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by Captain Winkler

Byron Gunderson

Byron started fishing at a very young age with his father Lyle, and yes, as it is with most avid fishers, he fished with a worm. At the age of seven Byron’s dad decided he was ready to move on to fly fishing. This opened up a whole new can of worms (pun intended) to Byron’s life. His new passion was unleashed. He would spend many days in the Uintah mountains learning to trick the fish into taking his fly. When Byron was old enough to drive he spent every moment he could fly fishing or hunting. Luckily Byron was smart and could get good grades even though he was always thinking about fishing. He even went on to the University of Utah.

Byron met his wife to be De Ette in 1968. He managed a few dates in between fishing trips to Strawberry. Byron was going fishing to

Strawberry with some friends for a few days. So that the newly engaged couple wouldn’t be apart for so long Byron asked De Ette to drive up and join him after a couple of days. He told her that they would have dinner and that he would drive back with her that night. She was so excited at this invite that she drove up only to watch him catch and release what seemed like hundreds of fish. After dinner he delivered the news, he couldn’t tear himself away from his fishing. He sent her home and stayed another night. De Ette realized that she would have to learn to fly fish if she ever wanted to spend time with Byron. She did learn and their life’s journey began. They married in December (no fishing or hunting in December), had two children, Jim and Jenny, who also learned to fly fish for survival.

To support his young family and pay for college, Byron not only worked full time for Fruit Growers Exp. Co, which was a company that inspected and maintained refrigerated cars that passed thru the Roper Railroad yard in Salt Lake City, but took on a second job working part time for Zinik’s sporting goods. Byron continued in the sporting goods business working with Wolfe’s, Keith Warshaw’s, Anglers Inn, Sportsman’s Warehouse until he opened Fish Tech in April 1986. Byron and De Ette decided to put all that they had saved, all that they owned, and all they would be inheriting on the line for a loan to open Fish Tech. It was a lot of work and a big risk but it was always Byron’s dream. Fish tech has been open for 20+ years and Byron is still sharing his passion with others.

Byron loved working with youth and was very proud of being a part of Mark Eaton’s Standing Tall for Youth Projects where they helped under privileged kids learn to fish. Byron also has helped children with disabilities such as Muscular Dystrophy Learn How to Fish. Byron was a key player in working with Murray City to building willow pond. It is an urban fishery that was

to be the first of many more to come. Byron served on the board of the Outdoor Resource Foundation. It was a non-profit organization that helped raise money for many conservation projects in Utah, and especially on projects that introduced youths to fishing. The foundation held many kid’s fishing events in Salt Lake Valley.

Byron co-authored many articles with Ray Grass for the Deseret News about Utah’s fishing places and how to catch fish there. He believes that sharing his knowledge and keeping fishing in the public eye is key to keeping fishing for all. Without public support future fishermen are in danger of losing their rights to developers and politicians who want to take our land and waters and other benefits that are rightfully ours.

Byron was a founder of the Utah Stream Access Coalition and is still on the board fighting hard to keep our streams open to the public. Fighting for our children’s rights and our grand children’s rights and for all future fishers and outdoor enthusiasts so they too can have access to and passion for fishing and the great outdoors in Utah!

Byron has come up with many patterns of flies over the years but is probably best known for his” super weapon” or better known as Byron’s killer. Byron was a founding member of the Utah Blue Ribbon Fishery Advisory Council and served for many years finding and improving waters that were to be classified as blue ribbon. Byron sat on the Utah Division of Wildlife’s Central Region Advisory Council for eight years. Byron has dedicated the majority of his life helping others enjoy what has been his lifelong passion and will hopefully be theirs.

Tickets for the 2021 Special Drawing are still available and the drawing is still being held to fund TU programs.

Due to the Expo Center being used as a mass vaccination site, we are sad to announce we have to postpone the show until April 2022.