"I have fished my entire life," says Gary Lutman, currently v.p. of the Emerald Empire Chapter of Northwest Steelheaders."My dad loved fishing." The local Steelheaders have built and maintained the state-licensed Letz Creek Hatchery, near Lorane and serving the Siuslaw drainage, since 1992. Lutman and his wife Cheri joined up a couple of years later. On Friday, April 16, 15,000 steelhead smolts will be released from the pond behind him into Letz Creek, a few feet from where the roe was collected in early '09. They were incubated in trays and raised in tanks, in gravity-fed continuously flowing water, then trucked to the pond after a fin-clipping party last August. "Fin-clipping is our biggest event," says Lutman."But someone comes out here 365 days a year." In 1972, just off the boat and reunited with Cheri after two years in the navy, the two Nebraska natives visited relatives in Eugene and decided to stay. When he retired as a steamfitter in 2008, they moved from Thurston to five acres a few miles from the hatchery. "I come here three or four times a week," he says. "I enjoy the spawning, rearing, and caring for fish as much as I enjoy catching them." Learn more at nwsteelheaderseec.wordpress.com.