Spot Check: Behind-the-Scenes of CalTrout’s 50th Celebration


By Michael Wier
CalTrout Field Reporter



Creating CalTrout's 50 Anniversary Video

50 years. Half a century. That’s a long time. That’s a long time for a marriage to last. That’s a long time for someone to work the same job or even live in the same area. That’s a long time to own a vehicle. It’s at least three generations for most families. And that’s a long time for a company to be in business. Especially an environmental non-profit organization. And specifically one that is centered around restoring California’s natural heritage of having diverse and large wild salmon, steelhead, and trout. 

As with a long marriage or a career, we at CalTrout take our 50th anniversary seriously. It’s quite a milestone. I’ve been going through old files and collecting media in preparation for our 50th year for the past few years now. Five years ago, I put together a 45th anniversary video. And five years before that, when I first started getting involved with CalTrout, they were working on the 40th anniversary video. It’s a tradition we hold dear and I definitely hoped to do a good job with this one for the 50th. 




While going through the photos I kept noticing an old golden colored Ford van parked at many of California Trouts project sites including hat Creek, Fall River, Yellow Creek and the Truckee. I noticed it had curtains and was set up for sleeping and the license plate simply read “Trout”. After checking around a bit I realized it belong to Richard May, one of the founding members of California Trout. He was also one of California’s OG Trout bums. It made me feel proud to keep the legacy alive of traveling around in the van to California’s Trouts restoration projects and documenting them. While also sneaking in a little fishing along the way. 

Also in a box in the old office was one single roll of old 8 mm film that was titled “Hat Creek, opening day 1969 – Joe Paul”. I had it developed and what a treasure it was. There were some great old 8 mm clips from the opening inauguration ceremony for the Hat Creek wild Trout project in 1969. And some awesome clips of anglers enjoying the river on opening day. It was crowded! Those old 8 mm cameras shot short bursts of film that comprised seven second clips. A very artsy way to produce a moving image of a point in time. I used some of the footage for the Hat Creek wild trout legacy video last year too. I love looking back on little moments captured in time like that.








To tie it all together I wanted an opening scene that emphasized the multi generational aspect of our work. I was able to employ former CalTrout board member Alan Vidinsky, recent CalTrout employee Nick Vidinsky, and their extended family for a nice outing on the river together. I felt like it really captured the emotion of sharing fly-fishing with kids and then, them sharing it with their kids in return. The full circle connecting. And a metaphor for exactly why we do the work that we do and are all so dedicated to this path. 

So here’s to honoring the past, the present and the future of California Trout. I hope you enjoy this short video on our history, current achievements, and future vision for the health and prosperity of California’s diverse, cold water ecosystems and citizens. 

I would like to thank all of the staff and partners of California Trout for this amazing opportunity and journey. I would also like to thank our friends at Pusher Studios for their help in filming and producing the 50th Anniversary movie and many others. 



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