The Kalamazoo Valley Chapter Trout Unlimited with Michigan Trout Unlimited has been proud to host Michigan Youth Conservation and Trout Camp since 1997. Adults from all over the state and elsewhere bring their many years of experience in fishing as well as conservation to ensure a quality program. We hope to help campers develop self-esteem, character, courage, responsibility and cooperation. Quality camp experiences will help them grow into strong, considerate, competent adults. We believe that each of us plays an important role in the stewardship of the environment. We help campers grow into responsible citizens by teaching them to appreciate, respect and care for the world in which we live.
To quote George Eliot: “We could have never loved the earth so well if we had no childhood in it.”
What better way to give back to the pastime we all consider so sacred than to teach a youth to fish? Time, work, and other duties tend to get in the way more than most of us like to admit. Fortunately, the Michigan TU 2023 Youth Conservation and Trout Camp allows up to twenty youth, age 13-16, to be introduced to fishing and conservation.
This year's camp will be held June 18-22 at the Ralph A. MacMullan Center on beautiful Higgins Lake in Roscommon. This is more than just a fishing camp. Counselors and speakers from throughout the country volunteer their time to teach campers to conserve, protect, and restore Michigan’s cold water fisheries and their watersheds. Campers also learn the fundamental skills and techniques of trout fishing and then build upon these skills.
No matter the level of experience or interest, this camp really has something for everyone. Campers are taught skills including conventional fishing, fly casting, spinner making, rigging, fly tying, water safety, knots, proper catch and release, reading the water, conservation threats, and what goes into a healthy stream, along with TU’s history. Campers are completely immersed in the outdoors, collecting and identifying insects, completing stream restoration projects, sharing outdoor stories, and of course fishing.
In addition, this camp is a great opportunity for those considering a future career in the outdoors. Speakers from Michigan DNR, biologists, TU staff, guides, authors, conservationists, anglers, boat captains, and other industry professionals share their experience and education. Campers can ask questions and see firsthand what these people do on a day-to-day basis to make the outdoors such a special place for us all.
Most of the fishing throughout camp will be on the historic stretches of Michigan’s Au Sable River. Since many of the stretches are part of the “Holy Water,” fly fishing techniques will be emphasized. However small stream spinner fishing is also taught for campers who find this to be their preferred fishing method.
If you know a youth who would be a good fit for this awesome experience, send them to the camp website at https://michigantucamp.org/camper-application/. Campers must be 13-16 years old at the time of camp and cannot have attended a previous camp. Applicants are asked to submit an essay on why they would like to attend camp as well one letter of recommendation. Camp is limited to 20 campers, so we encourage applying well before the April 30 deadline.