Trout Unlimited Banquet in Butte

Trout Unlimited dinners – all for the trout (and grayling, too).

The snow banks tell us it’s still winter, but we’re getting into one of the sure signs of spring, the banquet season.

Here in Butte, spring seems to be the time when the various habitat organizations hold their annual fundraising banquets to support their organizations’ work improving wildlife habitat. The Mule Deer Foundation held their dinner earlier this month and the George Grant Chapter of Trout Unlimited has their bash coming up on Friday, March 3.

Oh, and take a hint, readers. If you’re affiliated with one of the organizations e.g. elk, turkeys, wild sheep, pheasants, etc., let me know what’s coming up and I’ll be glad to give you a plug in a future column.

I’m a longtime member of Trout Unlimited, and joined the George Grant Chapter of TU shortly after moving to Butte in 1988, and I’ve volunteered for habitat projects, served on their board, and otherwise have been involved with TU for a long time.

I believe in the goals of Trout Unlimited, of working to preserve and protect our cold-water fisheries. It’s not just about catching trout. It’s about protecting crucial habitat. Whether we’re talking about municipal water, irrigation, fish, waterfowl, upland birds, or elk and deer, it’s all about quality habitat and that always brings us back to water.

Here, along the Continental Divide, we’re blessed with an abundance of trout streams, though we’re also blessed with an abundance of environmental problems from a century of mining and smelting, careless agricultural practices, and over-allocated water resources, just for a start. We’ve been there and we’ve done it.

The national organization of Trout Unlimited deals with a lot of “big picture” issues, such as the renewed threats of the proposed Pebble Mine in Alaska, or acid mine drainage caused by mountaintop removal in coal country.

The local George Grant Chapter puts local money to work on local projects, such as habitat restoration, public access to streams, education programs and other such local opportunities. The annual spring banquet funds the chapter’s work on the ground and in the water.

The Trout Unlimited banquet will be held on March 3, beginning after 5 p.m., again at the Butte Plaza Mall at the former Stage store location, next to the Jo-Ann Fabric store.

You can expect the usual opportunities to spend money and support the trout, with raffles for fly rods, a NRS raft package, and lots of other merchandise. There will be live and silent auctions for a variety of art, rods, reels, guns, furniture and other such merchandise, much of it donated by supporting local businesses. You can also expect to see or make a lot of friends and have a great time.

Last year, the GGTU banquet was totally sold out and the most successful fundraising dinner in the chapter’s history, and the local committee is working hard to improve on that.

If you’re not already on the GGTU mailing list, you can buy tickets for the dinner online at www.ggtu.org, or call Joelynn at 406-560-2956. Also, the event is kid friendly and dinner is free for kids under age 12, with games and prizes just for kids. Today’s kids are the future of angling and habitat.

So, I hope to see you at the Trout Unlimited dinner, and don’t be afraid to get into a bidding war on a neat fly rod or piece of art.

Remember: it’s all for the trout.

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