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On Monday December 13, the Bozeman Program of Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing met for their weekly fly-tying group, but with a twist.

This time, the program decided to make holiday ornaments using a Christmas Streamer, which is a bucktail fly with red and white coloring with some flashabou.

Montana Troutfitters, a local fly shop in Bozeman, donated their space in the store for participants and volunteers to use.

“Tying flies with the PHWFF Bozeman crew is always a fun experience,” participant Sue Kerver said. “Bill, who used to tie professionally, volunteers his talents and time and we are so lucky to have his wealth of knowledge.”

Tying Christmas streamers to place inside Christmas ornaments made for a festive fly-tying experience and the seven participants in attendance were able to apply their creativity to both the pattern and the ornament. With tons of laughter around the table, the two hours flew by. The end results were unique expressions of each veteran participant and cherished ornaments which will be a lasting reminder of this particular fly-tying evening. 

phwff bozeman participant sue kerver

Kerver said one of the most memorable moments was the participants trying to work with the red floss.

“Oh my gosh. The red floss. It was such a nightmare to work with, yet we all still seemed to make do and create amazing flies, while having quite a few laughs along the way.”

The PHWFF Charleston program was very gracious in supplying information and best practices so the Bozeman program would be successful. In fact, this idea originated when Kerver saw a picture of an ornament on Facebook that one of her PHWFF Charleston friends made during their recent meeting. She knew Bozeman had to get in on the action, so she reached out to Charleston Program Lead Gerry Minetti and he walked her through the process of suspending the fly in the ornament. 

Kerver brought this insight to Bozeman Program Lead Jim Wegner, and with Jim’s and Bill’s planning, they were able to have a very successful event!

As a female veteran, I’ve often been the only woman at fly-fishing and fly-tying events, which could be a deterrent for some ladies who are on the fence about participating with PHWFF.

However, with this organization, I’ve never felt marginalized or minimized and I’ve been an active member in both Charleston and Bozeman PHWFF programs. Bozeman’s fly-tying event was another great example of the feelings of camaraderie and inclusiveness that PHWFF creates.  

I’ve met some of the greatest people through PHWFF and loved being able to connect an east coast program with a west coast one in a fun and lasting way. 

bozeman participant sue kerver

When Kerver brought the idea to Wegner, he was open to the twist on a fly-tying night. The veteran participants were excited to expand their creative abilities and do something a little out-of-the-box.

Kerver would like to thank Montana Troutfitters for the donated space to tie, as well as Minetti for showing her the ropes and Wegner for being so open to the idea.

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