Meet Kris Millgate, a Journalist Making a Difference for Natural Resources

Meet Kris Millgate, a Journalist Making a Difference for Natural Resources

From time to time we like to feature some of the amazing women in the flyfishing industry. Kris Millgate is an angler by passion and a journalist by profession. After working for a decade in TV news she founded Tight Line Media in 2006. “I hope to make a difference for our natural resources by helping people truly connect to them. We rarely stop to think about the resources under our feet. We are busy with work, kids’ hockey games and our lives. The wilderness is trying to make its way, with us in its way”, said Kris.

The issues surrounding dams on western rivers has been a focus for years. Kris has done several assignments on the Yankee Fork of the Salmon River and witnessed the remnants of the river being dredged seven decades ago. When mining companies pulled the gold from the river bottom, they also pulled the river bottom and all of its nutrients. The piles of rock and debris still lay along the bank today as exhibits of the historical treatment of our rivers.

During her time on the Yankee Fork, Kris watched one of the dying salmon spawn. “I said to myself, ‘These fish swim 850 miles from the Oregon coast to Idaho’s wilderness to spawn then die where they started. It’s absolutely unbelievable. Wouldn’t it be amazing to document the whole route?'” Kris said. She studied this route for three years and devised her plan to film and produce Ocean to Idaho.

In 2020, during a pandemic, Kris Millgate traveled solo in her truck and camper throughout the Pacific Northwest to document the journey thousands of salmon make every year. Ocean to Idaho will take you on this journey, which includes eight major dams. The video, photography and story illustrate the salmon’s epic journey and why it is so much harder today. Extinction is in the realm of possibilities. The film also reveals all sides of the story when considering what we should do about dams. “It is about what the whole Northwest thinks rather than what I think,” Kris explained. "I want the full story from everyone, on every story.”

Kris has always felt comfortable outside, but she didn’t start flyfishing until she moved to Idaho.  “At that time, I was a newlywed in a new state while my husband was in another state,” she said. "I wanted to appreciate the natural resources surrounding Idaho Falls and the South Fork of the Snake River is part of that. I started taking casting and flyfishing lessons and my husband joined me when he came to Idaho.” She has fished all over the United States and took an assignment in Iceland that included exploration of the natural resources there and landing her first Chinook Salmon on a fly rod.

Kris is a talented journalist, who favors visual storytelling to introduce key players and amazing natural resources. In addition to Ocean to Idaho details, the Tight Line Media website shows you to the South Fork of the Snake River, the disappearing sage grouse and their lands, and the mighty Mississippi River. Those are just a few highlights as her archives are massive.

Kris gets inspired by a story or a hobby and she doesn’t let anything stop her. ‘Can’t’ and ‘quit’ are not in her vocabulary. Broken cameras, stitches, and a pandemic were all part of the making of Ocean to Idaho.  She is passionate about our natural resources and works hard to research every angle and produce the full story. Within hours of learning about the recent events on the Madison River, she had a story and photos ready for Field and Stream Magazine. This is a woman who pursues her passions and makes a difference in the world.