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Tight lines on the Tongass National Forest

Craig Roghair, USDA Forest Service Assistant National Fish Program Lead

National Fishing and Boating Week is held every year to recognize the importance of recreational boating and fishing for enthusiasts, their friends and family, for the environment and the economy.

Fishing especially plays a huge role in how the USDA Forest Service manages water. Part of the Forest Service’s mission is to provide clean, abundant water for drinking, agriculture, to sustain ecosystems as well as provide places for visitors to fish, boat, swim and more.

The Tongass National Forest in Southeast Alaska manages rivers, streams and lakes, including the land around them to provide just these kinds of world-class recreational opportunities.

The Tongass is unique in a few ways. It is by far the largest national forest at nearly 17 million acres. It is also situated in Alaska, which is one of the nation’s wettest states. Nearly 95,000 square miles—or 14 percent of it—is comprised of water.

It is not just the amount of water, but the quality of the water and of the fishing experiences to be found there that makes the Tongass a destination for fishers from all over the country and the world.

But every fishing journey begins somewhere, and for National Fishing and Boating Week, the Tongass National Forest and their partners are hosting eight free family fishing events across the forest.

While getting kids into fishing is the focus, experienced fishers will be on hand to help the whole family learn to catch trout, salmon, lingcod, rockfish and more.

For the more experienced fishers looking for a new challenge, the Tongass be the first stop on the path to a Master Caster certification through the Western Native Trout Challenge. The Challenge is led by the Western Native Trout Initiative, and is part of a multi-state effort to invite fishers to catch 18 species in 12 western states. Fishers register to compete with proceeds going toward species conservation.

To learn more about National Fishing and Boating Week or to learn more about fishing and boating on your national forests: URL.


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Craig Springer

Fish biologist, External Affairs, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Southwest Region