River Life Home Education Program for Parents and Kids – Lesson 1

At Montana Trout Unlimited, we know how important the next generation of river stewards is to the future of conservation and sound angling ethics. That’s why for many years we’ve offered the Youth Fly Fishing and Conservation Camp each summer. We also know that with the reality of COVID-19, many people are home schooling their children and summer plans are uncertain for all of us. That’s why we created a crash-course for parents and kids in stream biology and ecology. Divided into 5 modules focused on different pieces of the river ecology mosaic, we’ve gathered lesson plans, fun handouts and activities you can download to do together, while creating fresh new video content to support your learning progress available on our YouTube page. Many of the materials here were developed by Margaret Sherriffs and Duncan Blair for TU’s Cold Water Conservation Education Guide (2002) and have been used at various youth camps for many years.

We also want you to share your experiences with us and other families. Tag us in your posts on Facebook and Instagram and use the hashtag #mturiverlife. We’ll send the best submissions some cool TU gear for sharing.

Check out our program below! We’ll update the lesson plan as we progress each week. New modules will be posted as we progress, with a live broadcast most weekdays at 11am Mountain Time that will fit into our weekly topic. Tune in to our Facebook and Instagram live and follow along with your family.

 Lesson 1: Trout Biology and Anatomy

Learning Objectives:

  • Identify Native and non-native trout species
  • Explain trout life history and spawning migrations
  • What is a redd?
  • Describe mating behavior
  • Importance of clean water and oxygen for eggs

Curriculum – Trout Bio Lesson 1 (parents download here)

  • Identifying features of bull, cutthroat, rainbow, brown, brook trout, and mountain whitefish – Montana Field Guide
  • Bull/brook/brown trout and whitefish – fall spawners
  • Cutthroat and rainbow trout – spring spawners
  • Redd – nest build by a female trout or salmon
  • Trout mating video – WATCH HERE