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“Dirty Politician”

by Kurt Finlayson
Dirty Politician Fly

watercolor by Jane Finlayson

Anglers around the country are encountering new attacks on their current rights to access water. Utah is no exception and is currently in the middle of a heated political and legal battle. In 2009, the Utah legislature proposed a bill that would effectively take away rights granted in the Utah Constitution for the public to “recreate on the waters of Utah.”  I have never been much of a political activist, however this threat to our fishing rights motivated me to action.

My nine-year-old daughter was beginning to show an affection for fly fishing and an interest in stream access. I decided to talk to our state legislator, and her cute smile wouldn’t harm our cause. We met with our senator and I asked him his position on the bill.  He dodged around the issue. After giving me a noncommittal answer, he turned to my daughter and asked if she had any questions.

She said, “Why do you want to take away our right to fish in the river?”  She cut right to the point and put him on the spot. It was awesome!

He took a deep breath, looked her in the eye, and said, “I would never do that.”

It was a great experience and my daughter and I were thrilled with our political accomplishment.

Around that same time, I was putting the final touches on my new competition fly pattern that had been fishing very well. It’s a tungsten bead nymph, tied on a jig hook with a CDC collar. The body is sow scud and it has hot spots fore and aft. It quickly became a favorite with my Fly Fishing Team USA colleagues, earning high praise at the National Championships. The only problem was that the fly lacked a name.

Dirty Politician Fly

The “Dirty Politician”

A few days after meeting with our senator, the legislature voted to pass the bill that would take away Utah’s constitutional right to access the waters of Utah. I checked the voting record and found that our senator had voted for the bill.

I was stunned. The next morning I told my daughter and she looked to me for answers.  I was speechless. All I could think of was how that dirty SOB looked right at her and lied. That dirty politician, how could he….

But while my daughter and I lost faith in our political system and politicians who promise access to our rivers, I found a name for my new fly: the Dirty Politician.

MidCurrent Fly Fishing
Kurt Finlayson is an active member of the Utah Stream Access CoalitionandTrout Unlimited, is a former coach with the US Youth Fly Fishing team, and competes with Fly Fishing Team USA. He lives in Cache Valley, Utah with his wife and three daughters.
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  • Al the hackleman

    Guess I have to ask the question. What party did your state senator belong too?

  • Beau Beasley

    Excellent article that explains why we need to be involved in our political system. This goes beyond party politics. I have written about this issue extensively in my home state of Virginia and I have found Republicans wanting to grant more access to anglers on what is advertised as public lands and Democrats less interested in granting access to lands thought to be public. This really is a local issue relevant to the laws of each individual state. Do what this author did….Get involved and be part of the solution!!

  • Jason Merenda

    I think it would be worth meeting that politician again.

  • Bob N Kay Traver

    I’m a Utah fly fisherman, tax payer and long time resident. This lying to your face “DP” needs to be called out and named. Especially with elections just a little over 2 months away.

  • Bob N Kay Traver

    PS: Good looking fly Kurt. Good luck on the next one fly contest. It would be almost perfect if you won the next tournament using a fly called the DP OR USING HIS NAME IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE FLYS NAME.

  • zormsk

    All state senators/reps from that area of Utah are Republican.

  • Mark Sides

    Nice fly, great name.
    You should post the snakes name in here Kurt, and let the readers clog up his email for a few days…..its the least we could do.
    What a douche bag, lying to a little kid. That will really set her up to view the “system” with a positive eye.

  • lennym

    I,its a sad story about the state of affairs.Can you at least tell us what where the interests involved?

  • captain dag

    There are only two senators to choose from in Cache Valley. Pete and Lyle.
    Either one has a “ring” about it…
    So, which was it?

  • Chris

    For all of your pleasure, I witnessed this discussion.