Monday, August 29, 2011

PHW-Milwaukee Works a Day at the Fish Hatchery

Veteran participants from Project Healing Waters Milwaukee lent a helping hand at the Rushing Waters Trout Farm on Monday, August 22. Rushing Waters, located in Palmyra, WI, raises rainbow trout and supplies the fish to local grocery stores and restaurants. Our veterans, armed with their fly rods and an assortment of recently tied hoppers, caddis, parachutes, and foam beetles, took to the waters and proceeded to catch a years’ worth of trout in one morning. TU volunteers on hand raced to keep up with the bounty of rainbow trout being caught. The trout were put in buckets and collected by the hatchery workers to be processed and shipped to market later that day.

While the fishing was easy, (maybe a little too easy) the experience of hooking, playing, and landing dozens of fish in one morning greatly improved the angling abilities of all who participated. Our hope is that these veterans will be well prepared to make the most of future fishing outings when the strikes may not be so plentiful. As always, VA staff provided a lunch featuring chicken, various pasta salads, and dessert, to all who participated. Many thanks go out to SEWTU’s Larry Wirth for organizing the event, all the volunteers for their hard work, and to Rushing Waters for allowing us access to their incredible fishery.

If you would like to learn more about our program or contribute (either through a financial donation or volunteering); contact Program Lead Mike Kuhr at or (414) 588-4281.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

We're Back!

Quick note - we are planning to revamp our website, so please be sure to check our blog more often for updates on SEWTU workdays, PHW outings, and other associated SEWTU events.

First off, we have a nice write up from our workday out on Rosenow Creek, from Mike Kuhr:

Rosenow Creek Workday a Success!

On Saturday, July 16, 2011, 40 volunteers from Trout Unlimited worked to restore Rosenow Creek, a class 1 trout stream in Oconomowoc, WI. Led by the Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources, volunteers broke up logjams and removed elodea (an aquatic invasive species), both of which were impeding the flow of the stream. We worked in the Nature Hill area just north of the new middle school.

The creek had long been cared for by local teacher Mike Olander and his students. Since Mike’s retirement several years ago, no one has been around to clean up after several severe storms washed trees and debris into the creek. Mike reached out to the DNR who in turn contacted SEWTU. It’s not often we get asked to work on a class 1 trout stream in our own area!

After we got the stream flowing again, volunteer took some time to enjoy an SEWTU Brat Fry and share their favorite Rosenow Creek fishing stories. It turns out that many of members have fond memories of catching wild brook trout in years past. Then the DNR crew electroshocked a small stretch of the improved stream and found many brook trout ranging from 4-9”. It’s good to know these wild, native fish are still doing well in a stream so close to urban development.

Thanks to all who showed up to lend a helping hand and until next time, we’ll see you on the river.

Friday, April 1, 2011

It's been a while...
Early Season Catch and Release is already going, it's time to renew your fishing licenses, and I need to get this blog up to date!

Lots of great things in the pipe for SEWTU for 2011! We've had a great start to the year at our meetings, and some great speakers. This past month's meeting, Tim Landwehr from Tight Lines Fly Shop in DePere, WI braved ice and snow and presented his talk on "Fly-Fishing for TRophy Smallmouth." Tons of great info on throwing flies for Wisconsin's wonderful bronzebacks, and a HUGE THANKS again to Tim for making the trip. Congratulations on your 10th year in business too, Tim! Way to go! There is an open house at Tight Lines May 7th. Give Tim and staff a call for more info on this event, fly fishing gear, or guided trips. These folks know the waters up there.

Our guest speaker for April will be Mat from Viroqua's very own flyshop, Driftless Angler. Our May chapter meeting will host some of SEWTU's own members sharing their own fly-fishing trips.

Pat Elhers' shop The Fly Fishers will also host an open house this April 9th. Give them a call and find out more about the planned festivities, what's hot this season, and any other local fishing tips.

Stay tuned to our calendar for upcoming work days this year.

See you on the water!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tornadoes in November?

Hey readers -
We've had some interesting weather patterns on the radar in WI for sure this year, the latest being tornadoes hovering about this past Monday. Crazy times...

Had a great All Chapter meeting Nov 16th. Pat Elhers of The Fly Fishers gave a great presentation on becoming a better Predator. If you have time Dec 11th, definitely stop by the shop for their annual holiday party! See the store calendar for more info.

Other things on our radar:
1. There is a tenative workday on Dec 4 on and around Paradise Spring Creek. The SEWTU website calendar will be updated with more info soon.

2. Dec 14th is our All Chapter meeting - same bat time, same bat channel.
Thunder Bay Grille N14W24130 Tower Place, Pewaukee, WI
This is our year-end meeting, so we'll celebrate another great year of conservation efforts, fishing, and the like. Official business is a minimum, so we'll watch a movie, share fishing stories/lies, and have an optional gift exchange. If you;d like to participate in the gift exchange, bring a wrapped gift valued no more than approxiamately $15. The meeting is not just for the exchange - the exchange is optional, so if you choose not to participate, still come! Gift or not, all are welcome! The importance is on fun - watch a trout or fishing related video and enjoy the successes we have accomplished throughout this past year. Stop by and enjoy the holiday cheer!

We look forward to seeing you all!


Saturday, November 13, 2010

We're Back!
And we have a lot of great news!

First off, a little note from Michael Kuhr - our Project Healing Waters Program Lead:
Project Healing Waters programs in the Upper Midwest have a new and improved website to help promote our programs. I will be keeping the WI Calender and the Milwaukee Photo Albums up to date on the site (I just added new photos from our recent Salmon Fishing Outing).

Check It Out:

I've been out to a PHW outing and have to say it is immensely rewarding. If you have an interest in helping some of our Nation's Veterans take on fly fishing, definitely contact Michael. I am not sure if there are any more trips planned for the winter months, but there are definitely fly tying classes. Check out the website above for dates/times.

There is also a Chapter Meeting Nov 16th (not the standard 4th Tuesday due to holiday/hunting) at 6pm, with the presentations starting 7:15ish. Make the trip to Thunder Bay Grille (N14w24130 Tower Place, in Pewaukee, Wisconsin. Immediately behind the Mobile station, just north of County Highway J's intersection with I-94). We'll kick off this month's meeting with Captain Pat Elhers, owner of The Fly Fishers in Greenfield WI, speaking on the topic of "How To Become a Better Predator." This will be my first time attending a presentation by Pat Elhers, but I have heard they are top notch. I am looking forward to this for sure!

One last note: this meeting will be the last one at which you can order SEWTU gear and get it BEFORE the upcoming December Holidays. If you are interested, be sure to bring your checkbook. Jim Wierzba will be on hand to take orders. Click HERE to check out the goods

If you haven't been to a SEWTU meeting lately, come on out and catch up with everyone. If you want to see what SEWTU does for our local fisheries and are looking to join, come on out. We would be happy to have you!


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Scuppernong River Workday and Healing Waters Outing

As part of our ongoing work in the Southern District of the Kettle Moraine, on Saturday, August 28, 2010, the Southeast Wisconsin Chapter of Trout Unlimited (SEWTU) will construct LUNKER structures with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Gary Borger Trout Unlimited, and Oakbrook Trout Unlimited, at the Southern District of the Kettle Moraine Fisheries Building. The wood is ordered and paid for, and we will definitely be constructing fish structures.

These structures will be full sized, and will be used as part of an exciting new project being commenced by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Specifically, this project involves approximately 2 miles of the Scuppernong River being moved from it’s current, unnatural ditch, and being replaced into its natural stream bed. Using aerial photography, and confirming inspections, the DNR has actually located the original stream bed of the Scuppernong River, and we’ll be helping to move the river back where it belongs.

These structures will be used to stabilize the newly restored stream channel’s banks, and to provide trout cover from overhead predation.

We’ll also have additional crews removing invasive in-stream vegetation, gathering native prairie seeds, and one elite crew will even perform beaver dam removal.

This will be one heck of a workday, and one that you won’t want to miss. We’ll meet up at the DNR Fisheries Building, and the workday will begin at 9:00 a.m. sharp.

To get to the location, take Highway 59 west out of Eagle, WI, until you see the DNR sign on the south side of the road. Turn by the sign, and follow the road back, across the train tracks, to the fisheries building (take the first right turn when you cross the tracks). A map to the location is available under the "Calendar of Events" at

As always, we’ll work for ½ day, and end with a lunch provided by Gary Borger TU at noon.

Volunteers should bring eye protection, gloves, and if you’d like to work in the water please bring waders or a change of clothing.

PLEASE RSVP to Henry Koltz at, or by phone at 414-258-4300 (please RSVP, as we need to calculate food preparation!)

Project Healing Waters Milwaukee will be holding our 5th fishing outing of 2010 on Monday, August 30 from 8:30 til 1:00. We will be fishing for bass and bluegills in the pond at Cabela's in Richfield. We'll probably be doing a little shopping as well. I'm looking for about 10-12 fly fishing mentors to help coach the veterans through a morning of fly fishing. If you are interested in volunteering for this event, please let me know via email or phone. Thanks again and I hope all is well.
Project Healing Waters
Milwaukee Program Lead
(414) 588-4281

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Project Healing Waters, 2010

Michael Kuhr's notes from the most recent PHW outing:

Project Healing Waters Milwaukee holds its fourth Fishing Outing of 2010 Veterans participating in the Project Healing Waters Program in Milwaukee enjoyed a day of fly fishing on Monday, July 26. The event was held at the Wern Valley Sportsmen’s Club, located just west of Waukesha. Eight veterans were partnered up with volunteers from SEWTU. The volunteers served as fly-fishing mentors for the veterans, who are learning the skills of fly fishing as part of their recreational therapy at the VA Medical Center in Milwaukee. The ponds at Wern Valley are home to many bass and bluegill, and veterans wasted no time in hooking several nice big bluegills early. Just as the anticipation began to swell, a yellow popper was cast out over the weeds into the pond. Two strips of the line and an explosion of water later, hoots and hollers began echoing across the small pond. “Get the camera” cried one of the vets. “We’ve got a real nice bass here” shouted one of the mentors. A few photos were snapped of the smiling vet and her 17-18” largemouth bass before it was quickly released back into the water. Many more bass and bluegill were caught throughout the day although a few managed to get off in the weeds. Wern Valley is quickly becoming a favorite fishing spot among the veterans. This is already our third trip since the program started holding outings in 2009. The ponds are well kept, easily accessible, and filled with hungry fish. Summer weed growth and bright sunshine provide a bit of a challenge as well. Thanks again to all those at Wern Valley for allowing us to access their ponds. As always, a picnic style lunch was provided by the VA staff who accompanied the veterans. Previous outings took place in April at Greenfield Park, in May at Wern Valley, and in June at Menomonee Park. Future outings are being planned for Monday, August 30 and date TBD in September.
Thank you to all of the mentors for volunteering their time, equipment, knowledge, and patience. Project Healing Waters would also like to thank the supporters who have made generous donations towards the program. This would not be the success that it is without the contributions of these folks. SEWTU will continue “healing those who serve” through the implementation of the Project Healing Waters Program in Milwaukee.

Here are some great photos of PHW in action:

For more information, please contact Mike Kuhr by email ( or phone (414) 588-4281.