Flyfisher and founder of California Trout – 2006
By getting laws passed, influencing DFG plans and litigating when necessary, May has made it possible for millions to enjoy quality trout and steelhead fishing in California.
As the architect of the organization California Trout, May is the chief individual responsible for California’s Wild Trout Program, the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, and restoring flows to Rush Creek that saved Mono Lake. Two court decisions, known as Cal Trout I & II are renowned for their application of obscure Fish and Game statutes to establish new water law to protect and improve waters for fish below dams. In addition, he is regarded as a key leader who established the Smith River National Recreation Area, protecting the entire watershed for salmon and steelhead, and who saved, restored or opened countless other waters for trout and steelhead fishing.
May was a pioneer advocate of Catch and Release fishing for wild trout as the modern angling ethic, so CalTrout sponsored national conferences at Humboldt State University in 1977 and 1987 to spread the word nationally and around the world. Fully a score of custom angling regulations he crafted remain in the DFG rule book today. Richard May is a fly fisher who has fished most of the state’s blue-ribbon waters, mastering a difficult art with long casts and soft landings under difficult conditions.