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WVU fly fishing club pays it forward

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — College students juggle a lot of activities.  There’s class for starters, which leads to a need to budget time to study.   A lot of students have to work and there are various social activities, but somewhere in there one select group at West Virginia University is taking time to fish. Actually learning how to fish and sharing the gospel of the flyrod is the mission of the WVU Flyfishing Club.

“It’s not really about getting a club together to go fishing because you can’t fish 30 people on a stream,” said Club President Justin Brouse, a rising senior from Cincinnati, Ohio. “It’s more about getting people together to do charity events and cleanup work for the state of West Virginia.”

The club boasts about 30 members, few of whom are actually avid fly fishermen.  In fact, Brouse said the beauty of the club is how they’ve been able to introduce many newcomers to the activity.

“That’s actually most of the members of our club. We’re a very novice club, only a few of us have several years of experience in fly fishing,” he explained in a recent edition of Northside Automotive West Virginia Outdoors. “That’s what’s great about it is we can bring speakers in to teach us how to tie flies or teach us how to cast.  It helps lift up the entire club.”

Brouse counts himself as an example.  He liked to fish when he arrived at WVU three years ago, but had never tried fly fishing.  He joined up and was soon bitten by the bug.  While the club shares the enjoyment of fishing, they also share an appreciation for streams, community service and giving back to the region.

“We do work with some Boy Scout troops in the area to get fly fishing out to the next generation and try to get kids into the sport,” he said. “We also do a lot of work with Trout Unlimited in the state.”

The club usually takes one day a week to organize a stream cleanup.  They’re also active in putting on fly casting classes and fly tying classes when there’s an opportunity.

“We do the stream cleanups at least once a week.  We clean up Deckers Creek a lot.” said Brouse.

Deckers Creek runs through the middle of Morgantown emptying out into the Monongahela River, so it’s the closest stream to campus for the group to tackle.  It’s not all work and no play, Brouse said the club does try to schedule a camping trip twice a year to get away from campus and enjoy wild and wonderful West Virginia.

“We try to hit the North Fork of the South Branch.  We have a cookout and camp and just have a good time,”  he said.

College students have to juggle a lot of plates, but fishing, community service, and helping others learn to fish would certainly seem like time well spent.

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