Craig Roghair, director of the USDA Forest Service Assistant National Fish Program
The National Fishing and Boating Week is held every year to recognize the importance of recreational boating and fishing to the enthusiast, their friends and family, the environment and the economy.
Fisheries in particular play a large role in the management of the water by the USDA Forest Service. Part of the Forest Service’s mission is to provide clean and abundant water for drinking and farming, preserve ecosystems, and provide visitors with places to fish, boating, swimming, and more.
Southeast Alaska’s Tongass National Forest manages rivers, creeks, and lakes, including the surrounding land, to provide just these kinds of world-class recreational opportunities.
The Tongass is unique in many ways. It is by far the largest national forest with nearly 17 million acres. It’s also located in Alaska, one of the wettest states in the United States. Almost 95,000 square miles – or 14 percent of that – are made up of water.
It is not just the amount of water, but also the quality of the water and the fishing experience that make the Tongass a destination for fishermen from all over the country and around the world.
But every fishing trip starts somewhere, and for National Fishing and Boating Week, the Tongass National Forest and its partners are hosting eight free family fishing events across the forest.
While the emphasis is on fishing for children, experienced fishermen are available to make it easy for the whole family to catch trout, salmon, lingcods, stone fish, and more.
For the more seasoned fisherman looking for a new challenge, the Tongass is the first stop on the path to Master Caster certification through the Western Native Trout Challenge. The challenge is led by the Western Native Trout Initiative and is part of a multi-state effort to invite fishermen to catch 18 species in 12 western states. The fishermen register to compete with the yields for conservation.
To learn more about National Fishing and Boating Week, or to learn more about fishing and boating in your national forests: URL.
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Fish Biologist, External Affairs, US Fish and Wildlife Service – Southwest Region