2016 Big Horn Outdoor Adventure Show

Bill Papesh IMG_6983A big thanks to all of the IEFFC Volunteers who participated in the Big Horn show this year.Skip Cavanaugh IMG_6997

It was a tremendous effort by our club members and everyone seemed to have fun. Although there appeared to be a lot smaller crowd this year, the responses from the people that were there were very positive. We had quite a few kids return for more tying and there were even several adults who sat down for a quick lesson. Most of our young “regulars” were back and it is really nice to see that they have kept up their interest. We gave out more tying kits this year and the winner of our special raffle kit was Abigail Inui. She was very pleased as her younger sister had received one of our starter kits last year and they have been sharing that one. Now she has her own.

Club volunteers this year were Harry Calhoun, Bob Schmitt, Bob Johnson, Gordon Olson, Bruce Morgan, Stephen Aspinwall, Ray Kranches, Bob Burton, Neal Beechinor, Bill Papesh, Phil Beck, Lowell Tveit, Skip Cavanaugh, Bob Harley, Jason Mulligan, Larry Ray, Al Cunningham, Bryan Harman, and Jim Athearn.Al Cunningham IMG_6999

Special thanks to Leon – not only did he provide the tables and chairs for the club booth but he was there every day, all day helping out. Everything ran more smoothly because of him. Several guys pulled extra shifts either by design or to help fill in for some late cancellations – thank you Gordon, Leonard, Bill and Phil. All the kids loved the hats Bill brought for them to hook their newly-tied flies on.

We will be back next year so please save some time to come back and join us again or at least plan to go out to the show, visit our booth and share a few stories. Dates are: March 16 through 19, 2017.

Kid’s Fishing 2016

THIS YEARS KIDS FISHING DAY WILL BE ON MAY 7TH AT THE FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE RECREATION AREA AT CLEAR LAKE. The Ronald McDonald house Kid Fishing will be on Friday May 6th from 2:00 pm until about 5:00 pm.

Dick O'Dell with a happy group of fishers

Dick O’Dell with a happy group of fishers

There will be a sign up sheet on the tables at the April meeting.

If you volunteer for Saturday, May 7th, you should be at the lake by 7:30 am for the orientation meeting.

If you sign up for the Ronald Mc Donald house fishing you should be at the house no later than 1:20pm for the bus ride out.

There will be Rod assembly on Wednesday, April 6th, from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. We hope to get all the rods assembled on that night. This will take place at the wildlife council bldg. at 6116 north Market St about one block south of Francis Ave on the east side of Market Street.

All volunteers are welcome and they can work whatever hours fit in their schedule.

Please volunteer and come out to help as more people helping makes it easer for everyone.

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.


Toys for Tots 2015

The November 2015 meeting is a time to share with our community.  Please bring a toy or cash donation to the meeting.  We will have a representative from the United States Marines present to collect the toys.Toys for Tots2015

The brainchild of IEFFC member Jon Allan, this is one of our very important community programs. Over the years IEFFC has donated thousands of dollars and hundreds of toys to help those less fortunate. With our emphasis on kid’s fishing, this program is a natural for us.

Try to bring toys of a $10 value or higher and remember that cash is also very vital to the program.  Your donations are appreciated.

Bayley Lake Project – 2015

On October 24th, IEFFC volunteers cleared the
inlet channel to Bayley Lake. Bayley Lake 2015

This is an ongoing program every year or so
to improve spawning access for rainbows out of the lake. The intent is
that, if they are able to spawn, they will survive and can return to the
lake and carry over to provide a few larger fish to be caught. There was
some evidence that there might even have been some reproductive success this
year which would be an added bonus.

Members who participated included Jerry McBride, Bob Schmidt, Bob Burton, Leon Buckles, Lee Funkhouser, Stephen Aspinwall, Scott Fink, and Jim Athearn. 

After the work was finished, everyone had lunch and had a great afternoon catching a few of the fish.  An added surprise was a visit to Bayley Lake by WDFW officials who thanked our club for the work we have been doing on the channel.

Bayley Lake inlet channel before

Before the work crew did the clearing

Bayley Lake inlet channel after

After the clearing was finished.

Fin Clipping Fall 2015

WDFW again contacted IEFFC to see if we could provide assistance to the Spokane Hatchery with fin clipping.  We had eleven hearty individuals show up on Wednesday, September 23rd to spend a day clipping adipose fins on microscopic fish.  If you have not had the opportunity to participate, let Jim Athearn know so he can contact you in the Spring.  It is a valuable service and a memorable experience, especially when they do not sedate those wily critters enough to keep them still.

Fin Clipping 2015

The members participating were Jerry Harms, Ivan Lines, Stephen Aspinwall, Bill Papesh, Neal Beechinor, Chet Allison, Floyd Holmes, Bob Burton, Leon Buckles, Don Perry and Scott Fink.


Thank you very much for helping.


Kids Fishing

The addition of a session for families from the Ronald McDonald House has again been a success.

On Friday we had about 20 kids and their parents.  The bus ride out and back went well for the kids and parents and every one had a great time.  Our Legacy Committee provided the funding for the bus transport of kids and family from the Ronald McDonald House to Kid’s Fishing in memory of Will Shaw.  Those members who helped out with the Friday fishing session were Jerry Harms, Neil Beechinor & Floyd Holmes.

On Saturday everything went very well with about 700 kids fishing.  Those who helped out on Saturday were Randy Shaber, Stephen Aspinwall, Dick Odell, Paul Coopwood, Ladin Langeman, Jim Athearn & Floyd Holmes. If I left someone of the list I apologize.

Thanks to everyone involved.

Swanson Lakes Wildlife Area

As many of you know, Mark Pinch and Lee Funkhouser have been attending meetings of the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife for the past few years working on the management plan for the Swanson Lakes Wildlife Area.  The plan is important to us because the area includes Z Lake, a fly fishing lake that attracts some of our members.

In the past 18 months the advisory committee has completed the management plan and we are pleased to report that the WDFW has been working with us to maintain the Z Lake fishery as is, with some minor improvements regarding directional signage.  There is access to the lake by trails, and for those needing easier access, the office at Swanson Lakes will provide a key to the gate so that one can drive to Z Lake.

I am including the proposed public schedule for the finalization of the management plan for anyone interested.    I have not fished Z Lake, but many of our members have and the reports have been good.

Public Presentation Schedule

May 11th the Swanson WLA Draft Plan will be released for SEPA and public review (30 days)

May 19th Swanson Lakes Wildlife Area Public Meeting will be held at 6PM at the WDFW Spokane                Regional Office

June 22nd – Final WAAC review of the final plan (emailed out to WAAC members)

Early July – published on the WDFW website

How to get there:

Driving to Z Lake is relatively easy.  Hiking into the lake itself from Telford Road is not as easy, but certainly doable carrying a float tube.

Driving out Highway 2 and past Davenport, you will look to take a left turn on Fictenberg Road, (approximately 42miles out of Spokane).  Travel on Fictenberg road for 7 miles and take a left on Telford Road.  Follow Telford Road for about 4 miles and then you will have to park and hike the rest of the way going due west.

Big Horn Show

IEFFC members did an outstanding job again this year at our club booth and tying theater at the Big Horn Show and everyone said they had a lot of fun.

Responses from the kids, and adults as well, were very positive.  We had quite a few kids return to learn more about tying.  Some have been returning for several years.  There were even some kids who brought in flies to show us.  They tied these after they left the show last year using the kits we gave them.  They also brought us photos of the fish they caught using the flies.  Kudos to our club members who have volunteered over the years at the show and inspired them.  We gave out more tying kits this year and the winner of our special raffle kit was Chloe Nichols.  We even won third place this year among non-profit organizations for our booth appearance (and smiling faces).   Volunteers at the tying theater included Father David Kuttner, Gordon Olson, Leonard Gross, Mark Pinch, Jason Mulligan and Leon Buckles.  Harry Calhoun, Neal Beechinor, Bruce Morgan, Ray Kranches, Stephen Aspinwall, Hugh Evans, Rick Ripley, Don Perry, Bill McElroy, Bob Johnson, Bill Papesh, Tom May, Larry Ray, Leon Buckles, Skip Cavanaugh, Frank Faha and Jim Athearn.  The members demonstrated tying techniques and gave lessons to more future fly tyers and anglers.  Special thanks to Rick Ripley, Skip Cavanaugh, Frank Faha and Bill Papesh for helping with booth set-up and take-down and particularly to Leon Buckles for helping with everything all during the show.

We will be back next year so please save some time to come out and join us as a volunteer or to learn from our erudite members:  March 17 through 20, 2016.

Jim Athearn assists a young tyer

Jim Athearn assists a young tyer

Rocky Ford Bridge

Anglers are getting the run around at Rocky Ford Creek, a fly-fishing holy water north of Moses Lake. The issue:  Lack of money to fix the lower footbridge.

Since wading is prohibited at the desert spring creek, anglers have only one way to cross the stream — the upper bridge. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has closed the lower Rocky Ford Creek footbridge for safety reasons.  Chad Jackson, district fisheries biologist in Ephrata explains: During the spring of 2013, WDFW engineers inspected the lower RFC footbridge and due to public safety concerns and liability instructed Region 2 Lands Division staff to close the footbridge to public use.  Bank erosion along the eastern and western shorelines has caused the footbridge approaches to fail and compromised the wooden piers the footbridge rests on.

Essentially, it’s at risk of tipping or collapsing.  Unfortunately, there is no quick or easy fix to the footbridge to safely re-open it for public use.  WDFW will need to replace, and possible relocated, the existing footbridge.  Early cost estimates to replace the footbridge range between $100,00 to $160,000 and covers permitting, materials, engineering, and labor.

WDFW has requested capital funds (legislatively appropriated) and applied for grants through the Recreation and Conservation Office.  To date, funding attempts have been unsuccessful.  However, WDFW will continue to look for funds to replace the footbridge. In the meantime, anglers wanting to fish from the east shoreline of RFC will need to cross at the upper footbridge and hike downstream.

Note: Neal has contacted Eastern Washington’s legislators urging them to support funding the construction.  Sending personal communications to your legislator will help us to get this project off the ground.