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The 2013 Russian River Wild Steelhead Society's 5th Gathering of Great Steelheaders was an outstandi

28-Apr-2013 The 2013 Russian River Wild Steelhead Society's 5th Gathering of Great Steelheaders was an outstanding success!  Community anticipation ran high as the dinner sold out weeks before the event and, at the final tally, the RRWSS had raised over $13,000.00 for ongoing rehabilitation, enhancement and education programs within the Russian River watershed.  That made this year's Gathering our most successful fund-raising event to date, a testament to the generous contributions from our membership and the Russian River community.

Since the inception of the RRWSS, Lifetime Member Arch Richardson has been one of our greatest supporters.  At this year's dinner, Arch became the very first RRWSS Gold Member.  His personal contribution of $5,000.00 to our organization was further augmented by his generous support of our fund-raising raffle and silent auction.  His contributions, this year and over the last four years, have unquestionably earned Arch Richardson the position as the Russian River Wild Steelhead Society's greatest benefactor.

Born and raised in Stewarts Point, Arch is a fourth generation Richardson and continues to make Stewarts Point his home.  He caught his first fish in the ocean while fishing with a local Pomo Indian, Steve Pinola.  At a very young age, he began fishing the Gualala River for trout and, as the summer season was "fly only", these early excursions often found a worm "decorating" his fly.  He caught his first steelhead in 1958 and from that moment on, the pursuit of steelhead commanded much of his attention.

Arch's father owned the Anchor Bay Store and the Stewarts Point Store, where Arch was in charge of ordering sporting goods.  This was a great job as he could spend his dad's money for the tools of his passion, rather than his own.  These stores were the only two on the coast with a full line of fly fishing gear.  Arch learned to tie flies from Grant King, and as he sat across the table from Grant during instruction, all of his flies were tied "backwards".  Arch's dad and Grant were great friends and when Grant introduced Arch as an "okay guy" to Bill Schaadt, Arch found himself with a new friend and an important mentor.

While attending Santa Rosa Junior College (1965), Arch would often skip classes to fish the Russian River with Bob Nauheim as the two of them shared the same apartment.  One afternoon, as they sat on a log above the Healdsburg dam, Bob shared his dream/vision of starting a travel agency for fishermen.  He asked Arch if he would like to be his partner.  With no money, and certain that his dad would never approve of such an enterprise, Arch had to decline the offer.  Fishing International was born a few years later...and Frank Bertaina never believed the story about Arch's near involvement.  

Arch fished the Eel, Smith and Chetco Rivers from the mid 1970's until 1986.  He fished side by side with Bill Schaadt, one time spending three weeks with Bill in November, culminated by a Thanksgiving dinner in a travel trailer.

Arch served as president of the Gualala River Steelhead Project for two years, leading that group into river restoration with the slogan "fish must have habitat in order to survive!"  He has been a Life Member of the Federation of Fly Fishers since May 1986.  He has also held a IGFA World Record for a Sockeye salmon of 14 lbs. 8 oz. that he caught in August 1994 on conventional tackle.

Arch loves and spends a lot of time on the Kenai River in Alaska.  His first trip to the region followed an invitation by Bill Schaadt and Ed Rice to join them in May 1986.  This ten day trip also included Hal Janssen, Jim Teeny, Jim Zumbo as well as a few other anglers.  Arch has been traveling to Alaska ever since and now owns a home and boat on the Kenai River, although he still calls Stewarts Point his home.

The Russian River Wild Steelhead Society would like to acknowledge Arch Richardson for his tremendous contribution to our organization and toward our efforts to improve our Russian River fishery.  Arch, you are truly our top benefactor and number one supporter.  We appreciate your ongoing involvement and commitment to the RRWSS and welcome you as our first Gold Member.  It is with gratitude that we join you in our combined and continuing efforts "for the fish" of our Russian River watershed.