Trout Unlimited

July 2009 marked the 50th anniversary of TU's founding on the banks of the Au Sable River near Grayling, Michigan. The 16 fishermen who gathered at the home of George Griffith were united by their love of trout fishing, and by their growing discontent with the state's practice of stocking its waters with "cookie cutter trout"—catchable-sized hatchery fish. Convinced that Michigan's trout streams could turn out a far superior fish if left to their own devices, the anglers formed a new organization: Trout, Unlimited (the comma was dropped a few years later) dedicated to ensuring that wild and native trout populations were allowed to thrive, as nature intended.

From the beginning, TU was guided by the principle that if we "take care of the fish, then the fishing will take care of itself." And that principle was grounded in science. "One of our most important objectives is to develop programs and recommendations based on the very best information and thinking available," said TU's first president, Dr. Casey E. Westell Jr. "In all matters of trout management, we want to know that we are substantially correct, both morally and biologically."

In 1962-63, TU prepared its first policy statement on wild trout, and persuaded the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to curtail "put-and-take" trout stocking and start managing for wild trout and healthy habitat. On the heels of that success, anglers quickly founded TU chapters in Illinois, Wisconsin, New York, and Pennsylvania.

From its hundreds of local stream restoration projects, to helping lead the way to remove the Edwards Dam on the Kennebec River in Maine, to compelling Congress to strengthen the Clean Water Act, TU has a strong 50 year track record of conservation achievements.  Perhaps TU's greatest strength is that it works at multiple levels of society and government to achieve its mission.  From the landowner on the stream bank, to the state fisheries agency, to the Halls of Congress, TU is working to achieve its vision.

Contact Trout Unlimited

1300 N. 17th St.
Suite 500
Arlington, Virginia  22209
Phone: (703) 522-0200
Toll Free: (800) 834-2419
Fax: (703) 284-9400

To request additions or corrections to this entry email the Administrator
Related Success Stories for Trout Unlimited

American Fork Canyon Home Rivers Project
Trout Unlimited, a third party “Good Samaritan,” will restore abandoned mines on private property to improve trout habitat in American Fork Canyon.

Cascade Streamwatch Project
Cascade Streamwatch is a collaborative educational outdoor site for teaching and expanding public understanding of healthy watersheds and fisheries.

Expanded State Park on Lake James, N.C.
The Lake James State Park expansion, from its current 605 acres to more than 3,500 acres, will bring jobs to the region and protect the area’s scenic beauty.

Fish Friendly Farming Environmental Certification
The FFF program integrates economic use of farmland with the production of environmental benefits. The land manager is the central figure in achieving and sustaining environmental improvements.

Great Lakes “Coaster” Brook Trout Restoration
Collaboration among federal and state governments, tribes, and private organizations to help bring the Coaster brook trout back to Lake Superior.

Guadalupe River Project, San Jose, California
This project provides 100-year flood protection, habitat protection, water quality protection, fish & wildlife enhancement, and recreation & open space features within the Guadalupe River watershed.

Martell Rush River Protection
Diverse partners collaborate to protect shoreline, and provide public access to the Rush River.

Mitchell River Coalition
The Mitchell River Coalition came together to protect and improve the watershed and water quality of the Mitchell River.

Montana Water Trust
MWT develops water transfer agreements with farmers, ranchers, and other landowners that increase flows and benefit native fish in Montana’s 4,000 miles of dewatered streams.

Muddy Creek Watershed Restoration Project - North Carolina
In 1998, Duke Power and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission formed a partnership with several organizations to address the sediment problem in the Muddy Creek North Carolina watershed.

North Fork Potomac Watershed
Landowners, environmentalists, universities, and government agencies worked together to restore Potomac River water quality by reducing polluted runoff from beef and poultry farms.

Northern Michigan Conservation and Wildlife Alliance
To bring together all hands-on conservation organizations and to introduce them to the public.

Pathfinder Project
The Pathfinder Project is a pilot program that through its involvement with an array of stakeholders works to define a process to provide for water management on National Forest lands in Colorado.

Pathfinder Project on the Colorado “GMUG” National Forests
Pathfinders developed 27 strategies to achieve instream flows without imposing federal restrictions on water diversions in 3 Colorado National Forests.

Penobscot River Restoration Project
Project removed barriers to migration of Atlantic salmon and other fish on Maine’s Penobscot River while maintaining energy generating capacity.

Pingree Forest Partnership
A landscape level conservation easement created to sustain working forests while protecting forest resources for wildlife, fisheries, migratory birds, and local economies.

Protecting Fish Habitat in SC
A powerful coalition of private citizens and federal, state, and local agencies, is restoring South Carolina's rare trout waters.

Swamplovers Partnership
A 500 acre block of land in the Black Earth Creek watershed of rapidly developing Dane County has been protected along the Ice Age Trail.

Wildlife Habitat Registry
To provide a web mapping tool to facilitate collaboration among wildlife biologist in federal, state, and tribal agencies and among NGO's involved in wildlife habitat projects.