College Fly Fishing Club hopes to be back out in nature again soon

This year's President Sean McGurn '22 says members bond over love and respect for the outdoors, and are optimistic for more shared trips after long months of pandemic limitations

February 9, 2022
By Faith Morgan '23

Likely locations to find members of the Saint Michael’s College Fly Fishing Club are on the campus 300s field practicing casting with their fishing rods, perhaps out ice fishing, or, once the weather warms up, at local ponds, waist deep in the water, wearing waders and swinging fishing line.

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Sean McGurn ’22 is president of the Saint Michael’s College Fly Fishing Club this year.

Wherever these enthusiastic student sportsmen gather, ever ready and eager to strengthen their fly-fishing skills, expect to find tackle boxes, nets, fishing rods and bait nearby.

This year’s club President Sean McGurn ’22, a senior business major from Braintree, MA, with a double minor in media studies, journalism & digital arts and environmental studies, said he is optimistic about getting members back outside this semester after difficulties over the past year in planning outings related to the pandemic.

McGurn said as a first year student at St. Mike’s, he discovered the fly-fishing group at the annual Club Fair and expressed his interest at that time, leading to an outing with the club that he enjoyed so much, it inspired him join subsequent trips and he got hooked, so to speak.

The Fly Fishing Club offers him and fellow members a great group to connect with on campus, alongside the opportunity to explore their interests, he said, noting that he declared an environmental studies minor partially because of the Fly Fishing Club. “Environmentalism is definitely an interest of mine that helped me move the club to a better place, and I want to do more with it this semester than in the past,” he said.

His hope is that the club can provide current and future members the kind of eye-opening experience that it offered him. McGurn said that while taking on the role of club president was at first a bit daunting, eventually the position encouraged him to really open up to the whole school about his passion for fishing and possibilities for the club, leading him to network as much as possible and encourage prospective members at least to try the club out.

While many members likely would make fly-fishing a hobby even without the club, McGurn believes in the sense of community that the club brings its members. “It’s really rewarding to go out with a group of similar minded people and experience what nature has to offer locally,” he said, adding that respect for nature is a core value that club members bond around and continually try to demonstrate out in the field. Club members want members of the wider community to know that while they are fishing and enjoying nature, they also are caring for the area by leaving it the way they found it and appreciating what it has to offer, he said.

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Ian Montgomery ’22 is the club’s vice president.

Club outings in past years even included overnight trips and can be the most impactful events for members in normal times, McGurn said, although in the last year, the COVID 19 pandemic has made it difficult for the club to get off campus and go fishing together. “COVID’s had a pretty big hit on us, since it’s been pretty hard to get groups of people in one car and out to a location,” said McGurn, who nevertheless is planning more outings for this spring semester as he strives to get the club back to what it was before COVID.

“As a first-year, I got to go on an overnight trip with the club in New Hampshire, and that’s something we want to do again though been tough to organize due to COVID,” he said. To rekindle the bond among group members, he even has scheduled some ice fishing trips during the winter that he hopes to follow with some open water fishing trips in March and April.

He encouraged any Saint Michael’s community member with an interest in the outdoors, fishing, nature sports, to contact him at for more information about fly-fishing. “The hope is really just to get people out and fishing again,” he said.

clean up

Members of the Fly Fishing Club last year took part in a Winooski River Cleanup event, joining members of the wider community. Sean McGurn is second from left. Previous club President Lauren Dunn ’20 is second from right.

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