Wizard Falls has become an annual outing for the PHWFF Salem, Oregon Program to chase big trout. On May 11, we had the chance to collaborate with Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to get veterans on a pond at the Wizard Falls Fish Hatchery near Camp Sherman in Central Oregon.
The trip provided the opportunity for 15 veterans to work on a variety of skills, from casting to the proper release of fish. The one-on-one instruction made it comfortable for all skill levels to have fun and learn. Before we got on the water, we were able to work with the veterans on casting single hand rods, two handed spey rods, how to tie knots and select flies. We also had the opportunity to show them how the fish react to different fly patterns and sizes ranging from size #12 prince nymph to a size #4 sparkle minnow.
Veterans from most of the programs in the state were represented. Along with offering fishing instruction, we had the pleasure of providing them with a lunch prepared by an amazing crew cooking with Dutch ovens. The highlight of the day was watching some of the veterans hook up on a trophy trout with many
being a personal best trout.
As a former participant who has attended this event in the past, it was rewarding to attend in the role of assistant program lead and to offer other veterans the opportunity to discover a joy of a day well spent on the water.