Veterans Enjoy Chasing Steelhead with PHWFF New York

On November 6, 2021 several veterans from Central New York PHWFF programs were invited by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Salmon River Hatchery to participate in their annual Veteran’s Fly Fishing event.

The veteran participants enjoyed guided, catch and release Steelhead fishing on the Salmon River in Altmar, N.Y.

There was perfect weather, a reasonable flow (thanks to Brookfield Renewable for lowering the water release!), great food, and, of course, many cooperating steelhead made for a memorable day! Lots of takes, many bent rods, some “long-line releases”, and several netted “chromes” elicited smiles all around!  

phwff oswego program lead john propster

Propster said that well over a dozen professional guides created lasting memories for several Project Healing Waters veteran participants, as well as veteran participants from OASIS Adaptive Sports.

“Several volunteers, including many from local PHWFF Programs (many of whom were former participants), spent the day assisting in dressing out, equipment setup, and netting fish for our veterans,” Propster said. “A full day of great fishing, great food, and, most of all, great fellowship was enjoyed by all.”

The theme of the day seemed to be “1,000’s.” Pictures do indeed speak a thousand words, and the steelhead, known by many to be the fish of 1,000 casts, has, on this day, also earned the moniker of “the fish of 1,000 smiles!”

phwff oswego program lead john propster

Propster would like thank multiple people for this amazing outing. First, Betsy Ukeritis, the NYSDEC Inter-regional Environmental Educator, for providing all of the planning, coordination, scheduling, and setup for this event. Dan Sawchuck and Erin Jennings who prepared chili, burgers, hot dogs and baked goods for the participants. Dave and Lidsay Agness, who guided, mentored, and provided flies to all the veterans. And last, but definitely not least, Jeff Gilka, U.S. Army veteran and superb photographer, for memorializing the great times had by all!  

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