Dates Set for Annual Wild Steelhead Festival

From Feb. 10-12, the big sea-going trout takes center stage in Healdsburg, with a wild salmon dinner, Plaza party and hatchery family day


It’s that time of year again, when gray whales migrate south and salmon head upstream. That also means it’s time for the annual , returning this year on Feb. 10-12.

Sponsored by the Redwood Empire Chapter of Trout Unlimited (RETU), this three-day event that gives the public a chance to help support the wild steelhead in our region in three different ways. It has grown steadily since its first year, in 2007.

Friday, Feb. 10 is the fundraising Wild Salmon Dinner at Villa Chanticleer, featuring guest speaker Jim Norton, PBS Nature filmmaker and Snake River guide.

Norton will screen his “Salmon, Running the Gauntlet,” the most watched episode of PBS Nature ever. Though set in Idaho, the film describes issues that affect the recovery of all our wild Pacific Salmon and Steelhead.

Dinner starts at 6 p.m; further details will be announced soon. Last year’s event likewise included a video presentation, plus a silent auction and “barn dance” finale .

Saturday, Feb. 11 is the centerpiece of the Festival, as the action moves to the from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Once again there will be a trout pond for the kids, hands-on instruction and demonstration of fly-tying and casting, wine tasting, and display booths by the many local businesses and organizations that work to help protect and restore the historic wild steelhead fishery in the Russian River watershed.

Sunday, Feb. 12, is Family Fun Day at the Lake Sonoma Visitor Center from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. This is the site of the Don Clausen Fish Hatchery, a perfect place  to get oriented to the science, engineering and biology behind both farm-hatched and wild salmon.

Trout Unlimited sees this annual Festival, now in its fifth year, as an opportunity to honor partners and businesses that have joined efforts to protect wild steelhead and their watersheds, and to build awareness of the importance of cool, clean water for fish and humans alike. The nonprofit organization, founded in 1959, now has 140,000 members nationwide, organized into more than 350 chapters with 10,400 active members in California.

The Redwood Empire chapter of TU is actively seeking sponsors for this year’s Healdsburg Wild Steelhead Festival, and donations of quality items for the silent auction at the Friday dinner. Proceeds will fund the RETU’s watershed education programs and Russian River habitat restoration projects.

For more information about the festival, vendor opportunities, donations and dinner registration please visit the website or contact festival director Liz Keeley at (707) 484-6438.


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