When fishermen catch trophy class winter steelhead along Oregon’s coastal rivers, they have volunteers to thank.
Broodstock programs for the fish are successful because of people like Dave Booth, an Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife volunteer who died this past February.
Booth, who lived in Beaver, was a longtime salmon and steelhead angler, and important to the program capturing wild steelhead on the Nestucca River. He accepted a leadership role as a volunteer to make it possible for bank anglers on the Nestucca to capture wild steelhead and get them to the Cedar Creek Hatchery.
“Dave Booth was one of the most dedicated and dependable volunteers we have ever had,” said Robert Bradley, an ODFW biologist. “He recruited people into the broodstock program. He transported captured steelhead and chinook for us.”
“Dave’s work provided double benefits for our staff,” Bradley added. “He recruited volunteers for the Rhoades Pond chinook and steelhead programs.”
Somehow, Booth always seemed to be there whenever steelhead were being caught. Anglers knew he had a holding tube and a transfer box in his truck. Before long, the yell, “Get the tube” sounded a reason for excitement and pride as another wild fish was captured for the program.
Booth loved to fish, but would sacrifice fishing time to haul the captured fish to the hatchery.
“For years and years, we depended on Dave to bring captured fish to us,” said Joe Hobart, a Cedar Creek Hatchery biologist. “He did countless hours of work that freed us to do other projects.”
Booth had a significant impact on the broodstock program, and earned the trust of ODFW and his fellow anglers.
Broodstock programs are important, as noted by Bill Monroe, outdoor writer for the Oregonian, who said, “Broodstock programs have restored not only a vibrant fishery, but anglers’ sense of participation.”
Dave brought that sense of participation to a group of bank anglers, and will be missed by all.
ODFW needs dedicated people like him to keep broodstock programs strong.
Opportunities for getting involved in broodstock and other fish programs exist throughout the state. If you would like to contribute to these and other ODFW programs like Booth did, contact your local STEP biologist or visit the STEP website at http://www.dfw.state.or.us/fish/STEP/