New Research Fellowship Honors Fly Fishing Legend Press Powell

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: 06-04-2008

Joe Wills
Public Affairs
530-898-4143

A research award funded by the Chico Area Flyfishers to study angling, fisheries or aquatic sciences on Big Chico Creek has been awarded to a California State University, Chico student.

The award is named in honor of Press Powell, a third-generation owner-operator of the world-renowned Powell Rod Company of Chico, who passed away in 2004.

Heather Bowan, a CSU, Chico graduate student in biological sciences, is the first recipient of the Chico Area Flyfishers’ Press Powell Research Fellowship, which was established this spring. Bowan is doing research under the direction of CSU, Chico biology professor Michael Marchetti.

The fellowships will be up to $1,000 and awarded on an annual basis. The Chico Area Flyfishers Board will approve the awards and work with the Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve director, Jeff Mott, on implementation and review of the project.

Mott said Bowan’s project will study juvenile Chinook salmon. After they hatch, the salmon spend time in the fresh water of Big Chico Creek before heading to the Sacramento River on their long voyage to the Pacific Ocean. Mott said the research will examine the importance of tributary streams, like Big Chico Creek, in the survival of the juvenile Chinook salmon. Mott said the fellowship award will be spent on equipment used to study the salmon.

Powell was a Chico High and CSU, Chico graduate who traveled extensively in the U.S., Europe and Japan fly-fishing and promoting and selling his highly regarded fly rods. He was well known for his love of fishing on Big Chico Creek above Bidwell Park despite his familiarity with fly-fishing waters around the world.

“When Press Powell passed away, we thought this fellowship would be a fitting way to honor him,” said Eric See, Chico Area Flyfishers board member. “He introduced me to Big Chico Creek, and said it was one of the most productive streams we had.”

See said Big Chico Creek is home to two threatened species, the Central Valley spring run Chinook and the Central Valley steelhead. Big Chico also has a rainbow trout fishery, he said. “We were very pleased when the Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve protected this area,” See said.

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