This short obituary appeared on the usenet
newsgroup 'rec.outdoors.fishing.fly' 1997/09/02
Pat Barnes died the other day. He was 88, I think.
What a guy. My dad and Pat were pretty good friends.
So was nearly everybody else who ever fished with him, or bought
anything from him (and Sig) in their West Yellowstone store.
The Montana AP clip mentioned that Pat brought the first McKenzie
river boats to Montana in 1948. Pat invented the Sofa Pillow and
popularized the Goofus Bug, which later became known as the Humpy.
Pat really liked to fish. He took my dad into the Bechler meadows,
in Yellowstone Park almost 30 years ago and outfished my dad about
5 to 1. Pat was the guide and he was't supposed to
fish. But Pat always did whatever he wanted. And got away with it too.
I fished with Pat about 5 years ago on the Missouri.
I rowed most of the day. But not the whole time. Son of
gun was over 80 and he could still work the oars on his 40 year old
Keith Steele drift boat. And he fished every day he could.
I asked Pat what his biggest trout was. He said 20 pounders were pretty common
in 20's, in the channels of the Madison near Three Forks. That was before the
CCCore channelized it in the 30's, and before deisel and propane powered
irrigation pumps sucked off so much of the water. Pat also told me about a 14
pound brown trout he took out of a Three Forks area irrigation ditch, back
in the 1950's.
Montana has a strong fly fishing tradition that goes clear back to the
turn of the century. But it was a local tradition. Montana didn't get
famous until after the war when Pat and Dan Bailey and Bud Lilly got the ball rolling. Somehow Montana and Dan Bailey and Bud Lilly all got famous but Pat never did. He should have. Pat was the best.