Student group shares its passion for fishing

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Although the weather may make it seem otherwise, spring fishing season is nearly here. Spring allows anglers a chance to dust off the casting tackle and hit the rivers, lakes and streams. One group preparing for the opener is the NMU Piscators.

Although it is one of the lesser-known clubs on campus, the Piscators have been around for nearly eight years.

“(We’re) a group of NMU students who share a passion for fishing and the outdoors in general,” said club president Brian Wildey. “We just have a lot of fishing related events.”

Unlike other club sports groups, there are no required dues or membership obligations. In fact, their events are open to anyone and everyone who would like to give fishing a try.

“It’s a more relaxed organization,” said Wildey. “We host events and people can come and go as they please. Pretty much all of our stuff is open to everyone.”

Events hosted by the group range from fishing expeditions to public service to how-to skills clinics. The group hits up all the stand-by Marquette locations such as the Dead and Carp Rivers, but also travels to fish. Every year, the group represents NMU in the collegiate steelhead fishing tournament in Baldwin, Mich.

“We never have (enough) people to be actually competitive,” Wildey said. “But a couple of the guys are pretty good fishermen, and they sometimes win individually.”

One event the club hosted already this spring was a clinic put on jointly with representatives of the Fred Waara chapter of Trout Unlimited. Participants were invited to come to the Jacobetti Center to learn to cast with fly fishing gear, tie their own flies and make their own spinners. All equipment and supplies were provided by the Piscators and Trout Unlimited, allowing people with no experience to come and give things a try.

The Piscators club enjoys giving first-time anglers a chance to try things out, and will always try to supply equipment for those who don’t have any. One event that provides a perfect chance for this is Michigan’s ‘Free Fishing Weekend.’ The weekend is a two-day period every winter and summer when residents do not need to pay licensing fees to fish. The Piscators like to plan an event for the weekend every year to give budding anglers a chance to get out.

“We generally go out that weekend,” said Wildey, adding that people without their own equipment are always welcome to join. “Normally, we can come up with enough equipment to provide some people.”

Trout Unlimited is one of the foremost stream and river fishery management organizations in the world, and as an extension of the local chapter, the NMU Piscators do something every year to help maintain the quality of the local water systems.

“This last fall, we cleaned up Wetstone Brook,” Wildey said. “We do (community service projects) about once a year. We got about a pick-up load of trash out of it.”

The Piscators also benefit in other ways from Trout Unlimited. Recently, an NMU graduate student was awarded a $750 scholarship from the organization.

Although the organization does not have any more events planned this semester, the monthly meetings will resume next school year. Those wishing to join or take part in an event, can contact club president Brian Wildey at [email protected]edu.