Every year, it is with great pride California Trout picks outstanding individuals who help carry on our legacy and award them with the Streamkeeper Award. Our organization is lucky to have a number of people who selflessly contribute to our efforts to protect and restore California’s trout, steelhead, and salmon. One person, in particular, stood out last year: Michelle Titus from Clearwater Lodge. If you’ve been with our organization for a while, you know that a trip to Clearwater is a much sought-after auction item at CalTrout events and fundraisers.
Michelle Titus purchased Clearwater Lodge in 2013 and quickly became aware of the importance in supporting clean water and healthy fish populations. Immediately, just a few months later, she became a Golden Trout Circle member with CalTrout, and reached out to the Mt. Shasta office to see how she and Clearwater Lodge could become an active community member and supporter.
One of her earliest involvements was the Hat Creek restoration project, working with Drew Braugh, CalTrout’s Mt. Shasta/Klamath Regional Director. During the project years, Michelle, Clearwater Lodge, and the guides who call the Lodge home, hosted the Tribal Youth Initiative workers to have a day of fly fishing on Hat Creek to experience first-hand how their bank and trail restoration work impacts anglers and visitors to the river. That day became a highlight event for the youth and staff who participated in the project. One of those young men even came through the Clearwater Guide School on a sponsor/scholarship provided by the Lodge the following year.
Then in 2016, Michelle, along with CalTrout’s Field Reporter Mike Wier and Patagonia Representative Bruce Skinner, decided it would be great to revive the “5 Rivers Challenge”; the event originated at the former Clearwater House with CalTrout Board Member Dick Galland and introduces anglers to the five spectacular Wild Trout designated waters in the area. This event has been hosted at the Lodge each year and provides a great week of fishing, friendships, and on the water experience that showcases the many rivers CalTrout is actively involved with for restoration and conservation.
Additionally, Michelle is involved with education efforts at the local schools. Guides volunteer their time, and Michelle supplies the program materials to teach “Trout in the Classroom” at Fall River and Burney High Schools each year. This entails three days of classroom lessons covering entomology, fly tying, rigging a rod, and casting, then a half-day fishing on Hat Creek followed by picnic lunch. As Michelle states, “This event is a ton of fun and the education for the kids is very valuable. We love doing this for the community.”
Michelle says that “being a part of the CalTrout family has been one of the more rewarding aspects of owning the Lodge. The local knowledge gained, the passion shared, and the friendships made over the past eight years are all a very special part of my life.”
California Trout is honored to have Michelle Titus as the most recent awardee of the Streamkeeper Award and we look forward to working with her for many years to come.