By Laurie Lane
You got to love a Butte boy! Meet WSCTU board member Mike Peterson, born and raised in Butte, America, once the “richest hill on earth.” Butte was a melting pot of cultures in the early 1900s when people came for the copper rush. Chinese, Italian, Finnish, German, Spanish, and more languages were the norm in Butte.
Mike learned to fly fish from his uncles on the Big Hole/Ruby Rivers and backpacking into the Pintlers and the Bob. This unique upbringing must be why Mike is such a great guy with a thirst for travel and adventure. His first job was bucking hay bales in the Big Hole Valley and then off to med school in Utah and California to become an Ophthalmologist.
For the last 25 years in a row, Mike and his buddy Snuffy have chased steelhead and salmon in Alaska. Mike likes fly fishing because it unplugs him from everything else going on.
Mike joined WSCTU to connect with others who love the adventures that go along with water, flies, and fish. Mike is an ambitious guy who brings his time, talent, and efforts to our chapter as chair of events, fly fishing education, motivator, storyteller, and more. His goal is to leave the environment better than he found it and protect things that can’t protect themselves.
As one of our fellow members said, Mike has a big heart. We’re fortunate to have Mike on our team and, we admire him. Who does Mike admire? The sportsmen’s advocate from Butte that fought hard for public access, Tony Schoonen. Tony helped give us the best stream access laws in the country! Next time you’re on the Big Hole near the Wise River, check out the fishing access dedicated to him. Thank you, Tony, and thank you, Mike. We are indebted to you.