A. GEAN SNOW
If ever there was a man who embodied the expertise and enthusiasm for fly fishing, Gean Snow would be that man.
A native son of Utah, Gean was haunting the streams and rivers of the greater Wasatch area by the age of 10. From the tall grasses on the bank of Parley’s Creek, he learned the craft of fishing by patiently observing the life cycle of the trout and its habitat. He would lie on his belly for hours watching the feeding
patterns and the hatches. Through trial and error, he learned the art of tying the meticulously crafted fly. At a tender age, with very little tutoring, he cast his first hand-made fly and experienced the thrill of a strike, landing a beautiful cutthroat! This sparked a fever. The fever fed his passion for the pursuit of the wily prey with rod and fly. The passion became a dream.
This dream became a reality in the founding of Angler’s Inn in 1976. Driven by a vision only few anglers shared with him in the early days, Gean broke barriers and set precedents. With Angler’s Inn as a platform, he was able to offer the average fishing enthusiast the opportunity to learn the art of fly fishing. During his 25 years at the helm, Gean attracted like-minded and talented individuals and together they promoted the craft of fly fishing by teaching on- going casting and fly tying classes. Gean also taught the importance of conservation which resulted in hundreds of people becoming better stewards of our natural resources. His mentoring and example launched the careers of dozens of dedicated anglers who have gone on to establish their own enterprises that safeguard and uphold the treasured sport today.
Gean designed his own, made in the USA, line of fly rods. The Snow Rod was a result of his desire to provide affordable and well-made equipment to all fishers seeking to enjoy the world of fly fishing. To this day, Snow Fly Rods are still the favorite of many an angler.
Throughout his life, Gean devoted his career and his personal resources to several causes benefitting the Utah fly fishing citizenry and fishers in general. His deep commitment to conserving our natural treasures is reflected in the song he wrote for the movie “Toklat” in 1971 – “…should a stream run dry for a highway that goes by, oh tell me why … Some call it progress, some call it destiny, I don’t agree.”. His conviction regarding the protection and management of the wealth of natural resources in Utah led him to become an integral participant in dozens of causes.
He was a founding member of the Stonefly Society whose “Gean Snow Conservation Award” is still presented annually to persons who are recognized for deep commitment to preserving habitat and promoting a healthy and sustainable fishery.
In 1987, the American Fisheries Society awarded him for his work and outspoken commitment to natural resource conservation. A few major issues drew special recognition – being instrumental in coordinating groups and building grass-roots support for conservation in Utah, supporting the Green River Trout Management plan that has helped turn the Green into one of the finest Blue Ribbon Fisheries in the country, support of the preservation of minimum stream flows in many Uintah and Wasatch Mountain Streams, and he provided great support to the Strawberry Reservoir Fisheries Restoration Project.
Gean’s unwavering support for the Provo River Restoration Project contributed to the great success in repairing the riparian habitat of this irreplaceable resource which is listed as a destination for fly fishers today.
In the early 90’s he was a driving force in the establishing of Utah’s Community Fishing Waters and fishing clubs for kids. Gean was passionate about our most valuable resource – our youth. He helped form Go Fish Utah which provided fishing equipment to recreation centers enabling families to check it out and enjoy the sport of fishing. It was a springboard to introduce fishing to young and old and our future fly fisherman. The Go Fish Utah program received national recognition from the American Sport Fishing Association.
Gean loved to teach people to fish. With his contagious energy he taught thousands of people of all ages and genders the sport he dearly loved, with fly fishing being his biggest passion. His textbook perfect style and presentation paired with his enthusiastic attitude, introduced approachability to a sport whose sometimes unpredictable variations could dampen a beginner’s enthusiasm. Anyone who had the pleasure of seeing Gean’s imitation of a brown trout slurping a dry fly off the surface knows the dedication and enthusiasm he had for fly fishing!!
In 2012 Utah lost this important voice for anglers and conservationists. Tom Wharton, long time columnist for The Salt Lake Tribune, wrote, “Gean was an archer, skeet shooter, duck hunter, bowler and guitar player. Most of all, he was a salesman, and a good one at that. And what he often sold was the value of clean water, wildlife habitat and free-flowing streams. …But one line in his obituary caught my attention. It says all you need to know about this wonderful man: ‘In lieu of flowers,’ wrote his family, ‘Dad would like it if you took a kid fishing.’”.
The legacy of Gean Snow lives on through the rivers and streams he worked so diligently to preserve and promote. In the span of his 82-year long life, his many awards and accomplishments were not the objects of his pride; his joy stemmed from teaching about the fly, the rod, the cast, the river, the fish, conservation and the people, whom he would insist share in this honorable nomination.
The family of Gean Snow thanks you for this recognition of our Dad.