T his morning, as I pulled on my waders to fish for a couple of hours before heading into the office, I was shocked by the realization that December is nearly over. Reports of winter steelhead hooked on the Clackamas have been few and far between. It seems returns are occurring later than ever. I can’t help but recall stories told of frosty early mornings on the bank where fish were caught before Thanksgiving dinner. I take stock, remind myself that “it only takes one bite,” and push on.
As anglers, we push on, driven by a passion that lures us to the next hole or riffle, regardless of run counts or projections. If there are fish in the river, we fish. No matter what. Rain or shine we’re there, one cast at a time. It's that same passion that drives me to preserve these special places, to ensure that the next generation has a place to fish and fish to catch.
I’m thrilled to lead the Association of Northwest Steelheaders as we continue to fight for fish and anglers in 2020! A new year, a new decade, and an anniversary are on the horizon. This year, Northwest Steelheaders turns 60! That’s 60 years of conservation, education, and advocacy—countless accomplishments for fish and anglers and the promise that we will never let the line go slack.
You will find us at the Capitol fighting for fish and anglers. Together, we will fight the Army Corps of Engineers to create a fish passage for Spring Chinook and Steelhead on the Willamette River. We will fight before the Oregon and Washington commissions to defend Columbia River reforms and secure recreational fishing opportunities. We will fight for fish passage and dam removal on the lower Snake River. We will fight for hatchery funding and the improvement of hatchery programs.
Our work in 2019 has set us up to make great strides as we set a course for 2020. Salmon and Steelhead need us now more than ever before, but I encourage you to take heart. Will you join me in passing down the knowledge and passion we share? Will you heed the call to action as you have done so many times before?
Forward we go, together.
Executive Director Chris Hager, Association of Northwest Steelheaders