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40 Years and Still Going Strong!

Feb 29, 2016 | Mike Lawson Old_Shop_1977A.jpg

We incorporated Henry’s Fork Anglers, Inc. as a subchapter S corporation in 1976. The original partners were Rene & Bonnie Harrop, Sheralee’s father Frank Rydalch and Sheralee and me. Frank also built the original building which was leased to the corporation. Rene and Bonnie left the business in July 1977. Sheralee and I bought all of the remaining shares of stock and purchased the building over the following years as we could afford to do so. Mark Rockefeller purchased the business in 1999. Part of the purchase agreement was for Sheralee and me to stay on to manage the business for as long as we could or would.


At first we were a little apprehensive since we didn’t know Mark. He had taken a couple of guide trips with us over the years but that was it. I can only imagine the anxiety of our guides and other employees who had been with us for so many years when they heard the news. It was especially difficult for our three children who had essentially grown up in the business. Moving away from our comfort zone is never easy. Over time a strong footing of trust developed and everyone realized it was the right thing to do. We had grown out of our old building. Sheralee and I didn’t have the same enthusiasm about going deeply into debt as we had done when we first started the business. Mark Rockefeller not only shares our passion for fly fishing and the Henry’s Fork but he also shares our dedication, commitment and love for the business. He is in this for the long haul.


We moved into our new building in 2006, the same year we celebrated our 30th anniversary. It was hard to believe that thirty years had passed since we incorporated the business and received our outfitter licenses for Idaho and Montana. Now it has been 40 years!

To commemorate 30 years in business we focused on our former and current employees. We identified almost 100 men and women who had worked for us as guides or in other capacities. Our event was held at Elk Creek Ranch. We were amazed at how many people attended. Our most rewarding experiences have been the time we’ve shared in the lives of so many. How they have influenced us and our family! We’re so proud of them. Our 30th year celebration was a resounding success. Now it is time to celebrate 40 years.


It is only fitting to hold our 40th year celebration in the Harriman Park, the Railroad Ranch as it was known in 1976. We have reserved the Laura Clarke Scovel Education Center for August 16 & 17, 2016. The Scovel Center is a group facility with 10 cabins and a conference center surrounding a court yard. The cabins have a queen or two twin beds. The cost is $100 - $110 per night. It’s a great opportunity. If you want to stay in one of the guest rooms let us know because this great opportunity won’t last long.


Right now we’re in the planning stages of this event. The Scovel Center gets booked out very quickly. In fact the main reason for August 16 & 17 is because they were only a few of the dates it was available. We will cater food. We will also have a variety of programs and presentations. I will personally do a slide show focused on 40 years with Henry’s Fork Anglers. Dr. Rob Van Kirk, Senior Scientist with the Henry’s Fork Foundation will present a historical look at the fishery over the past 40 years. Rob got his introduction to the Henry’s Fork when he started working in our shop as a teenager. Jack Dennis has also tentatively agreed to join us. Other speakers have yet to be determined. August is Trico and Callibaetis time so we’ll try to keep the mornings open for fishing.


Our 30th anniversary focused mostly on our employees. For our 40th we want to invite everybody to join us, especially our guide clients and customers. Put August 16th and 17th on your calendar. If you want to schedule some guiding, please let us know quick as some of our guide slots are already full. There is great fishing in August. We’ll provide more details as things come together but you can be sure it will be a memorable event. Let us know as soon as you can if you plan to come.