The Origins of the Iroquois Chapter #002

The Iroquois Chapter of Trout Unlimited officially began in the Central New York region in 1969 under the guidance of several local sportsmen.

At that time, the National Headquarters of Trout Unlimited was located in Michigan and shortly thereafter moved to Denver.  The Assistant Director of T.U. National was John Wood.  Mr. Wood asked Frank Vadala, owner of Vad’s Sport Shop in Syracuse, N.Y., if he could gather a group together and start a chapter in the Central N. Y. region.  There were a number of interested gentlemen who stepped up to the plate and began this chapter.

The  first officers were:   Les Gillette, President;   Joe Sadowski, VP;  Frank Vadala, Sec/Treas,; “Bud” Radigan, Gene White, Marv Goodfriend, Art Paolotti, Fred Noetcher and Tom Coe.

The first formal meeting was held on July 15, 1969.  At that time or shortly after, other chapters began in N. Y.  They were the Seth Green (Rochester); Mohawk Valley ( Utica ) and the Upper Susquehanna Chapters. (The Catskill Mountains Chapter has started in 1964.)

The Iroquois Chapter was almost going to be called the “Tight Lines” Chapter, but the consensus was the name of Iroquois best suited the region.  Central NY is home to the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy, and the desire was to honor that legacy.

In 1970, Les Gillette & Frank Vadala initiated the first Annual Northeast Trout Forum. People from different states attended and it was a popular venue for years to come. Due to its many activities and achievements during the first few years

Iroquois was the first chapter to receive the Gold Trout Award (the highest chapter award) from TU National.

The Chapter has the honor of having three of its early members hold office as National Directors: Les Gillette, Frank Vadala and Zane McFadden. Frank Vadala also held the office of TU's N.E. Vice President.

Today the Chapter has over 300 members and continues to promote the goals of Trout Unlimited in many ways.  Our projects and activities can be found at  Please join us in protecting our cold water fisheries


said on Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Sounds like a great group Steve. Obviously one of the earliest chapters.


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