National Wildlife Federation Outdoors
The Steelhead Predicament with Greg Fitz of the Wild Steelhead Coalition

The Steelhead Predicament with Greg Fitz of the Wild Steelhead Coalition

November 26, 2021

Host Aaron Kindle and our new co-host, Bill Cooksey, sit down with Greg Fitz, communications manager for the Wild Steelhead Coalition. The trio discusses steelhead conservation and the new campaign recently launched by the Wild Steelhead Coalition dubbed “Now or Never”. Steelhead are in severe decline and 2021 saw record low returns. The Pacific Northwest also experienced record heatwaves in the summer of 2021. These and other factors like dams are pushing steelhead to the brink. We discuss the situation, why the new campaign, and how regular folks can and should get engaged in conservation. 

Suggested links:

Show Notes:

1:15 – If you have yet to hear the exciting news… here are some more details! We have a new co-host!

2:22 -  Introduction of Greg Fitz.

3:21 – What have Greg, Bill and Aaron been doing outside recently?

6:30 – What is a steelhead? What makes it so special? What were they up too before dams blocked their migration routes? The key to the fish is their astounding diversity!

10:40 – What distancing are these fish swimming and climbing?

14:40 - What is the Wild Steelhead Coalition?

19:09 - Let’s chat about the “Now OR Never” campaign from the Wild Steelhead Coalition.

21:22 – What is the state of wild steelhead right now? Also, why do conservationists never get invited back to parties??

24:00 - Let’s talk about the numbers now compared to the steelhead runs during their hay day?

25:30 - What is the attitude of fishermen regarding steelhead?

27:17 - The intersection of angling, conservation and steelhead fishing.

29:35 – Message from our partner podcast, Artemis Sportswomen.

30:41 -  Personal responsibility as it relates to being an angler.

37:18 - Restoration and Recovery.

41:30 - Pushback and removing the dams.

48:22 - Hot water as an impact for steelhead.

49:05 – Adapting our fisheries to climate change.

51:17 - Restoration and Resilience!

57:15 - What can we do about the plight of the wild steelhead?

1:03:00 - Closing question… how does Fitz like to fish for steelhead?

1:05:03 - Closing statement.



NWF Outdoors Podcast has a New Co-Host!

NWF Outdoors Podcast has a New Co-Host!

November 19, 2021

Bill Cooksey from Tennessee and of NWF’s Vanishing Paradise team is joining Aaron Kindle co-host of the NWF Outdoors podcast. Bill brings a wealth of knowledge from the waterfowl side as a four-time TN duck calling champion, avid turkey hunter, accomplished angler, consummate conservationist, and all-around great guy. The addition of Bill to the podcast will help pull more ideas, topics, and guests from around the country and improve the overall feel and entertainment value of the show.

Problematic Paylakes with Aaron Wheatley and Greg Schwipps

Problematic Paylakes with Aaron Wheatley and Greg Schwipps

November 12, 2021

In our latest episode, we sit down with two Midwestern fisherman and catfish advocates. They have grown increasingly concerned with "paylakes" in their region. We discuss what paylakes are, how they operate, and how they are decimating the public resource of catfish by largely unregulated and unethical means. We detail the situation, what it's meant for average anglers, fishing tournaments, invasive species spread, management, and for the rivers of the Midwest that grow very large catfish. Last we touch on how you can learn more, and get involved in helping to better manage the resource and getting a fair shake for regional anglers. 


Lots of info about paylakes: 

Indiana Catfish Conservation Association

Home site of the catfish tournament Aaron Wheatley started:

National Wildlife Federation's work on invasive carp in the Midwest

Show notes:

1:00 - intro to episode

2:08 - intro to guests

4:45 - Greg's recent small mouth fishing trips

6:10 - what is a paylake

9:05 - the situation in Kentucky

13:15 - monetizing a natural resource through paylakes

15:30 - methods of take and "netting"

19:45 - what did it look like for average anglers leading up to this situation

22:05 - the Monsters on the Ohio catfish tournament - how this paylakes situation has degraded the tournament experience and local tourism

26:45 - catfish are being exploited all over the Midwest

32:45 - one thousand people in the crowd at the Monsters on the Ohio tournament

34:57 - a message from the Artemis sportswomen podcast

35:30 - the scope of the problem

40:12 - problems with transporting live fish

43:00 - how the current paylakes situation exacerbates invasive species issues

46:45 - we know large catfish are feeding on invasive carp

48:15 - what do we need to do about this

51:00 - pushing for no transportation of live fish in KY

55:00 - the need to change limits, take methods, and size thresholds

1:00:20 - the need for cooperative interstate regulations

1:03:20 - checking out the "exposing paylakes" website

1:08:15 - fighting this fight for the next generations

1:08:30 - listening to the side of those who operate paylakes

















Delivering on Conservation by Leveraging Technology

Delivering on Conservation by Leveraging Technology

October 29, 2021

In this episode Aaron sits down with Samantha Pedder, VP of Marketing for Terra Technology Group, and Steve Bergmann, Administrator for the Administrative Services Division of Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife. We discuss the modernization of issuing hunting and fishing licenses and outdoor user permits, the efficiencies gained by going paperless, and how agencies are collecting data to optimize user experiences. We talk about how Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife is leading the way and how their use of technology has helped them provide a better experience for hunters and anglers for things like steelhead catch limits, wildfire hunting unit closers, and understanding the needs of specific demographics. Steve and Sam also illuminate how we’ll be better able to monitor things like CWD and to implement programs like the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act using technology. We also cover the latest efforts on the federal level to better help outdoor users use technology in the field and gain addition access to public lands such as the SOAR Act and the MAPLand Act.


Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife:

Terra Technology Group:

S.O.A.R. Act – Simplifying Outdoor Access for Recreation Act -

MAPLand Act - Modernizing Access to our Public Land Act or the MAPLand Act -

Paperless Permit Tag System Example in Arizona -

Digital License Example in Pennsylvania -

Show Notes:

Who is Samantha Pedder and Steve Bergmann?

What have they been doing outside recently? Let's start with Samantha!

Broad overview of the business of conservation, technology and delivering licenses. 

8:10 - Oregon is doing it well! What changed within the system at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife? The transition to being paperless. 

12:25 - What are people doing around the country? Are most people going paperless with their licenses/tags? This new world of mobile app hunting licenses...

15:00 - For someone who hunts around the country, are they going to have to download multiple apps for each state or are we moving towards a nationwide paperless system. The connection between conservation and utilizing technology in order to conserve wildlife. 

21:20 - What are we doing with this data? How are agencies taking input in order to improve the technology and optimize this service?

24:50 - The approach of going paperless is going to make it easier for hunters and anglers to get out and enjoy. What are the basic questions that people have in terms of technology in order to make this process easier?

28:25 - What is the reluctance for hunters and anglers to make the move to go paperless? Talking about embracing various approaches to change.

32:40 - How are agencies analyzing the data and utilizing adaptive management? 

36:05 - Message from our partner podcast, Artemis Sportswomen. 

36:55- Using some of this new information to address area closures, such as ice storms and wild fires. 

38:55 - Unpacking the prevention of a fee increase through the savings of going paper free. 

40:33 - What is it that has to happen for more states to embrace technology? 

45:20 - How does Recovering America's Wildlife Act come into play? The process of empowering conservation agencies to do their jobs better!

50:03 - What is the SOAR Act? 

54:00 - What is the take home message for embracing technology in conservation?

At the end of the day, in times of CWD and climate change, embracing new technology is going to be at the betterment of conservation. 


Take Action with Howard Vincent, President & CEO of Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever.

Take Action with Howard Vincent, President & CEO of Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever.

October 15, 2021

For this episode we sit down with the President and CEO of Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever, Howard Vincent. We talk pheasant and quail season outlooks and the issues the birds are facing, then we move on to several conservation topics including the upcoming Farm bill and the Conservation Reserve Program – what it does, it’s benefits and why it’s so important for conservation.  We also cover the recently formed grasslands sporting coalition and their hopes and dreams for restoring America’s grasslands. We touch on the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, climate change impacts on wildlife, and why it’s so critical average sportsmen and women engage in conservation.

Links:; ;  

Show notes:

1:05 - Howard Vincent introduction.

3:00 - What has Howard been doing outside recently?

5:05 - General outlook on on this year. How are the pheasants and quail doing overall?

7:54 - What is the state of pheasants and quail? What is the conservation outlook?

13:14 - The Farm Bill 101 and CRP. What they do, what they are designed to do and why we need them.

15:40 - What does a typical CRP acre look like?

20:40 - Precision agriculture. 

23:20 - Unpacking the new Farm Bill. 

39:50 - A message from our partner podcast, Artemis Sportswomen.

42:10 - The Grasslands Act. What it is and what it's designed to do.

47:34 - How an average Joe/Jane get engaged in the Grasslands Act? 

70% of grasslands are gone. The time to act is NOW.

54:27 - Recovering America's Wildlife Act and its importance for the sporting community. 

1:02:45 - Closing statement from Howard Vincent. Get fired up! Your voice makes a difference!

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