1997 One Fly Event History


Livingston One Fly: Cloudy Water, Sunny Dispositions

Due to the 1997 World Fly Fishing Championships being held in Jackson, the One Fly took a four-hour trip north to the Yellowstone River. Wyoming allows only one fishing contest per year on its rivers. The original proposal was for the One Fly to take a sabbatical for 1997. In 1995, however, John Bailey and George Anderson made the proposal to the One Fly Board to move the contest to Livingston, Montana for 1997, and it was accepted.

The contest was to be held on the Yellowstone, between Gardiner and Big Timber. This stretches about 30 miles up and downstream of Livingston. The Yellowstone is the longest undammed river in the United States. Its headwaters are in the Teton Wilderness, north of Jackson. It then flows north into Yellowstone Lake and through Yellowstone Park, after which it winds its way through Montana to its confluence with the Missouri. The trout population is mixed between Yellowstone cutthroat, rainbows and browns. To spice up the contest a bit, a Grand Slam rule was added for 1997. A combination of a cutthroat, rainbow and brown caught on the sme day was worth 150 bonus points. After 10 years in Jackson, the Livingston event was a fun change of pace.

Due to one of the largest snowpacks on record during the 1996-97 season and the 100-year flood in 1996, the Yellowstone experienced high and muddy water. As the mud reared its ugly head, the One Fly Rules Committee made last minute changes allowing any size of fly and sinking lines. Even with the extended rules it was anyone’s guess as to what fly might work in the mud.

After tallying the scores for the first day, it was apparent the Livingston One Fly was extraordinary. Scores varied from, Jeff Alexio’s (Feather Embedders) 512 points to those unfortunate anglers with zeros and 25 keep-your-fly points. Alexio’s individual lead was overtaken by Clif Williams and his olive rubber leg woolly bugger. Clif ended up with 663 points to Jeff’s 569. Williams’ individual title went nicely with the Atlantic Salmon trip he won two days earlier.

Walter Ungermann’s Team U.S.A. won the team title. But it was James Webber who led the team this time. His effective use of a green crystal bugger made him the top rod for Sunday and put team U.S.A. on top.

Frank Stansfield of Team Mitsubishi caught the big trout of the contest. He landed a 22-inch brown on a #8 woolly bugger. The big non-scoring fish of the contest, however, is a toss-up between the two carp caught by Dennis Butcher and Bubba Raspberry.

Despite tough fishing conditions, the Livingston One Fly was a great success. Contestants and guides met new people that share their enjoyment of the sport, proving once again that a good fishing experience is as important as the number of fish caught. Funds were raised to support and enhance Montana fisheries. The 1997 One Fly ended, as theory, friendships and feats became fact.

Winning Fly

Black Rubber Leg Wooly Bugger

In a number of past One Fly events, wet flies have done well. The Rubber Leg Wooly Bugger is a combination of an old pattern, the Wooly Bugger, and a newer pattern, the Yuk Bug. The rubber legs and marabou tail both provide motion, which generally triggers strikes. A gold bead is added for extra weight. This color combination can imitate a variety of aquatic foods. (Fly shown here without bead).