California Trout co-founder Richard May has been honored by Fly Fisherman Magazine and Simms Fishing as the 2022 Conservationist of the Year. Read the story in Fly Fisherman Magazine.
"At his very core Richard May is a fly fisherman. Not the kind who dabbles here and there or takes one or two trips a year, but the kind who sleeps in his car to catch the evening rise and be on the stream for the morning bite before anyone else shows up. The kind of fly fisherman who shows a unique dedication to the craft and applies energy and thought to constantly hone his skills. The kind who masterfully throws a home-tied fly on a bamboo rod far upstream and lands it in the lane of a single feeding trout on a crystal-clear spring creek."
Read the full article in Fly Fisherman Magazine. And keep reading below to learn more about the inspiration behind the article, from the article's author and CalTrout's field reporter, Michael Wier.
Very early in my career with California Trout, I had a chance to meet Richard May on a tour of Hat Creek and Rising River. CalTrout was just getting ready to embark on a new phase of restoration at Hat Creek and Richard was there to check it out. Afterwards, we went to the old Clearwater Lodge on Hat Creek to catch up with Dick Galland, who I had met many years prior at the Clearwater guide school he used to run there. At the time, I didn’t know much about Richard other than that he was a founding member of California Trout and a driving force in the original wild trout project at Hat Creek. I had seen him at the fly fishing shows when I was a young kid, but never really got a chance to talk with him. This time he had a nice bottle of wine with him, a big smile on his face, and he struck me as being a cool dude.
Over the next several years, the mystic of Richard’s character started to unravel. Every story I heard about him and his achievements was seemingly greater than the last. He was an avid angler, a conservationist, a doer, and a leader. The achievements Richard helped make possible in the early days of California Trout cannot be understated. The pioneering accomplishments that Richard and his fellow CalTrout crew were able to push through in the 60s, 70s, and 80s are still some of the greatest achievements in fisheries conservation to date. I hold him in stature to some of the greatest conservationists of our time, though he is a modest man and would never accept that title.
Now I consider Richard a friend, an inspiration, and a hero. So of course, when I was made aware of Fly-Fisherman Magazine and Simms’ Conservationist of the Year Award, I was quick to nominate him. It seemed very fitting given that 2021 was the 50th anniversary of the formation of California Trout.. the first regional fisheries conservation organization model of its kind. We started as a small group of anglers wanting better wild trout fishing, and today we are a 20 million-dollar-per-year cold water ecosystems restoration juggernaut with 35 employees and 50 years of ensuring resilient populations of wild fish thriving in healthy waters for a better California.
Read more of Richard’s story about his career and just some of the achievements he was a part of. It was an honor to help tell the story of a true hero in the fight to save California’s rivers and a pioneer in the movement toward catch and release angling, wild trout management, fisheries conservation, and ecotourism which has now spread worldwide.
I would also like to extend a huge thank you to Fly Fisherman magazine and Simms for this opportunity.
To honor Richard’s legacy and ensure the longevity of CalTrout for the benefit of future generations, consider joining our Richard May Legacy Circle of donors who have included CalTrout in their will or trust.