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                   2019 WFC Board Members

Tom "Fish" Chojnacki- President

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Sarah Baird- Vice President

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Janet Sowell - Secretary

I was born in Rapid City SD, moved to Aberdeen SD, then to Casper WY.  I've been lucky enough to call   Casper my home for the past 41 years.   Over the years in Wyoming I've enjoyed taking advantage of  hiking, running, cabin time, snowmobiling, skiing, snowshoeing, lake sports, camping, fishing and made many memories with my two adult children, three Grandies and many friends.   

 

My Dad is the best fisherman I know, he has been fishing his entire life and shared his love for the outdoors with my brothers and I.  Fly fishing has been on my bucket list for several years. Three years ago my dream became a reality when a great friend took time to show me the ropes while I was in Idaho.    My Dad always made it look so easy- loI I quickly learned that graceful loops for Dad became a backlash and  wad of line for me.  Over the past couple years I've experienced less backlash and wads of line, additionally I'm learning that patience is virtue in this sport!  "Patience Young Grasshopper" come to mind each time I fly fish!!!! 

 

I've been encouraged and supported by several of the members in the Wyoming FlyCasters Club the past 3 years.  When the challenge of catching a fish a month on a fly rod was presented, being a somewhat competitive person I couldn't resist the challenge.  Game face on I set out to achieve this challenge  I am happy to say that I've met this challenge the past 2 years.  Believe me there has been challenges in doing so but the thrill and adrenaline rush has me hooked.  Catching fish in -20 degree weather on December 31, 2015 was my greatest challenge and thrill yet.  Stripping my line resulted in more ice then I thought possible, the tug of a fish, frozen numb fingers, the need to dip my rod tip just to keep the eye hooks from freezing up, the wind whistling at my back, my nose running and freezing to my face and yet I kept fishing for more of those scaley creatures. Friends of mine  think this sounds a bit nutty, maybe but the release of energy from the day, the mental challenge to throw, balance, hold my tongue just right and, hope that I had just the right bug on and, the ability to  throw ever so delicately into the perfect spot made it all worth it.  I agree I may be just a tad crazy but it's the best crazy I've found! 

 

The Wyoming Fly Casters asked if I would be willing to sit on their board of directors as the treasurer for 2016.  During this time I have enjoyed learning more about the clubs projects, future goals and amazing members.  I am honored in 2017 to hold the Vice President board position for this organization and look forward to continuing to promote the sport and this organization in its new ideas and giving back to the members and our community.  

 

Here's to many more outings, experiences and of course tight lines and beautiful sunrises and sunsets on the blue ribbon waters of the North Platte. Hope to see you on the water with a rod in one had and a fish in the other. 

Bruce Chandler

I was raised in New York.  My early fishing was done in the Atlantic Ocean.  I started going out on fishing charters as a young man.  Mostly angling for blues, stripers, sea bass and some tuna.  I started college at Long Island University in 1965.  I was drafted into the Army in 1966 , did a one year tour in Vietnam from 1967 to 1968.  After my discharge, I returned to Long Island University and completed my bachelor's degree in 1970.   I started working in the optical field in 1971.  I went back to school and received an AAS degree in ophthalmic dispensing in 1973.  I have worked in this industry. For 45 years.  I board certified, licensed to practice in 3 States.  I have lived in New York, Colorado, Arizona and Wyoming.  I am married to Tina, have 3 children and 4 grandkids.  I love fly fishing and try to get out on the water as often as possible.  I devote time to Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, acting as the Assistant Program Lead here in the Casper program.

George Sichterman

I started fishing when I was 4 or 5 years old for bullheads and crappies with worms and grass hoppers. After a couple of years Dad gave me a level wind South Bend reel and an old pole, then I started fishing for bass. 

When I was 12 or 13, I found an open face spinning reel and the only rod that would work with it was a 8’ bamboo rod.  I liked to fish poppers and small Colorado spinners but couldn’t cast them so I tried whipping them out and after losing some from whipping them off; I learned to cast them like a fly.  Later, I started buying some flies made in Japan for 10 cents or 3 for a quarter that worked. The first trout I caught was a 4 pound rainbow on a mosquito. When we moved to Wyoming I started to fish the river and lakes with our 3 kids and in 1985 I took a class in fly tying at the college from Rod Robinder who owned the Ugly Bug fly shop. He was very knowledgeable of how to tie flies and how to fish the river. When I retired I started fishing a lot; and the last 4 years I have averaged at least 100 days a year and love the sport. 

 

I appreciate the opportunity to serve on the board, by sharing ideas and ways to meet the needs and interest of the Club members.

 

George

Joe Primrose

I grew up in Edwardsville Illinois across from Saint Louis and rarely was able to fish as there were no men in my life after the age of 13 to teach me the sport.

 

I retired as a physician in 2012 after spending 45 years in trauma surgery and emergency medicine. My wife-Vicki-and I moved back to Casper in 2013. Vicki you may recall started and owned the kitchen store named  “The Cutting Board” from 1990-1993

 

My wife and I lived here in Casper from 1983-1993 while I was physician director of the emergency department at then Natrona County Hospital. We returned to Illinois in 1993 so that I could be on the staff of Washington University Medical School/Barnes Hospital in St Louis.

 

I never had a fly rod in my hand until a friend here in Casper taught me how to cast about 12 years ago during our return here to visit family and friends.

However I could only fly fish (poorly I might add) in Illinois for crappie, bass and blue gill on the lake by our home

 

Once we moved back to Casper I decided to join WFC and learn about the sport of fly-fishing.  I have never regretted my decision to join WFC. I learn something every time I attend a meeting and to be with Spence Amend and Joe Meyer fishing is like being with “ The Gods of Fly Fishing”.

 

 I call myself a “preschool” fly fisherman- I am the one who asks the most basic of questions at our meetings- but I believe I have some ideas about marketing and hope to help in expanding the membership of our club.

 

The attached picture was taken at last years “slack” during the Natrona County Fair and Rodeo. I have volunteered as a team physician in sports medicine at high schools and colleges in South Dakota, Wyoming and Illinois for 40+ years. I have also worked at the rodeos here in Casper and Cheyenne since 1985. I must confess I love the sport of rodeo, the people and the values of the western way of life.

 

Thank you for this opportunity to be on your board.

 

Joe Primrose

Hank Whitaker

I grew up in East Helena Montana where I learned to fish in the Prickly Pear Creek that ran through the center of town. I spent my summers in the creek floating on tubes, swimming, and fishing. I learned to fish using bait and a two way spinner to catch Rainbows, Cutthroats, Brook Trout, and Brown Trout.

I returned to Montana after serving time in the Navy during the Vietnam War and attended college at Montana State University in Bozeman Montana. While attending MSU I took a fly casting course. The instructor, Dr. Evans, taught all aspects of fly casting and fly fishing. He had a strong preference for dry fly fishing and instilled in his students the joys of watching a trout come to the surface for a well-placed fly. While in Bozeman I fished the Gallatin, Madison, Jefferson, as well as many streams and mountain lakes.

My wife, Donnie and I fished dry flies exclusively until moving to Casper eighteen months ago when we made the conversion to nymphs and streamers. I have enjoyed learning to catch trout using nymphs and streamers with the help of Joe and Spencer from the Wyoming Fly Casters, but Donnie and I still manage to catch a few on dries.

Dave Tuttle

I grew up in San Diego Ca, my father was a tuna fisherman out of San Diego when they used poles to catch tuna. My fathers love of the ocean and fishing was passed on down to me in fact his greatest gift was the love of anything outdoors!

In my early twenties I moved from the coast to the deserts of Arizona where my fishing for the most part was put on hold as raising a family and career took much time away from fishing.
 
About eight years ago work brought me to this beautiful state and I immediately fell in love with all it has to offer.  Having spent  my free time hunting and fishing this became paradise!
 

I had never thrown a fly prior to a moving here it had always been on the to do list. I picked up a fly rod and found a new  addiction that allows me to meet new friends and also spend amazing times with old friends too.

Kathy Knapp

I was introduced to fly-fishing in the 1970’s but didn’t have many opportunities to practice the craft until moving to Casper in 1980. Fly-fishing opportunities increased for me with the formation of an outdoor women’s group, spearheaded by Rod Robinder who owned the Ugly Bug fly shop then and wanted to encourage more women to fly fish. One of my favorite fly fishing memories is a trip I took with 3 women friends to get our Cutt Slam in 2009, which we all successfully completed. Completing a Cutt Slam should be on every angler's bucket list!

Jim Johnson

I grew up in Bridgeport, Nebraska on the North Platte River.  I learned to fly fish with my father on small  streams in the area.  After high school I attended Colorado State University and graduated with a B.S. degree in Forestry and Outdoor Recreation.  My working career was with the National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management.  I retired from BLM in 2004 having served as the district fire management officer (fire chief) for the Casper District.   In conjuction with that I served 21 years on an incident management team managing all air operations on large wildland fires all around the country.  I wet my appetite for fly fishing in Wyoming on a couple trips but got serious about it after retiring.  I have been a member of Wyoming Flycasters for a number of years and am have served on the board of directors for two terms.  I enjoy fishing with other club members and I am a regular at Lyin' & Tyin' fly tying get together's.

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