Trout Unlimited is a national organization dedicated to protecting and improving cold water fishing resources. Our local chapter is a key building block and our local members volunteer their time, money and energy to improving cold-water fishing resources in New Hampshire. Almost all members love fly fishing, and related activities, such as fly tying.

March Chapter Meeting

Presentation – “Bamboo Rod Making”

Fred Kretchman, Owner of the F.D. Kretchman Rod Co.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019, 7:00 pm (doors open at 6:30 pm)

Sweeney Post of the American Legion, 251 Maple Street, Manchester, NH

Please join us for what has been in the past a very popular presentation by Fred Kretchman, the well-known bamboo rod maker.  Using some of the actual equipment from his shop, Fred will demonstrate how bamboo rods are made and will touch on the history and development of bamboo fly rods.

If you own a bamboo fly rod and have any questions about it, you are welcome to bring it to the meeting.  Fred has generously offered to stay after his presentation to help identify rods and provide some background information on them.

Fred Kretchman

Fred Kretchman has been handcrafting split bamboo fly rods since 1993.  He uses Tom Morgan’s Hand-Mill to create fishing rods that are precisely tapered to within a 1-2 thousandths of an inch. Fred strives to achieve both an esthetically beautiful work of art that is also the most wonderful casting rod you’ll ever have the pleasure to hold in your hand.  The process of splitting bamboo into strips, planing them into specific tapered sections, gluing, straightening, varnishing, attaching guides, etc. were techniques that he learned from a book: A Master’s Guide to Building a Bamboo Flyrod by Everett Garrison and Hoagy B. Carmichael.  Mr. Kretchman was able to combine woodworking skills that he learned from his father, with a passion for fly fishing to create the F. D. Kretchman Rod Company.  He searched the country to obtain the finest quality components for these rods, including hand-selecting the Tonkin cane from the importer’s stock.  His fly rods are created one-at-a-time in the classic tradition, resembling those made by master craftsmen of generations past. Each rod represents about 45-50 hours of labor, but it is a labor of love which is fulfilled each time the new owner receives their rod and takes it fishing on a favorite stream. Fred’s backlog of orders has varied from about 6-8 months to over 2 years, but the resulting fly rods will be enjoyed for a lifetime and handed down to the next generation.

Mr. Kretchman was chosen as an artisan to represent the State of New Hampshire at the Smithsonian Institution’s Folk Life Festival in Washington, D.C. in 1999. There he displayed his rod building talents for 2 weeks before an estimated crowd of 1.5 million visitors.  He has also demonstrated his skills at various museums including the American Museum of Fly Fishing in Manchester, Vermont, and the Fuller Museum of Art in Brockton, Mass.  In April 2002, Fred received a lifetime achievement award from New Hampshire Governor Jeanne Shaheen.  Mr. Kretchman has developed a strong appreciation for the history of bamboo rod making and his knowledge in this field led him to be chosen as the official rod appraiser for Lang’s Antique Tackle Auctions (the nation’s largest tackle auction house) since 2006.  Mr. Kretchman is now crafting his classic bamboo rods as a full-time professional in his Kittery Point, Maine, workshop.   He also enjoys educating the public in how bamboo rods are made and their history.  His presentations have been popular with Museums, local Trout Unlimited clubs, The Boston Fly Fishers, and many other organizations. In addition to crafting his own bamboo fly rods, Fred also conducts rod-making workshops where his students craft their own rods.

In Memoriam

Ronald M. Sowa
Past President, MRVTU

It is with much sadness that we inform you that our fellow Board member Ron Sowa passed away last month. Ron served on our Chapter’s Board of Directors for over ten years and was Chapter President from 2012 through 2016.

During that time he was involved in all aspects of the Chapter’s activities. His friendly demeanor, organizational skills and thorough knowledge of the State’s Fish & Game Agency and fly-fishing business were evident in all of his invaluable contributions. Ron was the driving force behind the revitalization of the FlyFish NH Show and thanks to him it has become one of the most important fishing shows in the Northeast. In addition, Ron served as the administrator of this website as well as our FaceBook page. We will miss our dear friend. Our deepest sympathy goes out to Ron’s wife Helen and his entire family.

Board of Directors, Merrimack River Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited

The monthly meetings of the 2018 – 2019 Merrimack River Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited will commence beginning October 9, 2018 and will run through May 14, 2019.

The Board of Directors has been working throughout the summer months to arrange interesting and varied monthly presentations on different subjects pertaining to fly fishing and cold water fisheries conservation.

One of our goals this year is to increase attendance at the monthly chapter meetings.

To that end, we are excited to announce that our chapter will be offering an end-of-year attendance prize. Every time you, as a member, attends one of our monthly meetings, you will receive a chance to win a weekend for two at the Tall Timber Lodge in Pittsburg, NH along with a full day’s guided fly fishing trip for two and a $150.00 gift card for the Rainbow Bar and Grill. The total value of this prize is $675.00.

You will receive one chance to win this great fishing package for each meeting you attend from the October 2018 meeting through the May 2019 meeting. The more meetings you attend the better your chance is to win this great fishing package. The drawing for the prize will be held during the May 2019 meeting.

The drawing will be open to all Trout Unlimited Members. If non-members attend a meeting and subsequently join TU, they will receive a chance for the meeting(s) they attended as non-members. We look forward to an interesting series of presentations this season and hope to see many more members at each meeting.

Meetings are held at Sweeney Post of the American Legion 251 Maple Street, Manchester, NH.

Guests and potential members are always welcome. The regular meeting starts at 7:00 pm, doors open at 6:30 pm and usually lasts until around 9:00 pm.

Merrimack River Valley Chapter is a affiliate supporter of the New Hampshire Wildlife Federation

NH Wildlife Federation – Preserve, Protect, & Conserve Wildlife Habitat and Resources


2017 Youth Camp

Youth Trout Camp is conducted by the NH Trout Unlimited State Council and its chapters throughout the state.  The five day camp teaches appreciation through the art and science of fly fishing.  The Youth Camp is for ages 14-17 years of age.

The 2017 Kids Trout Camp application kidscampbrochure2017ver2