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Chapter 599
Montana Vacation

Visitors since November 2018

Welcome to High Country Fly Fishers. We are a conservation-oriented Trout Unlimited chapter located in beautiful Park City, Utah and covering all of Summit and Wasatch counties. Our activities include teaching fly fishing and fly tying, conservation projects in support of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, the Trout-in-the-Classroom program at local schools and lots of great fishing trips.  We meet once a month and feature fishing guides, fly tyers and fisheries biologists from all over the Western states as speakers.  Check the Calendar page for the exact dates. Old friends and new members are always welcome, so drop by for good conversation, interesting programs and fish tales.

Next Meeting

Date:Wednesday, June 7, 2023 at 6 pm.
BYOB Meet 'n' Greet at 6 pm. Meeting starts at 7 pm.
Location:Saint Mary's Catholic Church at 1505 White Pine Canyon Road in Park City.  (map)
Please use the west entrance behind the church.
Program:Bamboo Fly Rod Building with Dave Blair and Dustin Cederholm of Legacy Fly Rods.

Dave presented an awesome class at the Wasatch Fly Fishing Expo recently and now he's bringing it to our meeting. He will cover how a custom bamboo fly rod is created and the basics of fly rod mechanics, among other things. Dave is very passionate about his craft and brings lots of excitement to the room when he is speaking about it. His company, Legacy Fly Rods, offers individuals a chance to build their own rod from start to finish, so come to the meeting and learn about the beauty of bamboo and how you can create your own masterpiece.

Prez Sez

KevinCal Massey, our club’s founder and first president prepared a fascinating history of High Country Fly Fishers that we present below.

Tight lines,
Kevin Parsons

The Origins of HCFF in 1989

Growing up in Corpus Christi, Texas, I fished with my dad and brothers using conventional fishing gear for sea trout, etc. In high school, I would occasionally read sporting magazines in the school library. Many of the articles I enjoyed were about fly fishing on northwest rivers, but I did not understand “fly fishing” or the equipment they used. Many years later, as a pilot for Western Airlines, I was introduced to fly fishing by an airline crew who planned to go “fly fishing” in Idaho Falls on the next layover. I was invited to join them, but I didn’t have any “fly fishing equipment.” They gave me a briefing and I went to the base exchange at NAS Moffett and purchased a Fenwick 8.5-foot, 7-weight rod, reel and line. I was really excited to say the least!

The next week we arrived in Idaho Falls for our layover and visited Bob’s Fly Shop to buy some local flies and leaders, etc. While in Bob’s, we met Stan Yamamura, a local fly fisherman who, along with his family, tied local flies. Stan’s day job was as an engineer at the Arco site west of Idaho Falls, but he also supplied flies to fly shops from Blackfoot to Last Chance, Idaho. At this point, my captain and co-pilot asked Stan for some suggestions for flies to use on the Snake River behind our hotel and Stan asked, “Are you really going fly fishing there?”

“Yes,” they replied.

“That’s not a good place! Get your gear and I’ll pick you up at your hotel and we’ll go to a better place!”

He did and I just tagged along, not knowing that fly fishing would become a lifetime passion. Stan and his family became my mentors for fly fishing and tying flies. As long as I could fly Idaho Falls layovers, I and other crew members fished the streams north of Idaho Falls on summer afternoons.

That was my introduction and my beginning! As I gained seniority, I continued to fly the mountains and have layovers in cities like Idaho Falls, Great Falls, Kalispell and Anchorage.

Meanwhile, at home in Pleasanton, California, I met several members of the Livermore Fly Fishing Club (LFFC) and joined. The LFFC had fish outs, family camping and fishing trips that we all enjoyed. The five years before the Delta/Western merger, I commuted to Salt Lake City to fly my trips. During this time, I became an officer and eventually president of LFFC. This prepared me for what was to come.

In August, 1989, we moved to Park City, Utah. Tom Graue, a Western Airlines friend from Seattle had already moved to Park City. He attended a fund raiser in September, 1989 and purchased a two-day float trip on the Green River from Jan’s Sports. Lucky for me, he invited me to join him. I was aware of the Green River at the time, but that was about all. In early October, we were off to the Green with Jan Peterson. It was a great trip — the A and B sections in Jan’s Lavor drift boat!

At some point, I asked Jan, “Is there a fly fishing club in Park City?”

I was shocked to hear him say, “There isn’t one. Everyone just does their own thing.”

I then asked if he would be interested in starting one. He said he was too busy running Jan’s Sports, but if I wanted to start one, he would give me his mailing list. After some discussion with my wife, Nancy, we decided to give it a try.

We sent out mailers from Jan’s list and put a notice in the Park Record. The first meeting of the Park City Fly Fishing Club was held in December, 1989 at the Treasure Mountain Middle School library. Eight people attended and I discussed my ideas with the small group and showed a VHS tape by Lanni Waller called “Steelhead Fly Fishing in B.C.” Jan didn’t have any fly fishing tapes to lend and suggested we contact Steve Schmidt of Western Rivers in Salt Lake City to obtain one. I also wanted to see a B.C. steelhead fly fishing movie. Steve felt it might be of interest to others and it was! Lanni Waller was from the area north of San Francisco. He was then and still is a respected steelhead fly fisher and video producer.

The Park City Fly Fishing Club soon became High Country Fly Fishers so as not to leave out other local communities such as Heber City, etc. During these early days, Nancy and I did everything while also planning and building our new home. The format I followed was the same as the Livermore Fly Fishing Club. We organized programs, wrote the newsletter called “The Prez Sez” and did all the other admin chores.

The Green River trip with Jan Peterson and Tom Graue created such a strong interest for me that I wanted to take my family to the Green for a float. The weather was still good in the early fall of 1989, so, with a few days off, we planned a Green River expedition. We rented a raft at Dutch John to float the “A” Section. My daughter, Laura, used her fly rod and I played guide. Jan and Tom had told me “fish the scum line,” so I kept telling Laura “cast to the scum line.” We had a great time and survived the float trip, even with a few scares!

At the next meeting of HCFF, I asked for name suggestions for the newsletter. Just a few were suggested and recorded, but no name really won, so I asked Nancy and my kids, Laura and Karen, for suggestions. Laura said use “The Scum Line.” She insisted. At the following club meeting, I read the name suggestions and we voted. “The Scum Line” was the hands-down winner, and, for several years, “The Scum Line” was published once a month and signed “Prez Sez.” It contained fishing reports, Club outings, fly tying class information and anything else to fill a page.

From 1990 and forward, HCFF continued to grow and many very talented fly fishers joined and contributed. Notably, Squid Sedaris (who designed the first patch), John and Suzie Schultz, Joe Young, Dave Collett and many others. After several years, I started thinking I needed to hand the “fly rod” to a new Prez. I had started commuting to Dallas to fly captain and didn’t have the time any longer.  Joe Young stepped up and accepted the position.  Joe had joined the club and played a very active roll in the Lower Provo River Project and now accepted the mantle of Prez. He was a quiet, low-key person, a great fly fisher, a former Air Force fighter pilot and unfortunately a former POW at the Hanoi Hilton after being shot down over North Vietnam. Sadly, Joe passed away from cancer way too early. His memorial service was a real tear jerker for all who attended. My daughter, Karen, wrote the HCFF version of the 23rd Psalm. “He leads me beside still waters in heaven that would see Joe fly fishing in a beautiful, clear stream!”

To be continued….

Cal Massey
HCFF Founder