History of the Wild Trout Symposium

The first International Wild Trout Symposium was held September 25-26, 1974 at Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel in Yellowstone National Park. The event was cosponsored by Trout Unlimited and the Department of the Interior US Fish and Wildlife Service, based on the idea for the event that originated with Frank Richardson, TU Executive Director and past FFF President Pete Van Gytenbeek, John Peters of the EPA at a 1973 luncheon in Denver.

The concept received the enthusiastic support of the Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Fish, Wildlife and Parks, and past FFF Senior Advisor, Nathaniel P. Reed. The sponsoring group was joined and the Symposium hosted by Yellowstone National Park's Jack Anderson. Willis King was also on the Organizing Committee. Over 300 anglers, writers, students, and professionals from every trout region in the United States and Canada met on common ground to talk about wild trout and establish a new tradition.

Frank Richardson (U S Fish and Wildlife Service), Pete Van Gytenbeek (past Executive Director, Trout Unlimited and FFF President), and John Peters (Environmental Protection Agency) conceived the idea for periodic symposiums that focused on wild trout. The mission was to provide a forum where professional wild trout biologists and fishery conservationists could interact and get acquainted. Yellowstone National Park offered a pleasant environment where symposium participants could learn about the current status of wild trout populations (perceived as declining) and fisheries management trends.

Symposium organizers felt that by discussing the wild trout resource, conference participants would learn more about ways to preserve and restore remaining magnificent wild trout resources. Although major national speakers and agency heads participate, these forums focus on the needs of working-level wild trout professionals and fishery conservationists. The originators hoped that each conference would lay a foundation based on insightful research and management for future sessions on wild trout management.

The initial organization of these wild trout symposiums called for conferences held each five years and normally included Sunday Registration, a meeting and reception for speakers and the program committee. Monday began with a plenary session, often featuring top-level agency speakers, such as the Secretary of Interior, followed by two days of sessions on all aspects of wild trout. Each symposium included an awards luncheon and an evening banquet. This format has continued with minor variations

Select from the links above to read summaries of previous Wild Trout Symposiums.