The Current Magazine Summer 2018 - Page 9

Drew is in his mid-thirties, with blond hair and an open, earnest face. His easy smile belies a single-minded determination. His job has been daunting, calling upon all his skills of negotiation, com­promise, and communication to balance the often competing demands of the several stakeholders: Pacific Gas and Electric Company, which owns the land; the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, which manages the fishery for the public; anglers, hikers, birders, and bicyclists, who use and value the land for recreation; and the Ilmawi band of the Pit River Tribe, who have lived in the area for thousands of years and have a deep spiritual attachment to the place.

Hat Creek gained national promi­nence in the late 1960s when, in a rad­ical departure from the long practice of planting catchable trout, Hat became the first stream in the West to be managed exclusively for wild fish. California Trout was born on its banks, in the energy and efforts of a small group of anglers who hoped to demonstrate that a suitable stream holding only wild trout and care­fully managed through regulations could provide a rich and rewarding fishing experience, an experience measured not in fish kept, but in fish caught and carefully released - in the quality of the fish and the fishing experience. The group saw to the construction of a fish barrier, the removal of several tons of rough fish, and the restocking of native trout.

A 21st Century Joe Paul