Folsom’s Gary Coe, a top-winning tournament fisherman, fishing instructor and ambassador for his sport has been inducted to the California Outdoors Hall of Fame. 

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The honor was recently presented to him during the International Sportsmen’s Exposition in Sacramento.

The award recognizes Coe’s 20 years enhancing fisheries through hatchery programs, educational scholarships and grants, promotion of ethical sportsmanship, tournaments and youth development.

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To drive these efforts, Coe established the charitable nonprofit Kokanee Power and built it to 1,200 volunteers who donate their time, money and energy toward making California freshwater fishing programs better for all anglers. 

His fundraising generated more than a half-million dollars toward improving fish pens, kokanee egg collection and events. Along the way, Coe formed partnerships with the Department of Fish and Wildlife and many organizations to create the foundation to restore and enhance fisheries at many lakes across California.

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Coe bought, delivered and donated food for 10 independent projects to grow and release large trout, including at Shasta, Lewiston, Siskiyou and Collins. 

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He developed partnerships with the U.S. Forest Service, which designed pens and the Mt. Shasta Rotary Foundation that built three pens and set them in a single huge dock structure to grow trout from four to seven pounds for release every April. Coe has also put together volunteers to assist in kokanee egg taking for California Department of Fish and Wildlife  at the Little Truckee River.

As an outdoorsman, Coe developed trolling methods to catch large kokanee, trout and salmon and fished at nearly every inland water in California. If the lake has large fish, Coe has fished it. 

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His favorites include Shasta, Whiskeytown, Almanor, New Melones, Don Pedro, Shaver, Berryessa, Bass, Stampede, Tahoe, New Bullards Bar, Union Valley, Donner and Pardee. He is a master angler at choosing rods and reels, rigging, downriggers and tackle selection per water.

There’s no secret fishing hole with Coe. He’s an angler who doesn’t hide what he knows. Coe is an ambassador for his sport, passing on his knowledge at sport shows and events across the state. 

His enthusiasm is contagious with all who have met him. His nomination to the Hall read, 
“You leave with the faith that, as long as Gary Coe is involved, the chance of something special happening is just ahead.” 

Asked why he has devoted his life to developing Kokanee fisheries, Coe said, “We do it to allow people, especially parents and their children, the chance to catch a fish of a lifetime that otherwise would be near impossible.”

Other outdoorsmen and women inducted to the Hall on Saturday included Biana Valenti of San Francisco, an elite Big Wave Surfer and tournament champion who opened the sport for women and sought gender equity in professional surfing; Alan Kalin, a Danville cyclist concerned about the high number of collisions occurring on Mt. Diablo’s world-renown Summit Road and conceived, funded and got installed 70 turnouts with road striping, signage and educated cyclists to ride single-file, resulting in many lives saved and road rage greatly diminished; and the late Jay Fair, a legendary “stillwater” fishing guide from Eagle Lake who created the “Wiggle Tail” fly which has become a western staple found in many fly boxes.

The California Outdoors Hall of Fame recognizes California’s greatest outdoors women and men. To be inducted, they must have inspired thousands to take part in the great outdoors and/or conservation and have taken part in a paramount scope of adventures. 

More about the Hall is found at COHOF.org

*The above article was authored and submitted by John Poimiroo, who is an award winning writer from El Dorado Hills.

Folsom’s Gary Coe is a top tournament fisherman, fishing instructor and ambassador. Photo by John Poimerro 
John Poimiroo
Author: John Poimiroo

John Poimiroo is an award winning freelance writer and a resident of El Dorado Hills.