Fish story | Stefan Mcleod’s passion for trout embodied by the Great Sierra River Cleanup in Truckee
TRUCKEE, Calif. andamp;#8212; It still haunts Stefan McLeod. Where on Highway 89 did his passion for fly fishing spawn? Independence Creek, maybe? He was a 5-year-old child fishing with a family friend. McLeod fell in love with the sport, hook line and sinker.andamp;#8220;I was a certified bait dunker,andamp;#8221; said McLeod. At 16, he knew he was going to be a fly fisher. At 33, he’s done just about everything to support that passion: Tying flies, working as a certified fly fishing guide, which took the andamp;#8220;fun outandamp;#8221; and turned it into a job. In winter he still ties flies, and operates two businesses to support his passion, snow removal and A Glass Act window cleaning service.His service to clean waterways is long founded and abundantly evident. The Truckee born and raised native is tattooed left and right with rocky river bottoms, curling blue waves, may flies and the ultimate: A Trout Unlimited logo. Trout Unlimited’s mission is andamp;#8220;to conserve, protect and restore North America’s coldwater fisheries and their watersheds.andamp;#8221; As McLeod said: andamp;#8220;The fish are only as healthy as their fishery.andamp;#8221;As president of the newly hatched Truckee chapter of Trout Unlimited, McLeod will continue his crusade to keep the Truckee watershed clean. He’s been down and dirty on Donner Creek for several years, a self-proclaimed law enforcement vigilante for clean waters.About 10 years ago, he went to fish Donner Creek by the Donner Mobile Home park. andamp;#8220;My heart was broken,andamp;#8221; said McLeod. andamp;#8220;I saw a man spit-shining his car; he walked down to the creek and dumped oil in it.andamp;#8221;Other ugly sightings included computers, car batteries, DVD players, 50-pound bags of lye and concrete, weathered and draining a white toxic trail into Donner Creek.That’s when andamp;#8220;the gloves came off.andamp;#8221; McLeod contacted several agencies, and found an ally in California Department of Fish and Game Warden Jerry Karnow, who allegedly sited polluters.During an April 2010 cleanup, McLeod, Dave Lass and Frank Pisciotta decided to clean the area from the Mousehole past the mobile home park. They estimate 18 contractor garbage bags, close to a ton of trash, was removed from a stretch the length of a football field.andamp;#8220;It’s disgusting,andamp;#8221; said McLeod of the filth that endangers a relatively untouched fishery. It’s also a major tributary of the Truckee, a source of drinking water. andamp;#8220;People who know about this turn their heads. Donner Creek needs a big brother.andamp;#8221;It’s your turn to play big brother or big sister, Saturday, Sept. 25, for the Great Sierra River Cleanup day, 9 a.m. to noon. Roll up your sleeves, grab work gloves, wear long pants, bring water, a snack, medium-size garbage bags, wear sensible shoes (ditch the flip flops). There will be several locations to clean, on the Truckee River, the Prosser area and McLeod’s baby, Donner Creek.Great Sierra Clean Up Day is not limited to Truckee: It’s a widespread, grassroots effort to clean up Sierra waterways. Sign up at http://www.sbcouncil.org/events/GSRC. Your location will be matched to physical ability.GS Clean Up Day is a partnership between Sierra Nevada Conservancy, Sierra Business Council and Truckee TU, with Mountain Hardware, Sugar Bowl Resort, Four Seasons Fly Fishing, Thy Rod andamp; Staff, CRA, Mountain Counties, The Shibatani Group, Inc., Sierra Nevada Alliance and Sierra Nevada Brewing Company sponsoring.
andamp;#8226; The Great Sierra River Cleanup is volunteers removing trash and restoring the health of waterwaysandamp;#8226; Saturday, Sept. 25, 9 a.m. – noonandamp;#8226; Various locations andamp;#8226; Coordinated by the Sierra Nevada Conservancy in conjunction with California Coastal Cleanup Dayandamp;#8226; Sign up at http://www.sbcouncil.org/events/GSRC or http://truckeetu.org
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