- STEVE WORLEY
- TIM IRISH
- JOHN LEASE
- RUSSELL VOGT
- FRED THOMPSON
In the summer of 2006, my daughter Jacqueline caught her first Brook trout here on a fly. Another pastime during the summer months was trail bike riding into the high mountain lakes of Southwest Montana. Here big rainbows and cutthroats were the primary target. During the months of Autumn and Winter, our interest turned to archery and big game hunting for mule, whitetail deer and Rocky Mountain Elk as well as skiing and snowmobiling the rocky slopes of the Continental Divide.
While growing up in Butte, my father, Bob Worley owned and operated "Treasure State's Sporting Goods", a fishing, hunting and sporting goods specialty store in uptown Butte. "My father remained successful in the sporting goods business for many years before selling his interest in the store to pursue other ventures. My immediate family still resides in the mineral rich city of Butte Montana. My wife, Robin and I along with our two beautiful girls, Jacqueline and Lauren travel back to the Big Sky Country to visit them as much as my work schedule allows."
In 1984, Steve graduated from Butte High School. He took a job in the Big Hole Valley working for Mr. Jack Hershey on the Hershey Ranch in Wisdom, Montana. Here, he worked one on one with Jack operating a "Beaver Slide" on one of the largest cattle and hay ranches in the Big Hole Basin. The Beaver Slide, a device invented to stack multiple mountains of hay in a particular area of the field became prominent in the late 1900's. Today, farmers and ranchers still employ this 20th century technology to erect their summer hay in the fields of the beautiful, Big Hole Valley.
In the winter of 1984, the economy in Butte was still in a stagnate state due, largely in part to the closure of the mineral rich Berkley Pit. Steve ventured south to the hot, dry, dusty climate of Bakersfield, California with long time friends. Here he applied the knowledge that he had gained working in the Big Hole taking employment as a swather operator. He remained employed as a hay cutter for two seasons before finally discovering the steel trade. In 1986, Steve began working in the iron working trade and became an apprentice steel worker in a rebar fabricating shop. He remained employed, operating steel shearing machines, overhead cranes and rebar bending machines.
The time spent in California was uneasy. The miles away from the Montana of his youth, the Rocky Mountains, the free flowing rivers and the close family relationships all were missed. He filled the void in his spare time on the Kern River fly fishing for small trout and bass. "In 1987, I had gotten enough of the California lifestyle and left the Golden State and have never looked back.
Upon his return to the mountains of Montana, Steve acquired employment at the Ranchland Packing Company, a beef and pork and wild game butchering and packing facility. Here he remained employed for two years with the Western Montana meat supplier.
In 1989, Steve, frustrated once again with the lack of opportunity in the mining city, departed the Big Sky State and traveled west to the jet city of Seattle seeking more prosperous employment prospects. Here, he worked in two fabricating steel facilities as well as becoming a union iron worker, eventually constructing several bridges and buildings around the Emerald City and its surroundings suburbs.
In 1994, his construction career was cut short after experiencing a work related accident resulting in a broken back and several other broken bones. After being laid up for almost a year, surgery was preformed to correct the abnormalities that had occurred due to the fall. After almost two and a half years of rehabilitation, concerns from surgeons and other specialists resulted in the end of a promising career in the construction field.
In 1991, Steve was introduced to Robin Carr at the Gorge Amphitheater in George, Washington during a local Bellevue based bands' rock performance. They spent two years together living in and around the Seattle area. In 1994 they relocated to the Kittitas Valley.
In 1998, during the heat of an August evening they were married on the grounds of her parents' family orchard over looking the Kittitas Valley and have been together ever since. They are blessed with two beautiful daughters, Jacqueline Christina and Lauren Renee Worley.
Robin is a local Ellensburg girl growing up under the watchful eye of Drs. John and Marilynn Carr. After high school, she completed her Bachelor of Science degree in education at Central Washington University. Furthermore, Robin continued her on going education by completing her Master Degree in the spring of 2006. Along with this portion of her education she also has obtained three other degrees in Bachelor Science from Yakima Community College. She now works as a Special Education Instructor for Ellensburg High School.
Robin loves the outdoors and spent many family days hiking and camping around the Pacific Northwest. She enjoys fly fishing with Steve and is an accomplished drift boat rower. She also loves to travel to unique and interesting places. She is the family activity and travel director.
During Tim’s early childhood his family relocated to Ellensburg and in 1956 he began fishing the smaller streams around the Kittitas Valley with his father. By the time he was 10 he was spending most of his care free days fishing the Yakima River. In the 1960’s, the McKenzie style modern drift boat design that are regularly used now on many of the big western rivers were uncommon. Rafts made of rubberized canvas manufactured in Japan with heavy steel rowing frames were the most popular form of river transportation during this time. Tim was proud of the four man yellow slug he owned. He and his fellow fishing brethren spent their carefree teenage summer days, drifting the Yakima River.
Over the first several years, Irish’s Guiding Service grew and with it the demand for more manpower. Tim hired several local residents training them to work the rigorous summer waters of the Yakima. Many of these individuals are still around today operating guiding operations of their own.
As the 1980’s progressed and the Yakima River began to take on its world wide fame of today, Tim began working on another project. In order to make this fishery a true blue ribbon trout stream, the infusion of hatchery raised and planted rainbows had to be eliminated. Tim and other concerned fly fishermen from the Ellensburg and Yakima area worked tirelessly to begin a regulations change on the river. In the late 80’s a movement was formed and slowly the rivers fishery rules began to change.
First the planting of hatchery fish was abolished by the state providing the necessary means for a sustaining wild trout population. Next the river was designated a “selective gear” regulations river, which meant bait could no longer be used for fishing. Shortly after, the Yakima River was selected a “Catch and Release”, single barb less trout fishery and since then the fish and the fishing has substantial improved getting better each new season.
Tim’s outfitting and guiding operation flourish and he continued to guide clients on the fabled waters of the Yakima, Wenatchee and other Pacific Northwest rivers. Over the years, Tim's outfitting was captured on film and in countless fly fishing publication. In the early 90's, Fly Fishing Video Magazine devoted an full length documentation of the river and its seasons of fishing to the “Yakima River” featuring Tim Irish and his guiding services.
The video is still in publication today and offers those interested in fly fishing the Yakima River, a complete and intelligent account of the rivers biological seasons, hatches and idiosyncrasies needed for a successful adventure. Little did Tim know at the time, but his hard work and dedication to the sport of fly fishing, built the foundation and paved the way for a now multi million dollar industry in the Kittitas Valley.
In 1993, Tim displeased with the back stabbing and client stealing movement taking place with other guides in the Yakima River up and vanished from the valley. He left behind his guiding operation and the hundreds of clients that had routinely patronized his business to the feeding frenzy of hungry vultures.
Word about his departure from the Yakima River Valley spread like wildfire. Fly fishermen around the Pacific Northwest could not believe their favorite Yakima River guide was no longer rowing and working the waters of the Yakima. Unfounded rumors surfaced about Tim's health and well being. Many wondered as speculations and untruths about Tim's exodus from the fly fishing industry abounded.
In the Northern most reaches of Chelan County in Washington State there is a unfamiliar river that flows with a fast furry and strict glacierial sediment. It pushes hard and steep, pulsing over huge boulders and collides with a steep dramatic, beautiful terrain. It is rightfully named the Stehekin River. Located in the remote wilderness at the northern end of Lake Chelan, a small mountain lodge nestles along the shoreline of the lake.
The Stehekin Lodge, independently owned and operated in the North Cascades National Park system has been in existence since the 1940's. This was now Tim's new found freedom and passion. Tim departed the Yakima River Valley and began operating the remote boat/fly-in lodge located on the banks of the lake. He successfully managed this outdoor recreation business for over 13 seasons. Many of his afternoons were spent fly fishing the pristine, Stehekin River. Tim retired and resigned his management position from the lodge in 2007 and returned home to his beloved river in the Kittitas Valley.
Mr. Tim Irish can now be found at the Worley Bugger Fly Co. working in retail sales. Tim is also in charge and heads up the education division of Worley Bugger teaching the craft of fly fishing, fly casting and fly tying to others. Tim states, “I feel I have a responsibility to share the knowledge I’ve accumulated between my ears over the years.” He often backs up this statement when meeting him as he defines a unique and thorough presentation of the game we all enjoy called "fly fishing". A visit to the fly shop in Ellensburg and you will quickly realize the accuracy of this statement.
Tim and his wife Linda have been married for over 25 years, raised 4 children during that time and now enjoy 6 grand children.
In 1994, while recovering from a work related iron working accident, I was given a copy of the Yakima River Journal written by fly fishing author, Ellensburg native and publishing director of NW Fly Fishing Magazine, Steve Probasco by my wife Robin. I sat down and quickly began reading and absorbing each and every paragraph. As I turned page after page, delighted with the reading and the new found knowledge I was retaining, a full page picture of Tim Irish holding a Yakima River Rainbow adorned the journal. As I read through the biography of Tim, a strange feeling came over me, a deja vu if you will. It was then that I knew during some point mine in my fly fishing career, my path with Tim Irish was going to cross... and I mean that in only the best of ways.
In 1998 after several years of guiding the river I expanded the operation and opened the Worley Bugger pro shop in Ellensburg. Over the next couple of years, a familiar face from the Yakima River Journal would pop in from time to time replenishing some of his supplies. Each visit, Tim would reintroduced himself . He would sit for awhile and converse about fly fishing on the Yakima and beyond, expressing his concerns about the growing popularity of the river. I enjoyed the conversations and always found Tim's good sense of humor a delight. Then in 2007, the Irishman walked back thru the doors of Worley Bugger with a definite skip in step and a whistle on his lips. You could tell he was happy and content.
Over the next couple of weeks, Tim and I began lengthy in depth conversations about our passions, one of course being....fly fishing. As we talked it soon became quite apparent to me that Tim was a person of high caliber. His presence among the staff would be a perfect match with our business plan and he was asked to join the professional fly fishing team at Worley Bugger. That strange, eerie sensation that I had felt in 1994 had a definitive meaning. Tim now in his early fifties has no aspirations to rekindle his guiding career and I can't blame him for that. After all, its no easy task to push a boat around the Yakima River during the high flows of summer at any age.
Tim's real passion lies in teaching others what he has spent a lifetime learning himself. He is now in charge and heads up the Fly Fishing Education Division of Worley Bugger Fly Co. " I have had countless glowing reviews from customers and clients that have enlisted in his fly fishing courses over the past year". Tim's hard work and dedication to the sport of fly fishing and Worley Bugger is one I don't think I could ever repay. We all owe him a debt of gratitude for setting a standard in which we all now live and play by. Thanks brother!
In 2007, the Yakima River's prodigal son returned and we couldn't be happier to have Tim as a member of our staff and family at Worley Bugger. Stop by and talk with Tim. You will be glad you did!