Jack W. Berryman, 2nd president of the Wild Steelhead Coalition and current Trustee, received the Roderick Haig-Brown Award from Fly Fishers International at their 52nd Annual Meeting in Livingston, MT in August. The inscription on the award said: “Presented to Jack Berryman whose literary works embody the philosophy and spirit of fly fishing ethics, conservation and the rich history of the sport.”
The award notification from Herbert Kettler, Chairman of the Awards Committee, noted that the award was “in recognition of your outstanding contributions to the literature of fly fishing and your equally outstanding contributions to the sport, conservation, and the FFI in the state of Washington.” Berryman was only the 16th recipient since the award is only given when a worthy candidate is identified. Previous winners included Nick Lyons, John Geirach, Thomas McGuane, Steve Raymond, Ted Leeson, Art Lingren, James Prosek, and Jim Lichatowich.
Here’s a more thorough rundown of Jack’s impressive life and work protecting wild steelhead:
Jack grew up in central Pennsylvania fishing for trout and bass and hunting for both small and big game. He continued fishing and hunting during his ten years of college and graduate school. After earning his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, Jack was hired by the University of Washington in 1975. Jack caught his first steelhead that year in the Samish River and established an instant affection and respect for wild steelhead.
The fishing in the Northwest was so magnificent that he quit hunting, bought a boat and a river raft, and began fishing year round. Jack also guided on Alaska’s Kenai River during summers in the early 1980’s and caught his first steelhead on a fly in the mid-1980’s.
Jack began a freelance writing and photography career in 1986 and has published over 200 articles and numerous photographs in a wide variety of adventure, travel, and outdoor magazines. He is a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America (OWAA) and Society of Environmental Journalists and is a columnist for Salmon Trout Steelheader and Northwest Fly Fishing. Jack’s most recent book, Fly Fishing Pioneers & Legends of the Northwest (2006), won the OWAA’s Excellence in Craft Award. He is also a popular speaker for fly fishing clubs and does several slide presentations a year.
Conservation has always been important to Jack. He has served as president of the Northshore Chapter of Trout Unlimited and vice president of the Washington Fly Fishing Club (WFFC). He is also a member of the Federation of Fly Fishers Steelhead Committee and won the WFFC’s Tommy Brayshaw Award in 2004 for his conservation work.
Jack became involved with the Wild Steelhead Coalition (WSC) in 2001 when he was invited to become a trustee. He became the WSC’s second president soon thereafter. Jack is also currently professor of medical history in the School of Medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle.
After being involved in several conservation groups for more than 30 years, Jack believes the WSC is the most active, enthusiastic, dedicated, and talented associations that he has ever been involved with. With a strong science base and commitment to a worthy and noble cause, the WSC has made a significant impact. Saving wild steelhead, a precious icon of the Northwest, is a goal that Jack is committed and continues to work for.