A Beautiful Evening Celebrating Southern Oregon’s Wild Fish & Homewaters
On Thursday, June 8th, Native Fish Society hosted our first-ever Homewaters: South by Northwest celebration of southern Oregon’s homewaters and native fish at Valley View Winery in the Applegate Valley. We had a wonderful evening enjoying the company of new and longtime friends, sharing the conservation work underway with Native Fish Society staff, volunteers, and partners, and featuring the stories and images of renowned angler, wild fish advocate, and fly fishing travel jedi, Ken Morrish.
To kick the night off, Kirk Blaine, NFS’s Southern Oregon Coordinator shared a conservation update from the region. His presentation included a synopsis of our historic efforts through the North Umpqua Coalition to establish an all-wild steelhead North Umpqua River and, more recently, community organizing to protect the Upper Rogue River, its native fish, and public safety from commercial jet boat operations. Last but not least, we shared about the exciting timeline for 2023 and 2024 as four dams on the Klamath River are being removed - starting with Copco II this summer! Looking ahead Native Fish Society volunteers and staff are working with partners in the Klamath basin to improve water quality, habitat connectivity, and advocate for a sustainable, data-driven, wild fish fishery.
Adding to the southern Oregon celebration, many southern Oregon River Stewards joined us for the evening including: Charles Gehr, Jim and Rachel Andras, Bryan Sohl, Marshal Moser, Christie Adelsberger-Nichols, and Stan Petrowski! It was so good to see you all and thank you for your tireless efforts stewarding your backyard rivers and native fish.
To immerse and inspire our local adventures and advocacy, Ken Morrish, Director of Travel Sales for Fly Water Travel, shared his presentation, “Steelhead Rivers of the State of Jefferson.” Ken’s remarkable images of the North Umpqua, Rogue, Smith, and Klamath rivers surveyed the beauty and diversity of southern Oregon and northern California’s steelhead waters across the winter, summer, and fall seasons. He’s right to point out that we’re so fortunate to have the remarkable public lands, waters, and native fish found in this southern region of the Pacific Northwest. With the threats facing our native fish, it’s time for all anglers to join together as advocates for the rivers that are the lifelines for our region.
In support of our conservation efforts, we capped off the night with a raffle drawing for delicious bottles of wine from Valley View Winery, a casting lesson with Andras Outfitters, Bob Quigley and Rich Zellman flies donated by the Ashland Fly Shop, flies from our newest board member Joe Tonahill, and no shortage of swag from Native Fish Society - thank you MiiR and Chase White!
A huge thank you to all of the folks who came out to make our first ever Homewaters: South x Northwest event a success. Foremost, thank you to our kind hosts at Valley View Winery, Mike and Gail Brunson. Valley View Winery opened their beautiful grounds and tasting room to host us rain or shine! Thank you friend and supporter Tim Uschold and Southern Oregon Neurosurgical and Spine Associates for being our generous fiscal sponsors for the event. And thank you to all of our event partners including Fly Water Travel, Anderson Custom Rods, the Ashland Fly Shop, and Andras Outfitters. We also loved seeing our partner, Emily Bowes, from Rogue Riverkeeper joining us for the evening!
Southern Oregon friends we’re already looking forward to hosting next year’s Homewaters: South x Northwest event in 2024!
In the meantime, if you’re interested in getting involved as a volunteer please get in touch with Kirk Blaine (email@example.com) and join us for our next Rogue River Steward Chapter meeting on Thursday, August 17, 2023!