Rich Simms: Conservationist of the Year

Rich Simms

Wild Steelhead Coalition gets $10,000 from Sage, Redington, and RIO to pursue more protections for native PNW steelhead

Fly Fisherman has named Rich Simms, cofounder of the Wild Steelhead Coalition, as its 2017 Conservationist of the Year. To find this year's winner, more than 50 grassroots volunteers nationwide were nominated by their peers. After careful review by a nine-person selection committee, Rich Simms's years of dedication and his eventual success at eliminating sport harvest of steelhead in Washington were recognized with the Conservationist of the Year Award. Sage, Redington, and RIO sponsored the award, donating $10,000 to the Wild Steelhead Coalition in recognition of Simms and his efforts.

"We're a business full of passionate anglers with a deep commitment to give back to the resource that supports our livelihood," said Travis Campbell, president & CEO of Far Bank Enterprises, the parent company of Sage, Redington, and RIO. "Steelhead are our 'home' fish. We're fortunate in that there are a number of organizations in the Northwest that are strong voices for steelhead conservation. Wild Steelhead Coalition has been unwavering and powerful in their commitment to protecting the species and we are proud to partner with them on those efforts."

Conservationist of the Year Trophy.

The Wild Steelhead Coalition ( is now working toward increasing returns of native West Coast steelhead through other legislative means, such as reducing the impacts of stocked fish in rivers with wild steelhead populations, combating habitat loss, and removing human-constructed barriers to migration.

To read the complete story on Rich Simms and how the Wild Steelhead Coalition is continuing to protect native fish stocks with "wild steelhead gene banks" and other protective designations, read Sarah Grigg's column "Rising Tides" in the Feb.-Mar. 2017 issue of Fly Fisherman (on sale now).

Fly Fisherman is also now accepting nominations for the 2018 Conservationist of the Year. The award will go to an individual whose volunteer work within a conservation organization has significantly impacted the protection or enhancement of important fisheries habitat. We are not looking for presidents, CEOs, board members, or financial donors. We're looking for donors who contribute time and/or sweat. We'd like to recognize people working at the grassroots level on specific projects in coldwater, warmwater, or saltwater environments. This is an award for the little guy who is doing big things in the field.

Click here for the downloadable nomination form. Completed nominations must be received by June 30, 2017. Send to: or by mail to: Selection Committee, Fly Fisherman Magazine, 6385 Flank Drive Suite 800, Harrisburg, PA 17112.

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