The Roger Thomas Youth Fishing Endowment fund, administered by GSSA, is used to get youth under the age of 18 out fishing. To date, these funds have been used to pay for ocean and bay fishing trips, but trips in the rivers can be considered.
Who was Roger Thomas
Roger Thomas was captain of the charter boat Salty Lady, a founding member and chairman of the Golden Gate Salmon Association, (now the Golden State Salmon Association) and chairman of the Golden Gate Fisherman’s Association, a group made up mostly of charter boat owners. He was a member of the California Outdoor Hall of Fame, and a lifelong advocate to keep west coast salmon fisheries alive and sustainable.
Getting more youth and future generations out on the water and fishing was very important to him. When Roger passed away in 2017, he left the GSSA a grant to take kids fishing, known as the Roger Thomas Fund.
GSSA has partnered with the San Mateo Police Activities League, the Richmond Police Activities League and the Salesian Boys and Girls Club in SF. GSSA asks partner agencies to arrange the transportation to and from the boat for the teens and to provide one or two chaperones per trip. This formula has worked out well.
Success to date
The fund has paid to get kids all over the SF Bay Area out fishing since its inception in 2019. Kids have fished on charter boats out of Sausalito, Emeryville, Berkeley and SF’s Fishermens Wharf. The Covid pandemic slowed the program for a few years, but it came back with a roar in 2022 with four separate trips successfully completed. We’ve seen some return teens come back a second time to fish again.
We’ve heard back from happy parents and others after trips, proud of their kids’ accomplishments and eager to share photos with other relatives and friends. We’ve seen teens go from being nervous at the beginning of a day to being salty old hands by days end.
If you know of other youth organizations that would like to get involved in our Roger Thomas fishing program, please reach out to us at Info@goldenstatesalmon.org or call GSSA at 855-251-4472
If you would like to contribute to the Roger Thomas fund and help us carry this legacy into the future, please donate below.