Recapping Trout Unlimited's 2017 Annual Meeting - by Fisher Guiding's Edward Hill

This past weekend Fisher Guiding was invited to attend the Trout Unlimited Annual Meeting in Roanoke, Virginia, with the nation's leaders in coldwater advocacy and protection. I was thrilled to represent Fisher Guiding at the event in what was also my first time personally participating. Being associated with a group of anglers from all over the United States to talk about protecting trout and the water they inhabit was an inspirational learning experience.

From the Stream Girls partnership with the Girl Scouts, the TU Boston Chapter’s YES Program, to the 5 Rivers College Initiative, there are great things in the works at TU on a national and local level. Discussion on how to enact legislative changes on a local, regional, and national level was helpful to hear, and seeing firsthand the work on the ground on a daily basis is encouraging. TU members from across the nation shared success stories and insights they’ve learned to encourage environmental engagement

As Tip O’Neill, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1977 - 1987, often emphasized, all politics is local. I believe TU’s understanding of that truth is what makes them so effective. What I also continue to see TU leading with is an understanding that to be effective in enacting legislative change to protect our fisheries, you must act with courtesy, be firm in beliefs, and have a local support network across the entire nation.

The Mortensen Award, given to an exemplary Trout Unlimited volunteer, demonstrates that grassroots approach. This year, it was given to Washington volunteer, Mark Taylor, who has spent the past decade rehabilitating and protecting a native Kokanee salmon that inhabits Lake Sammamish. For this continued effort, the whole community has rallied around the fish, which was on the brink of disappearing not long ago, with a strategic plan to restore its population in the watershed. It may seem small to focus on a singular lake, but if we cannot protect the water directly around us, how can we expect to protect our nation's environment? By thinking big and acting small, TU and all of us can make an impact. Fisher Guiding is proud to be involved as a business member in this effort to conserve our angling habitat.

In addition to the conservation meetings, Fisher Guiding auctioned a $300 trip voucher for any of the guides listed and partnered with us (82 guides as of this writing on Oct. 4th... update: 117 as of 11/1/2017). We’re thrilled to say the trip was bought after a fierce silent auction. Fierce silent auctions are a thing, I swear... Congratulations to our winner, Bernard Bailey, a TU trustee from Maryland on my right. We can't wait to see what he catches! Altogether, the silent auction and "50/50 Riffle Raffle" netted almost $7000, a portion of which will be donated by the Virginia Council Trout Unlimited to TU's Embrace a Stream grant program to support important chapter projects across the country.

Another favorite auction item was this Trout Unlimited decanter below... a good reminder to give both whiskey and trout time to age!

Now, we look to one of the next challenges. The new EPA administration is considering opening Bristol Bay, Alaska, for mining purposes to Northern Dynasty Mineral. The public comment period ends October 17th, 2017. The EPA will also hold 2 public hearings in Alaska on October 10th and 11th. To comment or for more information to get involved, visit the EPA's website.