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Volunteer Fishing and Boating

by Mitch W.

My name is Mitch and I am a volunteer fishing instructor for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and an Anglers’ Legacy Ambassador. The Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation’s (RBFF) Anglers’ Legacy Program is a nationwide mentoring program to introduce newcomers to fishing and boating.

Through this program, passionate outdoor enthusiasts “Take the Pledge” to take someone new fishing and more than 150,000 nationwide have signed up for the program. I took the Pledge to share my fishing legacy and skill with anyone that has never hooked a nice big Rainbow Trout or Steelhead in Oregon.

From very young kids, to returning veterans with disabilities, I get immense enjoyment volunteering with ODFW as a fishing instructor. Also, I have formed a new NW Steelheaders chapter, which provides enticing fishing opportunities for folks new to the sport, or just having a tough time catching a fish.

I proposed to ODFW to have the regulations changed at the nearby Canby, Oregon pond to expand fishing opportunities for kids under 17 years of age and for holders of disabled fishing licenses. These changes were approved and took effect Jan 2009.

Participants are usually met here with volunteers ready with donated local expertise, equipment, and bait. The pond had previously not been stocked for several years, and was in unfishable shape. Now, folks drive from surrounding cities to use a pond with a friendly family atmosphere.

The city has also made great improvements to the park, and folks with respect for the outdoors have begun to return to enjoy its beauty.

At the nearby Molalla River, I spearhead events to take soldiers fishing, linking a vet with a proper boat captain or fisherman that fits their needs and skill level. I take returning veterans for drift boat trips down the scenic waterway, for a chance at hooking and releasing a wild and native Steelhead. Many suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Steelhead fishing is a great way to keep them active and feeling good.

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