Fish for Future Generations
A letter from OWF Board of Directors President, Brad Staples
Dear friends, supporters, and fellow anglers,
As you know, I spend roughly 100 days a year on the Deschutes River as a fishing guide...and there are a lot of stories I can tell about my trips (perhaps I have a nice one about you.) Every day that I can work on the Lower Deschutes and help people connect with nature, I am grateful. We humans rely on our habitat just like the fish and wildlife do, for our food, for career, for recreation and for life.
I have known the Doubrava family for over 25 years. I have seen their daughter Alicia grow up and have taken her mother, Alleen, and her group of female angler friends out on my boat every year for the past 21 years for The All Girls Fishing Trip. This special group of women ranges in age from 30 to 77. This summer Alicia's father Ray, mother Alleen, husband Dave, and two family friends, went out with me on the Lower Deschutes at the end of July just like many years prior. And Alicia caught a nice steelhead, which she normally does. But at this annual trip, unusually, we were four months into the pandemic and I was masked up, per COVID-19 safety requirements for fishing guides at that time. Things were uncertain and I didn’t know if I was going to be able to keep guiding. Despite the obvious worldly concerns, under my mask I was smiling. I was in the moment and this was a great day. This woman who I had been taking fishing with her family since she was a young girl, whose wedding I had just attended less than a year prior, was on my boat and she just caught a steelhead! Alicia's catch also proved to me that the return of Summer Steelhead in the Columbia River Basin was slightly better this year. I was seeing more steelhead this year than I had in the last four years and larger ones than in the last eight years. I was having a proud moment here, despite the uncertainty in the world from COVID-19, upcoming elections, systemic racism, recession fear, and too much bad news that I had been consuming. The memory of the Doubrava family trip in July stayed with me over the last few months of the summer as I got busy rescheduling a few of my trips that had been canceled due to COVID-19. Then, a few months later I heard that Alicia and her husband Dave were expecting a child! Of course, I couldn't help but think about how great it would be to take the new little Doubrava fishing someday. But what will the steelhead run look like when this little person is big enough to hold a fishing rod? It takes a commitment on every level to keep our rivers clean, our habitat healthy, and nature accessible to all of us. We cannot take it for granted.
The act of conservation is so, so important. We need to put money toward protecting the quality of Oregon so that we will all live a healthier life and there will be steelhead for Alicia's kids, your kids, grandkids,friends, nieces, and nephews. Since I joined the Oregon Wildlife Foundation’s Board of Directors in 2013, I have seen firsthand how much a group of committed staff, board members, and donors can do for conservation in Oregon. With funds raised through the Foundation, we have been able to award grants, act as a fiscal sponsor to grassroots nonprofits, and lead capital campaigns to support larger initiatives. The Foundation continues to protect the Deschutes River, and many other rivers, through grant funding and special projects that restore and improve habitat for fish and wildlife and humans big and small. In response to the massive wildfires in Oregon this summer, we set up the Wildlife Habitat Recovery Fund. This Fund will go toward riparian habitat and upland restoration next year to areas affected by the fires in September, like the work that was done on the Deschutes from the fires two years ago. The Foundation does work statewide and I invite you to learn more about it. Sign up for our mailing list, listen to the monthly Community Conservation Series online and support fish and wildlife conservation. Let’s keep Oregon’s rivers clean and the steelhead abundant. Please join me in making a 2020 year-end gift to Oregon Wildlife Foundation to help continue this legacy of conservation. Every dollar makes a difference. Thank you
Brad Staples, Fishing Guide and President of Oregon Wildlife Foundation Board of Directors