09/01/2016, Q & A about our Branson expansion

By Bob Randall on Friday, September 2nd, 2016 in Uncategorized, No Comments

Questions and Answers about Branson expansion

Q The way you say your club name, Missouri Trout Fishermen’s Association-Springfield, it implies there are other chapters. Is that the case?

A Yep. We are organized under the Missouri Trout Fishermen’s Association-State Council. It is a state wide club with chapters in St. Louis, Kansas City, and Springfield. We have our own by-laws but they are subordinate to the State Council by-laws. The state council holds a trout derby at BSSP in June.

Q Are you organizing a Branson Chapter?

A Nope, not exactly. We are the Springfield Chapter. If you join, you will be in the Springfield Chapter, but we have committed to having meetings and activities in Branson as well. Last spring, Howard Hawkins asked how we could organize a Branson Chapter. We took a look at the by-laws and found that it wasn’t easy to do without help. Expanding the Springfield Chapter seemed to be the simplest way. The earliest time frame in which the “Branson Branch” of the Springfield Chapter could apply for Provisional Chapter status is one year. It will probably take longer.

Q Can we form a separate club not associated with Springfield?

A Yep. But not as an MTFA chapter. That will take time if you want to be totally independent. It’s not easy for several reasons. First, you’ll probably want to have insurance and when you’re just starting up a club it’s hard to gain resources for that. You also want to gain non profit status. That used to be easy but it’s not nowadays. Under the MTFA banner, you don’t have to worry about those things for now. We have insurance and 501(c)7 tax exempt status (that’s social, not charitable, educational, etc.). It’s not the kind of status that allows you to deduct your dues or donations from your income tax, either. But we don’t have to pay income taxes (the club doesn’t, you do).

Q Are you part of Trout Unlimited, Federation of Fly Fishers, Conservation Federation of Missouri?

A Nope, sorta, and sorta. We are affiliate members of FFF and CFM. Several of us are individual members of TU. We do not consider the Trout Unlimited, Branson Chapter to be our competitors and we are eager to work with them.

Q What do you do?

A We have a good time socializing, tying flies, telling lies, going fishing. We have monthly meetings, usually April and September are the exceptions as we teach a Basic Fly Fishing class at MSU those months and don’t have time. The first hour is spent socializing with a number of our members bringing in their fly tying gear to demonstrate their techniques, to show off their new gear or photos, or to swap the latest fishing stories. Then, at we hold a business meeting that begins with the introduction of guests, new members followed by fishing reports. After we finish with business, we have a special program. We’ve had illustrated talks from hatchery managers, fish biologists, fishing guides, a kayaking expert, fly tying experts, and we are planning a class with a certified casting instructor. After the program, we hold a free raffle for the flies we tied during the social hour or at home over the past month. It’s great fun and you will get more value out of the flies than your annual club dues will cost you. Club dues: $15 per year for individual or family.

Q What else?

A We hold four regular socials each year: A spring picnic at Mountain Springs Trout Park, a summer fish fry, a fall chili feed, and a Christmas party. This year we started regular club fishing trips. We went to Roaring River in January and fished in the snow. We went to Bennett Spring in February and our lines froze to the line guides. We camped out at Bennett Spring and we floated the James River.

Q Do you have a Facebook page?

A Yep. https://www.facebook.com/groups/MTFA.Springfield/

Q Do you have a webpage?

A Yep. http://mtfa-springfield.org/

Caution: don’t forget the hyphen and springfield.  MTFA.org will take you to the Muslim Trust Fund Association but that’s not us. We are the Missouri Trout Fishermen’s Association-Springfield.

We’re working on a new and improved website which will be public soon.

Q Are you just a club for fly fishermen?

A Nope. Not really. Most of us are fly fishers but we welcome spin fishers, too. Even though we put our spinning rods away once we got the fly fishing bug, we always seem to remember where we hid them during crappie season, when we’re casting in a small boat, or when we’re looking at a farm pond surrounded by brush. We may even give out some good-natured ribbing to our spin casting friends. If you can tell a good fish story, you’re acceptable. So if you’re looking for a trout fishing club that shares its interests in fly tying, fly fishing for trout, white bass and other species, or fishing-in-general, please take some time to check us out.

Q Do you have to be an experienced fly fisher?

A Nope. New club members who want to learn more about fly fishing/tying are welcome to audit the MSU Fly fishing class at no cost. We also have loaner rods and reels for newbies who aren’t sure about it, as well as, loaner fly tying kits. As a matter of fact, we’re not all experts, we just have fun talking about fishing, planning to fish, preparing to fish, and fishing.

Q What do you do for conservation?

A Never enough. Nobody does. Freeman Tilden, the father of interpretation (not languages, but the interpretation of nature, history, culture, etc.) for the National Park Service said,”Through interpretation, understanding; through understanding, appreciation; through appreciation, protection.” We believe that our work with newcomers to fishing helps provide appreciation that leads to conservation. We help the MDC at their Insect-O-Rama program. Finally, we have committed our membership to obeying all conservation laws and regulations. We wrote into our by-laws that we will terminate your membership if you are convicted of any violations.

Q We’ve heard about the Healing Waters Program. Do you help with that?

A You bet. Club member Russ Doughty, a Vietnam combat vet, is the contact man in this area for Healing Waters. He meets with them, teaches them to tie flies, build rods, and how to fish. Then he takes them fishing. Russ is someone who has been there himself and he’s there for our vets. Haven’t heard about Healing Waters? From their own website: Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, Inc.™ is dedicated to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled active military service personnel and disabled veterans through fly fishing and associated activities including education and outings.”

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