Mr. Grogan Brings Fly Fishing Club to Natrona County High School


Sophomore Ramsey Myers with a smallmouth bass he caught on the Namekagon River in Wisconsin, using streamers (a type of fly fishing lure). He has fished waters both in state and out of state and, “I hope that the club will allow me to see other states that I can eventually go back to and fish,” says Myers.

Hunter McDaniel, Reporter

Tom Grogan, a history teacher and coach, brings a new competitive fly fishing club to NCHS. A lot of the details are yet to be decided, but the first official tournament will be on April 15th. Grogan plans to take students to various creeks around Sheridan that they will have access to, and to the Platte river near Casper Wyoming to practice and compete. He also plans to explore the possibility of taking the team out of state. Only a few schools in the state have a fly fishing team including NC’s rivals Kelly Walsh and, “It wouldn’t be cool if KW had a team but NC didn’t,” says Grogan. 

Last year, with the help of Joey Puettman of Joey’s Foundation, Grogan was able to teach a group of students the process of building a fly fishing rod. This year they were able to establish an actual club with money funded by the state and sponsorships from guiding services like Ugly Bug. Grogan plans to share his passions for fly fishing and is looking forward to, “being able to go and do things not everyone gets to do which is really appealing to me. I think it will boost some interest in the sport,” he explains. The club will guide students on how to fly fish, tie flies, navigate waters, and row a boat, while offering a competition between each other and statewide schools.

 Ramsay Myers, a sophomore at NC who loves fly fishing says, “it will be a cool chance to fish places I’ve never been.” He took part in building rods with Grogan last year, and is wanting to be more involved in fishing different bodies of water. “I also want to learn how to analyze and apply what I learn when I am fishing by myself,” explains Myers. 

Rainbow trout in the Platte will be spawning soon and their eggs won’t hatch until June. Water conditions like temperature (trout thrive in cooler weather), and the amount of sediment in the bottom of the river will determine this year’s fish health.  “Near Grey Reaf, we want to see 3,600 age-1 and older trout per mile,” explains Matt Hahn, a Regional Fisheries Supervisor for Wyoming Game and Fish. Competitive fly fishing may cause setbacks for future trout populations. If fly fishing were to gain more popularity, rivers would be more prone to pressured resources and food. A fishing guide for Ugly Bug, Phil Schroeder says, “eventually, there will need to be new laws in place to limit the numbers of people on the rivers,” in response to more competitive fishing. 

Other types of fishing are known for competitive tournaments. “Even though fly fishing tournaments have not expanded recently, I would fully expect them to,” Hahn said. With tournaments like the Walleye Stampede and the Hawg derby gaining popularity Hahn thinks that it is only a matter of time before fly fishing does the same. It is a skill based sport that has lots of technique and rhythm making it adaptable for competition, but for fishermen and guides like Schroeder fly fishing is about getting away from stressors. Schroeder thinks competitive fly fishing won’t be as popular among anglers saying, “it goes against every reason why I have to fish.” 

Grogans vision for the club continues to evolve and open up more experiences to young NC anglers. The club, “creates opportunities for heart to heart conversations with students, and a chance to show true mentorship through fishing,” explains Grogan.