MTU Youth Education
Teaching the Next Generation of Conservation-Focused Anglers
Montana Trout Unlimited’s mission to conserve, protect, and restore coldwater fisheries requires us to prepare the next generation for the challenges our watersheds and trout populations will face into the future. It’s only by creating strong foundations in ecology, fisheries management, and ethics that new advocates will have the tools they need to carry on this important work. MTU education programs teach casting, fly fishing, and fly tying as windows into conservation, caring for stream environments and cultivating an understanding of the importance of the four C’s of good trout habitat: Clean, Cold, Complex, Connected. Our philosophy is that angling skills and stewardship should always go hand in hand.
In today’s digital age, it is more important that ever to emphasize outdoor education for young people. Connecting kids with their local streams and lakes provides them with a lifetime of enjoyment and fulfillment no screen can provide. MTU Youth Programs focus not only on fly fishing and fly tying skills, but on the basics of stream ecology, hydrology, fish and macroinvertebrate identification, restoration techniques and more, while introducing young people to conservation and outdoor recreation career paths. Many graduates of MTU Youth Programs become active with Montana TU chapters and often volunteer for clinics and camps themselves. By engaging young people in this way, our volunteer-based programs are raising the next generation of watershed stewards.
A highlight of MTU Youth Programs is introducing kids to the basic concepts of stream restoration through visits to current local project sites. Students actively participate in rehabilitation of degraded areas, while also learning about other ways to mediate impacts and enhance habitat. These concepts are grounded in sound watershed science.
The funding and planning for our programs involves a variety of public and private partners, including Montana’s 13 local TU chapters, United States Forest Service, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, and numerous private contributors. Special thanks for 2023 support to Yellow Dog Community Conservation Foundation and American Fly Fishing Trade Association.
Our programs help train the next generation of watershed stewards. MTU’s youth programs are time and funding intensive. We strive to reach underserved communities at no cost to them, and rely on dedicated volunteers and a small number of staff to provide top-notch educational programing. Your contribution can help change the life of a kid forever, by opening new opportunities and a lifetime of fly fishing adventures.