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Photo by Luke Kelly

Jim Schmitz


Backstory: Jim was born an identical twin in Tacoma, Washington and has been thinking about rivers and fish his entire life. His early years were spent fly fishing for trout and salmon throughout the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia. At the age of 9, his addiction for fly fishing and tying flies became his true passion.


His First Steelhead: Technically, Jim’s first steelhead was caught on the Cowlitz River. But that one wasn’t wild. His first encounter with a wild steelhead was on the Snake River.


What He Does: Jim studied fisheries and forest ecology at the University of Washington. Throughout his college summers and four years post graduation, he guided fly fishing trips for Lost River Outfitters in Ketchum, Idaho, where he also got involved as a volunteer with the Idaho Nature Conservancy and Idaho Rivers United. Jim returned to graduate school to earn his M.A. in Education with a focus on Biology and environmental sciences. He now owns and operates Western Machine Works, Inc., his 100 year old family business in Tacoma, and spends his days off skiing, chasing fish, birds and kids.


His Philosophy: “I consider myself fortunate to have had some great sportsmen in my life. They not only turned me onto my passions, but helped me realize the importance of sustaining and supporting our natural wonders. Now, I am highly motivated to focus my own personal and professional experiences on helping future generations. I’ve been involved with many non-profit groups over the past 10 years, but have found none so dedicated and focused as the WSC.”


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