For The Trout!

Oh these fish.  All fins and colored scales. Flicking tails, keen eyes, and lateral lines. These fish drive people to their wits end and keep them coming back for more.


These fish make us think. These fish make us feel. They force us to stop and look closer, analyze our surroundings. It’s now a symbiotic relationship. For as much as we need them, they need us.


There are very few truly wild places left for these fish to thrive. Most trout populations now depend on us to survive. Our actions have implications for the fish we hold dear. They feel the effects that we humans have had on landscapes all over the world.


These fish are resilient. They know how to find refuge. Patiently waiting for us to figure out that what we do on this land affects the water they call home.


Cold, clean water is a drastically undervalued resource in our society today. How quick we are to think of value in monetary terms instead of something a little less tangible. Can you put a dollar amount on seeing your child or grandchild catch their first trout? What about sharing time on the water with the military veterans and first responders in our communities?


It shouldn’t cost any more to do business in a manner that preserves this cold, clean water because doing less shouldn’t be an option. That’s easy enough to write, but we humans are quick to let things slide.


A runoff related fish kill here, an already depleted groundwater aquifer suffering from drought there. And that’s when we start coming together. Each on our own terms and at our own pace. Collectively swimming against the current, following the trout’s lead.


A movement of people. Coalescing around a simple idea that we can do better. For the trout.


Trout Unlimited is the organization leading this upstream migration in a downstream world. Through TU we have the ability to engage members of our community and offer ways to be a part of the solution. We have the tools to make positive change in our local watersheds.


The foundation is in place. The “One TU” model prioritizes collaboration between chapters, councils, and the national office. TU is an organization of doers.  Everyday our dedicated volunteers are stepping up and bringing the ideas, time, and talent needed to protect and restore our rivers.


Through this volunteer work we form the bonds that sustain this organization. We build partnerships and find new friends. We motivate each other. We lift each other up. We find our common ground on the cobblestone just beneath the water’s surface.


The stream reminds us that diversity leads to a higher quality of life. Riffles and runs, the feeding lies. Slow, deep pools for longer periods of rest. Boulders, cobblestone, spawning gravel – each serving a distinct purpose. Logjams and backchannels, flood plains and spring seeps. Happy trout.


Often when we come across an impaired stream, it is lacking in much of its original diversity.  And we as TU set out to make sure the headwaters are protected. Then we take up the work of reintroducing the features that the stream is missing in a restorative manner.


Along the way, we form relationships with landowners, government agencies, and other conservation organizations. For we are not alone in our mission to improve the rivers that run through our lands.


We use science to monitor the results of our labor and we make sure to keep a watchful eye on the restored habitat. Often times our sampling efforts resort to more primitive methods – hook and line. Companions and solitude, which ever it is you seek that day, are both welcome on these waters.


We educate our neighbors about the value of cold, clean water. We teach our children about the joys of spending time recreating on these waters. We advocate for policies that protect and enhance these waters.


We share our experiences, learn from our mistakes, celebrate our victories, and sustain TU’s legacy in the process. We shape the future for our cold water friends, the trout.


It is a noble thing to hold a creature in such high regard as to spend hours of your life working for the betterment of their life.


We who have been fortunate enough to stand knee deep in a Wisconsin trout stream understand exactly why we volunteer, advocate, work, organize, educate, plan, speak, write, and mentor. It’s for the trout.


Much Respect,

Mike Kuhr