PCT Board: Gary Chang, MD

PCT welcomes back one of its founding members and former director – Dr. Gary Chang. Gary help form and lead Putah Creek Trout starting in 2007 along with other concerned fisherman.  Here is a bit more about Gary.

I was 12 and had a fiberglass Garcia flyrod with metal ferrules. I had 2 dry flies in my box—a #14 Ginger quill and a #12 Brown Bivisible. A few fish were rising in the flats on the north side of the island near access 5. I couldn’t cast very well and I struggled to get a good cast at them from downstream. I was so surprised to have one come up and eat my Ginger quill that I almost forget to to set the hook. I’m pretty sure it was a planter rainbow but it didn’t matter. It was like a miracle to me. That was the very first trout I ever caught on a fly.

I am a radiation oncologist living in Davis and have been in practice in the Sacramento area since finishing my residency. I am grateful to be transitioning to less cancer and more fishing and conservation work!

I believe that fishermen and other outdoors people have always been on the forefront of conservation. Having fished the interdam stretch of Putah since I was a kid gives me some perspective on the changes and challenges facing the creek.  Indeed, it was my experiences on the creek that made me want to get involved in focusing on protecting and improving the fishery.

I co-founded and served as the first Chairman of PCT. When we first started in 2007, we had some modest goals: 1) changing the regulations to zero limit in the face of then DFG stopping planting 2) increasing enforcement of regulations and 3) exploring ways to optimize flows especially during spawning. I feel like the first 2 goals have been met and we are currently looking at ways to improve spawning habitat.

Gary on the creek

In some ways, Putah Creek’s wild trout are really resilient. They have been abused for decades and yet they continue to hold their own. Part of this has to do with the high irrigation flows in summer that make the creek difficult to fish at that time. Putah has also seen a tremendous increase in pressure since I first fished it in the 70’s.

I guess I would have to say that I am proud to have been in from the very beginning of PCT and also to have spearheaded the effort to get the regulations changed to a zero limit with the Fish and Game Commision. It is beyond my wildest expectations that Putah would receive Wild Trout as well as a Heritage Trophy Trout designations from the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

I look forward to seeing how we can imrpove the fishery to one that is world class!

One Comment on “PCT Board: Gary Chang, MD

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