World Trout Grassroots Recipients – 2006

Yellowstone Park
Yellowstone National Park is not only our first National Park, it is considered one of the world’s finest fly-fishing destinations. Arising within the past decade, these treasures are being negatively impacted by competition from predation by non-native species, introduction of whirling disease and New Zealand mudsnails, and prolonged drought are causing sharp declines in native cutthroat populations. Much of the Park’s aquatic staff have been necessarily repurposed to address these crises, leaving a large number of the Park’s fisheries untended.

To address this gap, the Yellowstone Park Foundation, a private nonprofit organization, had piloted the Fly Fishing Volunteer program in 2003. The YPF’s main efforts involve protection of the Park’s imperiled westslope and Yellowstone cutthroat trout by funding genetic research, scientific studies, restoration, raising public awareness and conservation projects. The Fly Fishing Volunteers program supplements the work of Park researchers and provides volunteer anglers with a sense of shared responsibility for Yellowstone National Park's fisheries. Through this program, which is supported by the sale of Patagonia’s World Trout t-shirts, volunteer anglers collect scale and fin clip samples, weigh, measure and photograph the fish they catch. In 2004 over 300 native Arctic grayling were tagged. In 2005 and 2006, volunteers participated in a study to measure the effects of barbed and barbless hooks and collected data on the presence of invasive and hybridized species. During the past three years, more than 220 volunteers have contributed approximately 3,320 hours to fisheries research in Yellowstone.

With support from Patagonia and other generous donors, the Yellowstone Park Foundation has raised $116,000 for this program during the past four years. The Foundation is committed to raising an additional $64,000 to ensure its continuation through the summer of 2009. Please contact the Yellowstone Park Foundation at 406-586-6303 or visit their web site at if you would like to donate to, or volunteer for, the Fly Fishing Volunteers Program in Yellowstone. Help us ensure that angling forever remains an important core activity within our country’s first national park.

Friends of Wild
Friends of Wild Salmon is a diverse coalition of commercial anglers, sport anglers, First Nations (Native American groups), and concerned citizens working together to protect the Skeena River’s wild salmon and steelhead heritage. Their primary effort is working towards the common goal of protecting wild salmon and steelhead and the prevention of harmful fish farm expansion.

With open-net fish farms irreparably damaging wild fish stocks and the environment, Friends of Wild Salmon (FOWS) works to stop the development of these fish farms on rivers in British Columbia’s North Coast for the benefit of steelhead, salmon and other species. They provide education and outreach on open-net fish farming’s negative impacts on this river system; the spiritual, cultural and economic importance of wild salmon and steelhead; and support research to better understand the dynamics of this watershed.

Over $16,000 thus far has gone to obtain legal restrictions to fish farming in this watershed. FOWS has been successful since 2005 in keeping fish farms from being established in northern British Columbian waters. None have yet been constructed.

In the last two years FOWS has set up and maintained a Web site, sent out regular updates to our 1300 member database, organized displays at events around the region, supported an economic study on the value of Skeena wild salmon, supported a First Nations leader joining a delegation to Norway to attend a meeting an aquauculture company proposing fish farms in the Skeena watershed, supported Skeena First Nations coming together to declare the Skeena River fish farm free and produced brochures that have been widely disseminated.

Our last event was a second Salmon Summit on April 21. It was attended by people throughout the region and showed that opposition to fish farms remains strong two years after the initial Salmon Summit.

Balkan Trout Restoration
With Patagonia’s commitment for a multi-year donation program, a formal organization was sanctioned through the Department of Animal Science at the University of Ljubljana. This University was instrumental in beginning the recovery effort for softmouth and marble trout. Joining them were the Fisheries Institute of Slovenia, Angling Club of Tolmin, along with scientists, grassroots groups and concerned collaborators from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia-Montenegro, Macedonia and Austria. Although seemingly a large program because of its university associations, it still remains a small, grassroots effort growing through people’s passion.

With the significant decline of these fish populations due to non-native trout introductions, environmental degradation and over fishing, this effort could not be more timely. Main efforts involve genetic research and ecological studies in order to establish environmental protection for endangered salmonids such as softmouth and marble trout. A second goal is to build public awareness through outreach and education.

The Vrlika River softmouth trout were genetically evaluated and found to be a healthy and stable population with relatively high genetic diversity. They did not detect any traces of hybridization with brown trout. These are with no doubt sensational results and we have already submitted them for a publication in one of scientific journals.

They are currently investigating the habitat of the Vrlika softmouth trout. This investigation aims to define the ecological parameters that provide healthy conditions for these trout. These parameters will then guide conservation efforts in the future. Thanks to Patagonia for providing the funding to make this happen.