Tag Archives: john kruse

A Few More Of Northwest Fishing’s ‘Influential Communicators’ Who Need To Be Recognized

A local fishing magazine’s list of the “15 most influential communicators” in the Northwest’s angling world caught my eye recently.

While I absolutely can not argue the merits of any of those who made the roundup* — they are or have been crucial to getting some aspect or another of The Word on Fishing in these here parts out to the public — from my vantage point I feel there are a few more folks who probably should be recognized too.

(Dozens more like Buzz Ramsey, who also writes, were part of the main portion of the article which focused on influential anglers, so aren’t listed here.)

So here is some recognition for:


I can think of very few Northwest hook-and-bullet writers who have had as many consistent monthly bylines for almost the past two decades as full-timer Scott Haugen, who has shared expert advice on all things fishing as well as hunting in the Northwest and beyond dating back to 1997. Plus he’s a book author, TV host and seminar speaker. Wife Tiffany Haugen also deserves strong recognition for her wild game and fish recipes and cookbooks, helping sportsmen come up with new ways to serve up their harvest.



A devotee of mooching for salmon on Puget Sound, the longtime Seattle Times outdoor reporter who I chased scoops against for years now works for the Northwest Marine Trade Association as its Grow Boating director. Even as we still race to post the latest clam openers, etc., Yuasa’s duties nowadays include filing a monthly regional fishing prospectus — Get Hooked on Reel Times With Mark — and outside of that he provides fishing updates for The Outdoor Line radio show and blog and is very active on social media.



The self-proclaimed Fishin’ Magician has been detailing North-central Washington angling opportunities since I first learned my ACBs, and to this day his reports are regularly carried by local media and posted to his website. Oh, and he’s also a member of the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission, where he’s a strong angler advocate. Talk about influence!



Besides authoring occasional articles, he’s the public relations director at O’Loughlin Trade Shows, which puts on annual sportsmen’s shows in Portland, Puyallup, and Redmond, Oregon, and is a strong positive force in a time of overwhelming negativity in terms of fish runs and angler attitudes.


Flipping through broadcast channels on a recent Sunday afternoon in search of football, who should pop up onto my screen — and with a turkey no less — than Mike Carey. He took what began as Washington Lakes waaaaay back in the Interwebian dark ages of 1997 into the cross-platform behemoth that is Northwest Fishing Reports, featuring fresh reader content, searchable reports, how-to videos, articles and a TV show.


While the weekly outdoors newspaper columnist is a critically endangered species in most of our region’s population hubs — preposterous when you consider that one of every five Washington salmon and steelhead anglers in 2015 lived in the SeaTimes’ hometown and backyard, King County — there are a few more out where we haven’t yet completely paved Mother Nature over and there are a fish or two to be caught still.

Jordan Nailon has Southwest Washington fishin’, clammin’, huntin’, viewin’ and other outdoorin’ activities nailed down in his weekly column for the Centralia Chronicle, and last year won the 2018 Dolly Connelly Award For Excellence In Environmental Journalism with his coverage of the region’s massive poaching ring.

Eric Barker anchors fishing and outdoor coverage in the hugely important Lewis and Clark Valley at the mouth of Hells Canyon for the Lewiston Tribune, just as Mark Freeman‘s has held down the fort in Southern Oregon for 30 years at the Medford Mail-Tribune.

Even as he’s authored the Northwest Sportsman fishing and hunting column in the Yakima Herald-Republic for 25-plus years, it’s a bit of a mismatch to slot Rob Phillips in with the rest of the regional writers as he’s also the owner of an ad agency with Yakima Bait as one of its biggest clients, giving him influence beyond the valley.



You can’t deny the passion, energy and much-needed positivity that Sara Ichtertz has brought to Southern and Coastal Oregon fishing since breaking onto the writing scene in late 2016. Her name recently shared a line with Buzz on the cover of a local sporting magazine.

Eli Francovich certainly has some very big boots to fill at the Spokane Spokesman-Review as the replacement for now-retired outdoor reporter Rich Landers, but his coverage of Inland Northwest issues over the past two years has been impressive.

You certainly can’t call Duane Inglin an up-and-comer following his years behind the mic on two different Seattle-based radio shows, but since March he’s been at the desk of his new two-hour Thursday evening Fish Hunt Northwest, streaming on YouTube, as well as posting news nugs, pics and more to FHN’s Facebook feed.

Online, angler-influencers like Ashley Nichole Lewis, Bryanna Zimmerman and Sebastian “Seabass” Chik are ones to pay attention to too.


Joel Shangle moved on to the national bass fishing world a year and a half ago and is now the editor-in-chief of Major League Fishing, but not before beginning his outdoor career here in our radio and magazine ecosystems as the host of Northwest Wild Country, editor of Fishing & Hunting News’ flagship Washington edition and freelancer for other titles.

Full disclosure, he’s personally taught my sons and I how to crab, but author Wayne Heinz has also authored good books on catching a variety of saltwater species and how to read depthfinders — and his data on Tri-Cities bass is ridiculously deep. Speaking of deep, there is all-things-halibut guru John Beath. Speaking of John, there is John Kruse, host of not one but two shows heard on stations big and small through his Northwestern Outdoors Radio and America’s Outdoor Radio broadcasts. And while also retired Jeff Barnard, the longtime Associated Press reporter in Medford, did well to keep that region’s fish, wildlife and environmental issues in the news before going on to detail his late-blooming interest in hunting for ODFW.

Lord knows that I am absolutely forgetting some folks, and my sincere apologies for that.

Influential all, and I am thankful they provide their time and energy to the betterment of Northwest fish, fishing and issues therein.

* Editor’s note: The 15 influential communicators were listed in the December 2019-January 2020 issue of Salmon & Steelhead Journal. They are Terry Sheely and Jim Goerg of The Reel News; Bill Herzog, the angler-author; John Keizer of Salt Patrol and seminar speaking; Tom Nelson and Rob Endsley of The Outdoor Line; Ifish originator Jenny Logsden; freelancer Jason Brooks; Bill Monroe of The Oregonian, Terry Otto of The Columbian and Rich Landers, now retired, of the Spokane Spokesman-Review; Owen Hayes of Outdoor GPS; Patrick McGann (who hired yours truly at F&H News) of SSJ; California-based writer JD Richey; and Addicted Fishing’s Marlin LeFever and Cameron Black.

The full list of influential and innovative anglers includes Jason Atkinson, Southern Oregon fly guy and former Fish and Wildlife Commission member; Gary Loomis, rodmaker and CCA member; guide and CCA member Jack Smith; pro-fish and fishing former Oregon governor John Kitzhaber; Walt McGovern, longtime president of the Association of Northwest Steelheaders; Buzz Ramsey of record steelhead catches, Luhr Jensen and now Yakima Bait; Liz Hamilton, Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association director and member and advisor to many committees and agencies; Frank Amato, publisher fishing magazines and books; Bruce Polley of CCA; Rod Brobeck of the Oregon Wildife Heritage Foundation; Frank Haw of the old Washington Department of Fisheries and salmon management innovator; Dick Pool of Pro-Troll; Tony Floor, a retired WDFW and NMTA spokesman; Brian Kraft, Alaska fishing loddge owner fighting the proposed Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay; Dave Schamp of the Steelheaders, CCA and now Hatchery and Wild Coexist; Ron Garner, president of Puget Sound Anglers and member of the Billy Frank Jr. Salmon Coalition; former U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, key to beginning mass marking of salmon; rod designer and fly fisherman Steve Rajeff; former Washington Department of Fisheries director Curt Smitch; CCA’s Andy Marks; retired WDFW salmon policy analyst and current fishing lobbyist Pat Patillo; Mitch Sanchotena, founder of Idaho Steelhead and Salmon Unlimited; and lobbyist Carl Burke.

Few Washington Fish And Wildlife Commissioners Actively Fish And/Or Hunt

Updated 9:45 a.m. Sept. 23, 2018

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission is rather light on active anglers and hunters these days, per a report from a Wenatchee-based radio show host today.


John Kruse of Northwestern Outdoors Radio and America Outdoors Radio says that just one of the eight current members of the citizen panel that oversees and sets policies for the Department of Fish and Wildlife bought a hunting license in 2017 and only three had a fishing license last year.

Commissioner Don McIsaac of Hockinson and the former longtime director of the Pacific Fishery Management Council purchased both while Chair Brad Smith of Bellingham and Dave Graybill, the “fishing magician” of Leavenworth, held the latter.

“Four other commissioners, Robert Kehoe, Barbara Baker, Jay Holzmiller and Kim Thorburn, do not appear to be hunters or recreational anglers based on this license purchasing review and the biographies published about them on the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Commission Web Page,” Kruse wrote in a story.

Kehoe, of Seattle, is the director of a commercial fishing association; Baker is the retired clerk of the state House of Representatives; Holzmiller is an Asotin County rancher and equipment operator; and Thorburn is a retired public health official and Spokane birdwatcher.

The eighth member, Vice Chair Larry Carpenter, a staunch angling advocate, told Kruse he had been a license-buying sportsman for 70 years but hadn’t bought any the past two seasons due to medical issues that kept him from taking to the field and waters around his Mount Vernon home.

The commission usually has nine members, but last month Jay Kehne of Omak resigned to spend more time with his family and afield. He bought hunting and fishing licenses last year.

Kruse says his reporting is based on a public disclosure request that he filed several months ago and follow-up questions with commissioners, and his story comes out after members last month voted to ask state lawmakers to increase license fees by 15 percent during next year’s legislative session. If passed and signed into law, it would be the first hike since 2011.

Hunters and anglers are WDFW’s key constituency, providing roughly one-third of its budget through license fees and federal kickbacks from Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson Acts’ excise taxes on sporting equipment.

And we are also among the electricity rate and sales tax payers who along with state residents help pay the rest of the agency’s bills through local utility contracts to operate hydropower mitigation hatcheries, etc., and the state General Fund.

So it’s an expectation that members of the governor-appointed board are like us. That so relatively few are — at least by 2017 license purchases — will raise eyebrows and elicit concern about representation.

How can they know what’s going on on Chinook streams and in the mule deer mountains, in the duck marshes and on the trout lakes if they’re not out there at some point? And how can they relate to our pain at the pump, per se?

At the same time,  not all of us who identify as hunters and anglers get licenses every year either, what is known in the industry as churn.

There are others out there in the state with a stake in fish, wildlife and wildland management too.

And this is not to say that commissioners who may not fish or hunt aren’t looking out for our interests, in one way or another. Earlier this year Thorburn was one of two members wondering loudly if, with Northeast Washington packed with wolves, there wasn’t a way to tweak the statewide management plan to alleviate pressure. The other was Kehne, and ultimately all except Baker signed on to a bid asking agency staffers to look into it. Even if Holzmiller doesn’t fish or hunt, he’s still tuned in to us, as his comments during commission meetings indicate.

The Revised Codes of Washington require that commissioners only be registered voters and be separated geographically from one another. The Washington Administrative Codes say, “In making these appointments, the governor is required to seek to maintain a balance reflecting all aspects of fish and wildlife. Commission members are appointed because they have general knowledge of the habit and distribution of fish and wildlife and are often recommended by interest groups, such as sport fishers, commercial fishers, hunters, private landowners, and environmentalists.”

Kruse’s story comes at a time when WDFW is actually looking for more general public support for its missions, as our interview  with new director Kelly Susewind last month and the agency’s budget proposal for the next biennium make clear.

Where WDFW leaned entirely on sportsmen to pay the freight with its 2016-17 Wild Futures Initiative, which failed badly due to lack of support from sporting groups, the latest ask from the agency puts two-thirds of the onus for new funding on the state General Fund.

That’s a sharp course reversal since the Great Recession put the burden on user fees, but also a recognition of increasing legislative requirements and, as Kruse notes, declining hunter and angler numbers — and dollars — as we age out and opportunities slump due to habitat and other issues.

Hat tip to John for digging up the information.  It’s not like other members are making anti-sportsman decisions, but it will be interesting to see who is appointed to the commission to fill the empty seat. Even as I recognize that WDFW needs broader support, I’d feel more comfortable knowing it was someone like us.