US Forest Service Southern Region Honors Georgians for work to Restore Brook Trout

December 9, 2013

US Forest Service Southern Region Honors Georgians for work to Restore Brook Trout

Award recipients: Kevin McGrath and Alex Watson from Trout Unlimited; Jeff Durniak (Rabunite), Anthony Rabern, Lee Keefer, and Leon Brotherton from GA DNR; and Chattahoochee/

Oconee NF staff members Jim Wentworth, Jerry Wood, Mike Brod, David Vinson, Mike Joyce, and Mitzi Cole (now on the Ouachita NF).

The Georgia Back-the-Brookie Partnership was honored by the U.S. Forest Service Southern Region as an exemplary example of Partnerships and Community Engagement in Atlanta on November 7. The award was among 15 categories of exemplary employees and projects honored for their accomplishments and dedication in supporting the spirit and mis- sion of the agency in 13 southern states. Since 2007, the Georgia Back-the-Brookie Partnership has been working to restore native brook trout on the Chattahoochee National Forest. The Forest Service has worked closely with partners including the Georgia Council of Trout Unlimited and Georgia Department of Natural Resources, which have provided funding and other resources.
The Southern Appalachian brook trout no longer exists in much of its native range, and is only present at greatly reduced levels in Georgia. Through the partnership, biologists have a better understanding of remaining brook trout populations, and the species is more secure in the southern portion of its range than it has been in recent years. The Back-the-Brookie project has included intensive monitoring, genetic analysis, youth education, stocking of fish, and other practices to benefit native brook trout such as placing barriers to prevent non-native trout from invading the native trout habitat. To date, partners have improved 80 miles of 32 streams through the placement of large woody debris. Treated areas have increased adult trout by 37 percent and young trout by 17 percent.
“This alliance of passionate and dedicated people is making a real difference here in Georgia in the preservation of this important native species,” said Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests Supervisor Betty Mathews. “Anglers are some of our country’s greatest conservationists, and we are proud to be seeing that in action here.”

While a big brook trout in Georgia is about 7 inches, it remains popular for those wanting to catch a native trout. Through habitat enhancement work the partnership has increased brook trout fishing opportunities in Georgia. Contributions to the project by members of the Georgia Council of Trout Unlimited have also been recognized in Field and Stream magazine and by Trout Unlimited nationally.

Accepting the Partners and Community Engagement Award on behalf of the group at the Regional Forester’s Award ceremony in Atlanta on November 7 were (L to R) Leon Brotherton, GA DNR; Jerry Wood, USFS; Betty Mathews, USFS; Kevin McGrath, Trout Unlimited; Mitzi Cole, USFS; Alex Watson, Trout Unlimited; and Mike Joyce, USFS.


Jan 25: 27th Annual Rabun Rendezvous!

December 9, 2013

If you weren’t at the 2014 Rabun Rendezvous, then you missed an amazingly good time. The numbers are still coming in, but here are some preliminary results: 

We had 297 adults and children in attendance. All Trout Unlimited Chapters in Georgia were represented with the exception of one; TU Chapters from South Carolina and North Carolina were represented; members of the Atlanta Fly Fishing Club, Georgia Women’s Fly Fishers, Casting for Recovery, North Georgia Trout Online, the Boy Scouts of Troop 6, Ducks Unlimited, and Trout Camp alumni were there; and we had special guests from Pro-ject Healing Waters and the National office of Trout Unlimited.

We had an excellent selection of bucket raffle and silent auction items donated by a long list of very generous businesses, groups, and individuals. In addition, we had a special “Brook Trout” print by Broderick Crawford framed with flies tied by four of the best from Rabun TU, Kyle Burrell, Doug Adams, Jeff “Dredger” Durniak and Terry Rivers. The one of a kind piece was used in a lively – and successful! – live auction. Thank you to all our donors!

The Dillard House put out the spread of food that has made them famous world-wide, the Foxfire Boys played their outstanding bluegrass music to the delight of hillbillies and flat-landers alike, Injun Frank put up his teepee, and a good time was had by all.

While donation checks are still coming in and there are still a few more bills to be paid, it appears that we will net in the neighborhood of $14,500 from the 2014 Rabun Rendezvous! These funds will allow us to continue and build upon the good work being accomplished by the Rabun Chapter. In addition, we have planned several new ventures in 2014 to fur-ther our mission. Stay tuned for more details.

Where: The “NEW” Dillard House Conference Center, located behind the Dillard House in Dillard, Georgia Who: The more the better. Everyone interested in protecting our cold-water resources, including their families, friends, and all who love clean cold streams, trout, and trout fishing.

Social: About 5 o’clock PM folks will start gathering to “pick the pig” and enjoy the rocking chairs on the porch of the Conference Center. There will be snack trays of cheeses, crackers, veggies with dips, and fruits. Soft drinks and ice will be available. If you want something stronger, better bring it yourself. There will be a fire inside to warm your buns.

*The Foxfire Boys (as seen in the Chattooga River episode of TUTV’s “On The Rise”) will again generously provide their ‘down home’ style of bluegrass picking and singing for your musical entertainment.

**Remember to ask about The Foxfire Boys CDs (now 4 of them), which will be available.**

*The large screen TV will be showing the Rabunites trout fishing some of their favorite ‘secret spots’. This will be the ideal time to be looking over the raffle and silent auction items. We welcome donations of raffle and auction items at the door, fellow TU’ers.

Dinner: Fish, chicken, and pork with all the side dishes and desserts that have made the Dillard House so famous, will be served about 6:30. It is a serve yourself buffet, so you will not leave hungry.

Program presenter:  Shelia Humphrey. Shelia is a Wildlife Interpretive Specialist at Smithgall Woods State Park.

Cost: $30 for adults, $25 for youth 15 and under. Cash, personal checks, VISA, and Mastercard accepted. We don’t do advance tickets or reservations; just pay at the door.

Lodging: The Dillard House has set special rates for rooms for those that call and tell them you’re attending the Trout Unlimited Rabun Rendezvous. Call: 706-746-5348 or Toll Free 1-800-541-0671. You must tell them you are there with Trout Unlimited to get the special rate.

The 2013 Rabun Rendezvous provided funds for the following: GA Trout Camp for youth; Sponsorship of student interns working in NE GA fisheries with the GA WRD and the USFS; Sponsoring four youngsters attending the GA Trout Camp; Financial support of the GA DNR Smithgall Woods Conservation Education Program; Rabun Co Middle School Mentoring Program; Gift Stream Explorer memberships; GA “Back-the-Brookie” Program; Kid’s Fishing Event at Tallulah River (USFS); GA WRD Outdoor Adventure Day; River clean-up day at Chattooga DH; In-stream habitat improvement workday with USFS & GA WRD on a Rabun County brook trout stream; Fly Fishing for Vets Wounded Warriors Program; Handi- cap Access on Tallulah River; Casting for Recovery; UGA coldwater Research Endowment; National TU’s “First Cast”, “Embrace-A-Stream”, & “SE Land Protection” Programs; Support of Rabun TU’s award winning website; and Trout Magazine subscriptions to all school & public libraries and 2 state parks in Rabun County. In 2014 we plan on further ex- panding our outreach with “Trout in the Classroom” and other Trout Unlimited programs.

So any and all support is APPRECIATED!!!!

Jan 16: Chapter Meeting

December 9, 2013

January 16 (Thurs) Chapter Meeting at the TU/Scout Hut.

Fly tying starts at 5:00. Bring your own equipment if you have it.

6:30 pm – 7:00 Social & Story telling (Truth or Lies), Then at 7:00 – Program & Meeting.

“Angling Alaska” by Rabunite Kent Wilson is our guest speaker. Kent is a regular Alaskan fishing tourist. He’s got great information and lots of stories. You’ll have to come see for yourself if the stories are true.


The new TU/Scout Hut

US 76 west, the brick building located behind the Rabun County Library.
Parking is available in the Rabun County Library parking lot and Rabun County Tax Office parking lot.
3rd Thursday of the Month!

At every regular chapter meeting there will be a raffle for fishing or camping

items to help pay the cost of mailing the newsletter to members without email. Bring an item to donate and a dollar or two for raffle tickets You Might WIN something !

*** Remember though… December is our Chapter Christmas Dinner in stead of the regular monthly meeting***

Prez Tammy Wins Mack Martin Rod Sweepstakes

Chapter Prez Tammy Hopton held the winning ticket at the Chapter’s annual July 11 family picnic that she won the raffle for Mack Martin’s custom-built Winston 3-weight fly rod! The rod raffle brought in more than $1,800 to support our programs. That’s a new record. We can’t thank Mack enough for his generosity in crafting and donating such a beautiful trout tickler to our Chapter.

More details here.

Fellowship and Fly Fishing

Is coming back! This program in which members would fish a local stream together was put on pause during COVID,  but Rabunite Mike Fuller is resurrecting it.  Read more!



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