2015 Fly Fisherman of the Year – Jim Athearn

Our 2015 IEFFC Fly Fisherman of the Year moved to the Spokane area in fall of 2004 after retiring from the Corps of Engineers in Portland, Oregon.  Jim Athearn joined the IEFFC in 2005, sponsored by Harry Calhoun and Pat Kendall, in an effort to meet people in the area sharing an interest in fly fishing and to learn from their wealth of knowledge about local lakes and rivers.  JIM FLYFISHofyr


Over the years Jim has developed many great new friendships and found lots of new fishing partners among the IEFFC members.  He enjoys participating in a variety of IEFFC activities and has become a bright star in the club as our Projects Chairman.  In that position he has expanded our role in the annual Big Horn Sports Show and we now are a go to booth for each Spring show.

Jims interest in fishing started early, trout fishing with his father at Lucky Peak Reservoir near Boise, Idaho and fishing the Clark Fork and Little Blackfoot Rivers near Deer Lodge, Montana.  Some of his later endeavors include fishing for catfish and tilapia in Ethiopia (sometimes all night) and salmon and trout fishing in streams around Juneau, Alaska.  Jims’ fishing interests have been varied, including lakes, streams, and ocean fishing, but he has become more focused since he learned to tie flies and now mainly targets trout.  Though that is his emphasis, his most memorable fly fishing experience was landing a large tarpon on a 14 WT fly rod during a trip to Costa Rica a year ago.  Jim says he has much to learn, particularly in the areas of salt water game fishing and spey casting.

Jims early interest in fish carried over to his college education, which included a BS in
Fisheries Science at Oregon State University and MS in Fishery Management at the University of Idaho, and to his professional career.  He spent various amounts of time in fish-related work with the Peace Corps, California Fish and Game, commercial fishing, Corps of Engineers, and Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission.  Now well-established in retirement Jim enjoys more time for fishing, golfing and travel.


Jim is a well rounded fly fisherman, who has given unselfishly of his time and expertise to the IEFFC, and is a very deserving IEFFC Fly Fisherman of the Year for 2015.