Special Collections Oral History Program
Campus School student teacher, 1954-55
Interviewer: Tamara Belts
Date of Interview: October 12, 2005
Location of Interview: Special Collections, Wilson Library, WWU
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This interview was conducted with Danny Beatty in Special Collections, Western Washington University Libraries, Bellingham, Washington, on October 12th, 2005. The interviewer is Tamara Belts.
TB: Today is Wednesday, October 12th,  and I am here with Danny Beatty. Weíre about to do the oral history. We are hoping to do two parts: one is the Golden Vikings questionnaire, [two is] asking some questions about fly fishing, since he is an avid fly fisherman. My first question is why did you choose to attend Western?
DB: Because of its location and the fact that I didnít have funds to go away. That was pretty typical in those days.
TB: Now did you live at home while you were there?
DB: Yes, for three years, and one year on campus.
TB: So you lived at Ferndale?
DB: Actually, almost in Blaine. I went to high school in Ferndale, but our home was closer to Blaine.
TB: And then your dates of attendance at Western?
DB: From 1951-1955 and then lots of classes afterwards clear into the Seventies.
TB: What degrees or certificates did you receive from Western?
DB: A BA in Education and eventually a standard general certificate for the State of Washington.
TB: And then I think you have no other degrees?
TB: O.K. What other family members attended Western?
DB: An uncle, an aunt, my brother, my daughter, cousins, first cousins and on out (meaning second cousins etc.) that lived in the area. Quite a number of us are Western grads.
TB: What was your first job after leaving Western?
DB: That was teaching in Anacortes School District. You were kind of interested in our contract and I brought it. If youíd like to have a copy of it, thereís my first teaching contract fifty years ago.
TB: Wow, that is pretty cool. Your first salary was going to be $3,500 a year. That would be excellent. So you taught at Anacortes?
DB: Yes. That was for a year. In February of 1956 I got my draft notice to go into the Army. Somewhere back in the earlier Fifties, I was drafted. I forget exactly all the details, but they had exemptions for college students if you passed a test or had a certain grade point or certain criteria at that time. The Draft Board would give you a deferment. Well, Iíd run out of deferment while I was teaching, and so the superintendent got me an extension until June. Then they said absolutely no ifs, ands, or buts about it, youíre coming in! So in June of 1956 I was sent to Fort Ord, California.
TB: How long were you in the service?
DB: I was active duty for two years. I had an interesting experience! Of course at first, basic training and all that was pretty standard. After I got to Germany, I didnít like the looks of what my unit would be doing, the fieldwork and stuff. I found out there was an Army education center at the Kaserne (German for post, fort or barracks). I went over and talked to the director and he got me special duties to teach there for all the time that I was in that unit. I was a GED teacher. At that time there were many soldiers that did not have a high school diploma. Now I think itís required, but then it wasnít. It was our job to teach GED courses and administer the tests and get them equivalent to a high school education. I did that for about six months give or take, and then I was reassigned to division headquarters and I lost that job. Division Headquarters, G-2 clerk, it wasnít as much fun, but it was a good job. I managed though, I guess partly because I had a degree and my tests were good. I remember the Colonel, when I interviewed for the job at Division, he was like this. I was standing at his desk and he was looking at my records and he said, ďWell, this is a clerk typist type job.Ē I said, ďI donít type very well.Ē He said, ďYouíll learn.Ē I wanted to stay with the education center, but he said, ďNo, youíre coming here.Ē You donít argue with colonels. The Colonel turned out to be a fine officer and easy to work for.
TB: Right! Where did you live when you were at Western? (This is going back to your experiences at Western.)
DB: Back to Western, yes. One year, my senior year, my friends talked me into moving into town. Actually, the house is gone but it was across the street from the library. Itís where the Viking Union is now. On the corner was Daniel Hall and I donít know if we were the second house over. It wasnít an organized house. It was just they had apartments upstairs and downstairs and a basement apartment. It was very crowded, cheap. There was about three of us in a room and a half sort of thing.
TB: Who were your favorite or most influential teachers and why?
DB: Actually in the science department, I really enjoyed all of the teachers, specifically Dr. Knapman, Miss Platt and Miss Pabst. Dr. Knapman taught chemistry. I enjoyed his classes. He did something for me that really helped me through college, and that was, I think it was my sophomore year. Before and after my Freshman year I worked at a Blaine fish cannery to earn money for the next school year. That was gone; they closed it up. I needed a job for the summer. Knapman had been contacted by the United States Department of Agriculture. They needed somebody in this area to do work in all the fruit and vegetable canneries. I applied for it and got the job. I did that then for years and years afterwards, even after I was teaching. After I was through school and into teaching, it was summer jobs when I wasnít going to school. It was supplemental income. It was something that was short season. I kind of appreciated that, a chance to get a job so that I could continue having funds to come to school.
TB: What was he like as a teacher? Do you have any memories of him?
DB: Dr. Knapman; he was just a professor that you could talk to easily. He was just a very personable man. I donít know, we just clicked I guess, that was part of it. He stayed there for many years, and my brother had him for classes and everybody I ever talked to thought he was a wonderful teacher. Miss Platt and Miss PabstÖ did you happen to watch channel 9 last night?
DB: They had this e = mc2: The Story of Einstein, and it talked about women in science many years ago. Even in the Fifties it was not that common for women science professors. These were two dandies! I really liked both of them. There were lots of field trips. Ms. Platt took us out for biology class. It was a field class and we learned how to do things in sampling. I followed that process when I went to teach. It was something I could use with the students in field trips and so forth. Students liked that.
TB: What about Miss Pabst?
DB: Same thing. Platt was biology. I did plant and insect type, both. And then Pabst was geology and we did field trips. I used that through [out] my teaching. I thought it was very important. Kids still talk about it. My former students talk more about what we did outside the classroom. They remember more about that than what we did inside.
TB: What about Mr. Walters?
DB: Well, he was the band director. I was not a music major, and he just accepted me so nicely as part of the band. It was just fun. I brought you something for that, too. I hope I can find it here. That was one of our band trips (referring to some photos). Maybe I set it aside and didnít bring it. I have at home three band tours. At that time, we went on band tours around the state to kind of advertise Western, and the band, for a week. We would go to high schools and put on concerts. As I say, I was not a music major, but I fit in, he accepted us. This fellow was a music major, Don Sires. We were over at Port Townsend for the Rhododendron Festival. It was just a really interesting neat thing. Walters was a person that just accepted us so well, and of course our schedules and stuff, he would try to fit us in so we could be with the band.
TB: What did you play?
TB: O.K. Well I know he was pretty renowned for his marching band.
DB: In the book that Kristie gave us at the dinner, the Western Washington University: One Hundred Years, thereís a picture of the band in the field right behind Wilson Library, where Haggard Hall is. It forms a big ĎWí. My picture isnít there because Iím in one of the lines thatÖthe trombones are all real tight and so we donít see individuals. But I remember that picture.
TB: What was your main course of study?
DB: Science and math was where I spent most of my time, plus education classes. I never thought they did me that much good, but we had to take them.
TB: Any thoughts about any of those teachers? Did you have Dr. Woodring?
DB: No, I didnít. In psychology and education classes, honestly, I donít remember too many of them.
TB: Thatís fine. What classes did you like the best and/or learn the most from?
DB: As I explained earlier, the field classes were good. The classes that helped me learn about science and math, that I could use when I went to teach, ended up being the ones I remember.
TB: What extracurricular activities did you enjoy the most?
DB: Of course band was one for three years. Even though I lived a ways away, I tried to participate in campus activities. When I went to school here, we could park right beside the library. The parking lot is now Red Square. It was between the Campus School and Old Main and the library. There was a parking lot. If we would get here early enough, weíd park right there. I was always here by 7:30 and Iíd park right there. Right in front of that parking lot there was kind of an all-purpose room in the basement of Old Main. I donít know what it is now, I have no idea. It was where they held the mixers and so forth. Those were fun.
TB: What about student government? You were on the Board of Control.
DB: Yes, for three quarters. It overlapped into summer and I didnít attend summer school so didnít keep doing it. Thatís one full year. I think it was my junior year. Yes, I was on the Board of Control. I was the finance chairman. That was an interesting experience. Somewhere I got a certificate for my efforts on that because it was quite a job. I donít have any idea how student government works now but then it was kind of like a high school almost. There were only 1,200 or 1,500 students here. Itís not a very big budget. Athletics was a big part of it. Iím sure if youíve interviewed enough of us, you have heard the Chuck Lappenbusch name. He was the one that did the budget for athletics. [Sam] Carver and Lappenbusch. I remember going over to his office and sitting with him and Carver, mostly Lappenbusch, and going through the budget. He was a very interesting man. I didnít know him that well, I never took a class from him or anything, but that was my job. It was very interesting to be involved in that.
TB: And you were the senior class president? Any thoughts about that?
DB: That was a big job I guess. I even brought my Class Day Talk. I brought our Class Day Program. I donít know if you have these things.
TB: I donít have that, but I would love to makes some copies of your speech and your pictures.
DB: This was the vice president, Floyd Jackson. Unfortunately Floyd passed away I guess at a fairly young age; heís been dead for quite a few years. They moved the walk a bit. Theyíve moved the plaques out here.
TB: They started going the other way then.
DB: Theyíve also moved them all. They lifted it up and moved it. I went and looked at it this summer when I was here. I guess they needed to get more space. I donít have any idea if you are interested in any of this.
TB: Oh yes. In fact, Iíll have to show you, they just did an article on October 4th about [Memorial Walk], just this year. I can show you. We found another picture where theyíre doing it, but it would be great to get these.
DB: I thought it might be kind of interesting but I didnít bring it. I have a copy of what I said this summer if you are interested to put the two together.
TB: Very much so.
DB: You have the annual for 1955?
DB: I have some other pictures of graduation in our senior board, the senior class boardÖ.(referring to pictures).
TB: Do you have any experiences with the Campus School?
DB: Yes, I did. My first student teaching as a junior was at Whatcom Junior High School. Whatcom was one of the schools Western used a lot so the cooperating teacher was very much used to having student teachers with them. It was at the level I ended up teaching at, so that turned out to be something that was very helpful. When he finally turned the class over to me, for the amount of time I was there, it was half time. For almost a half day I had the class to myself and I had to prepare and so forth. He just walked out and there you go. I donít remember his name, I wish I did. Then the next year I did the full day at the Campus School. The person that was the sixth grade teacher was a member of the staff of Western from the education department. It was Stewart Van Wingerden.
There were three practicum teachers; two men, myself and another fellow my age. The third person was a woman that was a bit older. She had a family. She was raising her children. The men were 21 years old. I hate to say how old she was. I would guess 35. I donít know, I may be way off. But she seemed older to us 21 year olds. She was very experienced with kids. We just kind of let her take over more. It was not an experience that was normal I think, not like the other one I did, the previous one. I think I ended up after a couple of weeks with a chip on my shoulder if I ever had one. I donít really go for that sort of thing, but I was upset with the director of the Campus School (Ray Hawk, I think) because he wouldnít let me go and practice with the band late in the day. I could have gone after the kids were gone and gone over and played in the band. But the Campus School administration wouldnít let me do that. It was kind of important to me, even though I wasnít a music major. He didnít understand that.
TB: Thatís why you were not in band your senior year, because you couldnít be in it and do your student teaching?
DB: Correct, I was doing student teaching in the fall.
TB: O.K. Please share with us any special memories of your college days.
DB: College was very important as it turned out. I was talking to my friend the other day about this. He came over to the house and I had the Western Washington University: One Hundred Years. He said, ďIf I had known that school was there, I would have been up there in a minute!Ē Heís from Los Angeles, went to USC. He said, ďWe had counselors in high school that came and talked to us about going to college and so forth. I didnít know much about it, but a counselor did talk to us.Ē Ferndale had nothing like that in high school. No one would talk to us about what we should do after school and it was never mentioned. In our family it was a given that we went to school, but we could only come here because we didnít have funds to go to the University of Washington or Washington State. When I did get to college and got involved in it, it was a very enjoyable experience for me. I met a lot of good people. I made a lot of good friends. I got involved with various parts of the school at that time. It was a good experience for me. I think it helped bring out my personality some.
TB: Do you have any thoughts about Ė Iíve heard about them Ė the assemblies they used to have?
DB: You know, the Auditorium-Music Building was brand new that fall of 1951. The school brought in all sorts of people. Who was the jazz guy from San Francisco? They had him here. I wish I would have brought the music thing, that tour. We had the world renowned trumpeter Mendez play with our band during the time I was here. I have his signature. You can have some of this stuff some day. Itís got Raphael Mendez. He came and we practiced with him for a number of days with the band and then we did a concert. Is that what youíre talking about? That sort of thing?
TB: Well thatís a special memory. I just know that there used to be pretty regular assemblies.
DB: Well, the Auditorium-Music Building was almost big enough to hold everybody on campus. When I started school it was 1250 and when I left it was 1500. The auditorium would hold 1,000 to 1,200 people. Itís all been remodeled now and changed, I know. It was quite a state of the art building at that time. There was a man named David Schwab they hired just to play the organ, and he put on recitals. It was good for us students because we hadnít been used to that. We had been out here in the country.
TB: Is there anything else I havenít asked you about your college career that you would like to talk about?
DB: I had some interesting experiences. What year was it? I canít remember exactly. A club I belonged to needed a bus to go somewhere. They found out that if they could get one of the group to drive it, they wouldnít have to pay as much for the bus. Buchanan, he handled the money parts of the school, and he handled buses for some reason. I said I would drive the bus. Iíd driven everything, living on a farm. I can do anything! They had these old Navy surplus buses, they were really quite something. I said, ďIíll drive it.Ē I did. It worked out O.K. He called me one day and said, ďIím in desperate need of someone to drive the ski bus.Ē I was a little hesitant about that, driving up to Mount Baker. He said, ďWeíll pay you!Ē I said, ďO.K., Iíll do it.Ē So I ended up a number of Saturdays driving the ski bus. That was interesting because these buses were awful. Youíd fill up the gas tank in Bellingham or at the school, drive to Glacier, fill it up again, make the loop back to Glacier, fill it up again and come back! They had small tanks and poor mileage and terrible conditions, but we got up there. I remember one situation, one girl was quite badly injured and she had the seat across the back. She was Christian Science and she wouldnít let the doctors or anybody [help her]. We brought her back, [and] called somebody. It was January or February and [we didnít] get back to school [until] 7 oíclock, and it was dark and we were trying to find some help for this poor person. I had a lot of interesting experiences.
Another trip he talked me into doing was taking the archaeology class -- and Professor Herbert Taylor was in charge of that Ė we took the group and drove to near Olympia, caught a boat and went over to Squaxin Island, which is an Indian Reservation. He said, ďWell, since you drove the bus, weíre going to leave it in Olympia. Youíre not a member of this class, but if youíll help us dig, if you do some work, weíll feed you.Ē That was quite an experience and thatís another part of this I do want to before I leave, find somebody in the archaeology department because I have at home a very rare artifact. Something needs to be done with it. My brother and I are not sure where to go, but this is very, very unique, and itís from up in the north end of the county. I do not know the archeology department. I never took their classes, but I became very interested in this and know the location of my artifact. Somebody should give somebody (before I die) the information.
TB: Weíll get that for you today.
DB: Those are the kinds of thingsÖin college, somehow I just allowed myself to be involved. Things came up and I was willing to try.
TB: Why donít you tell me a little more about your [teaching] career? Did you teach most of your time at [Anacortes]?
DB: All but one year.
TB: Because you were at Sedro-Woolley werenít you?
DB: I did teach one year there, thatís how I knew Isabelle. We taught sixth grade at Central School. That was the year I got back from the Army. Anacortes didnít have a job for me because Iíd been in the service. I donít remember why, it just didnít fit for some reason. Anacortes called me back the following year and then I got back into the job I wanted and I stayed there for the next 25 years.
TB: What grade level did you teach at Anacortes?
DB: Mostly at the middle school or junior high school, seventh, eighth and ninth. That level was always the orphan of the school district, and depending on what shifts were being made with the school populations and buildings available, it would change from a two year school to a three year school to a two year school. Over the years it was many things. I also taught third grade for five years.
TB: What are some of the significant things you saw in teaching over the years? Changes? Did you see a lot of changes in the students?
DB: In science, it started with Sputnik but a little later in the Sixties, the National Science Foundation got involved with education. I took a number of those institutesÖtwo or three here at Western, the University of Wyoming, I even went to Princeton one summer, one at the University of Washington. I called it the ďalphabet science.Ē They had a long name for the ideas they were trying to formulate in the curriculum and they just went by the initials, thatís why I called it the alphabet science curriculum. I got involved in all those things at the middle school/junior high level. What it allowed was there were government funds, we had money for equipment, we had money for improving the lab. I actually worked with programs to give the kids hands-on experiences with equipment at their level. I thought that was very good. I saw that improvement from the time I started to the time I retired. My ending years I taught in the mid-Seventies. My first wife and I divorced; I was kind of at loose ends. I thought I needed to do something different so I went and taught third grade for five years! That was a different experience. It worked out fine, I enjoyed it. The kids were great. After that time I went back to the middle school and ended up teaching mostly math then for three years. While I was teaching, I was very involved in getting kids out in various ways -- this kind of fit in more with the fishing part -- Iíd take kids on weekend outings.
I did science outings on Saturdays. I even went through the bus driving training class and was able to use the school bus. We took trips; hiked Sauk Mountain, old geological trips up into the upper north parts of the Nooksack, journeys up in that area. We just were very involved in getting students out in the field. I did outdoor education classes. My focus was to get students involved in stuff that they could kind of get hands-on. Those are the things they remember.
TB: Did you find teaching to be a rewarding career?
DB: Very much so. Yes. I wrote quite a long section about that down here. My former students, I see them any day I go into town to a store or something. All sorts of businesses and as I say, the mayor of the town, Iím not living in this town, but no matter what area I find myself, thereís a former student there. My friend from California, he gets really a kick out of it. We go somewhere, we go out to Coronet Bay and watch the boats, and thereís one of my former students working for the park. He has to come over and talk to me. Everywhere I go, this is my situation.
TB: I bet.
DB: O.K. Now you want to move on. I think I pretty well covered it, you get the picture.
TB: And we will transcribe this and give you the chance to add in anything else that you would like to talk about. Okay; my first fly-fishing question is how did you get started fly-fishing?
DB: While I was in the Army, one of the fellows I worked with in the office was a fly fisherman from Hood River, Oregon. He fished the Deschutes and he talked about it. He made it sound so interesting. I had been fishing prior to that; when I grew up I fished around the creeks and my dad was a salmon fisherman and we did some of that out here in the bay. I didnít even have a clue what fly fishing was and he made it sounds so interesting, I went to the PX and bought a fly rod and reel. I had no place to use it over there, but I did buy it, and I brought it back. Then I got to raising a family and not much involved in fishing but I did do a little. One of my good friends, a teacher, was a fly-fisher, and he helped me learn a bit about casting. We went out and he kind of helped me get started a little bit. When I really got involved was in 1974. My neighbor had been up to the lakes in Canada, had met a man that belonged to a fly-fishing club in Seattle and he thought we might start one in Anacortes so this fellow and I and this other teacher, the three of us, got together and formed the Fidalgo Fly Fishers in 1974, 1975, we formed that fly club. From then on, I just kind of focused on fly fishing. Up until then, I did all sorts of fishing.
TB: What is it about fly fishing that attracts you?
DB: The people, certainly. For the most part I find that people that fly fish are very interesting. Thereís kind of an art to it; the fly tying, that sort of thing. I guess it kind of evolved from those things.
TB: Can you describe a typical day on the stream, or what would be a perfect day on the stream? Either one.
DB: Yes. Iíll give you more of a typical day. I enjoy both ways, lakes and streams. What we like to do, which weíve done almost from the beginning, is have an RV, a trailer, and go into Canada and park the trailer, the RV, right next to the lake, unload the boat, put it in the water, and itís right there to use any time you want. We stay in one place for a week or ten days at times, self-contained. You go out and go fishing any time you feel like it. You can sit back and read a book, you can sit in the trailer and tie flies, you can go out and go fishing, you fix supper, you have happy hour, itís a total experience away from home. Thatís a typical day for me in Canada, where we like to go. The stream fishing for me right now, unfortunately, the Skagit is not in fishable shape, but to go over to the Skagit River, put my boat in, I usually try to have somebody with me. Often itís someone who hasnít been on the water before. I try to show them and teach them where the fish will normally be located. Thatís for sea-run cutthroat [trout]. They are a fall fish and they are just a wonderful thing to fish for with a fly. I have a nice boat, itís called a River Runner, small River Runner boat, itís fourteen and a half feet long. Itís got an outboard on it, we run up and down the river and look for these pockets and places where the fish will be and spend about three or four hours out. Thatís pretty typical. I have done some of what you call typical stream fishing in Montana, the Madison River and many of those. Iíve not done it much and itís great, but it is different.
TB: Iíve never asked these questions before so Iím learning. What does it feel like after a day on the stream?
DB: It kind of gives you a euphoria type feeling, especially when we are using the RV. You just feel relaxed. I have friends that get up early in the morning, get on the water and just pound it all day. Iím not that type. Iím more relaxed at it. Iíll go out for little while. If the fish arenít biting, Iíll come back, maybe think about tactics, different ways to fish, and go back out later. I do it in a more relaxed way. To me thatís fun. I do even on the river. Iíve done it the other way. Iíve been with guys where you go out early in the morning, you stay all day, you have lunch. Itís almost like a computer in their minds. Every fish, every swirl, every thing that happens, youíre successful, youíre successful. I donít look at it that way. Thatís just me.
TB: How does it feel to take a fish?
DB: To hook a fish?
DB: I think thatís the initial reaction. I think the reaction of the fish taking the fly is the most important part of fishing for me. Iím trying to remember, I killed one fish this year. Every other one was release. You want to get the fish in and then release it, but I donít focus on the capture or the killing. Itís the idea of getting this fish to take the fly. Thatís the key. Once that happens, then of course the fight is great and all of those things. And size has some importance I guess but not the main importance. We are very much into capture and release.
TB: What happened to the one you killed? It just got too damaged in the fight?
DB: No, we wanted one to eat. It was a nice fish, about seventeen or eighteen inches, a rainbow trout. It wasnít a wild fish particularly; it was in a place where it was planted. Definitely if there is any indication that it is a wild fish, they definitely are release.
TB: Whatís your favorite place to fish? That you are willing to share!
DB: Probably Lac le Jeune in British Columbia, which is between Merritt and Kamloops, mainly because it has a wonderful campsite and it allows us to do the things we like to do. The other would be the lower Skagit. And also some in the salt water too, but I donít do that as much. Weather conditionsÖmy boat isnít really big enough to get out in the salt water very far. But I do do that.
TB: Do you have a preference for a wet or a dry fly?
DB: I guess there is always something to be said about seeing your fly on the water and seeing this swirl and this ďtakeĒ as they call it. There is certainly something to be said for that. Unfortunately, fish eat more underwater than they do on the surface, so your chances are better underwater. I fish the conditions. But man, you canít beat a Tom Thumb fly on the surface of a lake in Canada where the fish are feeding. Itís just totally different.
TB: Youíve been very active in the organizational structure of fly fishing, what made you decide to get started in that?
DB: How it started was through our local fly club in Anacortes. Thereís a lake in the Deception Pass State Park named Pass Lake. You go by it every time you go to Whidbey Island. Pass Lake, since 1940, except for a period of time in the Fifties and Sixties has been fly fishing only. The Washington Fly Fishing Club was the club that got the whole idea of fly fishing only started way back in the 1940s. They came up to Pass Lake every year and had a big outing, the whole club for a weekend and all this. When our club got going and they saw that we were a viable group, they thought we could take over being the sponsors and that sort of thing of the lake. There was the movement to reduce the limit of fish, to try and to make it more quality fishing and try to see if we could get bigger fish. In our fly club, I was the science teacher, and understanding how to do presentations and graphs, I took on the job of developing data and surveys. We went out and did surveys. We did creel census on the lake when fishers came in. We did the measurement on the fish. I did this whole histographic program of the thing and presented it to the Northwest Council of the Federation at a meeting.
From there, I took it to the Department of Fish and Wildlife and wrote papers and made presentations. The president of the Northwest Council moved on to be the treasurer of the whole national organization; he asked me if I would take over as president of the Northwest Council. I did. I wasnít sure what I was getting into. I hadnít had that much experience. I had only been involved for two or three years in the fly fishing organization at most. I took that job on, and thatís where this came from (referring to some plaques). This is 1982. Before this, I was asked by the president to be a national officer. Thatís where this came in, I became secretary from 1980-1983. Then 1983 and 1984 I became vice president for membership. The organization was going through some very difficult times. I guess itís my personality and just my way of dealing with things, but we made it turn around and things started to get better and we increased our membership and our financial situation got better. It just started going good again. Then I became president for two years from 1985 to 1987. It sort of all started back in the late Seventies when I did this presentation for the Department of Fish and Wildlife and it worked. Pass Lake is now total catch-and-release, quality waters, fly fishing only. Itís got almost everything we wanted. In fact, Iím not sure, but we may have gotten more than we wanted because sometimes now the guys are thinking maybe we could ease back a little and have a few more fish and have more chance to catch a fish. There are big fish in there and they are pretty difficult.
TB: Could you tell me a little bit about the purpose and the structure of the Federation of Fly Fishers?
DB: It was started in 1965 as the Federation of Fly Fishermen. It was started by some people in Eugene, Oregon, primarily when they went to the east coast and got guys like Lee Wolf, if that name rings a bell, involved. They started this federation of clubs of fly fishing. The fly fishers, one of their key things is ďall fish, all watersĒ, which means they are not specific to trout, they include all kinds of fish, not specific to stream fishing or lake fishing, this includes salt water, everything. They are very much into the conservation efforts of our resources, wild fish. If Jack Hutchinson had any of the old audiovisual stuff that would be great because there was a film called, Dammed Forever, that the Federation did. It was about the Columbia River dam system. All weíre hearing now is about the lower Snake Rivers dams and all the problems they are creating for salmon and steelhead. The Federation was way ahead of that in terms of the problems. There were guys in the Federation that knew the right people. They had guys like Bing Crosby do that narration. I donít know what happened to these things, but I hope somebody preserved them somewhere.
TB: You told some of this, but what are some of the things you are most proud of in regards to your fly fishing involvement or career?
DB: All sorts of things. This is one, but thatís local. These kids, I still see some of these kids. Mike Haley, for years after he left high school would come by to see me and tell me about all the wonderful trips he has taken to the high lakes up in the mountains. Scott Taylor, his dad was the vice principal at the high school. Scottís now a professional golfer. Dana Dixon is still out fly fishing whenever he gets a chance. This boy, Jeff Martin went on our outings, Jeff died in the A-boat disaster. I still know all these kids. Thatís local. Also local, Iíve done a lot of teaching fly tying. This picture was a class. This sort of thing is kind of cool for me to have. I taught the kids and the teacher asked them to do something for them to remember it by.
TB: Did you get started tying flies right away?
DB: No. I tell you that at all levels of our groups getting together, fly tying is big part, demonstration of fly-tying. I went for all these years to these big shows and I would sit and watch these guys tie flies. I did some myself but as time went on I just got involved with the teaching. Last winter we taught a class at Skagit Valley College, an evening class.
TB: Excellent. Well, how did you get involved in teaching others?
DB: This started it. One of the teachers at the Fidalgo School, the grade school in Anacortes, was doing a unit based on the book My Side of the Mountain about a boy that kind of went out and tried to live in the wild, learned to live in nature. Part of the thing was you had to find ways to get food. Sally thought well, maybe the kids could learn that one way would be to fish and they could learn to tie flies. She called me up and she said, ďWould you come up to school and do this?Ē I said, ďWell, yes.Ē So I started there. I had been retired for eight years. I had time to do this. I needed a place to teach fly-tying and I went to our senior center and the director was very enthused about doing it so I did a number of classes there. After the grade school I went to the high school and did a class after school. They had several programs after school for kids that were having problems in school. They had this program right after school and they would get their homework done and get them on track. If they do that, then they try to give them a little bonus or a little extra, something more fun. One of the things she worked up was for me to come in and teach fly-tying to those that were interested. I did that. I did all sorts of things. Thatís my fly-tying.
TB: Other things that you were teaching that you think are important about fly fishing that I havenít asked you?
DB: I guess you can do this with anything you get interested in, but you can be just kind of totally involved in so many aspects of it. When I taught school, I taught fly-tying, rod building. Even now, thirty or more years later, former students come up, ďYou know, I still have that rod, thatís my favorite rod that I built when I was in your class.Ē Stuff like that. I donít know if that answers your question. I guess itís a hobby that went wild.
TB: No, thatís nice. What about, you helped students build rods, what was the first way that you built them? What kind of material did you use?
DB: Fiberglass rod blanks. I think at the end we were using early graphite modules. But the early ones were fiberglass.
TB: Do you have any thoughts about the future of fly fishing, how to make sure the runs continue?
DB: We try to be positive. You want to be positive. Fly fishing is going to evolve gradually with materials, possibly with new rod materials. They are trying to come up with more materials that will withstand corrosion maybe for salt water use and stuff. The concern I think is more with the resource than it is with the evolvement of how you fly fish or what you use for fly fishing. The flies that are out there, they change as people come up with materials that are put on the market, but the basic idea of tying a fly has really not changed that much. Thousands and thousands of new flies and new names, but you can just about pick any one and take it back in its history and find something very similar. I kind of get a kick out of that. I think the concern is more the resource, the fish; where they are going to live, whatís going to be there for them. Thatís my thought.
TB: Have you ever designed a fly, came up with an original fly?
DB: No. The fly I tie the most, my favorite fly for use with the sea-run cutthroat, itís called Knudson Spider. I have the original Spider that he tied. I have two or three of them and I tie it a little different. Thatís what I mean. We kind of add our own little slight differences. I could call it something else, but itís still basically what Knudson came up with. Did you go down to see Jack Hutchinson?
TB: No, I didnít. I know he has a lot of the natural materials and stuff.
DB: The reason I ask is that I donít know who he might have mentioned, but Knudson was one of the people that he was very involved with.
TB: Oh, okay, whatís Knudsonís first name?
DB: Al Knudson. He ended up living in Marysville. He did make a few originals.
TB: Do you think the philosophy of the fly tie is to replicate nature, or to have something jazzy that the fish will be attracted to.
DB: Both. Sometimes itís the natural, and itís amazing how different from the natural it can be but it still triggers that response. A Tom Thumb really doesnít look much like a caddis on the surface of the water, but thereís something about it that triggers a response and the fish comes for it?
TB: Any other questions I havenít asked that you think should be asked or again, this is new, to start trying to gather fish stories. What do you think are important things to gather, pieces of information about it?
DB: I think pretty much we have covered it. Right off hand I canít think of anything.
TB: All right. Well I will say thank you very much.