with a P.S. when he wrote to me after the meeting. I want to share it with you:

I’d like to leave you with a quote from the late Fred S. Burroughs, Princeton University, Class of 1937: “The greatest rewards of any organization are not necessarily the accomplishments of the organization, but rather, the human relations that are made”. Fred was right back then and he’s still right.

More about our past:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tocks_Island_Dam_controversy
Ghost Waters: Tocks Island https://vimeo.com/142291370 

Thank-You John Nordstedt!

posted Feb 14, 2017, 4:24 PM by North Jersey TU   [ updated Feb 15, 2017, 1:22 PM by Mike Balogh ]

The leadership in all the Trout Unlimited chapters is represented by individual groups of committed volunteers that, over time, find themselves in a constant motion of change. This is no different in our chapter.  One such change came upon us just recently, and this one is worthy of special mention.  Chapter member John Nordstedt, for many years the tireless dynamo providing much needed energy to the chapter, a past membership chair and vice president, and the recipient of the TU New Jersey State Council’s 2015 Lifetime Achievement  Award, is saying good-bye to the cold climate of New Jersey, and moving to the West Coast of Florida. His single-handed leadership at the helm of the 2016 Sparta Glen Restoration Project must be ranked as one of the most significant achievements in our chapter’s history. John is leaving us a great many wonderful memories and a profound sense of gratitude for all his contributions to our cause. I believe to be speaking on behalf of all of our members when expressing to John our heartfelt thank you and our very best wishes for his life’s new Florida chapter. Be well John, have fun chasing mullet and snook, and stay in touch.

Changes inherently also bring renewal. We consider ourselves fortunate to have found in Rich Egge, Dean Blumetti and Derek Groff, three members who have come forward and volunteered to fill the board vacancies that we experienced in the past months. The chapter’s affairs are in the hands of a great group of people, and we look forward to a productive and rewarding 2017. But change will be in the winds again before long. At the end of this year, both the Treasurer Tom Mount and I will have completed our statutory two-year term. Yes, it’s only February, but it is not too early for all of you to start thinking and begin to do some soul searching now.

On March 25 the chapter is holding its Annual Fund Raising Banquet at Perona Farms in Sparta, NJ. Please come and join us, it always has been an evening filled with comradery, renewal of old friendships and just plain old fun. Your support is welcomed and needed.

As to 2017, we will soon publish a full calendar of activities and events that your chapter will sponsor or participate in. Please spend some time to look it over, you no doubt will find some opportunities where you can volunteer your time and talents for the good of our cause.

Thank you for listening!

Willi Huber

February 2017

Year-end 2016

posted Nov 21, 2016, 12:27 PM by Mike Balogh

As the year is rapidly moving to a close, this is a good time to look back and re-live our accomplishments and look forward and think of our path ahead for the months to come.

2016 saw one of the most ambitious projects this chapter ever has undertaken come to a remarkably successful completion: the Sparta Glen Brook Restoration. With the help and support of various government agencies, conservation organization, local businesses (see web site), and countless volunteer hours, the stretch of brook that flows through the Sparta Glen Park in Sparta, NJ, has been given a new life and, over time, will again be able to support fauna and flora like it always had in years gone by. We all can be proud of this accomplishment and of our chapter’s contribution to its calling – the conservation of our local fresh water habitats.

Continued stewardship of the Sparta Glen Brook will be key to the long term success of this undertaking. It is my sincere hope that we were successful in creating a continuing interest by the governing body of Sparta Township and Sparta’s population at large, in preserving and protecting this valuable and irreplaceable local natural resource for the future enjoyment of all.

Back down to earth…. These past months were filled with fishing trips to the Salmon and the Ausable rivers, a river clean-up along the banks of the Flat Brook, participation at Project Healing Waters Veterans events, sponsorship of the Jefferson Youth Fishing Derby, planting and/or education events on the Sparta Glen Brook, the Paulinskill River and at the Pequest Trout Hatchery, and many others too numerous to mention. To sum it all up: The Chapter is active and very much dedicated to making a difference. Thank you to all who made a contribution to this end.

But there is no resting on our laurels. Going forward, we must not avoid addressing our challenges. On top of the heap is our mission to continue to create awareness in our local communities of the importance of conserving our coldwater resources and to offer up our chapter as a “home” to those wanting to become active participants in this endeavor. To do this, we will need to embrace with enthusiasm the expanding of our efforts to redefine our core message and then to deliver it to our target audience through todays communication channels. With this in mind, I look forward to an exciting and busy 2017.

With my very best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving Weekend, and all good things and thoughts for the Holidays.

See you all at our Annual Holiday Party on the 21st of December, at the VFW Post in Sparta NJ!

Willi Huber

Welcome Back!

posted Sep 19, 2016, 9:44 AM by Mike Balogh   [ updated Sep 19, 2016, 9:44 AM ]

We are kicking off our 2016/2017 opener with a presentation covering the WEST BRANCH OF THE FARMINGTON RIVER, a classic tail water in north-western Connecticut. There is something for everyone on the Farmington: Classic dry fly pools. Mysterious pockets for nymphing. Spirited runs to swing wets and streamers.

Our presenter and guest speaker will be Steve Culton, a teaching guide who has been fishing Connecticut’s Farmington River for over 40 years. If you are interested in learning new methods, fishing new flies, or just expanding your general knowledge base, all while being introduced to the Farmington, Steve Culton is for you. Don’t miss this, come meet with friends and enjoy!

Over the next few weeks, there are plenty of volunteer opportunities in store for all. During the first half of October, we again will deliver rainbow trout eggs from the Pequest Trout Hatchery to about 21 participating TIC schools. I will coordinate this season’s TIC program, so please contact me, if you are interested in helping. Furthermore, on October 14, a group of students from the Pope John Paul High School in Sparta plans to spend a day at the Sparta Glen Brook planting additional trees and participating in various conservation activities. We are in need of chapter members to be present in support of this ongoing effort in the Glen. Also in October on a Saturday yet to be determined, we are looking for Chapter Volunteers do help with some in-stream remedial work, such as repositioning rocks and small boulders that are believed to have been shifted by local youth over the summer, while cooling off in the Glen. 

Last but not least, Rich Egge has generously offered his time and talents to become our next Chapter Vice-President, succeeding our ever so committed John Nordstedt. Thank you Rich! We will place Rich’s name in nomination for confirmation by the membership at the September 21 chapter meeting. 

A warm welcome back to all, after these long, hot and dry summer months.

Willi Huber

Summer is Upon Us

posted Jul 7, 2016, 6:45 AM by Mike Balogh

“Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.”  Sam Keen

Summer is upon us, and with it we get to enjoy the luxury of allowing ourselves to indulge in what Sam Keen describes so poignantly. In this spirit, I wish you all a wonderful and lazy time ahead, until we see each other again on September 21at the next membership meeting!

But not all things will take a rest in the meantime:  On July 9 our chapter is sponsoring the Annual Youth Fishing Derby on Weldon Pond in Jefferson Township, and on August 8 we will have a presence at the New Jersey State Fair held at the Sussex County Fair Grounds. A good number of volunteers have agreed to help with the Fishing Derby, but we still are looking for volunteers to help out at our table at the NJ State Fair. If you are interested, please contact me at 973-222-4559. We always have a good time and find lots of interest when sharing our passion with the general public at this event. 

Oh! And let’s not forget about the Annual Chapter Picnic at Camp Mohican on Saturday, August 13. Please check the newsletter for details, and skip the breakfast that morning to have room for the dogs, burgers, fish fry and more. Don’t miss this this opportunity to mingle.

I also have some other very good news to share with all of you. Dean Blumetti, relatively new to our chapter, but not at all new to TU, has graciously offered to lead our conservation efforts as the chair person of the conservation committee. This is a key position on our chapter’s board, and I invite all members to lend their full support and helping hand to Dean. Thank you Dean!

All for now. Enjoy and make the best of these summer days, check the water temperature, and give the fish a break when it reaches seventy degrees. If you can, you may want to consider doing the same for yourself . Remember the introduction – it’s now respectable. 

Until September, 

Willi Huber

See you all at the Sparta VFW Post!

posted May 31, 2016, 7:49 AM by Mike Balogh

Summer is just around the corner, and so is our first membership meeting on June 15 at its new location at the VFW Post, 66 Main Street, in Sparta NJ. With all the efforts and resources our chapter recently has put into the Sparta Glen Restoration Project, selecting the town of Sparta as the location for our new home base makes for a perfect ending to our Sparta Glen story. 

Speaking of Sparta, at the upcoming June 14 Sparta Town Council Meeting, our chapter will receive an honorable mention from the Township Council. The meeting starts at 7.30 PM, it would be nice to see many of you there.

The featured speaker at the June meeting is Matt Grobert. Most of you are familiar with Matt’s celebrity status as New Jersey’s fly tying eminence, and have watched him numerous times appearing in Tightline Productions’ instructional VIMEO fly tying videos. Don’t miss him!

Mark your calendar: June 10-12 with the chapter’s AuSable trip; August 8 with the New Jersey State Fair at the Sussex County Fair Grounds, and August 13 with the chapter picnic at Camp Mohican near Blairstown, NJ. Please refer to the newsletter for details. 

So for now, keep cool, keep fishing, and consider taking a leadership position in helping to shape our chapter’s conservation role in the years to come.

Willi Huber

Something "Fishy" In Store For You This Month!

posted May 2, 2016, 5:51 AM by Mike Balogh   [ updated May 2, 2016, 5:52 AM ]

At the upcoming membership meeting on Wednesday, May 18, there will be a special treat waiting for you: Our featured guest speaker is no less than Jay “Fishy” Fullum, fly tyer and comedian par excellence. To quote a comment from the internet: To know Fishy is a privilege to say the least. He has a sense of humor that does not quit! His knowledge in fly tying and fly fishing is above and beyond most people you have ever met.

You do not want to miss this opportunity! Be there!

Looking back, this past month must have been one of the busiest in the history of our chapter. While the events were dominated by the 6-day in-stream work and riparian 
planting weekends in the Sparta Glen Park, our volunteers also participated in four days of Flatbrook float stocking, a clean-up day on the same water, and a Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing outing on the education pond at the Pequest Trout Hatchery. 

Other than for float stocking, May promises to provide some welcome relief for those overworked volunteers. So go out there, chase some fish, snag some flies and enjoy spring time and the land awakening anew.

Willi Huber

The Wait is Over!

posted Apr 1, 2016, 6:41 AM by Mike Balogh   [ updated Apr 1, 2016, 6:46 AM ]

The excitement is about to begin in Sparta Township’s Glen Ravine. On April 5, weather permitting, the in-stream work to restore a section of the Sparta Glen Brook is set to begin. We all have walked the path to this moment together, some a bit more, some a bit less, and a long journey it was: almost three years from the first thought to the present. Thank you and congratulations to all who volunteered their talents and contributed in their own ways, and now the best of luck and success with the job at hand in the Glen.

Once again, the chapter can proudly look back at a very successful annual banquet event, held on March 19 at Perona Farms in Sparta. We all were honored by the presence of Congressman Scott Garrett, Sparta Mayor Christine Quinn and Sparta Township Engineer Eric Powell. It was wonderful to listen as they all shared with us some of their personal thoughts and memories of the Glen’s past. Special thanks are in order to Glen and Sue and to all the others, for putting their heart and soul into making it all happen. 

I also want to mention our last chapter meeting, during which the membership voted to change the meeting venue from the current location at Camp Jefferson to the VFW hall in Sparta, NJ. The first meeting at the VFW is scheduled for June 15. More details will become available on our web site and also in the newsletter. 

Some up-coming dates to remember:
- Flat Brook Float Stocking: April 7. We meet at Three-Bridges at 9 AM. Contact Ed Sinning esinning@aol.com for further details.
- Sparta Glen Brook Chapter Planting Days: Saturday, April 9, and Sunday, April 10. For details click here to go to the Sparta Glen page, or contact John Nordstedt at jnord@optonline.net.
- Flat Brook Clean-up: April 16. Again, we meet this time at Schaffer’s Bridge at 9 AM. Contact Ed Sinning esinning@aol.com for further details.

Time to dust-off your rods and reels! And to those die-hards who have never put them down for the winter break, dust them off anyway! Wishing all of you a fulfilling and fishy 2016 trout season.

Willi Huber

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