Over the past couple months several members from the Mountaineer Chapter have worked hard with the Recreational Therapists at Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center and the National Project Healing Water’s organization to get a PHW group started here in Clarksburg. The paper work on our side has been finished and we have met with the Recreational Therapists at the VA to get started and move forward in doing what we can to help “Heal those who serve” using fly fishing.
We are currently gearing up and plan to get things started sometime in Jan. or Feb. Things have not been set in stone with the dates or times but there are several things that we have worked out that we get out there. Because we will be starting out in winter we will start with fly tying. As the weather breaks we will then work with fly fishing basics (reading water, what trout eat, and similar things that could be of interest) to go along with casting. Then our plan is later in spring and summer to get the vets/warriors out on the water and get them fishing. We are looking for farm and golf course ponds that would fit our needs and are looking at some trips on WV streams that we can wade and have possible raft/drift boat floats on. We are lucky and the Clarksburg VA is located right along a river for short casting and fishing instruction.
Also if we have any interest we are also looking for anybody who builds rods who would be interested in leading a few classes on rod building. We have the ability to equip several kits for the vets/warriors to build rods and think rod building could also be something they would enjoy if we would have a longer winter and get pushed back on our dates to get outside and cast or fish. There is a contest where the vets/warriors would get their choice of rods anywhere from a 6′-6″ 2wt to a 10′ 8wt switch rod. When finished the rods are shipped to Hook & Hackle in PA and judged. Winning rods will earn the vets/soldiers prizes such as trips to national PHWFF trips across the country.
If anybody would have an interest in helping out in fly tying, fly casting, rod building, guiding or even an interest in all of the above you can email (JasonMManning@gmail.com) and I can have you put on our contacts list for any of the above areas we will be working with (any or all of them) and as we find out details we will be sure to keep you in the loop for the dates, times, and instructions with how you can help out. You do not need to be a TU member to be involved with PHW. You do not need to be an expert fly tier to come and help with the tying class, you do not need to be a world class caster to come out and teach fly casting. There are all kinds of ways to help out even if you cannot volunteer at a class. Anybody who would like to donate any fly fishing gear (rods, reels, fly lines, cases, fly tying materials, etc.) that is in good shape that could be put to a good use you can also contact the email above.
I hope this gets some of the news and information that we are working on out there and if your interested in “Healing those who serve” with fly fishing this is a great program.