Meet The Founder
When you meet Lael Johnson, you can immediately sense that he's a man on a mission. As the founder of The F•Y•S•H Foundation, his passion for helping others is palpable. But who is the man behind the foundation? Where did he come from, and what inspired him to create this incredible organization?
Lael's background in healthcare is where he received his desire to care for others regardless of where they are from or how they came to be in his care. He grew up in Topeka, Kansas, and discovered the healing power of fishing at a young age. As a child and teenager, he often escaped the world's stress by finding peace and solitude on the water. He would need more of that peace after spending time in the Army Reserves working as an Operating Room Specialist helping soldiers that need surgical assistance after being wounded in battle. After his service, he landed in Seattle in 2005 to work as a traveling surgical technologist at the Seattle Children's Hospital. Here in the Pacific Northwest, Lael genuinely connected with the healing power of nature. He has always been drawn to helping people, and he quickly realized that his passion for the outdoors and fishing could be a powerful tool for making a positive impact in other people's lives and is one of the reasons he chose to be a professional fishing guide.
In 2022, with help from the Ford Bronco Wild Fund, Lael founded The F•Y•S•H Foundation to create a community of anglers and outdoor enthusiasts who could light the path for others to find peace and happiness of their own through fishing and the outdoors. Since then, the foundation has grown in leaps and bounds, and Lael's passion for helping others has only strengthened.
Through his work with The F•Y•S•H Foundation, Lael aims to impact countless lives and make a lasting impact on the community. His commitment to creating a safe, inclusive space for all is truly inspiring, and his dedication to the foundation's mission is unwavering. So the next time you see a F•Y•S•H Foundation decal or sticker, know that it represents the hard work, passion, and dedication of a man who has dedicated his life to helping others. And if you're not already involved with the foundation, we encourage you to join us in supporting Lael and his fantastic work. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of those around us.
Always UpstreamJust like a fish, we too must push upstream to achieve our goals and overcome the obstacles that stand in our way. It's not always easy, but just like a fish that never gives up, we can continue to move forward even in the face of adversity. At the FYSH Foundation, we believe in the power of persistence and determination.
Fishing is not just a sport; it's a way of life. It's about taking a moment to connect with nature and reflect on the beauty that surrounds us. It's about the challenge and the reward of catching a fish. But most importantly, it's about the journey. Just like a fish that must fight against the current to reach its destination, we, too, must push ourselves to reach our personal goals.
Through the FYSH Foundation, we aim to inspire others to never give up, to keep pushing forward, and to embrace the journey. Whether you're an experienced angler or just starting, we invite you to join us on this journey upstream. Together, we can make a difference and achieve great things.
Why We Did It!
Fishing is more than just a hobby for us. It’s a way of life. We’ve experienced firsthand the joy, peace, and sense of accomplishment that can be found on the water. We also know that life can be challenging, and that finding those moments of happiness can sometimes feel out of reach.
That’s why we created the FYSH Foundation. We believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to experience the healing power of nature, to feel the support of others, and to find their own version of outdoor independence. Our mission is to provide those opportunities to people who might not otherwise have access to them.
We’re not doing this for recognition or accolades. We’re doing it because we’ve been fortunate enough to experience the positive impact that fishing and other outdoor activities can have on a person’s life. We want to pay it forward, and help others find that same sense of peace, joy, and accomplishment.
"When you're out in nature, it doesn't matter what color your skin is, where you were born, or what your background is. The only thing that matters is your presence in that moment. Whether you're casting a line in a river, hiking a mountain trail, or camping under the stars, the outdoors is a place where you can be yourself without fear of judgment.
But for many people, that feeling of freedom is fleeting. As soon as they leave the outdoors and return to the city, the judgment and prejudices that exist in society come rushing back. It's a painful reminder that the world isn't always as accepting as nature."