When did you first become involved in CalTrout, and why?
“California Trout” – who wouldn’t want to be a part of that club? My husband and I both grew up in small towns in Northern California and were lucky to be part of families that loved the outdoors – and we both fished from a young age. I can’t remember exactly when we first heard about CalTrout, but as avid anglers, especially for steelhead, we started making membership donations and attending some early Galas soon after we got married and our careers got going. It was great being able to afford giving to organizations that supported environmental causes we cared about.
My career working for the State ended up being in natural resource management, especially river – riparian ecosystems. Over thirty years ago I was working for the California State Lands Commission at a time when the Public Trust Doctrine and related water laws were making some huge changes in the way California protected and restored our state’s waterways. I saw the profound effect that litigation brought by CalTrout on the Mono Lake streams had on fisheries conservation and through my work kept running across CalTrout in many efforts in the State.
I have been incredibly fortunate in my life that my hobbies, my academic training, my professional career, and my family’s passions all overlap – nature and the outdoors, especially fishing. Now in retirement, I still follow what’s happening in fish and watershed conservation and management, and my husband and I decided to concentrate our giving more to a select few organizations, rather than giving less to a lot of groups.
We’re lucky to have you! Why did you choose CalTrout?
Today, CalTrout is not only still advocating for conservation work but is getting the work done – whether it is doing basic scientific research, collaborating with private landowners, Tribes and other governments, or managing bulldozers. There are many conservation or fishing groups out there, but you’ve got to love and respect CalTrout the best!
Are you a fly fisher? If so, how did you get into fly fishing?
I came into fly fishing later in life – watching and talking with folks on the lower Klamath every fall fishing for the half-pounder steelhead run. On our 20th wedding anniversary, my husband and I decided to splurge and buy ourselves 6 wt rods and reels and learn to fly fish. Once I tried it, I never looked back.
What is your favorite river in California and why?
My favorite river is the Mattole on the Lost Coast. It’s a special place, with at least seven native fish species, including 3 salmonids; and 3 locally-based conservation groups working in this small remote watershed. My all–time best fishing memory is from the Mattole River, which is home to a legendary run of winter steelhead. I had been fishing for steelhead, including the Mattole, with conventional gear (mostly glo-bugs) for about 20 years before even trying fly fishing. After getting 6 wts, I graduated to an 8 wt for adult steelhead a few years later. For a challenge, I decided I was going to do fly fishing only on the Mattole, and all our fishing friends and family, including my husband, couldn’t believe I would do something so futile, when steelheading in the winter is so incredibly hard anyway. Then I decided I would only use flies I tied myself, to make it even harder. After several years of 0’s on the Steelhead report card, I finally succeeded and landed a nice bright fish from one of the last riffles near the mouth. That first one (of many more after that) is the fishing story I tell most often and of which I am most proud.