happening peoplearchive

Gary Lutman

"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.

happening people

photograph and story by Paul Neevel

Eugene Weekly / 15 April 2010

hp archive