Rich is an avid angler and a manufacturer in the fishing tackling industry. He started fishing with a friend over 35 years ago and used to fish about 25 days each year -- ice fishing, fly fishing, and conventional fishing -- taking a trip out west each year and visiting different fishing spots around Minnesota. His experience led him to start his own business manufacturing ice fishing and fly fishing accessories.
Since starting Rose-Creek Anglers in 1990, he still manages to get out at least ten times each year, making sure to visit his favorite area along the south shore of Lake Superior to fish for steelhead trout. He enjoys fishing with his grandsons, ages 7 and 8, and hopes that they continue the business when he retires.
As a manufacturer in the fishing industry, he is very concerned with anything that keeps people from fishing. Less people fishing means less people buying his fishing gear. Rich says that many anglers are not aware of the of the fish consumption advisories for the entire state of Minnesota and do not know that coal power plants are the greatest source of mercury pollution. Walleye is the biggest game fish in Minnesota, and fish advisories for walleye and other fish can discourage people, especially those with kids, to go fishing.
Yet Rich thinks it is very important to educate and involve anglers in the health and environmental threats to Minnesota waterways. Rich has been fighting against coal pollution in Minnesota for several years, testifying at hearings, submitting public comments, engaging the angler community, and posting fish advisories at local public access points. He will continue his outreach as the EPA proposes rules to reduce mercury and other toxic air pollution from coal power plants.
"As a manufacturer in the fishing tackle industry, I am keenly aware of potential threats to our fisheries. Increasing or at least maintaining angler participation is vital to the survival of this industry. ... .We can promote a particular product or target a certain class of customers to help sales in short term losses in participation. We can counter the lack of youth participation by applying electronic devices such as GPS, fish finders and underwater cameras to the sport. However, we will not counter the effects of a damaged resource because of our neglect."