Approximately 35 boys and girls ages 10 to 15 from the northern metro Atlanta region were introduced to fly fishing by the Upper Chattahoochee Chapter of Trout Unlimited and the Georgia Women Fly Fishers. The Sam Rizzio Youth Fly Fishing & Conservation Clinic took place Saturday, April 22 at the Chattahoochee Nature Center in Roswell.
The clinic provided basic instruction in all phases of fly fishing, including fly casting, knot tying, insect identification and conservation. Certified instructors and mentors worked with the students to provide individualized instruction and answer questions about fly fishing. Each student was awarded a certificate upon completion and a drawing was held for fishing gear.
Three high-school-aged chapter members participated this year as fly-casting instructors. Two of them have attended the Georgia Council of Trout Unlimited’s summer Trout Camp, and one has attended Trout Unlimited’s national Teen Summit, which is an annual program of advanced fishing and conservation education. The other student recently formed a fly-fishing club at Roswell High School. All three are experienced fly casters and fly fishermen. They are committed to the sport of fly fishing and eagerly volunteered to participate in this year’s Rizzio Clinic to help younger kids learn and appreciate the sport.
The Sam Rizzio Youth Fly Fishing & Conservation Clinic has a long, 20-plus year history in the north Atlanta area. In its early days, the event was held at the river park on Azalea Drive in Roswell. Hundreds and hundreds of metro Atlanta kids and their parents joined in the fun of learning about fly fishing and conservation before heading down to the Chattahoochee River to catch one or more of the thousands of trout stocked in the waters near the park just for the event.
Several years later, the clinic downsized and moved to the fish hatchery below Buford Dam. It was then that the event was named after Sam Rizzio, a long-time member and youth advocate of the Upper Chattahoochee Chapter of Trout Unlimited. The clinic is now held annually each April at the Chattahoochee Nature Center in Roswell.
Positive feedback came from the kids and parents. Although they did not specify a favorite activity from the fly casting, knot tying, stream conservation or the Chattahoochee River history presentation, the event organizers believe that learning to cast with a fly rod was the most popular event of the day.
The Upper Chattahoochee Chapter of Trout Unlimited is appreciative of the support received from these sponsors: The Fish Hawk, Alpharetta Outfitters, Atlanta Fly Fishing School, ZWJ Investment Counsel, Georgia Women Fly Fishers and the Chattahoochee Nature Center.
For more information, visit the Georgia Council of Trout Unlimited’s website, www.GeorgiaTU.org.