Happy New Year! I hope that you and your families were able to spend some quality time
together over the holidays and that Covid infections were avoided. It appears that we are
definitely not over the pandemic.
On a positive note, I want to wish Kiap-TU-Wish a Happy 50th Birthday!!! That’s right, 2022
marks our 50th year in existence. Take a moment to think about our trout fishery back when
our chapter was founded in 1972. The Kinnickinnic and Rush rivers were still being stocked,
and offered nowhere near the fishing we have today. Rivers such as the Trimbelle, South
Fork of the Kinni, Eau Galle, Cady, Pine, Plum, and Gilbert were not on most anglers’ radar
due to poor fishing. Look how far we have come in 50 years! Think about what we have
accomplished! The good ol’ days are here and now! That list of rivers I just mentioned will
continue to be added to because of you. Without your donations, grant writing, fundraising,
education efforts, and boots on the ground hard work, our fishery would not be nearly
what it is today.
We did not let the pandemic stop our efforts last year. We continued to have chapter
meetings in a hybrid format – online and in person. Our chapter newsletter, RipRap,
continues its legacy of excellence. When we couldn’t have our holiday banquet in person,
we had it online, complete with raffles and auction. Members still stepped up to support the
Hap Lutter Appeal. Trout in the Classroom and Pheasants Forever youth programs still went
on. People showed up for volunteer work days. We assisted the DNR on Cady, Gilbert, and
Plum. We continued our important stream monitoring programs, which are used to make
decisions by the DNR and also by the City of River Falls. Speaking of which, we continued to
work with the city and KCC on dam removal and the subsequent restoration efforts.
I would love to be around for our 100th birthday, but family medical history, and the fact I
would be 102, make that very unlikely. I do know that the chapter will still be going strong,
taking on the challenges that will come with an increasing population and a warming planet.
I also know that we will succeed and that my grandchildren will be trout fishing in our waters.
I know that because of what our chapter has accomplished in the past 50 years, what we
are currently trying to accomplish, and the efforts we have planned for the future. Most
importantly, I have come to know this chapter and its members. We are a chapter of doers,
of generous donors, hard workers, and intelligent team players with a wide variety of skills.
Take a bow, Kiap-TU-Wish members, and here’s to another 50 years!
– Greg Olson