The New River Valley chapter of Trout Unlimited will be having its annual Thaw-Out on March 2. This yearly tradition brings together the members of the club and prospective members for presentations on aspects of fishing for small mouth bass and trout in the area.
Speakers will include members of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, as well as a renowned guide from the New River Outdoor Company. Fish biologists John Copeland and George Palmer from the VDGIF will discuss the technical aspects of the river and fish populations.
Copeland will be answering questions about the best places to fish and other helpful information. Outdoor writer Bruce Ingram and renowned guide Brit Stoudenmire will share their perspectives on the status of fisheries today.
Rounding out the night is a raffle with a range of items, such as specially tied flies or a night at the Walker Retreat Cabins. The event itself has no cost of admission, but donations are appreciated as they go toward charitable causes, including the New River Valley Trout in the Classroom program, which gives middle school, high school and some elementary school classrooms the chance to witness the life cycle of fish from egg until adulthood and learn about fish biology. Upon adulthood the trout are released in an event with the NRV chapter of Trout Unlimited. Some proceeds also go toward various cold water fish conservation efforts.
Graduate crop and soil environmental science student Andrew Green is a member of the NRV Trout Unlimited, one of 12 in Virginia alone. Green jokes that he has been fishing since he was about four years old, when he could be trusted not to hook his sister on purpose.
Green describes the group as social as well as informative, with group members taking semi-annual trips or simply getting together to tie flies.
“You have small groups going out on any given weekend,” Green said. “In fact, I’ll be going later this afternoon with a friend.”
The NRV chapter, with its usual meetings as well as the special events, is a great resource for those in the area who are interested in small mouth bass and trout fishing. Membership is diverse and includes undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and local residents, as well as retirees.