Editor’s note: Building off the success of last year’s Native Odyssey campaign, Trout Unlimited is sending four of our brightest college club leaders in the TU Costa 5 Rivers Program to explore the home of the world’s largest runs of wild salmon: Alaska. Starting July 5, these students will explore the Kenai Peninsula, Bristol Bay and the Tongass National Forest in pursuit of the five species of Pacific salmon and other native Salmonids that call Alaska home. In partnership with Costa Sunglasses, Simms Fishing Products, the U.S. Forest Service, Fishpond USA, and Orvis, these students will seek to unearth, document, and share the challenges facing the largest salmon fisheries in the world.
I have always loved spending time outdoors, but in the last few years I have come to realize the need for anglers and outdoorsmen and women to protect the lands we love. Our public lands and fishing accesses are an invaluable resource for creating the next generation of conservationists.
I am so excited to join the TU Costa 5 Rivers Native Odyssey team this year and to become an advocate for our public lands. Being from the Midwest, I didn’t know much about the issues facing Alaska and other coldwater fisheries until I began fly fishing. Thanks to the support of Trout Unlimited and those who make this trip possible, we will be able to connect more people to the last frontier and the people and wildlife that call Alaska home.
I grew up in central Missouri and started fishing when I was a little girl. When I moved to southwest Missouri for college I became more interested in the fly fishing opportunities the Ozark region has to offer. I absolutely love exploring some of our smaller trout streams here in the Ozarks. While trout are not native in Missouri, they have established healthy populations in some spring-fed creeks and they have since become a valuable part of many ecosystems. I also love fishing for our abundant warm-water species, and my favorite thing about fly fishing in the Ozarks would have to be taking my friends to the river and helping them catch their first perch or sunfish on a fly.
I’m currently studying wildlife conservation and management at Missouri State University. I’m involved with several different campus organizations, but my favorite has to be the Missouri State Fly Fishing Club, which I started in October of 2017. Most of our club members are new anglers, so these past few semesters have really helped me improve my teaching skills and made me realize how important introducing passionate new anglers to the sport can be. Our club is also part of the TU Costa 5 Rivers collegiate club program, which is truly a great resource for getting new anglers on the water.
As a conservation major, I am looking forward to a career of advocating for the wise and careful use of resources on public lands. I feel this trip will give me a whole new perspective on the importance of native fish, as well as the impact our actions can have on these precious ecosystems. Alaska is home to some of the world’s best salmon fishing and several world-class coldwater fisheries. Unfortunately, these aquatic resources, that have provided so much to Alaskan communities and anglers from around the world, are threatened by developments that could devastate the ecosystem. Having the rare opportunity to explore Bristol Bay, the Tongass National Forest, and other parts of Alaska with the Odyssey team will be the experience of a lifetime, and I am extremely thankful for this opportunity.
I can’t wait to start sharing our adventures.
— Libby Glaser