December 2020 Conservation Education Committee Report

By Frank Rinella, Drew Irby, Wilton Fryer


Our committee is facing a lot of unknowns in our ability to hold meetings or schedule events for the near future. We as your co-chairs of the committee will do our best to keep all the members informed if any new conservation news, meetings, or events happen. On a local note, SYRCL, SSI, and the Bear Yuba Land Trust are up and running and have been having fund raisers and online events to keep them afloat, so please do what you can to help them out.


Outside of our area an incredibly positive thing has happened. The permitting for the Pebble Mine in Alaska has been denied! This battle has been going on for many years and we hope that this decision puts a final stop to this unneeded and unwanted project by many in the conservation and fishing communities.


Another positive development is the moving forward of the Klamath dam removal. This is a project that our own Mark Rockwell has been working on for over 10 years. Thank you to Mark and your committee members. This project when finished will give the Klamath river Salmon and Steelhead access to many miles of new spawning waters.


We have received word from the Sacramento ISE Show scheduled for the middle of January that the show has been canceled. The Northern California Council Fly Fishers International and our members have been putting on fly tying demonstrations for over twenty years at this show. Last year we had 58 Nor Cal club tyers at the show. The Pleasanton Fly Fishing show in February has not been canceled at this time; however, the NCCFFI Booth and fly casters will not be at the show. The NCCFFI Board has reviewed the safety factors of trying to hold an indoor event and they felt there was no way to practice social distancing in our booth or the isles of the show. Willy George who heads up the casting instructors at the show shared our same thoughts that the instructions could be at risk teaching at the show. The NCCFFI members at the booth and the SF Casting and Anglers club members will not be asked to volunteer for the event, for health and safety reasons.


There are several free Zoom events scheduled by FFI. It is called Season 2. This is a great way to get your fishing fix and practice social distancing. Check the FFI website for details, dates, and times.

Check out FFI Online Season Two!


Co-Chairs: Frank Rinella,  Drew Irby,  Wil Fryer



Conservation Education Committee Report

By Frank Rinella, Drew Irby, Wilton Fryer




The egg bite is happening on the Yuba so we thought this would be a good article to read from Landon Mayer on protecting spawning habitat. The link is from the Angler’s Covey website.




October 2020 Conservation Education Committee Report

Frank Rinella, Drew Irby, Wilton Fryer Co-chairs


As you might have guessed, things have really slowed down with our committee over the past few months. With that said, our committee is still in touch with other local organizations in our area. SYRCL, Sierra Streams Institute and the Bear Yuba Land Trust are the main groups that we have reached out to help during these unforeseen times.

Right now, it’s our time to step up and help out Sierra Streams Institute (SSI) which was hard hit by the Jones fire. SSI lost its building and much of its scientific equipment and data. Please, if you can, help them out through their GoFundMe account. SSI needs our community’s support. Many of us in GCFF have been SSI volunteers as stream monitors from its very beginning as Friends of Deer Creek, so we know firsthand how SSI has monitored and protected our watershed and fishery. It’s now our time to help get SSI back up and running.

Other items and events happening in September and October:

The SYRCL Yuba River Cleanup this year was done with social distancing and finished up September 20th.

The Bear Yuba Land Trust will hold its Gala Auction and event on October 16th this year. 

Check their website for more details at

The Horseshoe Bar Preserve Wounded Veterans program will still be happening October 1st through 4th with social distancing on the Middle Fork of the American River. This year, as in the past, our club has been a financial supporter, and we always had put out

a request for flies and fly boxes for the vets. This year, two of our past members, Bob Meyer and his fishing buddy Chuck jumped the gun and sent us their treasured fly collections and boxes. We now have enough flies to supply all the veterans and our future Boy Scout Merit Badge programs. Thank you guys.

The Lower Yuba River is closed to all fishing above the Highway 20 bridge from September 1st through December 1st.


The North Fork of the Yuba is open to fishing, but the campgrounds are closed until further notice.

The Gold Country Fly Fishers Conservation Education Committee has no meetings or events scheduled due to Covid-19 restrictions at this time. We will schedule a Zoom meeting when there is any important Conservation news we need to discuss. We will also send out email blasts to all members to keep you up to date. Conservation Committee meetings are always open to everyone who would like to join in, whether by Zoom or in person.

September 2020 Conservation Education Committee Report

Frank Rinella, Drew Irby, Wilton Fryer Co-chairs

Conservation Education Committee Report 

By Frank Rinella 

The Gold Country Fly Fishers Conservation Education Committee has no meetings or events scheduled due to Covid-19 restrictions at this time. We will schedule a Zoom meeting when there is any important Conservation news we need to discuss. We will also send out email blasts to all members to keep you up to date. Conservation Committee meetings are always open to everyone who would like to join in, whether by Zoom or in person. 

Although GCFF is not sponsoring or becoming involved as a club with any local events (even those that were scheduled on our calendar), there still are a few events that may interest our members planned by local groups like Cast Hope, SYRCL and The Wounded Veterans Fly Fishing Program. 

Cast Hope is this year having a Virtual Fly Fishing Film Tour. For $20.00 or $30.00 for a family, you can see the show at home. The show will run from August 27 to September 2 at 7:00 pm. For tickets go to Cast Hope’s website or 

SYRCL has revised its Yuba Cleanup to conform to new social gathering guide lines. The cleanup will be scheduled over 12 days from September 16 to 27. GCFF will not be taking signups or be a sponsor. Please contact SYRCL directly at if you would like to help. 

The Horseshoe Bar Wounded Veterans Fly Fishing event is at this time scheduled for October 1, 2, 3, and 4. The event hosts plan to practice social distancing by the veterans and the helpers. The club will not be taking signups for this event either. If you would like to donate funds or flies as an individual for the annual event contact Tom Bartos at 



Along with Fly Fishers International and many other fly fishing clubs, GCFF has signed on to the following letter regarding the Klamath Dam Removal project: 

Warren E. Buffett, CEO 

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. 

Omaha, NE 68131 

Gregory E. Abel, Chairman 

Berkshire Hathaway Energy 

Des Moines, IA 50306-0657 

Stefan Bird, President and CEO 

Pacific Power 

Portland, OR 97232 

Dear Mr. Buffett, Mr. Abel, and Mr. Bird, 

We are writing to respectfully request that PacifiCorp/Pacific Power move forward expeditiously to resolve any concerns you may have with regard to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s July 16th order for partial license transfer of the four lower Klamath River hydroelectric dams to the Klamath River Renewal Corporation. 

While we recognize that FERC’s order is a departure from PacifiCorp’s preferred course of action with regard to the decommissioning and removal of these dams, we strongly believe that the interests of your ratepayers and your shareholders can be met within the framework of the order. Now is the moment for swift action and an immediate effort to resolve any of the company’s concerns to keep the dam removal process on track. 

  • Dam removal is good for PacifiCorp’s ratepayers. The California and Oregon Public Utilities Commissions agreed that dam removal was the most cost-effective way forward for your ratepayers. Walking away from the KHSA at this moment would almost certainly require you to collect additional funds from your ratepayers and/or your shareholders to bring the dams into compliance with current environmental regulations. Moreover, you would lose access to $250 million in public funds already pledged by the State of California to cover more than half the cost of dam removal and associated restoration activities. 

  • These dams impose extreme economic and cultural stress on Klamath Basin tribal communities. Salmon are culturally and economically essential to several Klamath Basin Tribes. The dams deny salmon access to hundreds of miles of historical spawning habitat, degrade water quality, and create conditions ripe for fish disease. The result is that several runs of salmon are teetering on the brink of extinction. Dam removal would significantly improve conditions for these fish. 

  • Time is of the essence. A delay of months to address PacifiCorp’s concerns could slow down the dam removal process by a year or more, driving up the cost of the project by tens of millions of dollars and increasing stress on fragile migratory fish populations. 


We respectfully urge you to engage quickly and energetically with the other signatories to the Amended Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement to come to resolution over specific issues of concern to PacifiCorp with regard to FERC’s July order. The best way to limit cost overruns is for PacifiCorp, Oregon and Washington, tribes, commercial fishermen, sportsmen and conservation groups, local communities, and the KRRC to work together to keep the project on schedule. If PacifiCorp remains committed to its partners, its partners will remain committed to reducing PacifiCorp’s risks. 

We encourage you to work quickly to identify how your partners can address PacifiCorp’s concerns with FERC’s order. Removing these dams is equitable, good for the environment, and economically sensible. It’s time for Berkshire Hathaway, Berkshire Hathaway Energy, and PacifiCorp to do what it takes to keep Klamath dam removal on track. It’s the right thing to do, and it makes good business sense. 


[Names and logos here] 

August 2020 Conservation Education Committee Report

Frank Rinella, Drew Irby, Wilton Fryer Co-chairs

In Lieu of a Conservation Education Committee Report, here is an important update from our former Conservation Committee Chair and current NCCFFI President, Mark Rockwell:

 We have moved into the heat of summer and what I call the doldrums, at least for low elevation fishing. Some clubs are doing smaller and more spread out fish outs, and zoom club meetings. We, too, are doing zoom Council Board meetings. There are several activities your Council is engaged in today: 

1. Council Communication enhancement work - This involves a complete evaluation by an outside communication firm to help us develop better and more effective tools to provide better communication with you, and your club. This means a new look on our website, new website platform, enhanced look and feel of what we send out to you, as well as better Facebook presence and messaging. We’ve spent 3 months on this to date, and I’ve shared our work with Fly Fishers International. To make a long story short, we will be working with FFI over the next few months to do this work together and develop compatible platforms and tools to help both your Council as well as FFI. The FFI webinars is an example of the type of changes you’ll see coming. 

2. Smith River Fisheries Monitoring Plan - With the help of Ben Taylor we now created the first salmon and steelhead monitoring plan for our best north coast river. I am now working with the Tolowa Dee-ni Nation to secure monitoring equipment - DIDSON sonar units - to be placed in the water and count returning fish at the lower end of the river. This has been a 4 year project with several of your NCCFFI Board participating. Our goal is to keep the Smith the historic river it has always been, and keep the fisheries healthy and abundant. It’s our most heavily fished north coast river, and home to our largest steelhead. 


3. Klamath River Dam Removal - This project has taken a move forward recently when the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved a partial transfer of the license to operate the dams to the Klamath River Renewal Corp. (KRRC) from PacifiCorp. That said, they did not let PacifiCorp off the hook yet, and there is work to do to make this transfer complete. Additionally, we are working on license surrender to KRRC, which will mean the project will move to completion. We are still on schedule to see removal begin Jan, 2022. 


4. San Jose Flycasters - WE helped the San Jose club to submit a $3,000 grant request to re-activate their historic ‘steelhead in the classroom’ efforts into a trout in the classroom effort. When Flycasters lost access to steelhead eggs due to the drought back in 2004-6, the classroom connections stopped. They decided to get it going again but after years of not much activities, they needed some funding for equipment and other assets. So, the partnered with the club, Council and FFI to get the funds for a 2 year project. The grant request was approved by FFI this month. Being an affiliated FFI club as benefits. 

 5. Council Request of you - One of our goals is to provide timely and accurate information to you in an effective and easy to read format. Our communication changes are key. We need help in two (2) positions - Webmaster and a Communications V.P. We will be putting together a much easier platform for the website, using Square Space - and it does not require a high level of technical knowledge to run. We are working to make this job as easy as possible, so the time and effort should not be difficult. The Communications VP is a job that requires an over-sight, or management type person who can manage our various communications tasks - website, Facebook, mailings, event outreach. I am asking for 2 volunteers from our clubs to help us. 

June 2020 Conservation Education Committee Report

Frank Rinella, Drew Irby, Wilton Fryer Co-chairs

In Lieu of a Conservation Education Committee Report, here is an important update from our former Conservation Committee Chair and current NCCFFI President, Mark Rockwell:

The Northern Calif Council FFI continues to participate in the work to decommission the 4 Lower Klamath River dams.  We started this effort in 2003, and great progress has been made.  However, we are facing stiff pressure from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).  They have not yet approved  transfer of the license to operate from PacifiCorp to the Klamath River Renewal Corp.  We have been waiting since last fall.


As you may know, we are on a time schedule to start removal in January, 2022.  Because of slow action from FERC we may not be able to meet that schedule.  If we have to move it forward into 2023, we may not have enough money.  We have $450 million in the bank today, but if we don’t stay on schedule we likely will have to find some additional funds to ensure the project can be completed as planned.  Stay tuned as we press forward.  A free flowing Klamath into Oregon is our goal, with salmon & steelhead returning to their historic spawning grounds in the Sprague, Wood & Williamson rivers.

May 2020 Conservation Education Committee Report

Will Fryer & Frank Rinella – Co-chairs

In Lieu of a Conservation Education Committee Report, here is an important update from our former Conservation Committee Chair and current NCCFFI President, Mark Rockwell:

On April 7, 2020, the California State Water Resources Control Board issued its Clean Water Act, Section 401 Water Quality Certification for the removal of the Lower Klamath Project (Copco-1, Copco-2 and Iron Gate). This means the removal project complies with state water quality standards, and the removal project will move forward. 

This represents a historic opportunity to revive one of our most prolific salmon and steelhead rivers, and NCCFFI will continue to work to complete the removal and restoration which is scheduled to begin in January 2022. “We have been involved in nearly every step of the process starting in 2002, and we will continue to offer our help and guidance, along with Cal Trout, TU, and other NGO’s and Tribes. This can be the biggest river restoration in U.S. History.


April 2020 Conservation Education Committee Report

Will Fryer & Frank Rinella – Co-chairs

In Lieu of a Conservation Education Committee Report, SOME THOUGHTS from our Chair: 

What is a fly fisher to do in these crazy times when we all have been asked to stay inside and to practice social distancing? 

We know for now and in our near future that all fly fishing club meetings and fish-outs are cancelled. We all need to keep within the State mandated guidelines so we can get through this COVID-19 crisis as soon as possible. 

You CAN use this event as something positive and take a little time each day to work on your fly fishing skills: practice casting in your yard, fly tying, work on rigging and knots, clean your rods, reels and lines, or read up on your local aquatic entomology. 

For now, with local libraries and most fly shops closed, the internet is one of our best learning tools. There are numerous websites and YouTube videos on just about any fly fishing topic you might be looking for. The Fly Fishers International website -- is another great resource that maybe you haven't had time in the past to checkout. That website offers many resources under Conservation, Education, casting, tying and more. The new Casting Skills challenge guidelines are also on the site. You could practice on the skill levels so you will be ready to go through the testing as soon as we get back to regular club meetings. 

And, please remember that if you ever need to just talk fish'n with someone, your fellow club members are just a phone call away. 

We all need to take care of ourselves, our family, friends, watersheds and fisheries. 

Frank Rinella 



March 2020 Conservation Education Committee Report

Drew Irby & Frank Rinella – Co-chairs

We will be managing the following events, in calendar order: 


1. BSA Fly Fishing Merit Badge 2020: This is a yearly event. We assist local Scouts in earning this merit badge. There is fly tying, knot tying and fishing sessions, locations to be determined. We will be passing around a sign-up sheet at the March meeting asking for volunteers to assist in the next 30-60 days. 

2. Know Your Watershed event, March 29, 10AM -4PM: Our committee will participate in this one-day event for the second year at Bear River Campground. Sign-up sheets for volunteers will be passed around at the March meeting as well. 


3. Reel Angler Fly Shop BBQ, club outreach, May 2, 10AM-3PM: Our committee will host a booth at the shop’s location to support their yearly customer appreciation day. We will have volunteers on hand to answer any questions about the club. Need 2-3 more volunteers for booth duty. 


4. Trout in the Classroom (TIC) update: Committee voted to allocate $300 from our funds to buy accessories for the classrooms in 2020. The Club will match 1:1. [See Trout in the Classroom article later in this newsletter.] 


Note: we would like to start mentoring 1 or 2 more volunteers for the program. 

Please contact Frank on our committee if interested. 


5. Bug Entomology Field Kit/Curriculum-Doug Zike: Doug developed, wrote and printed some curriculum documents for use with the “bug box” station he developed for general use. Thank you very much, Doug, for your efforts. 


Contact Frank if the bug station is needed at outreach events. 


6. New Conservation Education Committee Co-Chair: Wil Fryer has graciously offered to co-chair this committee with Frank. Drew and Frank to help mentor. 


7. Yuba Fest Oct. 2020 update: Clay Hash reports there are 12 members on the planning committee including members from SYRCL, the Northern California Council of Fly Fishing International (NCCFFI), Casting for Recovery and Women’s Connect. The program theme is still youth and women recruitment to fly fishing in conjunction with celebration of the Yuba River. Location still Hammond Grove. Entertainment is being lined up. Our committee to contribute $300 to Yuba Fest 2020. 


8. Clay, through Fly Fishing Traditions, will offer a Fly Fishing 101 course to SYRCL members for $40 which includes a single adult year’s club membership. 

Frank and Drew, co-chairs



October 2019 Conservation Education Committee Report

Drew Irby & Frank Rinella – Co-chairs


The Conservation Corner

The committee has had a busy month: we hosted the club’s September meeting program. The program was focused on local projects that are being worked on by six local community groups. The program's purpose was to bring an awareness to our members and the other groups what conservation, watershed and fisheries projects are happening in our community. 

The great Yuba River cleanup on the Lower Yuba river, which the club has helped out with for the past 15 years, will have passed by newsletter publication time. This is not just a once-a-year pick-up for trash, every time you’re out in our watershed, do what you can to keep it clean. For all of you who joined in – THANKS. 

At the upcoming October 1 meeting we will be doing our annual PASS THE NET collection for donations to the local Horseshoe Bar Wounded Veterans program. This tradition started about 9 years ago when we saw a need and way to directly help local Wounded Veterans. We as a club give financial and material help to this event, which 100% goes to the program. The event is a four-day outing, camping and learning to fly fish on the middle fork of the American river. Do what you can to support the program. At the club’s Conservation Education table, we have a photo album of last year’s event. This event is a positive time in our Wounded Veterans lives that they need and deserve. 

Remember this date and put it on your calendar October 12th The Yuba Fest. 

This second annual event needs to be attended by all our members and their families. For all our newer members this is a festival of all things that fly fishing is about. The day will feature other local organizations, a fly fishing skills areas, a youth area, a Woman's Connect area, food and much more. Check this newsletter for more details. We just need you to mark your calendars and support your club. 

Frank Rinella and Drew Irby 

Co- Chairs for the Conservation Education committee 


September 2019 Conservation Education Committee Report

Drew Irby & Frank Rinella – Co-chairs


The Conservation Corner

Our September monthly meeting theme is watershed conservation and will be sponsored by this committee. We will be bringing in 5-6 groups to speak briefly on their missions to protect, restore and sustain local fisheries, riparian habitat, and their efforts

to raise awareness about water issues and policies that affect our communities. 


Groups include South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL), Sierra Streams Institute (SSI), Wolf Creek Alliance, Bear Yuba Land Trust (BYLT), Trout Unlimited (TU) and Cal Trout (CT).

Members, at the meeting please take some time to visit their respective tables and collect information to better acquaint yourselves with what they are doing. They will also each give brief presentations.

Calendar at a Glance:

Sept. 6: General Meeting featuring six (6) watershed conservation group presentations.

Sept. 21: Yuba River Annual Cleanup. Sign-ups at Sept. 6th general meeting

Oct. 3: Wounded Veteran event. Pass the hat, details at Sept. 6th meeting

Oct.12: Second Annual Yuba Fest, YUBA FEST 2019, at Sycamore Ranch County Park, 9 am to 4 pm. Details forthcoming


The Conservation Education Committee is looking for volunteer leaders:

1. New co-chair as Drew Irby is moving out of area. Thank you Drew for your leadership and work!

2. New Boy Scout Fly Fishing Merit Badge coordinator (20 hours, January through May; great team making it happen.)

3. Co-leader Yuba River cleanup (one day, tons of great volunteers cleaning up our home waters.)

4. Trout in the Classroom volunteers for 3 new classrooms in the Colfax area. See

Frank, Larry Uno or Robin DeNegri.

August 2019 Conservation Education Committee Report

Drew Irby & Frank Rinella – Co-chairs


The Conservation Corner


The Conservation Education Committee cancelled its monthly meeting this month. We will resume next month, date tentatively end of August at Player’s Pizza, TBD. Our agenda and events calendar is simply empty right now and we are in the process of

filling it back up.

Our September monthly meeting theme is watershed conservation and will be sponsored by this committee. We will be bringing in 5-6 groups to speak briefly on their missions to protect, restore and sustain local fisheries, riparian habitat, and their efforts

to raise awareness about water issues and policies that affect our communities. 


Groups include South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL), Sierra Streams Institute (SSI), Wolf Creek Alliance, Bear Yuba Land Trust (BYLT), Trout Unlimited (TU) and Cal Trout (CT).

Members, at the meeting please take some time to visit their respective tables and collect information to better acquaint yourselves with what they are doing. They will also each give brief presentations.

This committee will also be planning on attending the second annual Yuba Fest in October down at Hammond Bar, lower Yuba River. The Northern Council of FFI will be leading the festival this year. Emphasis will be on youth education and women’s

introduction to fly fishing along with some streamside aquatic biology exhibits.

Be watching for volunteer opportunities in the coming months.

Compiled by Drew Irby—Co Chair, 722-2019

July 2019 Conservation Education Committee Report

Drew Irby & Frank Rinella – Co-chairs


The Conservation Corner

Bob Winters and his crew finished up another successful Fly Fishing Boy Scout Merit Badge class. The class was a multi-day event, knots, rigging, fly tying and finally casting and catching fish. With our volunteers helping with this type of youth event, we are

building up the fly fishers for the future.


Bob is looking for a new leader for the event, if you would like to help out contact Bob.


In April, Robin and Larry along with all their helpers finished up the Trout in the Classroom project with a very successful egg to Alvin count. My guess is that about 90% of the eggs raised were returned to the river as young Steelhead. Both of these annual programs can always use more volunteers, if you would like to help us out, contact one of our committee members at the Conservation table at our meetings.

In September the club program will be about Conservation and Education in our watershed. Our guest speakers will be from local groups who are working to preserve our watershed and fishery.


Save the date of Saturday October 12th – the club will be hosting the second annual Yuba Fest, an all-day family

event celebrating our watershed.


Our next meeting is Monday, July 1st, 1 p.m. at Players Pizza in Penn Valley –

Everyone is welcome! (This is a no-host lunch meeting.)

- Frank and Drew, Co-chairs

April 2019 Conservation Education Committee Report

Drew Irby & Frank Rinella – Co-chairs


The Conservation Corner


The Conservation Education Committee meets on March 26 and will address its 2019 committee budget of about $1,500, upcoming new events as well as old, re-occurring events. Henceforth, it will be called the Conservation Education (CE) committee to better reflect what our committee does: youth and community education related to fly-fishing and its stewardship toward conserving our fisheries.

We have seen an encouraging good turnout (10-12 members) in attendance each month. 

Events coming in the next couple of months:

1. Tuesday, March 26: Conservation Education Committee Meeting, 1 PM, Players Pizza, 10161 Commercial Ave, Penn Valley, CA 95946


 2. Sunday, March 31: Know Your Watershed, Bear River Campground, Colfax, CA 10AM-4PM, 

This is a new event for us, and we will be manning our new booth representing the Yuba River Watershed. This event, in its second year, is a collaboration of various agencies and organizations celebrating and educating the community about the American, Bear and Yuba watersheds. We will be giving youth free casting lessons, have an aquatic bug display, using bugs from the local streams, and possibly do a little fly tying and knot tying practice. We need 3-4 volunteers to back Frank up. We will be tapping this committee for volunteers, but all members are welcome to attend the event. Go to this link for more information:


3. April: The Boy Scout Fly Fishing Merit badge training is coming around again with a fresh “school” of new eager scout anglers. We need 6-8 volunteers to help the boys with basic knot tying, fly tying and their “fish-out” sessions. Announcements for sign-ups will be at our next general meeting, Apr. 2. We will be administrating the merit badge over 3 weekend dates, a couple hours each.  See Bob Winters and Allan Gere for details.


4. Sat. April 20: Kienes’ Fly Shop Expo, times TBD—Sacramento. We will be hosting our booth at Kienes’ shop at their annual expo and gear sale. We need 3-4 volunteers to man the booth. Please practice your 3 minute “elevator” pitch on why Gold Country FF is the best FF club to join. Note that this date coincides with one of the Boy Scout dates so, we especially need extra hands of help on this date. Thanks.



Drew Irby and Frank Rinella

Co-Chairs Gold Country Fly Fishers Conservation Education Committee



March 2019 Conservation Committee Report

Drew Irby & Frank Rinella – Co-chairs


The Conservation Corner

The Conservation Committee met on January 21 and addressed their 2019 budget, upcoming new events as well as old, reoccurring events and addressed a new mission statement. We have seen an encouraging good turnout (10-12 members) in attendance each month. We received thank-yous from the SYRCL salmon boat tour event coordinators and from Sierra Streams Institute for our donation towards a monitoring computer.

One unfortunate note: the annual Malakoff-Diggins Kids’ Fishing Derby Day, usually held in March/April, will be cancelled this year. Apparently, according to State Parks, there is a sinkhole draining the pond on one end, dropping the pond levels to

unsustainable levels for fish. No word when or if this problem will be remedied.

Heads Up:

March 30th: Know Your Watershed is a new event for us and we will be manning our new booth representing the Yuba River Watershed. This event, in its second year, is a collaboration of various agencies and organizations celebrating and educating

the community about the American, Bear and Yuba watersheds. Booth location, times and other info to be determined.

We will be tapping this committee for volunteers but, all members are welcome to attend the event. Go to this link for more information:


Drew Irby and Frank Rinella


February 2019 Conservation Committee Report

Drew Irby & Frank Rinella – Co-chairs


The Conservation Corner


The Conservation Committee met on Jan. 21 at Players’ Pizza with 12 folks in attendance. Drew and Frank presented a new draft mission statement to the committee to include the education theme more prominently. As the biggest committee in the club

drawing the most human as well as financial resources, we want to better define what the events we have historically been involved in as well as new events are meeting the definition of our overall mission. The committee has been very good and productive in facilitating not only legacy events that repeat annually but, are open to new ideas as an originator and/or collaborator. Thank yous and testimonials are received every year in tribute to the committee’s efforts.

We are NOT advocating adding more to our plate than we can handle nor changing the status quo of what is in place. We will continue to try and refine our mission while maintaining a “not fixing what ain’t broke” attitude. Our budget was discussed briefly. No changes nor requests made to the largely carry-overed funds from last year. 


On Sat. Jan. 19, the committee co-hosted a booth (with the Bear River Land Trust) at SYRCL’s Annual Enviro Fair, downtown Nevada City, as part of their Wild and Scenic Film Tour schedule. We had good attendance and a full page of potentially interested fly fishing anglers, looking to score free casting lessons from a raffle. Hopefully, this outreach effort will translate to some new members for us!


Next 30-60 day calendar, at a glance:


1. Feb. 9th Sonoma County Steelhead Festival, Milt Brant Visitors Center, 10AM-4PM. Fly Fishers Int’l (FFI) will have a booth and advise on local steelhead issues and fishing spots.


2. Feb. 22-24 Pleasanton Fly Fishing Show, Pleasanton Fair Grounds. Fly Fishers Int’l (FFI) will have a booth. Fly tyers and casting instructors will be on hand to teach and hone your skills.


3. Feb. 25th Monday, 1PM, Players Pizza, Committee meeting date & time tentative, TBD


4. March 30th Know Your Watershed, is a new event for us and we will be manning a booth representing the Yuba River Watershed. This event, in its second year, is a collaboration of various agencies and organizations celebrating and educating the community about the American, Bear and Yuba watersheds. Booth location, times and other info to be determined. Go to this link for more information:

Drew Irby and Frank Rinella


January 2019 Conservation Committee Report 

Drew Irby & Frank Rinella – Co-chairs


The Conservation Corner


The Conservation committee took on a new outreach event in December, the kids fishing in the city program. We were asked by the Placer Country fish and game commission to help out with this new program in Auburn. From our area there were three fly clubs who came out to help, Granite Bay, Calif. Fly Fishers Unlimited and GCFF. The CDFW selects a few city’s each month where they will come in and stock a local city pond with trout, where kids 15 years and younger can come and fish. The event was very well run. They supplied rods on loan and all the bait and extra tackle. We all helped with the program which ran the kids through four stations, Conservation awareness, knots, aquatic bugs, and then casting. After the kids were signed off at all the stations it was off to the pond for fishing. The fishing and catching part of the event was our biggest challenge because the fish seemed to travel in large schools around the lake so it was fish on when they were in your area and then wait for them to come back. All of our volunteers seemed to have a have a good time working with the kids and their families. We hope to see more of our members out at the next event. 


       Some upcoming events on our area:


The Sacramento ISE show is January 17 to 20th. The Fly Fishers International will be

running the Fly Tiers booth F2140 and Learning Center with about 50 of our best local

tiers. Drop by the booth say Hi to the tiers and get some good tips on tying.

The Pleasanton Fly Fishing Show, Pleasanton Fair grounds, February 22 to the 24.

Fly Fishers International with have a booth at this event, the booth will feature a

Learning Center for tiers of all ages to ask questions and get hands on help. Also at the

same booth you can get some free help with your casting skills. Casting Instructors from

the Golden Gate Angling and Casting Club will be on hand to give lesions and tune up

your casting stroke.

The 2019 Sonoma Steelhead Festival February 9th will be held at the Milt Brandt

Visitors center Sonoma Ca. from 10 to 4pm It’s free, rain or shine .The Fly Fishers

International will have a booth with a lot of good local Steelhead information.


November 2018 Conservation Committee Report 

Drew Irby & Frank Rinella – Co-chairs


The Conservation Corner 


We have one remaining great salmon and steelhead river in California - the Smith river - on our north coast. At one time California was a world know destination for salmon & steelhead fishing, but only the Smith remains from that history. We in Fly Fishers International (FFI) are now working to keep it a great river. After meeting with Director of DFW Bonham 3+ years ago, four of us have completed a draft management & monitoring plan for the Smith focused on protecting its robust salmon and steelhead populations. DFW staff now have that draft plan, and have decided to enhance it into a prototype to be used on several rivers in California. This decision has resulted in DFW slowing the process. 

We need your help! We need to have outside pressure asking DFW to move forward with the plan, and work to implement the monitoring part of the plan in 2019. We will be engaging with DFW staff in the weeks ahead, and your input will help us move the needle forward to protect and manage the Smith. 

Here is the link to send a note to Director Bonham at DFW: .  


Here’s what to say: I would like DFW to move forward to protect the Smith river fishery by implementing the fishery monitoring plan submitted to staff early in 2018. I understand you want to create a useful management plan, but beginning the monitoring portion in 2019 will allow DFW staff to build a data history they can use to manage the river in the future. The Smith is our last great anadromous fish river, and deserves scientific monitoring as a first step of management. 

Drew Irby and Frank Rinella 


October 2018 Conservation Committee Report 

Drew Irby & Frank Rinella – Co-chairs 


The Conservation Corner 

The Gold Country Fly Fishers with the help of some SYRCL volunteers and a great group of young folks from Beale Air Base joined up for the Yuba river cleanup. 

The group met up on the lower Yuba River at Parks Bar, in about 3 hours we were able to pick up and remove 2,275 lbs. of trash from the river side. In total the all volunteers that day were able to remove 13,000 lbs. of trash from our local watershed. Our thanks go out to the host, SYRCL and all the volunteers that day. 

The conservation committee’s next event will be helping out with the Wounded Warriors fly fishing event. The event will be held at Horseshoe Bar preserve fly fishing club on the middle fork of the American river. Our club has been a sponsor and a donor for this local event for over 8 years, this year the club donated a total of $750.00, a large number of flies and a hand full of volunteers. 

The Yuba Fest is set for October 13th and the club can use all the help it can get. This will be a great time for member new and old to work side by side so we can make this the best it can be. Clay and Jimmie have both put a lot of time and energy into this event and they need our help. We can all help in many ways volunteer as a helper, help spread the word to friends and neighbors, if you have grand kids or young kids in the neighborhood see that make it to the event. 

The clubs conservation committee meets once a month and has a table at all the club meeting, if you would like to help us with our many community outreach programs contact us. 

Drew Irby and Frank Rinella 


Special Conservation Message from Mark Rockwell - October 2018


Hi all, and I’ve been asked to address the club on behalf of the Conservation Committee on an issue of importance to us all. The current federal administration is revising the way the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is being implemented by federal agencies - Fish & Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries. From Cal Trout in September: 

"45% of California's native salmon, steelhead, and trout are likely to be extinct in 50 years, 74% in 100 years if present trends continue." We cannot let things get worse. These revisions, if enacted, will significantly alter the way the law is managed and how species are listed and protected. Here’s a few of the changes: 


1. Allows non-biological considerations to play a role in listing decisions. 


2. Limit the designation of critical habitat, particularly unoccupied critical habitat, that may be essential to the conservation and recovery of a species. 


3. Place listed species at risk of premature delisting. 


4. Weaken ESA protections for species and critical habitat when government projects are proposed and analyzed. 


5. Remove the blanket rule which affords the same protections to "threatened" species as are given to plants and animals in the more stringent "endangered" category. Revoking the blanket rule would add more burden to the Department of 

Page 14 of 23 September 18 

Fish and Wildlife which would have to consider separately every case involving a threatened species 


These are not positive changes that will result in protection of our local Yuba River Spring-run Chinook, Steelhead or Green Sturgeon. Please call our Senators and House member if you share concern on implementation of the ESA. 

Dianne Feinstein: 

Kamala Harris: 

Doug LaMalfa: 

Thank you Mark Rockwell, on behalf of the Conservation Committee 


September 2018 Conservation Committee Report 

Drew Irby 

(from 8-6-2018 conference call)

Discussed upcoming events and budget considerations: 

EVENTS (next 90 days) 

1. The Great Yuba Cleanup is September 15th signup will be at the September meeting and on line with more details. Our cleanup spot is Parks Bar on the lower Yuba. Frank R. is the point-of-contact.

2. Wounded Veterans event will be October 4 to 7th, if you would like to help, details & signup at the September meeting. We will also do a pass the hat for collections at that meeting. 

3. Yuba Fest is on Oct 13th, 10 AM to 4 PM. The conservation group will man a booth and help as volunteers at the event. We voted to donate $200.00 to the event to match the funds donated by the chapter. There is another event we have been invited to; Kids Fishing in the City (Auburn) in the morning but, it is unclear if we have enough bodies to handle both events. 

4. Lyman Gilmore Middle School, Grass Valley- Doug Harmon teacher, requested a donation of fly tying materials for an elective class on fly fishing he is going to teach. At least one board member wants this to happen. Discuss how much to donate and who will purchase the materials. 

Other budget allocations (90+ days out): 

5. SRYCL kids salmon rafting trips; about $450.00 per raft we paid for one raft for kids in 2017. 

6. Check with SSI for funding needs, we will fund instruments, materials or kids events if asked. 

7. Trout in the Classroom bus transportation to fish planting (this was voted to be a second tier funding) 

8. Kids Science Camp 2019 ( we sent two students from Union Hills School in 2018) We funded about $720.00 in 2018.


August 2018 Conservation Report -

Drew Irby 


Yuba Jubilee event cancelled: Saturday, August 4th 9-12 AM, at Hammond Grove lower parking lot has been cancelled due to scheduling issues with Lance Gray. In its place, plans are set for “Yuba Fest” on October 13 – see page 3 of the August 2018 newsletter. 


Malakoff Kids camp/fishing derby trout stocking planning 2019: we asked State Parks and Friends of MD for “save-the date” and other info but, did not hear back yet. 

The 21st Annual SYRCL Cleanup is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 15. This committee will be coordinating efforts with SYCL and a sign-up sheet will be distributed next August meeting. 

NEW! Auburn Fishing in the City invitation, Oct. 13, 8AM-12 noon at the Auburn Regional Park. Gary Flannigan from the Placer Fish & Game Commission has asked Frank if our club would be interested in helping out kids with their rigging & so forth for catfish fishing. If successful, there would be a follow up event for trout in the fall. It is an opportunity for us to introduce kids to fly fishing. More details to follow, needs more discussion at our next August committee meeting. 

The Wolf Creek Cleanup on hold right now. We will revisit in the fall. 

Our committee discussed our $4K reserve in committee budget. Consensus was to have further discussion with more members present before allocation to any specific activity. The August committee meeting date will be forthcoming, probably in mid-late August. 

May 2018 Conservation Report -

Drew Irby and Frank Rinella


The members of Gold Country Fly Fishers stepped up and helped out to run a very successful Malakoff Diggins Kids fishing derby. Our members showed up a few days before the event to weed eat and clean up the lake, we put in about 4 hours of cleaning, watching DFW stock the lake with trout and having lunch. I think it’s safe to say the time went very quickly and we all felt good about the job we did.

On the Saturday of the event we had about a dozen volunteers who showed up to mentor, rig up rods, net fish, teach fly casting and fly tying, and even clean some of the fish. This event has been one of the club’s signature events the past 8 years, the host for the event is Calif. State Parks. Our thanks need to go out to Matt Green, Sector Superintendent, the Friends of North Bloomfield & Malakoff Diggins, and Park staff who we worked with to make this event happen for the kids in our community. 


The Boy Scout Fly Fishing Merit badge program run by Bob Winters, Allan Gere and Conservation Committee volunteers put four scouts through the program. Here is Allan's report:


By Allan Gere, CoChair of Scout Fly Fishing Merit Badge Event

A joyous cry rang out from the east side of the pond. A happy scout was deftly maneuvering a 14” bass to the banks. A wooly bugger had done the trick. It was the fly that the scout had tied with help from GCFF mentor Bob Alvares. May 5th was a good day for everyone. GCFF members were enjoying teaching basic skills of tying, knots, basic casting, and using these new skills to fish. Dennis Monax taught the important and required safety component.

Bob Alvares demonstrated the correct fly fishing equipment. Bob Winters discussed how to protect our fisheries and as CoChair

recruited the scouts and located a terrific site. Robin Denegri and Diane Berg guided the scouts to all kinds of discoveries during their lead of the bug study component. The scouts dipped their own nets in the pond to capture nymphs, snails, larvae, and other mysterious creatures . Thanks to Sam Higginbotham and Bob Alvares who instructed the scouts on roll casting and tight loops. The scouts have a long way to go; however, they ALL CAUGHT FISH!!


The occasion was an opportunity for local scouts to acquire the “fly fishing merit badge.” This is the 10th year that our club has offered this program. Over 75 scouts have earned this prized merit badge. A huge thank you to all the members who served as mentors and you members whose dues help make this program a reality. Our GCFF Merit Badge Event fosters a truly positive connection between members, mentors and local youth. Our hope is that these scouts grow up to be capable anglers and stewards of our lakes and streams.

Hold these dates for the upcoming Conservation projects that we can use your help on: 

  • August 4 -- The Yuba Jubilee 

  • September 15 -- the Great Yuba Cleanup. 


More detail will be out in the next newsletter. 


April 2018 Conservation Report – 

With Mark Rockwell 


It is with a heavy heart that I write this conservation report - my last for the club. Dianne and I are moving to Santa Barbara later in the month to be with our daughter and grandchildren. It has been my joy to have been part of this great club, and my pleasure to have served the club as President and on the Board. As most of you know conservation is a life focus for me, and the Conservation Committee is part of that focus. Thank you for allowing me this opportunity over the past 18+ years. 

I wanted to up-date everyone on the status of the Klamath River dam removal process, the end result of 15 years of effort. I was one of many in the environmental community who participated for more than 8 years with 34 different negotiation partners to come to agreement to keep the ranching/farming community whole, and restore the Klamath River watershed and fishery. Today, after many ups and downs, the 4 lower river dams are set to be transferred to a joint power authority who will manage the removal process, likely to begin in 2021. This will be the single largest river restoration effort in U.S. history, and provide the beginning of an effort to return the Klamath River to its historic place as the 3rd most productive salmon and steelhead river in the west. Even though there continues to be resistance, Pacific Power is intent on working with the federal power agency to transfer and remove the dams. Success is at hand. 

I have learned a lot working on this process. Most important is that relationship building is the key. Getting to know each other, understanding we all have stakes in the decisions, and knowing each opinion counts. If it hadn’t been for everyone recognizing the need to look past personal or organizational positions, and working together to find solutions that kept everyone whole, we would have never accomplished anything. It took much time and effort, but that is what it takes to build trust and understanding so that good, honest communication can happen. That took the first 2-3 years. From there the real negotiation began, and in the end we found what was good for everyone. We all should celebrate, particularly in today’s world, that good people with divergent positions can find common ground and solutions, and end up being friends. 

As I leave the Yuba River watershed, I am fully aware of what work lays ahead to recover our favorite river’s fishery. Our club is key to that future, and the conservation committee is well positioned to assist other partners to support the work needed to stabilize salmon, steelhead and trout. This will happen, with better fishing the result. 

Lastly, I ask that as you go out into your favorite fishing watersheds you always remember that these places will not stay viable without stewardship and protection. We fly fishers are an important cog in the process to keep these places wild and free, and provide our children and grandchildren opportunities to visit and enjoy the great outdoors. Always remember your voice counts, support our fishery organizations, and advocate to protect the places we all love. Each of us has a responsibility to care for the planet, the only one we have. As Lee Wulff once said, “Becoming a fly fishers creates an environmentalist for life.” Please join me and many others and give part of your life to this process. I’ll miss you all!! 

Mark Rockwell, former Chair, GCFF Conservation Committee



March 2018 Conservation Report – 

With Mark Rockwell


 As we start ramping up for spring fishing, I wanted to remind all of us how important it is to support fishing conservation groups like Fly Fishers International, Trout Unlimited, Cal Trout and the Wild Steelhead Coalition.  These groups are on the front lines every day working to protect fisheries, watersheds, and public access to wilderness areas.  


It is easy to take for granted that the fish will always be there, waters will always flow, and watershed health will always be good.  However, demands are always present that can destroy fisheries and watersheds.  California, a state of 40 million people, is rich in resources, but also rich in forces that work to deplete and alter our natural heritage.  In a Democracy it is critical that the citizen’s work to make sure balance is not lost.  For fly fishers that means working for and supporting our conservation groups.  They work to protect the environment where fish can thrive.  


We fly fishers do many things designed to protect fish, like catch and release, “Keep ‘em Wet”, and barbless hooks.  We play our part while on the water.  However, for long term health of the fishery environment, it is what happens in state capitals, in business board rooms and in state and local planning decisions where great harm can happen.  These are the places we individuals usually are not present, but our conservation organizations are.  Major decisions on logging, mining, water diversion and a host of other actions can harm or kill fisheries, and we must have a presence and impact on the decision process.  I’ve had the opportunity to be part of these larger organizations, and know what they do and how effective they can be in protecting watersheds and fish.  


This is not a small effort!  It takes people who care, organization, planning, relationship building and money to make it happen.  All of that comes from dedicated people working to protect what we care about, and it takes money to pay them.  That is where we all come in.  We need to be members of these groups, pay dues, donate to them and support their work.  It is possible we don’t agree with everything they do, but the larger reality is they do the work we cannot, and they provide representation in venues we cannot be part of.  You can count on them working for and supporting the existence of fish we love and the places fish need to survive.  


In 2018 and beyond I encourage all of you to join a group you can support.  Give to them all you can - in both money and time.  They need us, and we need them if we want fisheries available to us, our children and grandchildren.  It’s vital, and part of our obligation as fly fishers.  Protecting the planet and its residents is key to the future.


Fly Fishers International (Formerly FFF) -

California Trout (Cal Trout) -

Trout Unlimited (TU) -

Wild Steelhead Coalition -

South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL) -

Endangered Species Coalition (ESC) -


Mark Rockwell, Chair, GCFF Conservation Committee

  • w-google+
  • Twitter Clean
  • w-facebook