There are a lot of reasons to love the work we do at Trout Unlimited. It’s meaningful work, making things better for trout and salmon across the US. I told a friend not long ago that I got into this work because I loved wild things and wild places. But I have stayed in this work because I love the people who love wild things and wild places. My friend John Land LeCoq is one of those people.
Johnny is the founder of Fishpond USA, purveyor of pretty much every accessory the fly angler ever needed. And if you know anything about fly anglers, you know that’s a lot of accessories. Lots of people know Fishpond for their packs and vests. I love them. I’m not a big fan of carrying a ton of gear when I fish. I don’t like the feeling of all that stuff hanging on my shoulders or around my waist when I’m fishing. But I am a fan of having what I need when I need it. Their lumbar packs, sling packs and chest packs carry a ton of stuff without it feeling like a ton of stuff. Their nets are actually designed for scooping up fish safely and gently. I love mine. Fishpond gear is designed for real people who really fish.
And no wonder. Johnny LeCoq is the real deal. From the get-go, he and his crew have been anglers that make and sell real gear for real anglers. They’re western guys, and they wear their Colorado roots for all to see. That’s another thing I love about this outfit. The roots of the company are right there in the headwaters of the what Marc Reisner called “the American Nile” – the Colorado River. You cannot separate Johnny from his home water. They are intimately intertwined. And that river never had a better friend than Johnny LeCoq.
But he’s a big thinker, and a guy who knows that every water is somebody’s home water. That’s why Fishpond was one of the first companies to sign on in support of TU’s proposal to remove the four dams on the lower Snake River in eastern Washington. Like Johnny says, “These dams play a huge role in the declines we’ve seen in salmon and steelhead runs for decades. Dams continue to block fish returning to spawn. They raise water temperatures and increase predation. They block the path for young fish make it back downriver to the ocean. We’ve spent billions of dollars trying to mitigate their impacts on these fish, and we’ve failed miserably. If we don’t remove these dams, we’ll see the end of salmon and steelhead in the Snake River.”
We have an unparalleled opportunity here. If the dams were removed, about 46 percent of the historic spawning and rearing habitat for spring and summer Chinook Salmon and summer steelhead is still accessible. Mile-for-mile, the Snake River basin contains the coldest, most undisturbed stream habitats in the Lower 48. If we are going to make major investments in wild fish recovery in the Columbia Basin, the Snake is the place to put our money.
Fishpond USA and Trout Unlimited stand proudly together in support of the proposal to “Remove the Lower Four”.