Outdoors

Mike Coyle stepped up for fish, wildlife, sportsmen

Mike Coyle, 79, has coordinated the tour program at the Spokane Fish Hatchery for five years. (Rich Landers)
Mike Coyle, 79, has coordinated the tour program at the Spokane Fish Hatchery for five years. (Rich Landers)

CONSERVATION – Spokane sportsmen lost one of their most enduring worker bees with the recent death of Mike Coyle.

For decades he led efforts to put a smiling face and a handshake on the good things sportsmen do with their money and volunteer energy.

His heart was into big-game hunting, but he stepped up when the tradition of Spokane Fish Hatchery tours was in jeopardy in 2006 for lack of funding and interest. Coyle pitched a plan, got support from the Inland Empire Chapter of Safari Club International, which he helped organize in 1978, and got the program rolling again.

Behind the scenes, Coyle’s efforts taught hundreds of kids about the life history of trout while helping the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department set up nets that spare fry from birds and save fish for anglers.

Three years ago, at 79, he stepped down from coordinating volunteers who guided up to 60 group tours a year through the hatchery.

In an age when hunting-related groups often get bogged down and divided in political bias, Coyle was a model for rising above it all and putting fish and wildlife first on the agenda.




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Rich Landers

Rich Landers’ Outdoors blog


Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.


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