Frank Moore joins Hemingway, Roosevelt

The second batch of hatchery-bred summer steelhead to fin up the North Umpqua River almost a half-century ago were so underwhelming that Frank Moore had to sound his alarm.

"They were junk," recalls Moore, now 87. "Their bodies didn't fill out. They had no energy. Just one thing after another. You could tell as soon as you hooked one if it was wild or hatchery. It was so obvious that hatchery fish just didn't do the job."

It took 20 years, but Moore got hatchery steelhead out of the North Umpqua's fly-only fishing stretch, one of many changes in steelhead management that helped Moore become recognized as the conscience of wild-fish aficionados.

Now the freshwater fishing world is paying Moore back for his efforts.

The Idleyld Park man whose fingerprints are all over the Umpqua basin will join the likes of Teddy Roosevelt and Ernest Hemingway in one of the most elite groups the outdoor sports world has created.

Moore has become the 110th person enshrined in the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame, joining Roosevelt and Hemingway as owners of the hall of fame's highest honor.

Moore will be inducted to the hall during a Saturday ceremony that will be part of the Lower Umpqua Fly Casters' exposition at the Umpqua's mouth in Reedsport.

The man who earned the National Wildlife Federation's Conservationist of the Year 40 years ago for documenting the impacts of logging on North Umpqua water quality will add this latest — and perhaps greatest — honor.

"I think I probably don't deserve it," Moore says. "But it's a great honor to be enshrined with so many great people."

That sort of humility is expected of Moore by Bruce Holt, a longtime friend at G. Loomis Rods in Washington, who also is on the hall of fame's selection committee.

"Frank's just one of those truly unique people," Holt says. "Instead of saying 'I care,' he makes it part of his life. He stands up for his ideals.

"He's just one of those guys who you're thankful that he's out there working hard for the fishery," Holt says.

Joining Moore in this year's hall of fame class is Jack Williams of Medford.

Williams is the former supervisor of the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest and current Trout Unlimited fisheries scientist. Williams is lauded for his role in ensuring that land-management decisions involving fish are based on the best available science.

Williams also has been a leader in programs such as National Fishing Week and Take a Kid Fishing and was a key cog in the development of the Recreational Fishing Initiative while serving as fisheries program manager for the federal Bureau of Land Management.

Williams has earned a special recognition from the hall, while Moore has earned enshrinement.

"In Frank's case, it was a no-brainer," Holt says.

Moore served on the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission from 1978 through 1986, founded the Steamboat Inn along the North Umpqua and served on the Oregon Water Board for four years.

He gained attention in the 1960s with the documentary "Pass Creek," which chronicled how logging in the Umpqua basin was altering water temperatures and quality. That study helped change logging practices and led to Moore being named the National Wildlife Federation's Conservationist of the Year in 1970.

Over the years, Moore has racked up a string of regional and national conservation awards, placing them on the walls of his cabin he and his wife, Jeanne, built on the North Umpqua.

Moore still fishes regularly — carrying the fourth fishing license ever issued in Oregon — and continues to weigh in on issues effecting wild steelhead, especially in the Umpqua Basin.

"That guy works tirelessly for that river and protection of it," Holt says.

Since Moore began sounding alarms about hatchery steelhead, attitudes about the role of hatcheries in anadromous fisheries have changed.

Most no longer consider hatcheries as panaceas for loss of freshwater habitat and don't believe flooding rivers with artificially bred steelhead makes up for the loss of wild fish.

"It's just so obvious," Moore says. "When you have an anadromous run, you have to be awful careful. But some people still don't get it."

Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470, or e-mail mfreeman@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MarkCFreeman


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