Today finds me a little bummed out to say the least.
The unfortunate news of the death of fly tying legend and Helena resident Bob Lay was passed around yesterday by friends and anglers alike who frequent the Missouri River. While I live in West Yellowstone, I split my time between the Madison and Missouri Rivers and got to know Bob quite well over the past 15 years. Bob was a kind man with a huge heart who never forgot your name and was so damn happy to sit down and visit about life in general. Most conversations centered around trout fishing, but we always managed to chat about this or that and one could tell that Bob truly cared about how you were doing. Many a night was spent eating dinner at the bar in Izaaks, sitting next to Bob and bullshiting – I will miss those times for sure. His voice was as distinguishable as spots on a brown trout, most specifically on the river when one could not tell who was anchored up on that pod of rising trout from a distance. He would sit in the rower’s cockpit and fish, casting a tight loop and reaching upstream with ease. There were times on the river, when I would ask my angler in the boat to sit down and watch Bob fish. His skills with a fly rod were keen, as thousands of trout fell prey to Bob’s drift and flies. Bob’s presence at the Federation of Fly Fishers Conclave year in and year out showed his dedication to teaching others the art of fly tying. He was one of the FFF’s old cronies and the stories I’ve heard from Maggie Merriman about the good ole’ days are endless. We are all blessed to have known Bob Lay.
Thanks for the memories Bob….