The Stonefly Society Of The Wasatch History

In many respects, the history of The Stonefly Society of the Wasatch is a history of fly fishing in Utah. In 1977, a group of concerned anglers and conservationists began holding random meetings at the original Angler's Inn on Highland Drive. This group consisted of Jim Talley, Dave McCormick, Lee Bishop, Joe Shaw, Gean Snow, and Bill Hayes. They met for approximately six months before deciding to hold regular public meetings and apply for membership with both Trout Unlimited and the Federation of Fly Fishers. The Stonefly Society of the Wasatch was accepted as a chapter of the Federation of Fly Fishers in 1978 and subsequently accepted as a chapter of Trout Unlimited later that same year.

Jim Talley served as the first President, Joe Shaw as the Vice President, Lee Bishop as the Secretary/Treasurer, and Dave McCormick was the first member of the club. The club grew rapidly during the first year and exceeded 100 members within two years. Jim Talley said, "the club was small enough to effectively plan for and participate in numerous membership activities and events, yet big enough to get things done in the fisheries conservation arena. A great sense of camaraderie and fellowship was evident during those early years".

The Stonefly Society has always been focused on direct conservation efforts and projects. Our first project was to help design and build fence stiles in the Wanship area of the Weber River so anglers could access the river over the existing barbwire fence without damaging themselves or the property. As a result, strong relationships were formed with the Division of Wildlife Resources that continue to the present day.

The first stream rehabilitation activities occurred on tributaries to Strawberry Reservoir with dramatic and almost immediate results. There were several sites exhibiting badly eroded banks and debris that blocked the river almost totally in places, forcing the water out of itís natural channel. Several volunteer workdays were organized and tremendous response came from members and concerned individuals. The debris was removed and the eroded banks were reinforced which provided cover for the fish and allowed the current to flow within its channel. Accumulated silt was flushed out and the gravel became exposed providing habitat for aquatic insects and spawning sites for trout.

Our first fund-raising dinner and auction was held several years after the inception of the Society and has become an annual event. It has always been the major source of funding for the Society's conservation work. The Society continues to grow each year. It is the oldest continually active chapter in Utah and also one of the largest in the state. We urge you to join the Society if you live in the Salt Lake City area and are interested in preserving our beautiful wild fisheries.

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