Project Healing Waters

The Denver based chapter of Project Healing Waters has been doing some great things lately. From Larry Snyder, the Denver group of Project Healing Waters:

While fly tying and casting classes are still continuing at the Denver VA hospital and the Aurora VA clinic, the Denver group of Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing is finishing off our 2011 outings and trips this Saturday, the 15th of October, with an informal get together at Cherry Creek State Park. Vets, volunteers and their family members will be treated to a fall lunch prepared by one of our volunteers.  2011 was a break out year for Denver.  In 2010 we were only able to book 4 fishing trips for the vets. This year it was 19 trips, with some of the trips flat out ruining a few of the vets with many trout caught in the 5 to 12 pound range. These guys may not want to catch normal fish anymore. Some of the better trips included floating the Colorado River, Battle at Boxwood Gulch Tournament, the Blue River Ranch, the Rahwah Ranch, Homestead Ranch, St. Mary's float tubing, the Canejos River, Big Thompson, Arkansas, Lake Lehow and of coarse a couple of trips to Rainbow Falls Mountain Trout in Woodland Park. One of our vets was able to go to Canada fly fishing for Pike, Walleye and Small Mouth Bass. Next month, another vet will be shipped off to the Bahamas to do some saltwater fly fishing on the flats.

I believe the latest number is somewhere around 20 new vets that finished the fly tying and casting classes this year with another 13 currently attending the fall classes. Both the hospital and the Aurora clinic have waiting lists of veterans who have heard about what we are doing and want to attend future classes. One of our volunteers has orchestrated monthly, more advanced, fly tying classes at Gander Mountain for those that we have graduated. He said we can't teach them and just drop them and we encourage them to continue and build on what they learned. 3 of our vets have joined us as volunteers, as well.

What's in our future? I can't tell you how exited I am about 2012. We will start off the year with a booth at the ISE show this year (we will raffle off a couple of rods, one being a 9' 6wt PHW all purpose rod with fighting butt) and we will co-host a booth with the Ft. Carson group at the Fly Fishing Show in January. Toward the end of January, we will be teaching rod building and on the 15th of March (mark this in you calendar) we will be hosting a Fly Fishing Film Festival fund raiser at Red & Jerry's in Littleton. Spring classes will start at the hospital and the clinic and we will kick off the fishing with a trip to Rainbow Falls Mountain Trout, probably in April. Many of the great fishing venues the vets enjoyed, this year, have asked us to come back. A goal of 30 fishing trips has been thrown out and we will work hard to achieve that.

Such a great program. Be sure to check out the Project Healing Waters Fly Rods that give 20% to Project Healing Waters and help support our veterans.