Samuel Eagan, president of the fly fishing club at University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, was selected as one of the top five Costa ambassadors for fall 2018. Samuel excelled in leading and growing his club this year. He also helped teach community members the fundamentals of fly fishing and fly tying through the Fall Salmon Run Celebration.
What is your major? Conservation Law Enforcement
Expected graduation date: December 2020
Plans for after graduation:
I’m hoping to get hired as a conservation warden in either the Midwest or western part of the United States right out of college. Wildlife conservation has always been an important aspect of my life and I'm hoping to continue protecting our natural resources through my profession.
How long have you been fly fishing?
I was first introduced to the art of fly fishing by my uncle in the great state of Montana while fishing on the Madison River. However, my passion for the sport didn’t start until my senior year of high school. My Environmental Science teacher, Mr. Panich, was really into catching trout on the fly. He helped me get all the right equipment and even shared some of his hot spots where I could get into some fish!
Can you describe the fishing scene in your area?
Stevens Point is a melting pot of different fishing opportunities. Warm and cold-water species are both plentiful in this area which gives anglers many different options in choosing what fish they want to pursue. There are plenty of opportunities to target trout on the fly near Stevens Point, including the Tomorrow River, which is known for producing large numbers of brook and brown trout. There is also an opportunity to specialize in warm water fish such as musky, smallmouth bass, and carp with the Wisconsin River running right next to Stevens Point.
Most memorable fish you’ve caught on a fly rod?
Without question the most memorable fish I’ve caught on the fly was a 41 inch musky out of the Wisconsin River. I had been trying to hook into one of these elusive fish for around three months with a few failed hookups and multiple follows with the fish refusing the fly. A few buddies from the club and I waded across the Wisconsin to reach a secret hole that is seldom fished by others. After only a couple of casts, I had a musky follow my fly right to my feet and refused at the last second. On the very next cast, I was a few strip in when my line went tight. I strip set and immediately felt the head shakes of the beast. After getting the fish into the net, there were many high fives and congrats passed around and I realized then that the amount of time and work put into this adventure made it even more worthwhile!
When was your club started, and when did you assume a leadership role?
The UWSP Fly Fishing Club was founded in 2009 by a couple of passionate fly fisherman. I was fortunate to become the leader of this awesome club in the fall semester of 2018.
How many members are in your club?
Currently we have 20-25 active members that participate on a regular basis.
How often do you meet, and what does a typical meeting look like?
Club meetings are twice a week and consist of tying A LOT of flies. Most of the time meetings are very casual and we enjoy watching new and even old fishing videos to get us excited about being out on the water. We also bring in guest speakers like fishing guides and fly shop owners from time to time that talk to us about jobs in the fly-fishing industry and give some insider tips on catching more fish! This helps newer members develop the knowledge they need to get into the sport. We also enjoy the opportunities our club gives us in planning trips or excursions around the United States.
What are some conservation projects that your club has gotten involved with?
Our biggest event that our club helps with is the Fall Salmon Run Celebration. This event is held at the Wild Rose Fish Hatchery where many community members bring their families to learn about conservation and fly fishing. We also participate in regular brush clearings along trout streams and river cleanups with the local Trout Unlimited chapter. Club members have also helped with the Little Plover River Appreciation Day, where grade schoolers are taught about how important conservation is in our local trout streams!
Congratulations on a great semester, Samuel!