On a chilly morning, I’m awake and alert as I can be. I’m strapped into a helicopter seat, flight helmet on, doors off, safety checks done, GPS in one hand, radio in the other and a data sheet secured to my thigh. The excitement grows as the rotor blades pick up momentum and start humming loudly. We lift off from the ground and begin our trip into the backcountry. As I look over the wilderness mountains, my heart is pounding, I feel like a fish out of water and think, “How did I end up here? I’m a fish biologist!”

As fisheries biologists, we are used to walking along a streambed looking down to see what fish we can find. However, every September in the Middle Fork of the Salmon River tributaries, we shake things up a bit and take on an entirely different perspective of fisheries: flying.

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