By Kevin Brown, Association of Northwest Steelheaders Member
Kevin Brown is an Association of Northwest Steelheaders member living in Plummer, Idaho who recently published an opinion piece in the Coeur d'Alene/Post Falls Press on April 9, 2021. The piece emphasizes the need for the recreational angling community to engage in Representative Simpson's effort to restore Snake River salmon and steelhead populations.
I ’ve been an avid fisherman my entire life. I’ve caught steelhead in every stretch and tributary of the Snake River between Hells Canyon Dam and its Columbia River confluence, as well as the Clearwater and Salmon rivers and all of their tributaries..
Dams have destroyed it all.
Declining fish runs aren’t only causing significant environmental impacts, they are causing economic declines in rural communities as anglers seek fishing opportunities in farther away rivers. I used to spend entire summers watching fish spawn and catching 30-pound steelhead. Now, I go to western B.C., Canada, to experience the wild steelhead fishing I had as a kid.
Ask yourself, what would it mean to live in an Idaho without salmon and steelhead? Representative Simpson’s Columbia Basin proposal is an opportunity to avoid the dismal future Idahoans currently face. It’s an opportunity to double wild fish returns, invest in river dependent communities, and protect the multi-billion dollar economy that angling supports throughout our state. It’s an opportunity to safeguard our fishing heritage and the joy of teaching our children how to fish.
Is it worth risking our last best chance to recover these species and communities that urgently need our help?