Go fishing for science

Trout Unlimited wants you to help fish by catching more of them
Brook Trout spawning colors
All in the name of science: a brightly colored brook trout comes to the net after taking a stonefly nymph (photo: Chad Shmukler).

Trout Unlimited launched its TroutBlitz 2015 effort over the Memorial Day weekend, in hopes of encouraging America’s anglers to go fishing in the name of science.

It’s very simple to help TU catalog the nation’s trout and salmon inventory—the organization is asking anglers to photograph their catches and upload their photos and the waters in which the fish were caught to the TroutBlitz observation site. The TU Science Team can then use that data to catalog the persistence of native trout in their native watersheds, the extent of non-native trout persistence in waters where they don’t belong and the general health of watersheds across the country. Trout require cold, clean water and most waters that host wild or native trout are in watersheds that are largely healthy.

In addition to helping TU gauge the health of America’s trout waters, this data could be used to identify potential landscapes and watersheds that should be protected from development, or to identify waters where native trout could be reintroduced.

As an incentive, TU is partnering with FlyAssortments.com to award fly boxes stuffed to the gills with flies over the course of the summer. Between now and the end of June, anglers can compete with one another all across the country to catalog the most observations, and the highest number of trout species and subspecies. This first month, the angler who logs the most observations will win a 72-fly attractor assortment from FlyAssortments.com, and the angler who logs the highest number of species will win a 36-fly caddis assortment from the company.

“We wanted to make it fun,” said Jack Williams, TU’s senior scientist. “And what’s more fun for anglers than actually fishing? We think this effort will involve anglers in science and conservation in a meaningful way, and draw attention to some of the challenges trout and salmon face all across North America.”

To learn more about how to participate, the visit TU’s TroutBlitz project site, or check out the TU TroutBlitz manual on the project site. Or, simply go to the TroutBlitz observation site, create an account and start “blitzing.”

RULES for TroutBlitz: All anglers are welcome to participate--there is no age requirement. Two new assortments will be awarded each month. TroutBlitz observations logged before May 23, 2015, do not count toward prizes, and all observations logged after May 23 must be of fish caught and photographed on or after May 23. Observations for each subsequent month must be of fish caught and photographed within the month of the contest. A grand prize will be awarded to the angler who logs the most observations between May 23, 2015 and Oct. 31, 2015. TU employees and families of TU employees are not eligible to win prizes, but can log observations. For more information, contact Chris Hunt, TU's national communications director, at chunt@tu.org.