Membership rarely exceeded 25 until 1960 when active recruiting efforts began. The club’s bylaws now limit regular membership to 135 adult males. The purpose of the club, as stated in the Articles of Incorporation, is “…to engage in social recreation, education, and good fellowship from fly fishermen. In addition, this corporation shall encourage, promote and support the conservation and management of fish and fishing waters, and take special interest in these matters where they directly or indirectly affect fly fishermen.” To become a member, a person must “…attend three consecutive meetings by invitation of a regular member…,” “…be sponsored by two regular members…” and his application submitted to the Board by the Membership Chairman. The prospective is also interviewed by the Board. The initiation fee is $25. The club actively encourages members to instill in young anglers the desire to use fly fishing methods and to educate them in the proper use of fly fishing tackle.
The club published “A Dictionary of POPULAR INLAND EMPIRE FLY PATTERNS” in 1962. It was a mimeographed list of favorite flies and their dressing used by members of the club.
In 1964, an expanded list to include favorite flies of other northwest fly club members was published along with the roster. Complimentary copies were sent to other clubs and were so well received that copies of the list were requested. The club decided to sell the copies for 75 cents each. At the December, 1964 club meeting a motion was made and seconded that we should look into publishing a book. The result was the first edition of “Flies of the Northwest” published in 1965 with Rex Gerlach and Fenton Roskelley, co-editors. Gene Lorenson did the cover art and the flies were photographed by Rex Gerlach. The first edition to contain full-color pictures was published in 1974.
1978 - 1980
For several years the club was involved in a program to develop techniques for sterilizing fish. Members surgically sterilized hundreds of small rainbow trout in 1978, 1979, and 1980 and released them into eastern Washington lakes. Because of a high gonad regeneration in the trout, however, the program was discontinued. The club then cooperated with Dr. Gary Thorgaard, a WSU geneticist, to develop a method for heat-treating trout eggs. By immersing eggs in heated water, Thorgaard produced thousands of sterile trout, which were stocked in local lakes. Thorgaard’s experiments showed that fish could be sterilized economically. Now, numerous state and federal agencies, as well as operators of commercial hatcheries, are using variations of Thorgaard’s method.
The fourth edition, a much more elaborate book, was published in 1979. A second printing of the fourth edition was done in 1981. The second through fourth editions sold well throughout the Northwest and brought in thousands of dollars for conservation and education efforts.
The greatly expanded and revised 1986 fifth edition was published by Frank Amato Publications of Portland and was distributed nationwide Numerous members worked to produce that edition. Editor and photographer was Fenton Roskelley. Don Chinn and Frank Slak were associate editors. Randy Shaber was project manager, and Gene Lorenson was artist.
1995 - 1997
After much study as to its feasibility the Spokane River Trout Restoration Project was started in September 1995 under chairman Mark Pinch. 75,000 fish were released in the Spokane River between the Maple Street Bridge and Riverside State Park. Financial help was received from Trout Unlimited, as well as help in the planting from the Spokane Fly Fishers. Other clubs helped with labor. An additional 66,000 fish were planted in September 1996. A third plant was in the fall of 1997. After this it is hoped that the fishery will be self-sustaining.
In April 1997, a project to compare growth rates of sterile and Spokane Hatchery rainbow trout was started at Amber Lake. Equal numbers of sterile and regular rainbows were planted. 5,000 sterile rainbows from Trout Lodge Hatchery were adipose fin clipped and planted. The fish were purchased by IEFFC for approximately $2,500. Jerry McBride headed this project.
The sixth edition of the fly pattern book was published in 1998. Its format and content bear little resemblance to the fifth edition. Its preparation was a major club project. Members, organized into several committees, decided which patterns in the fifth edition to eliminate and what other patterns to add. Nearly half of the patterns in the fifth edition were replaced. Randy Shaber was Editor-in-Chief; Gene Lorenson, Artist; Fenton Roskelley, Don Chinn and Bob Bates, Writer-Editors; Tom Chapman and Richard Ripley, Final Editors with contributions by Walt Balek and Les Johnson. Flies were photographed by Jim Schollmeyer. The club has an official symbol, an original design by artist Harold Balazs.
1998 - 2002
In April of 1998, a second planting of 5,000 sterile fish was sponsored by the club. In 1999 the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife took over planting sterile rainbows in Amber Lake. In 2000 and 2001 the total plant was reduced to 2,500 fish of each type, because of over-planting concerns. IEFFC continued to finance adipose fin clipping so the study could be maintained. The growth rate didn’t improve. There was no plant early in 2002 because of food base concerns. Club members assisted in a study that showed the zooplankton population was good. Then 3,000 cutthroat fry were planted. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is continuing to plant fish, and IEFFC has continued to finance the fin clipping.
2001 - 2006
Club members taught a fly fishing course at local high schools each January and February for several years under the chairmanship of Boyd Matson. The Spokane Community College’s Institute for Extended Learning sponsors another course. Instructors donate their services, and their fee (50 percent of gross income) goes to the club treasury. Clay Findlay, Dave Holmes, Jerry Harms, Pat Whitehill and Boyd Matson have been instructors. In 2001 Leon Buckles and Ray Kranches were lead instructors. Then in 2002 through 2005 Leon Buckles was joined by Dick Odell and others. 2006 Gene Lorenson volunteered to lead the class and Pat Kendall volunteered to help him.
Reopening North Silver Lake was an important recent project. At one time there was a fantastic fishery here. Then the access went into private ownership, and the lake was closed. Through the efforts of Boyd Matson and his committee an access easement was negotiated, regulations changed and fencing installed. North Silver was rehabilitated in the fall of 2002. In 2003 WDFW stocked 10,000 fry; 5,000 catachables and 350 one-pound and up, all rainbows. The club put in an additional 650 one-pound and up rainbows. The WDFW biologist also put in some brook trout. Purchase of the aerator and its installation were completed in 2003. In 2006 the water level improved after two years of drought. Unfortunately, even with our outstanding efforts the fishery did not survive.
2003 - 2004
IEFFC members helped a 2003 cutthroat study on the N. Fork of the Coeur d’Alene. Fish were caught, equipped with radio transmitters and released. They were tracked during the summer and winter to see how much they migrate. In 2004 members helped with the habitat study on Brett Creek a tributary to the North Fork. Additional information and pictures of these activities are on the club website: www.ieffc.org. That year, 2008, our members helped to post signs on the Coeur d’Alene River advising anglers that all cutthroat must be released.
In 2005 people started talking about rehabilitating Sprague Lake and restoring the trout fishery. IEFFC would support the effort if done properly. Local businesses and residents, land owners, elected officials, anglers, etc. support the project. It was rehabilitated in the fall 2007 and was restocked in 2008. It has turned into a great fishery.
2005 - 2006
Rehabilitating McDowell Lake in the LPO Refuge to eliminate weeds and tench was proposed and strongly supported by IEFFC including providing funds. The work was completed in 2006. Early 2007 fishing was reported as excellent. The biggest effort in 2005-6 was preparing to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of IEFFC. Leon Buckles with the help of Dick and Geri Odell, Stephen Aspinwall, Lowell Tveit, Pat Kendall and George Potter did a tremendous amount of work to gather the club history and memorabilia. This was used by Tom Chapman to write our history which along with Gene Lorenson’s artwork was assembled into the book “Rise Forms From the Past.” The 50th anniversary dinner and party was a great success.
Rehabilitating McDowell Lake in the LPO Refuge to eliminate weeds and tench was proposed and strongly supported by IEFFC including providing funds. The work was completed in 2006. Early 2007 fishing was reported as excellent. In 2006 the club also helped fund a project through EWU. IEFFC member Ross Black and one of his Lake Biology grad students made a comprehensive habitat study of 20 eastern Washington lakes. It was to identify conditions that are most conducive to the growth of stocked rainbow trout. Their work should provide guidance to WDFW for stocking and fishing regulations. The report is due this fall. Ross and his students brought a tremendous collection of lake insects to an IEFFC meeting. Everybody was fascinated with the collection. IEFFC continues to work with several agencies to install fishing regulation signs and fin clip fish. Members also demonstrate fly tying at several fishing shows and fairs.
With the 2011-12 winter fish kill at West Medical Lake, the club was asked to assist WDFW with the addition of an aerator system for the lake. We have become the major player in helping to provide a remedy to the current problem and the aerators were installed and working by fall of 2013.
For many years the IEFFC has invited young men from Morningstar Boys Ranch to spend a day fishing at West Medical Lake. This adventure was most recently directed by Bill McElroy. We have had to discontinue this endeavor as it has become difficult to administer.
IEFFC continues to work with several agencies to install “Special Regulations” signs at various fisheries. Most recently signs were installed at Rocky Ford Creek under the direction of Jerry McBride.
We especially enjoy working with WDFW on Kid’s Fishing Day every May. This program is spearheaded by Floyd Holmes and now includes an additional afternoon where IEFFC supplies transportation for Ronald McDonald House families to a special session of Kid’s Fishing.
The year 2020 hit us with all kinds of surprises with the Covid Pandemic changing our lives and limiting our activities. We had projects cancelled and fishing cancelled in many areas. We now are waiting for areas, such as Canada, to open.
In 2021 we saw some of the limitations gradually disappear. We resumed our projects under the management of Projects Chair Jerry McBride and saw the Amber Lake Launch improved. We did our fin clipping and headed up to Bayley Lake to clear the spawning channel. We have seen Canada open and trips are on the schedule for 2022. We have a long ways to go to return to normal, but we are on course.
Kid’s Fishing has been cancelled two years in a row, but we are hopeful that it will return in 2022.
October of 2021 saw the dedication of the Faha-Ebsen Fishing Access Site on the Grande Ronde River. IEFFC was very instrumental in acquiring the land and creating this site. Jim Athearn spearheaded the effort and did an outstanding job with this major project.
We were able to return to “In House” presentations following a pandemic related shut down. We are approaching normalcy. Our usual projects saw numerous members back clipping fins, tying flies and clearing spawning channels. Jerry McBride and Phil Beck were able to get the Medical Lake signage up and in place, a project we have been working on for ages. All in all, it has been a good year and we look ready to meet the challenges of the future with a strong membership and capable leaders.
Our Current Projects
Two of our present activities include assisting with Kid’s Fishing Day, spearheaded by Floyd Holmes, and clearing the Bayley Lake spawning channel under the direction of Projects Chairman Jerry McBride. Our most recent expansion of our role with Kid’s Fishing has been to assist the WDFW with providing transportation and supervision for the families residing at the Ronald McDonald House so that they may enjoy a special Friday afternoon session that is just for those families. We also provide two scholarships annually to students at Eastern Washington University through our Legacy Committee.
The work of the IEFFC is far from finished as new projects emerge every year. Our commitment is to continue being a leading force in the preservation of our fine fisheries and the education of those who use them.
View more of the recent projects we’ve been a part of to continue improvement and restoration of our waterways.
Inland Empire Fly Fishing Club
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Inland Empire Fly Fishing Club
P.O. Box 2926
Spokane, WA 99220