During Tim’s early childhood his family relocated to Ellensburg and in 1956 he began fishing the smaller streams around the Kittitas Valley with his father.  By the time he was 10 he was spending most of his care free days fishing the Yakima River. 

In the 1960’s, the McKenzie style modern drift boat design that are regularly used now on many of the big western rivers were uncommon. Rafts made of rubberized canvas manufactured in Japan with heavy steel rowing frames were the most popular form of river transportation during this time.  Tim was proud of the four man yellow slug he owned.  He and his fellow fishing brethren spent their carefree teenage summer days, drifting the Yakima River.

In 1982, after owning several profitable business ventures in Ellensburg, Tim set his sights and admirations in a different direction and started the first ever guiding and outfitting operation on the Yakima River.  Irish’s Fly Fishing Guiding Service was formed and operated exclusively by Tim himself.  During the early years of the guiding operation, Tim worked exclusively from an Avon raft.  Peak guiding periods at this time were April to October and Tim stayed busy spending many of his days on the waters of the Yakima.  When he wasn’t guiding the famed river canyon, he spent his off days working retail at the “Royal Coachman” fly shop in Renton, Washington.  Here Tim had the opportunity to meet potential clients from the Seattle area and introduced them to the spectacular fly fishing opportunities on Central Washington’s, Yakima River.

Over the first several years, Irish’s Guiding Service grew and with it the demand for more manpower.  Tim hired several local residents training them to work the rigorous summer waters of the Yakima.  Many of these individuals are still around today operating guiding operations of their own.

As the 1980’s progressed and the Yakima River began to take on its world wide fame of today, Tim began working on another project.  In order to make this fishery a true blue ribbon trout stream, the infusion of hatchery raised and planted rainbows had to be eliminated.  Tim and other concerned fly fishermen from the Ellensburg and Yakima area worked tirelessly to begin a regulations change on the river.  In the late 80’s a movement was formed and slowly the rivers fishery rules began to change. 

First the planting of hatchery fish was abolished by the state providing the necessary means for a sustaining wild trout population.  Next the river was designated a “selective gear” regulations river, which meant bait could no longer be used for fishing.  Shortly after, the Yakima River was selected a “Catch and Release”, single barb less trout fishery and since then the fish and the fishing has substantial improved getting better each new season.

Tim’s outfitting and guiding operation flourish and he continued to guide clients on the fabled waters of the Yakima, Wenatchee and other Pacific Northwest rivers.  Over the years, Tim's outfitting was captured on film and in countless fly fishing publication.  In the early 90's, Fly Fishing Video Magazine devoted an full length documentation of the river and its seasons of fishing to the “Yakima River” featuring Tim Irish and his guiding services. 

The video is still in publication today and offers those interested in fly fishing the Yakima River, a complete and intelligent account of the rivers biological seasons, hatches and idiosyncrasies needed for a successful adventure.  Little did Tim know at the time, but his hard work and dedication to the sport of fly fishing, built the foundation and paved the way for a now multi million dollar industry in the Kittitas Valley.

In 1993, Tim displeased with the back stabbing and client stealing movement taking place with other guides in the Yakima River up and vanished from the valley.  He left behind his guiding operation and the hundreds of clients that had routinely patronized his business to the feeding frenzy of hungry vultures.

Word about his departure from the Yakima River Valley spread like wildfire.  Fly fishermen around the Pacific Northwest could not believe their favorite Yakima River guide was no longer rowing and working the waters of the Yakima.  Unfounded rumors surfaced about Tim's health and well being.  Many wondered as speculations and untruths about Tim's exodus from the fly fishing industry abounded.

In the Northern most reaches of Chelan County in Washington State there is a unfamiliar river that flows with a fast furry and strict glacierial sediment.  It pushes hard and steep, pulsing over huge boulders and collides with a steep dramatic, beautiful terrain.  It is rightfully named the Stehekin River.  Located in the remote wilderness at the northern end of Lake Chelan, a small mountain lodge nestles along the shoreline of the lake.

The Stehekin Lodge, independently owned and operated in the North Cascades National Park system has been in existence since the 1940's.  This was now Tim's new found freedom and passion.  Tim departed the Yakima River Valley and began operating the remote boat/fly-in lodge located on the banks of the lake.  He successfully managed this outdoor recreation business for over 13 seasons.  Many of his afternoons were spent fly fishing the pristine, Stehekin River.  Tim retired and resigned his management position from the lodge in 2007 and returned home to his beloved river in the Kittitas Valley. 

Mr. Tim Irish can now be found at the Worley Bugger Fly Co. working in retail sales.  Tim is also in charge and heads up the education division of Worley Bugger teaching the craft of fly fishing, fly casting and fly tying to others.  Tim states, “I feel I have a responsibility to share the knowledge I’ve accumulated between my ears over the years.”   He often backs up this statement when meeting him as he defines a unique and thorough presentation of the game we all enjoy called "fly fishing".  A visit to the fly shop in Ellensburg and you will quickly realize the accuracy of this statement.

Tim and his wife Linda have been married for over 25 years, raised 4 children during that time and now enjoy 6 grand children.      

In 1994, while recovering from a work related iron working accident, I was given a copy of the Yakima River Journal written by fly fishing author, Ellensburg native and publishing director of NW Fly Fishing Magazine, Steve Probasco by my wife Robin.  I sat down and quickly began reading and absorbing each and every paragraph.  As I turned page after page, delighted with the reading and the new found knowledge I was retaining, a full page picture of Tim Irish holding a Yakima River Rainbow adorned the journal.  As I read through the biography of Tim, a strange feeling came over me, a deja vu if you will.  It was then that I knew during some point mine in my fly fishing career, my path with Tim Irish was going to cross... and I mean that in only the best of ways.
In 1998 after several years of guiding the river I expanded the operation and opened the Worley Bugger pro shop in Ellensburg.  Over the next couple of years, a familiar face from the Yakima River Journal would pop in from time to time replenishing some of his supplies.  Each visit, Tim would reintroduced himself .  He would sit for awhile and converse about fly fishing on the Yakima and beyond, expressing his concerns about the growing popularity of the river.  I enjoyed the conversations and always found Tim's good sense of humor a delight.  Then in 2007, the Irishman walked back thru the doors of Worley Bugger with a definite skip in step and a whistle on his lips.  You could tell he was happy and content.
Over the next couple of weeks, Tim and I began lengthy in depth conversations about our passions, one of course fishing.   As we talked it soon became quite apparent to me that Tim was a person of high caliber.  His presence among the staff would be a perfect match with our business plan and he was asked to join the professional fly fishing team at Worley Bugger.  That strange, eerie sensation that I had felt in 1994 had a definitive meaning.  Tim now in his early fifties has no aspirations to rekindle his guiding career and I can't blame him for that.  After all, its no easy task to push a boat around the Yakima River during the high flows of summer at any age.
Tim's real passion lies in teaching others what he has spent a lifetime learning himself.  He is now in charge and heads up the Fly Fishing Education Division of Worley Bugger Fly Co. " I have had countless glowing reviews from customers and clients that have enlisted in his fly fishing courses over the past year".  Tim's hard work and dedication to the sport of fly fishing and Worley Bugger is one I don't think I could ever repay.  We all owe him a debt of gratitude for setting a standard in which we all now live and play by.  Thanks brother!
In 2007, the Yakima River's prodigal son returned and we couldn't be happier to have Tim as a member of our staff and family at Worley Bugger.  Stop by and talk with Tim.  You will be glad you did!

A Professional Fly Fishing Outfitter Service
306 South Main #3
Ellensburg, WA 98926

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