A pair of sequentially numbered Green Drake flies, tied by René and Bonnie Harrop. All proceeds to benefit TroutHunter staff impacted by Covid.
This is your chance to own a piece of fly fishing history. In 1977 the Harriman Ranch was generously donated to the state of Idaho. The park opened to the public in 1982. To commemorate the historic event, 850 Green Drake flies were tied by René and Bonnie Harrop and sold as souvenirs to those in attendance at the dedication ceremony.
A limited number of these nearly 40 year old collectibles are available to purchase as John McDaniel is donating some from his private collection in an effort to offset the financial hit sustained by his fellow guides and shop workers at TroutHunter last season due to COVID. Hundreds of trips were cancelled due to travel restrictions, health concerns, and an early season freeze on out of state fishing license sales. Full time shop employees were furloughed for a few months. All proceeds from the sales of these collectibles will go to directly to a guide of your choice or a pool which will be split among the guides or shop staff.
From John McDaniel:
We are offering a set of two sequentially numbered 1982 Harriman commemorative flies, one each tied by René and Bonnie. A single set was auctioned off for $750.00 by the Henry Fork Foundation over 10 years ago. We are confident they will appreciate in value as the anglers of the world develop even greater appreciation for the unique skills of René and Bonnie Harrop and the significance of The Harriman Ranch to fly anglers of the world.
The seed that stimulated the idea that I shall articulate in this communication was sown more than forty years ago when a Washington and Lee student, Paul Knight was killed in Yellowstone Park in 1985. Paul was a good friend of mine, Nell, and our two daughters. Paul convinced me to fish the Harriman Ranch for the first time in 1983. He visited us three times in Island Park before his death.
Paul’s father, Al, asked Nell and me to attend a memorial ceremony on the Yellowstone River for his son in the summer of 1985. That evening, Al said he hoped to establish a program at Washington and Lee University that would allow students to work to protect the environment Paul loved. Al said he was willing to provide a substantial sum to establish an endowed program. He asked me to draw up ideas for the program and present it to the University President. The University approved the program in 1986 and Al’s request that I direct it.
The first Knight Scholar to work with the Henry’s Fork Foundation was Chris Brand in 1989. As was true of many Washington and Lee students who came to Island Park under the auspices of the program, Chris developed a commitment to the Henry’s Fork River. After his summer as a Knight Scholar, he guided for Henry’s Fork Anglers, served on the board of the Henry’s Fork Foundation, and set up a twentieth-fifth reunion of Knight Scholars. Subsequent to the event, Al Knight told me, with emotion, “Today was the most wonderful day of my life.”
Two previous Knight Scholars, who are now the owners of TroutHunter, Rich Paini and Jon Stiehl were receptive to the idea that Nell and I had that we use a purchase we made in 1990s to provide funding for TH guides and shop workers in this economically challenging year of 2020.
Our ability to make a contribution evolved from an experience we had in the summer of 1993. One evening, I went to visit Rich and Jon who were living in a cabin on the Harriman Ranch. During our relaxed interaction, John Stiehl said, “I was in the Park office helping clean out a closet and found a dusty box of those Harrop commemorative flies that were created to celebrate the Ranch becoming public in 1982.” When making the drive back to our cabin in Pinehaven, I wondered if it would be wise to buy some of the special Harrop flies on the assumption they would appreciate in value. That evening, I asked Nell if she thought my idea had merit. Nell said, “Go for it!”
The next day, the boys were surprised when I walked up to their cabin for the second time in two days. I said, “Some asshole bought all the Harrop Commemorative flies that were left at the Park office yesterday.” They both laughed, knowing I had bought them. I gave sets of the flies to clients, and to skilled tiers who made gifts of flies to me.
I have a special story about the commemorative flies I gave to one of my clients. The angler wanted to fish the Ranch with me but was told by a shop worker that the trip was probably not a wise choice for anyone but a highly skilled angler. The client was bold enough to book the trip. The client became a good friend and we enjoyed many days together on the Ranch. I gave him a set of the Harrop commemorative flies. The client was talking to me one morning outside TH when René Harrop walked up. I introduced my client to René. My client said, “John was very kind and gave me a set of two of the commemorative flies that you and Bonnie tied.” René said, “Do you know what a pair of those flies were auctioned off for at the last Henry’s Fork Foundation’s annual meeting? When my client responded that he did not know. René laughed, and said, “They sold for $750.00!” The client’s jaw dropped.
We will use the profits derived from the sale of the Harrop Commemorative flies to supplement the earnings of TH guides and shop workers in 2020. Nell and I are doing this as a thank you for the help, good humor, kindness, knowledge, and tolerance they have extended to us, my clients, and friends. In addition, more than a few of my clients, from distant places like South Africa and Japan, mentioned how critical the guides and shop workers were to their positive experiences on the Henry’s Fork. One fact that they often mentioned was how consistently respectful the employees were of their cultures and countrymen and women.