Name: Kahle Becker
How did you become a sportsman?
I started fishing when I was three years old back in Chicago, and I started hunting in Pennsylvania at age 12. I mainly started out with my grandfather and my dad, and some of my dad’s friends. My dad’s friend had a cabin near a national forest, and we would go hunting for white tail deer, grouse, turkey and more.
I remember when I was a kid in Chicago, fishing for trout from the local swimming pool. When I got older, I fished mainly for smallmouth bass, steelhead, and trout. In Pennsylvania we have coal mining, and there are some streams that would be great for fishing but they run red from acid mine drainage. I’d hate to see Idaho squander our water. If you’ve never lived in a state where you have to fish shoulder to shoulder, you don’t realize how bad things can get if you don’t take care of the water.
How often do you visit the Boulder-White Clouds?
Since moving to Idaho in 2006, I’ve been up to the Boulder-White Clouds at least ten times. I also fish downstream from the area.
How do you enjoy the Boulder-White Clouds? What are your favorite memories made there?
I’ve probably been in there the most times mountain biking on the Frog Lake Loop. One time, some friends from back East come out for a mountain bike trip. We camped in there with our mountain bikes. The weather, the fishing, and the company was great.
I’ve been up there with a float tube fly fishing. When I’m sitting out there, I can see 30, maybe 40 feet down in the water, and watch the fish coming up to the surface to eat the little red krill. It’s hard work getting up to those lakes, but the harder you have to work to get to the water, the bigger the fish will be.
I’m planning on applying for a hunting license for mountain goat. If I get it, I’m going to the Boulder-White Clouds to get my mountain goat. I know the area pretty well, so it seemed like a good place to go.
What makes the Boulder White-Clouds special?
Some of the other wilderness in the state is beautiful and remote but the fishing isn’t great for high mountain lakes. The Boulder-White Clouds offer a complete backcountry experience.
The White Clouds are made of limestone (which is what makes them white). Water can seep through the limestone instead of simply running off as water does in granite mountains. The water seeping through the limestone becomes enriched with nutrients, and when it reaches lakes and streams, it fosters more plant and algae life, more bug life, and therefore, more (and bigger) fish.
Why should sportsmen support a Boulder-White Clouds Monument?
The Boulder-White Clouds monument encompasses essentially an entire watershed. The East Fork is a major tributary where the steelhead and salmon spawn. You need the cold, clean water coming from a high elevation to keep pulling the fish from the Columbia River all the way to Idaho. I’m concerned that the recent iteration of Simpson’s bill loses some of the protections that would otherwise have been in place for the East Fork. Before, his proposal really encompassed the entire watershed, but now it’s lost protection for some portions of the watershed.
Originally there was a giant open pit mine proposed for this area and that is realistically still a threat. I used to be the state’s mining attorney and when you have a wilderness area or a national monument, you have added levels of protection that makes those extractive activities more difficult.