Michael Zschiesche with his first steelhead

ELAW Fellows travel to Eugene to work with the ELAW U.S.  team, study English at the American English Institute, and gain skills and contacts that make them more effective advocates for communities and the environment.  They also get to enjoy Oregon!

One of the great benefits of hosting these Fellows is that all of us at ELAW U.S.  have fun introducing our visitors to the natural treasures of Oregon.  We have taken ELAW Fellows on their first trip to snow covered mountains in the Cascades and their first trip to the ocean — exploring tidepools bursting with life at the Oregon Coast.

Last week, I had the great pleasure of helping visiting German lawyer Michael Zschiesche catch his first steelhead!  We launched my drift boat on the Willamette River about 20 miles from Eugene and enjoyed a gorgeous float.  As the sun burned off the fog, we could see the vibrant fall colors lining the river.  We did not see another person as we floated down the Willamette.

The scenery alone would have made it a great trip, but it got a lot more exciting when Michael’s line suddenly went tight!  He was swinging a fly through a perfect pool when an 8 pound steelhead grabbed it.  Many people consider steelhead the finest freshwater game fish in the world, so Michael had his hands full.  Despite having almost no fishing experience, Michael brought the fish to the net.

Michael was thrilled to catch this trophy.  It was a hatchery fish, so we brought it home and his family enjoyed eating it–a memorable taste of Oregon’s natural bounty.  Michael said he will never forget that day–I won’t either!

Bern Johnson
ELAW Executive Director