Fly fishing with disabled vets

Rich Vale with one of the veterans

Rich Vale with one of the veterans

George Abernathy

This past May, with the approval and support from Sun Lakes Country Club’s general manager Kelly Haynes, members of the Sun Lakes Fly Fishing Club hosted disabled veterans from Project Healing Waters. After spending three and a half hours fishing, everyone adjourned to their restaurant for lunch which, to our surprise, was sponsored by Sun Lakes Country Club. Even though the fishing was slow, a couple of veterans were able to land multiple fish.

In the month of May, other members from the SLFFC and I were able to go on four separate fly fishing trips. The last trip in May, nine of us spent two nights and three days in a cabin at Hawley Lake. In addition to fishing Hawley Lake, we also wet our lines in two other lakes, Christmas Tree and A-1 lakes. Between the nine of us, we landed over 200 Apache, rainbow and brown trout. This was an awesome trip, and another trip is already being planned for next year at the same time.

The Sun Lakes Fly Fishing Club is a very informal club where one can befriend others who share the same interest. Our primary goal is, when and where are we going to fish next. Last year, other members and I went on over 20 trips throughout Arizona and took one trip to New Mexico. Our secondary goal is to host the disabled veterans from PHW up to four times per year. There are very few things more rewarding than to spend a few hours with veterans while they are wetting their lines.

Our club meets on every first and third Tuesday of each month at 8:00 a.m. at the Stone & Barrel restaurant for breakfast. Our meeting topics are typically centered on previous and proposed trips, as well fishing tactics and gear.