Marquette students learn to fly fish

An old proverb goes that if you give someone a fish, you feed them for a day, but if you teach someone to fish, you feed them for a lifetime. As ABC 10 senior reporter Mike Hoey reports, volunteers from a non-profit group are putting the proverb to work as they teach high school students.

Students at Marquette Senior High School spent part of their Thursday afternoon in the school’s pool area, but they weren’t taking a dip. They were learning to fly fish. “I’ve fished regularly a few times, and new techniques are always cool and always learning new things are cool,” senior Anthony Fox said. “We’re still learning a little bit of the techniques and stuff, but we’re getting there.”

The Fred Waara Chapter of Trout Unlimited has volunteered to teach 26 students the basics. “We’ve done this before; this is our second time doing it,” Trout Unlimited member Nick Simon said. “The first segment covered basic casting techniques, and today we’re going to apply them on the water.”

The instruction is part of Becky Simmons’s Wildlife & Natural Resources Management class. She learned to fly fish as a student at NMU and she wishes she’d had a chance to do something like this in high school. “One of the instructors that taught us yesterday was my teacher, too, so it was kind of cool to have the students come full circle and learn from him,” Simmons said. “They did a great job, and really within a day, I would say most of these kids could get out and fly fish and actually catch a fish.”

There are some space confinement issues with this many people casting flies into an indoor pool at the same time, and that’s why the students will have some practice outdoors later in the school year.

“We’re going to have some people in here next week doing fly-tying, and then we’re going to get folks out on the water after the season opens, probably in May,” Fred Waara Chapter vice president Jim Cantrill said. “I think we all would have liked to have had this (in high school). It would have been so much better than algebra.”

The Trout Unlimited chapter also sponsors trips by young people to what’s called Fish Camp in Grayling each June.