The Snake River Cutthroats–The First Summer
Bruce Staples, Historian
Dr. Jim McCue arrived in Idaho Falls from the east in the early 1950’s and began his practice in dentistry. He brought with him from Maine a love not only of fly fishing and pointers and retrievers, but also of the outdoors in general. Bud Lilly of West Yellowstone and Bob Carmichael of Jackson Hole became his fly fishing mentors. The Teton River became one of Jim’s favorite streams, and when in the 1960’s local irrigators proposed to dam its canyon to supply water to the farmlands east of Rexburg, Jim began his fight to save the river’s beautiful canyon reach. He was battling an unlikely alliance of conservative upper valley farmers and Frank Church, Idaho’s only liberal senator. His organizational meeting for creating an organization to fight the dam was held at the Ramada Inn on March 28, 1972 in Idaho Falls. Construction of the dam had already begun, but there was still hope through Trout Unlimited (TU) that a suit could be placed to stop the dam.
The dam could not be stopped but, due to design flaws, just as construction was completed in 1976, the dam burst, flooding the valley. There have been discussions since of re-building but none have proceeded past the discussion phase. The club has since focused its attention on the waters of the greater Yellowstone region with emphasis on the South Fork and Henry’s Fork of the Snake River
On April 29, 1972 the club began operations with a slate of officers being installed with Jim becoming President (VP-Dean Olson, secretary-Bruce Staples, treasurer-Jerry Scheurn, board members were Alan Thiel, Bill Barrie, Jack Ellsworth, Sr., and Stan Yamamura). The program that evening featured Bud Lilly, then operating Bud Lilly’s Trout Shop in West Yellowstone. Bud gave a forecast for the upcoming fly fishing season in western Montana, eastern Idaho and Yellowstone Park. Plans were made for a fly casting clinic, the club’s first public event. The indoor session of the clinic was held in June, 1972 with the Lilly family presenting technique at the Idaho Falls Recreation Center followed with outdoor sessions a week later at Tautphaus Park. Later that 1972 summer, the club was installed as a TU chapter.
Snake River Cutthroats History
1973-1974 Dr. Jim McCue, President
Formation and organizational meetings are held and later first public fly casting clinic at Tautphaus Park featuring the Bud Lilly family. Winter fly tying classes begin at Sacred Heart Hospital with Stan Yamamura instructing, Wayne Pickrell and Bruce Staples assisting. Monthly meetings are held.
1974-1975 Dr. Jim McCue, President
Fly tying classes, fly casting classes featuring the Lilly Family and monthly meetings continue. Club members participate in Idaho Department of Fish& Game’s (IDF&G) electroshocking population survey on Birch Creek. Chapter actively supports IDF&G’s fly fishing only proposal on the Railroad Ranch.
1975-1976 Dr. Jim McCue, President
Club participates in IDF&G’s local fisheries manager Paul Jeppsen’s trout salvage operations on the Dry Bed and other area canals. Club also participates in Jeppsen’s trout population surveys on Willow Creek and Gray’s Lake Outlet. Other activities given above continue.
1976-1977 Skip French/Bruce Staples, President
IDF&G’s rehabilitation of Gray’s Lake Outlet with club help is complete. Bulk of fish eradicated are Utah Chubs, but browns up to 29″ and some cutthroat also killed. Browns and cuts re-established. Club begins long association with Upper Snake River Fly Fishers of Rexburg in performing fisheries conservation projects in the upper valley. Club helps IDF&G plant eyed kokanee eggs in Badger Creek to provide forage fish for mackinaw that will reside in planned Teton Reservoir.
1977-1978 Bruce Staples, President
Teton Dam fails just as geologists said it would. Bruce Staples testifies against increased Caribou County phosphate mining because of negative effects on Blackfoot River drainage and testifies against increased Salmon National Forest logging. Club makes it first large contribution-$500- to aid The Nature Conservancy in establishing the Silver Creek Preserve. Club begins Federation of Fly Fishers association as Mike Wolverton places it in the Western Rocky Mountain Council.
1977-1978 Jess Lee, President
Club leads fight to prevent dewatering of the South Fork below Palisades Dam during November, 1977. In response to protest on dewatering, US Bureau of Reclamation Minidoka Project chief says “Fish don’t have water rights!” Club member Ken Sierecki contacts Cecil D. Andrus, Carter Administration Interior Secretary who commands Project chief to replace 1100 cfs into the South Fork immediately. Ken Sierecki holds club’s first rod building class.
1977-1978 Ken Sierecki, President
First public fly tying demonstration held in conjunction with IDF&G annual Hunting and Fishing Day. Club members Rich Abbott, Jess Lee, Ken Sierecki, Bruce Staples, and Dennis Swanson take part. Jess, Bruce and Ken also conduct fly casting clinic for the event. Club supports successful opposition to Lynn Crandall Dam on South Fork site in the lower canyon.
1978-1979 Al Phillips, President
Chapter begins assisting IDF&G in establishing a self-sustaining brown trout population in the Henry’s Fork below Mesa Falls. Rich Abbott, Dennis Bitton, Fred Petersen, and Bob Sullivan lead efforts. Club buys eyed eggs from a Massachusetts hatchery, and IDF&G incubate them to fingerlings in their Ashton hatchery. Club provides labor for putting fingerlings in river at Bear Gulch, Warm River to Ashton, in Warm River and in Robinson Creek. This 3-year project gains national attention. Club is successful opposition leader to restoring bait fishing in the Box Canyon reach of the Henry’s Fork.
1979-1980 Al Phillips
Chapter begins assisting IDF&G outplanting brown trout in the lower Henry’s Fork. IDF&G believes browns can best withstand projected increased fishing pressure in the river. Chapter buys eyed eggs from a Massachusetts hatchery, and IDF&G incubates them to eyed eggs and on to fingerlings in their Ashton Hatchery. Chapter and Upper Snake River Flyfishers provide labor to plant fingerlings in Bear Gulch, Warm River, Robinson Creek, and above Ashton Reservoir. This 3-year project spearheaded by Dennis Bitton, Fred Petersen, Rich Abbott, and Bob Sullivan gains national attention. Chapter is an opposition leader to restoring bait fishing to the Box Canyon reach of the Henry’s Fork. Al Phillips begins format of the Cutthroats newsletter remains as hard copy to this day.
1980-1981 Rich Abbott/Dennis Bitton
Brown trout out-planting project continues below lower Mesa Falls on the Henry’s Fork. “Fifteen Hundred Trout Call Me Daddy” bumper sticker created as a fund raiser wins Idaho Advertising Fed. Specialty Promotional Advertising first place award for Dennis Bitton and Bob Sullivan. Western Rocky Mountain Council (WRMC) of the FFF donates $430 to project. Pres. Bitton wins contract to publish FFF’s Tabloid Bulletin. Overnight conservation project on Big Lost River above Mackay Reservoir performs stream stabilization. First annual banquet held at Peppertree Inn. Charlie Brooks is guest speaker. Siting of monthly meeting at Idaho Falls Public Library begins.
1981-1982 Dennis Bitton
Aquatic Entomology class organized by Ken Sierecki is added to chapter’s slate of winter classes. Class includes ISU fisheries professor Jack Griffiths. Henry’s Fork brown trout out-planting project is completed. Al Phillips begins chapter scrapbook and acquires chapter’s “Alligator Patch.” Pres. Bitton becomes editor for the FFF’s “The Flyfisher.” Proof reading sessions put $$$ in chapter treasury. Sessions at Bitton Advertising Agency become tying/proofing/bull sessions lasting long into the 1980s. Chapter sponsor WRMC Conclave at Science Center, and is held in conjunction with annual banquet, again featuring Charlie Brooks.
1982-1983 Buck Goodrich
Involvement in International Fly Fishing Center (IFFC) begins with $500 donation to building fund. Ralph Alexander’s Hackle Den offers 10% discount on most items to TU/FFF members. Chapter performs Burns Creek channel improvement, Henry’s Fork brown trout monitoring and Teton River willow planting projects. Chapter begins long South Fork involvement by participating in Virgil Moore’s trout population and habitat studies as well as Willow Creek drainage studies. Buck begins term as WRMC president. First club garage sale held at Floyd Fantelli’s. Club banquet features Dave Whitlock and moves to Elk’s Club to accommodate attendance increase.
1983-1984 Floyd Fantelli
Palisades Creek log plunges create some holding water for migrating cuts but eventually fails because of high runoff. Burns Creek gabion project continues. Bing Lempke is featured in TIME magazine and continues association with the Chapter. IFFC work days continue with actions to open the Center in the spring and close it in the fall. Club sponsors second successful WRMC Conclave at Science Center. Bing Lempke is WRMC Fly Tier of the year. Lefty Kreh is guest speaker at annual banquet at Elk’s Club. Bruce Staples and Bing Lempke are demonstrating fly tiers at the FFF’s International Conclave in West Yellowstone, MT. Club members participate in Buck Goodrich’s WRMC Road Show in Logan, UT at request of Cache Valley Anglers. Buck begins term as IFFC president. Jim Gabettas opens All Seasons Angler in Idaho Falls and promotes chapter.
1984-1985 Carl Cooper
IFFC/FFF office support work in West Yellowstone continues. Hayes ranch owners draw up proposal to develop homes/harbor in South Fork Canyon, Chapter forms South Fork Coalition to fight proposal. Chapter enters fight to prevent Last Chance private river frontage being sold to motel/time share condominium project. Save the Henry’s Fork organization leading the fight is the forerunner of the Henry’s Fork Foundation. Club garage sale is at Staples. Buck Goodrich chairs FFF’s IFFC, Bruce Staples and Bing Lempke (1985Lew Jewett FFF Life member recipient) are demonstrating tiers at the FFF’s International Conclave in West Yellowstone, MT. Banquet at Elk’s Club features Charlie Brooks in one of his last major public appearances. President Carl testifies at US Congressional Committee on hydro development on the Henry’s Fork. Chapter members participate in the WRMC Road Show presented to the Boise Valley Fly Fishers.
1985-1986 Server Sadik
Chapter gives funds to support the USBLM’s Byington boat ramp on the South Fork. Buck Goodrich is FFF’s 1985 Man of the Year. Chapter members participate in area minimum stream flow hearings. Seventh District Court Judge Grant Young rules that Bonneville County Commissioner’s zoning rule change to allow Hayes Ranch development is inconsistent with county zoning codes. The zoning change for the development is reversed by judge, and Hayes eventually withdraws development proposal. Chapter supports Yellowstone Park increase in catch and release, single hooked flies and lures proposal. Banquet at Elk’s club features Ed Zern, national outdoor humorist and draws local politicians and nearly 300 attendees because of Cecil D. Andrus’ presence.
1986-1987 Mike Bonkowski
Charlie Brooks dies October 30, 1986. Chapter takes on habitat recovery project on Pritchard Creek. Project succeeds in providing additional cutthroat spawning habitat until drought years. A gabion project provides holding water below the Mill Creek culvert allowing Willow Creek cutthroat passage to spawn in upper reach of creek. Chapter donates $1500 to South Fork Coalition, $500 to IFFC, and $500 to Idaho Sports Pac International. Club wins FFF’s McKenzie Cup, given by FFF to outstanding member club each year. Bruce Staples conducts beginning fly tying course at FFF’s International Conclave in West Yellowstone, MT. Doug Wenzel’s membership survey reveals direction Chapter should take with respect to conservation and education. Annual banquet at Elk’s Club features Doug Swisher as guest speaker.
1987-1988 Bryant Ford
Ralph Moon offers split cane bamboo rod building. Harley Reno expands Chapter’s aquatic entomology class. Buck Goodrich and Carl Cooper co-chair FFF’s International Conclave in West Yellowstone, MT. Bruce Staples co-chairs its fly tying demos, Bing Lempke is a demonstrating fly tier, and Harley Reno conducts fish behavior seminar. Dennis Bitton receives FFF’s Charlie Brooks Life award. Chapter pushes to include Henry’s Fork in National Wild and Scenic Rivers system. Club supports US Congress and Idaho legislature lobbyist working to provide money from Land and Water Conservation Fund for purchase of private land in South Fork canyon. Chapter donates $500 to IFFC. Annual banquet at Elk’s Club features Dave Hughes as guest speaker.
1988-1989 Marv Hoyt
At FFF’s 1988 International Conclave in Livingston, MT, Bruce Staples chairs fly tying demos, Bing Lempke wins FFF’s Buz Buszek Award and Ben Goodrich wins FFF’s Colliander Cup. Buck Goodrich and Wes Newman are demonstrating fly tiers. Chapter enters fight to prevent development problems on lower Birch Creek and participates in IDF&G’s Larry LaBolle upper Blackfoot River fisheries management plan. Chapter joins Idaho Environmental Council, Idaho Sportsman’s Coalition and the South Fork Coalition in filing complaint to prevent USBuRec from lowering South Fork winter flow below 2000 cfs and provides comment on BLM’s South Fork lands management plan. Chapter donates $1000 to South Fork Coalition and $500 to IFFC. Annual banquet at Shilo Inn has dance instead of guest speaker.
1989-1990 Jim Gabettas
Chapter receives FFF’s Stanford Miller Conservation Award and hosts WRMC’s 1990 Idaho Centennial Conclave at the Shilo Inn. Club does most of organization for the Conclave. Bruce Staples wins 1990 WRMC Fly Tier of the Year Award and is a demonstrating fly tier at the FFF’s International Conclave at Eugene, OR. First summer picnic is at Sealander Park. Chapter joins other organizations in petitioning US Congress to provide protective oversite for Henry’s Fork during building of a hydro facility at Island Park Dam. Chapter participates in actions to force USBuRec to file environmental impact statement for altering stream flow on South Fork. Chapter participates in Northwest Power Planning Commission hearings to distribute Palisades Dam mitigation habitat enhancement funds. Annual banquet featuring Gary Borger as guest speaker is at Shilo Inn.
1990-1991 Mel Moore
$500 donation goes to the Nature Conservancy for purchase of land along the South Fork canyon and another $500 goes to the Great Yellowstone Coalition. Club supports Friends of Fall River movement that fights to make FERC reopen the licensing process that has allowed Environmental Energy Inc. to build a low head hydro facility on Fall River without a public hearing. Effort eventually fails. Club provides input for USFS and NPS “Vision for the Future” document on Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem management and participates in Henry’s Lake tributaries and Cellars Creek willow planting projects. Salmon River conservation project goes big time and will be a major club conservation project into next century. Club members Buck Goodrich, Wes Newman, Bruce Staples and Dwight Thornton take part in WRMC Conclave held in Coeur D’Alene. Buck Goodrich receives the Western Rocky Mountain Council of FFF’s Fly Tier of the Year award. Bruce Staples is demonstrating fly tier in FFF’s Conclave in Eugene, OR. Bing Lempke dies Feb. 7th, 1991. Bud Lilly is featured speaker at annual banquet held in Shilo Inn.
1991-1992 Mel Moore
November meeting mini-conclave at Idaho Falls Public Library is big success. Fly-tiers, “Where to Fish” table, blind folded wooly worm contest and a raffle are featured events. Club members participate in South Fork population survey between Sheep and Palisades creeks. Club comments and provides input on State Water Resources Board’s Henry’s Fork Basin Plan, and allies with Henry’s Fork Foundation to fight Hatchery Ford low head hydro proposal. Whitefish Derby with local IDF&G personnel features South Fork bank clean-up and whitefish recipe demonstration at Ririe Senior Citizen’s Center. Pritchard Creek restoration project begins. All Seasons Angler moves to current location at 275 A Street in Idaho Falls. Buck Goodrich, Bruce Staples and Dwight Thornton participate in fly tying demos of WRMC Conclave in Cody, WY. Bruce Staples is casting games chairperson at FFF’s Conclave in West Yellowstone, MT co-chaired by Buck Goodrich. Bruce and Wes Newman take part in that Conclave’s fly tying demos. Bob Krumm is speaker at annual banquet held in Shilo Inn.
1992-1993 Matt Woodard
Club continues involvement in Henry’s Fork Basin Plan with comment to protect 300 miles of stream in basin. Steve Elle, District Five Fisheries Manager for past eight years is transferred to Nampa, ID Office. Sediment release from Island Park Dam endangers Henry’s Fork habitat quality in Harriman State Park and club joins efforts to prevent recurrence. Whitefish Derby and South Fork bank clean-up with local IDF&G personnel is held again with another whitefish recipe demonstration at Ririe Senior Citizen’s Center. Club takes part in Little Lost River riparian zone recovery project and cooperates with Idaho Rivers United to protect state streams. Club helps in IDF&G’s Rainey Creek restoration project with Ron Hover and Mary Tompkins leading the efforts. Jack Parker and Buck Goodrich are demonstrating tiers at FFF’s Conclave in Calgary, Alberta. John Shewey is speaker at annual banquet held in Shilo Inn with program on steelheading and fishing western inland waters.
1993-1994 Matt Woodard
Club members participate in WRMC conclave in Logan, UT. Club supports Nature Conservancy option to purchase 1450 acres along Henry’s Lake Outlet for what will become Flat Ranch Preserve. Monthly meetings move to Idaho Innovation Center. Club supports Henry’s Fork successful efforts to bring ISU graduate students into Last Chance reach of Henry’s Fork habitat status and improvement study. Buck Goodrich chairs auction-raffle, Carol Staples chairs women’s outreach and Bruce Staples chairs fly tying demos at FFF Conclave in Livingston, MT. Buck, Bruce, Wes Newman, Jack and Zack Parker, Greg and Dustin Webster and Dwight Thornton take part in the Conclave’s fly tying demos. Annual Banquet at Shilo Inn features Jim McLennan with program on Bow River. First Eastern Idaho Fly Ting Expo takes place April 9th, 1994 at Westbank Inn and is basis for WRMC Conclave. Zack Parker is first winner of WRMC’s Bing Lempke Youth Fly Tier Award. Carol Staples is WRMC Woman of the Year recipient.
1994-1995 Mary Tompkins
Monthly meetings move back to Idaho Falls Public Library. President Mary participates in 35th TU National Meeting held in Bozeman, MT. Meeting agenda includes impact of Clean Water Act, Stream and Watershed Restoration, PACFISH and Mining and Hydropower licensing. Club participation in Last Chance reach of Henry’s Fork habitat status and improvement study and Rainey Creek project continues. Bill Terry represents club at Northwest Power Planning Council discussions on salmon recovery actions. Greg Webster establishes the Bent Rod Sport Shop in Mackay, ID. Henry’s Fork Watershed Resource Center established in Ashton, ID. Dustin Webster is second winner of WRMC’s Bing Lempke Youth Fly Tier Award. Buck Goodrich, Bruce Staples, Jack and Zack Parker, Greg and Dustin Webster and Dwight Thornton take part in FFF’s the Conclave’s fly tying demos in Kalispell, MT. Annual Banquet at Westbank Inn features Morgan MacArthur. Second Eastern Idaho Fly Tying and Fly Fishing Expo takes place in Pocatello’s Quality Inn. Bob Jacklin is banquet speaker.
1995-1996 Mary Tompkins
Club donates $1000 to ISU whirling disease research studies. Club protests proposed dilution of Clean Water Act. Club provides $500 for Howard Creek fish ladder and another $500 for improvements on other Henry’s Lake tributaries. Henry’s Fork Foundation brokers 500 cfs winter flows below Island Park Dam. One Fly Contest donations to Rainey Creek project totals $6000 and construction on fish screen and weir begins. Club and other area organizations successfully protest DOT’s sale of Ora Bridge public access site on Henry’s Fork. Greg Webster leads club efforts to establish Mackay Dam bypass pipe project. Chuck Collins purchases Pocatello All Seasons Angler shop from Jimmy Gabettas. Gary Grant starts theme plate project with club members tying display quality flies. Mike Wilcox and Rene` Harrop artwork is combined with these through Kathy Rice making displays. Third Eastern Idaho Fly Tying and Fly Fishing Expo takes place April 13th in Westbank-Holiday Inn. Ken Magee is speaker. Bruce Staples chairs workshops programs at FFF Conclave in Livingston, MT. Bruce, Greg Webster and Jack and Zack Parker participate in Conclave fly tying demos. Dwight Thornton begins a term as national treasurer for the Federation of Flyfishers.
1996-1997 Gary Grant
Green drake theme plate is donated to Henry’s Fork Foundation Henry’s Fork Day event and is auctioned for $3500. Club provides another $500 for Henry’s Lake tributary improvement efforts. Monthly meetings move to Elk’s Lodge. One Fly Contest donations to Burns Creek and Rainey Creek projects totals $7400. Club receives J. Stanley Lloyd $1000 stipend for supporting conservation projects. Greg and Cheri Webster lead Big Lost River fish salvage actions below Mackay Dam. Club members and Mackay High School students participate. Riparian zone fencing project takes place on Moody Creek. Silver Creek theme plate raises $1500 for Nature Conservancy’s Silver Creek banquet. Club provides comment on the State Water, Eastern Idaho Snake River Plain Aquifer and South Fork Basin Plans. Fourth Eastern Idaho Fly Tying and Fly Fishing Expo takes place April 18-19 in Westbank-Holiday Inn. Is most successful to date. Joe Humphries is banquet guest with program on fly-fishing strategies. Stoneflies of the West theme plate raises $2900 for FFF at its Conclave in Livingston, MT. LeRoy Cook, Gary Grant, Bruce Staples, John Patton, Greg Webster, and Jack and Zack Parker take part in the Conclave fly tying demos. Gary Grant forms Rocky Mountain Fly Dressers Guild. Fly plate swap takes place with FFF’s Oregon Council.
1997-1998 Gary Grant
Club spearheads efforts to host 1998 FFF Conclave, August 3-8 in Shilo Inn, Idaho Falls. Buck Goodrich and Gary Grant are Conclave co-chairs. Jimmy Gabettas is youth programs chair, John Lent is Fishin’ Hole chair, Jack Parker is auction-raffle co-chair, Bruce Staples is fly tying demo chair and Dwight Thornton is catch-all chair. John Lent leads club efforts to open a completed Conant Valley Boat Ramp Visitor Center. Club members participate in World Fly Fishing Championships in Jackson Hole. Club members participate in willow planting projects with Henry’s Fork Foundation at Harriman East and with Nature Conservancy on Howard Creek. Club members comment on draft Environmental Assessment of a project to restore west slope cutthroat and fluvial grayling to Yellowstone Park waters. Spring Creek Emergence theme plate is given as a fundraiser item to WRMC for use in its membership drive. Gary Grant is a demonstrating fly tier at the FFF’s conclave in Grand Rapids, MI. Fifth Eastern Idaho Fly Tying and Fly Fishing Expo is co-sponsored with Southeast Idaho Fly Fishers and WRMC. Expo is held on April 24-26 in Pocatello’s Quality Inn. Bud Lilly is banquet speaker.
1998-1999 John Patton
President John began by establishing a closer working relationship with State of Idaho Trout Unlimited and with Wes Newman created the club’s first web page. Club outings schedule is initiated with trips to the South Fork and Henry’s Lake. Jim Mathias begins his highly successful run as conservation VP. Members participate in Flat Ranch willow planting project and upper Blackfoot River bank stabilization project. Largest turn-out yet is experienced for Salmon River conservation project in April. Buck Goodrich receives the FFF’s Lew Jewett Life Membership award, and Gary Grant receives the Western Rocky Mountain Council of FFF’s Fly Tier of the Year award. Gary also participates in the fly tying demos of the FFF’s International Flyfishing Show held in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. LeRoy Cook and Carol Staples begin successful campaign to increase Snake River Cutthroats membership. Shim Hogan moves Gone Fishin’ Enterprises from Custer, WA. To Mackay, ID. The annual Xmas party takes place at the Shilo Inn with large attendance. Highly successful sixth Eastern Idaho Fly tying and Fly Fishing Expo is held April 16-17 in Shilo Inn in Idaho Falls. Gary Grant and Bruce Staples are chairpersons.
1999-2000 John Patton
Bruce Staples chairs workshops programs at FFF’s International Flyfishing Show held in Livingston, MT. LeRoy Cook, Gary Grant, Bruce, Buck Goodrich and Dwight Thornton take part in the Conclave fly tying demos. Conservation working days include willow planting on the Nature Conservancy’s Flat Ranch Preserve, and in-stream improvements on the Blackfoot River Wildlife Management Area. Club members work with Southeast Idaho Flyfishers in their Portneuf River fence-mending project. Jim Mathias spearheads the clubs efforts to provide comment on the Army Corps of Engineers efforts to best restore Pacific salmon runs in the Snake River, to provide comment on IDF&G’s new fisheries management plan and efforts to support license fee increases. Club members participate in electro-shocking studies performed by IDF&G and Targhee-Caribou National Forest personnel and in stream stabilization actions on the Portneuf River. Buck Goodrich and Bob Long chair the most successful Eastern Idaho Fly tying and Fly Fishing Expo yet held. Over 400 attendees enjoy the event banquet featuring speaker Jack Dennis and auctioneer Will Godfrey. John Patton leaves office with having brought many members to take ownership of various club functions.
2000-2001 John Lent
John picked up the reigns from John Patton and began by reviving the club’s web page under the direction of Millie Bullock. John’s Conservation VP, Jim Mathias, drafted the club’s first comprehensive conservation plan. The 8th East Idaho Fly Tying and Fly Fishing Expo’s great success under John Patton’s chairmanship indicated that Idaho Falls community supports the event. Jack Dennis was the program guest. The first East Idaho Fly Fishing Heritage Award went posthumously to Bob Bean. Club members participated in the first Fish-n-Friends event held in June by Idaho Parks & Recreation Staff to celebrate Harriman State Park. During the first weekend of August, club members participated in The Safari Club International’s Idaho Goes Wild event held at east Idaho Fairgrounds in Blackfoot. Members operated “tie-a-fly” booth and gave casting demos and instructions. The following week several members participated in the FFF’s International Fly Fishing Show held in Livingston, Montana. Karl Amonson, Marty McLellan, John Patton, John Stenersen, LaMoyne Hyde, Gary Grant, Buck Goodrich, Harley Reno, Bruce Staples and Dwight Thornton participated in the event. Bruce Staples was recipient of the FFF’s Buz Buszek Memorial Award for accomplishments in fly tying. This action makes Idaho Falls the only community in existence that is the home of two Buszek award winners. Bing Lempke, who passed away in 1991, was the 1988 recipient of the Award. In the fall season members participated in the Nature Conservancy’s willow planting project on the Nature Conservancy’s Flat Ranch. The year’s activities wound down with the annual Xmas party at Dolores Casella’s Dolores’ Place at Fanning Field.
2001-2002 John Lent
In order to apply more attention to specific club functions, John appointed Karl Amonson as the first Education Chairperson and Rich Riley as the first Outings chairperson. Leroy Cook after a highly successful run as membership chairperson turns the office over to Scott Long. Membership increased significantly during LeRoy’s watch. The ninth East Idaho Fly Tying and Fly Fishing Expo was a huge success under Karl Amonson’s chairmanship. The biggest Expo yet made it obvious that the fly-fishing public wants this event. Will Godfrey was program guest. Recipients of the second East Idaho Fly Fishing Heritage Award were Jim and Jimmy Gabettas. The Burns Creek Tree Planting project was a well-attended success. Attendees had the bonus of observing some of the creek’s spawning run passing through its fish trap. LeRoy Cook, LaMoyne Hyde, Buck Goodrich, John Patton, Harley Reno, Bruce Staples and Dwight Thornton participated in the FFF’s International Fly Fishing Show held in Livingston, Montana. The first South Fork trout salvage sponsored by the club and organized by Buck Goodrich and Bob Long on the dewatered river channel near Twin Bridges shows the world that people care about this valuable natural resource. The event received considerable media coverage. The year’s activities wound down with a most enjoyable annual Xmas party held at BJ’s Bayou.
During his tenure, John Lent strengthened the bonds of the diverse membership of fly tiers, conservation adherents, educators and trout bums to make a membership working together to produce effective broad scale actions. He also oversaw continuation of such highly visible events as the Expo and the annual Salmon River Drainage Conservation project. Mary Tompkins, a past president, continued efforts to bring fly tying to youth in local school districts and to troubled youth in the county detention center. Open house meetings that begin each fall season prove a great success. The club proposes again to host the FFF’s International Fly Fishing Conclave. This time it will be in year 2003. So big responsibilities are in the future with this show and the ever popular Expo. In May, 2002 John relinquished his presidency to Jim Mathias.
2002-2003 Jim Mathias
Jim’s tenure began with a willow planting project on Burns Creek, then the always enjoyable summer picnic at Sealander Park. Next came the Mountain River Ranch’s “Top of the Rockies” Expo and the annual Quake Lake Trip. The Cutthroat’s 2002-2003 grants included establishing a major project reserve fund at $3000, $2500 to the Pritchard Creek Restoration Project, $1000 to the Biologically Based System Management (BBSM) study of the South Fork from Heise to Lorenzo, $750 to Idaho State TU, and $500 each to The South east Idaho Flyfishers, Henry’s Fork Foundation and a reserve fund for establishing Henry’s Fork boat ramp and access project upcoming in the year. Our website, www.snakerivercutthroats.com, maintained by Millie Bullock and now two years old just topped 8,000 hits. In June President Jim communicated by letter to Senators Craig and Crapo, Rep. Simpson, and Dale Swenson of the Fremont-Madison Irrigation District to express concerns that the Framework for the Transfer of Title in H. R. 4708 of USBUREC facilities be adhered with respect to pumping of groundwater and canals. Several Cutthroats members attended the FFF’s International Flyfishing Show and Conclave in Livingston during August. At the Conclave Buck Goodrich was recipient of the Dick Nelson Fly Tying Teaching Award. The Cutthroats were honored with the Idaho Trout Unlimited Chapter of the Year award announced by state president Ken Retallic. Once again after being championed by the Cutthroats winter flows from Island Park and Palisades dam were reduced to less than adequate levels as recommended by IDF&G. The agricultural community refused to shoulder any risk and thus retained water in the reservoir behind the dams in order to ensure that enough would be present for the next growing season putting all risk of negative impacts on resident fisheries. USBUREC, however, is adopting a more balanced approach with respect to water needs, so the future of reserving wintertime water for fisheries could be brighter. The year 2002 wrapped up with a great Xmas party at BJ’s Bayou. The year 2003 began with Education Chair Karl Amonson’s slate of beginning and intermediate fly tying, rod building, and entomology classes. John Stenersen’s outing schedule began with a trip to Batise Springs hosted by Bruce Staples and in March a trip to Springfield Reservoir hosted by John Stenersen. Later outings would include trips to the Little Wood River, the South Fork, the Henry’s Fork, and Shoshone and Quake lakes and another great summer picnic thanks again to planning by Marv Stucki and Duane O’Reilly . The Cutthroats expressed opposition to any fishing tournament, such as initially proposed by ESPN on the Henry’s Fork, which would not designate some of funds gained to conservation projects on the host water. April saw another great Salmon River Conservation project with two V-log structures placed in the North Fork of the Salmon River. The 10th EIFTE, chaired by Allan Woolley, Dave Pace and John Patton, was another great success with 460 attending the banquet, a full slate of vendors 120 demonstrating tiers. Allan Woolley and Dave Pace will chair the 11th EIFTE in April of 2004. The FFF’s International Flyfishing Show and Conclave was held in Idaho Falls at the Shilo Inn and University Place. Buck Goodrich and Bob Long chaired the event with Bruce Staples chairing the workshops and Dwight Thornton being the facilities chairperson. Several Cutthroats members manned the “Fishing Hole” booth.
2003-2004 Jim Mathias
Throughout the year the Cutthroats worked closely with Matt Woodard of the TU Home Rivers Initiative Office in rehabilitating South Fork tributaries Rainey, Pritchard and Garden creeks. Several Cutthroats members participate in the October 22nd Henry’s Fork salvage below Island Park Dam. For the second year Cutthroats members participated in an early November trout salvage at Twin Bridges. Buck Goodrich and Bob Long provided a real “stick to your ribs” lunch for the event. The year ended with the BuRec scientific study recommending a change in Palisades Dam discharges and another great Xmas party at BJ’s Bayou, thanks again to planning by John Stenersen and Rich Riley. Plans for the Expo began with Allan Woolley and Dave Pace began the second of a four-year stint at chairing the EIFTE. Karl Amonson’s winter slate of classes again offering beginning and intermediate fly tying, furled leader, rod building and aquatic entomology. Instructors featured in the intermediate fly tying classes included Leslie Harrop, Bob Jacklin, Mike Lawson and Scott Moss. Mary Tompkins continued her efforts to bring the joys of fly tying to emotionally challenged children in School District #91. John Stenersen hosted the “Reducing the Rainbow” trip on the South Fork below Palisades Dam. To date in Jim’s tenure as Cutthroats president total conservation funding has reached to just over $36,000. Most of this is raised through the EIFTE. The outings schedule rolls on with Jimmy Gabettas hosting the Twin Lakes outing, Bruce Staples hosting the Shoshone Lake outing, Cal Johnson and Marv Stucki hosting the Henry’s Fork outing, Buck Goodrich hosting the Quake Lake outing and Cal Johnson and Allan Woolley hosting the South Fork overnighter. The Salmon River conservation project targets adding low profile log drop structures on Indian Creek and upgrading some structures built in the past. The 11th EIFTE, again chaired by Allan Woolley and Dave Pace, was another great success with a full house of vendors, class attendees, over 480 at the banquet and just over 130 demonstrating fly tiers. President Jim, on behalf of the Cutthroats membership, submitted comments on the proposed Chester Dam Hydro project. The letter expressed concern for the loss of 800 feet of river that water backed up from the heightened dam would inundate. The letter also discussed inadequacies in the screening plan for canal and turbine inlets proposed for the dam and summarized in opposition to the dam because it would harm the Henry’s Fork world-class fishery. Jim’s tenure ended with another great summer picnic chaired by Marv Stucki.
During Jim’s eventful tenure bonds between the conservation oriented members and education oriented members strengthen considerably. The ever-improving EIFTE showed that the public, interested mainly in education actions, would bring in funds needed to support the club’s conservation actions. Teamwork in planning and ensuring that attendees would enjoy the show were at the roots of the Expo’s success as Jim emphasized to all. Actions began at this Expo to reward volunteer help to the point that they would likely return to the next one to help. Through Jim’s education chair Karl Amonson, world-class fly tiers were featured in the intermediate classes. Jim provided comment on all major actions impacting Henry’s Fork and South Fork fisheries. In June, Jim relinquished presidency of the Snake River Cutthroats to Karl Amonson. Buck Goodrich and Bob Long Chaired the FFF’s Annual Conclave held in August in West Yellowstone, Montana. In that show John Patton chaired the Destination programs and Bruce Staples chaired the fly tying demos. At the Conclave, Buck Goodrich was recipient of the Order of Lapis Lazuli, the FFF’s highest service award.
2004-2005 Karl Amonson
Thanks to Bill Cathrae’s efforts our financial records and tracking systems are of professional quality. As the club is asked to donate more funds and it supports increased education projects during Karl’s tenure having the system Bill established keeps us away from uncertainties with respect to records. As will be shown the club put the system to the test during Karl’s tenure as President. On the untimely death of Tom Tully, a very active and popular executive board member, the Cutthroats donate $500 to the college fund set up for Tom’s daughter Morgan. The Cutthroats remained active in funding conservation projects throughout the area. Donations included $10,000 to the Henry’s Fork Foundation efforts to secure the Henry’s Fork Stone Bridge access site. In addition, the club made an unrestricted donation of $500 to the HFF. A donation of $5000 went to the TU Home Rivers Initiative Office to help fund studies to produce a trout population model for the South Fork. The club also secured $10,000 from TU’s Embrace a Stream Program for the Garden Creek restoration project. Efforts were well along to reconnect the creek to the South Fork that would provide more potential spawning habitat for the rivers cutthroats. The club also donated $750 in unrestricted funds to the Southeast Idaho Flyfishers and $200 to the USFS’s free fishing education program for youngsters. A policy was set that if at least sixty persons attended a meeting (excluding board members) a fly rod drawing from free chances would end that meeting. The club outing schedule featured the annual South Fork rainbow fish-out, Henry’s Fork Float trip, Shoshone Lake walk-in, Quake Lake trip and late summer South Fork overnighter. The year 2004 ended with a great Xmas party at Gene & Angelin Parrish’s Shilling House Reception Center in Blackfoot. Angelin, Gene, Allan Woolley, John Stenersen and Rich Riley oversaw activities that made for a great time. The year 2005 began with the education program, organized by Jeff Armstrong, offering the expanded array of classes. Buck Goodrich’s superb entry-level fly tying class filled as usual. Intermediate level classes featured Tom Banyas, Howard Cole, John Stenersen, and Allan Woolley instructing in still water, caddis and mayfly life cycle, steelhead and foam techniques respectively. A furled leader class conducted by Karl Amonson, added variety to the roster that ended with a rod building class at the end of March. The annual Salmon River conservation outing headed by Paul Patterson was another great success, and some members took part in the FFF Conclave held in Livingston, Montana. With pretty much the same crew as in 2004 the 12th Eastern Idaho Fly Tying & Fly-fishing Expo planning began. Again, a full slate of workshops, fly tying demos, tying theatre, youth and women’s programs and destination shows are scheduled. Free admission guaranteed the largest attendance yet at the show. It was held in the Shilo Inn on April 15-16. This version ended up making the most money of any EIFTE yet held. At the May business meeting Karl handed over the presidential reigns to John Patton. For John this would be his second go-round as President. His tenure began with another great summer picnic chaired by Marv Stucki and Duane O’Reilly.
Karl’s tenure featured a real advance in the club’s education activities. World-class fly tiers came to instruct in fly tying techniques, and new subjects were added to the list of classes offered in cooperation with the community education program. The club continued support for Mary Tompkins’ “Tie-a-Fly” effort in which middle school aged children of limited economic resources are introduced to fly tying. Based on the continuing success of the EIFTE, monetary returns continued to climb, thus allowing increased donations to regional conservation projects. Through Karl’s efforts and particularly through those of the EIFTE committee, so ably chaired by Allan Woolley and Dave Pace, the Expo has a solid position as a national fly fishing event. The club web site, administered by Millie Bullock, continued to attract electronic attention not only to the Expo but to all club programs. Through it, inquiries, not only on club and EIFTE activities multiplied, but requests for regional angling information have also increased.