The Woolly Buggers fly fishing club has been teaching youth fly fishing for 18 years, which means the club is older than most of its members.
Its billed as the largest youth fly fishing club in the U.S., and its a chance for kids 6 to 16 to learn the art of fly angling from their peers under the guidance of adults.
Boisean Clayne Baker started it through the Federation of Fly Fishers with assistance from the Boise Valley Fly Fishermen.
About 100 families across the Treasure Valley participate in events and activities from monthly meetings to fly fishing outings to an annual banquet.
Baker, 82, grew up fishing and continues to be an avid fly angler. He leads the club with his wife, Yvonne.
This thing is so much fun, we wouldnt give it up for anything, Clayne said. There is nothing prettier in the world than a young kid that knows how to cast a fly; it is artful.
Clayne is known as an expert in the area and its neat to learn from someone so seasoned, said Bill Grzanic of Boise, whos had three sons in the club.
At a recent Woolly Buggers outing, kids fished ponds at Avimor while dressed in pirate-themed costumes and competed for prizes.
But the club strives for more than teaching kids to hook fish, which is reflected in its motto: There is more to fishing than catching fish.
Recreational and educational activities focus on leadership development and life skills.
Kids serve as club officers, competing for numerous positions including president, membership chair, program chair, newsletter editor, advertising and club naturalist.
Elections for officers in the club are wild and crazy, Baker said.
Monthly meetings are held September through June.
Public speaking skills are developed at each meeting where new members introduce themselves, fishing tales are told, and the clubs elected youth naturalist presents outdoor-related topics.
Guest speakers are also part of the clubs monthly meetings. Over the years, guests have ranged from former Idaho governor Cecil Andrus to conservationist Morley Nelson.
The current president of the club is 14-year old Vince Apodaca of Boise, whos been a member since he was 6 years old. His sisters were members before him.
Apodaca said the club helps keep the sport of fly fishing alive.
He said he enjoys the fishing, the good memories, the people and the meetings.
Fly fishing is a lifetime sport, he said. You cant be playing football when youre 55, but you can be fishing. It gets you out in nature and the outdoors.
The club gets its name from the popular fly named the Woolly Bugger. Baker has tied flies for about 70 years and, along with other adults, teaches fly tying at the monthly meeting.
The kids love to tie flies, and they get creative with it, he said. It gets very artistic.
Other annual activities include the holiday cookie party and a spring banquet. Parents are not required to attend activities, but Baker said parents and grandparents commonly join events and are heavily involved as volunteers.
JOIN THE BUGGERS
To learn more about the Woolly Buggers club, call 322-8118 or email email@example.com.
The fall kick-off meeting is in September.
Annual membership fees are $20 per family or $10 per individual.
Club meets the third Tuesday of each month from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. from September through June at the Idaho Department of Fish and Game at 600 S. Walnut Street in Boise. (No meetings in July or August.)