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Idaho Fish and Game

Former Fish & Game Commissioner Jack Hemingway

On December 30th, Jack Hemingway will be buried here in Idaho, a place he loved for its outdoor life and wonderful hunting and fishing opportunity. "Idaho has lost one of its finest and he will be truly missed," Governor Dirk Kempthorne said. Hemingway served as a Fish and Game Commissioner at the request of Governor Cecil Andrus from 1971-1977. He called it "the most challenging, gratifying, and exciting job I ever had," in his 1986 autobiography Misadventures of a Fly Fisherman. Hemingway was instrumental in introducing catch-and-release regulations on waters that held wild fish and could not withstand the heavy burden put on them by increasing numbers of anglers. He also pushed to stock more hatchery fish into reservoirs and lakes and to discontinue stocking selected streams where there already were strong populations of wild trout. Hemingway lived a life as big as Idaho's outdoors. Fly-fishing took him to the far reaches of the planet. Even a world war could not dampen his fervor for fishing. In 1944 as a lieutenant in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), precursor to the CIA, Jack parachuted into France with a fly rod hidden in his pack. He was eventually wounded and captured by the Germans, but not before a few French fish rose to his flies. Hemingway poured this passion for fishing into preserving one of Idaho's premier trout streams Silver Creek near Sun Valley, spearheading a tremendous effort to set aside this pristine paradise. Now a Nature Conservancy Preserve, the clear waters of Silver Creek beckon fly fishermen from all over the world. It is a living legacy to a true conservationist. "Well, if it weren't for Jack Hemingway, Silver Creek probably would be a totally different looking place right now. He was the one who had the foresight to make the call to the Nature Conservancy," said Paul Todd of The Nature Conservancy. In 1991 Hemingway agreed to become the host of a new wildlife television show Incredible Idaho launched by Fish & Game in cooperation with KTVB. The show garnered several regional and statewide awards and gained national recognition from the Isaak Walton League of America with its "Outdoor Ethics Communications Award" for its efforts in promoting ethical wildlife photography. Sue Nass, Fish and Game Television Specialist and Writer/Producer for Incredible Idaho said, "More than once I heard him say with wry humor that he wanted to see how long a Hemingway could live since both his father and grandfather had taken their own lives. Perhaps the measure of a life should not be in years, but how we live it. The son of Ernest Hemingway lived an extraordinary life in turn enriching the lives of everyone he met and providing enjoyment to countless others who may not have had the pleasure of meeting Jack, but have thrilled to the feel of a trout tugging their line from the deep pools of Silver Creek. I'll always miss him." Hemingway died December 2 at age 77. His memorial service, on December 30th at 2 p.m. will take place at the Sun Valley Lodge and will be open to the public.