He was told about the High Country Fly Fishers three-day, annual clinics and signed up for one.
"I registered and did all three nights and on that Saturday morning, there was 10 inches of snow on the ground and it was like five degrees," Allison told
The Park Record. "There I was in my waders an boots and went out and fished with a guy from Trout Bum named Mark Cooper and I think I caught 11 fish that morning and the hook was set. I fished close to 150 days my first year."
Allison is now the vice president of High Country Fly Fishers, a chapter of Trout Unlimited, a nationwide, nonprofit organization that is dedicated "to conserve, protect and restore North America's coldwater fisheries and their watersheds," according to its mission.
High Country Fly Fishers work with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and other TU chapters in Utah on conservation projects.
"One of our projects for the past couple of years is to restore the Strawberry River near Strawberry Reservoir," Allison said. "We stabilize eroded banks and plant willows to give shade so the kokanee salmon and the cutthroat trout can spawn."
High Country Fly Fishers will host its spring clinics in May.
The first will be a men's clinic that will run April 30, May 1 and May 3. High Country Fly Fishers partner with Trout Bum 2, a fly fishing shop in Park City, and they will provide the waders, rods and boots, everything participants will need for fly fishing.
The women's clinic will be held May 14 and 15 and May 17.
The cost for both sessions is $30 each.
"The first day we'll go to Deer Valley pond and teach casting and help people get used to it," Allison said. "On Thursday, we'll meet at Red Rock Junction at Red Stone and have a little dinner while we teach how to tie knots, flies and learn about the gear."
On Saturday, the group will head out to the river and fish for half the day.
"We'll provide the instructors and some Trout Bum 2 and Jans volunteers to help with the clinic," Allison said. "And two weeks later, we'll do the same for the women's clinic."
Hosting these clinics not only helps High Country Fly Fishers get out to fish, but also gets the community involved, Allison explained.
"We basically run around and fish and keep the sport alive," he said.
One of the biggest misconceptions about fly fishing is that it's an expensive hobby for old or retired people.
"That's really not true, but it can be," Allison said. "If you want to spend $1,500 on a fly rod, you can, and you can sink some cash into it, but you can also buy inexpensive starter kits and pick up stuff to go out."
Park City and the Wasatch Back is an ideal place for High Country Fishers, Allison said.
"I lived in South Florida for 30 years and deep-sea fished a little, and I noticed a different attitude here," he said. "Up here, people, for the most part, don't hide knowledge. They are so helpful and give suggestions about different flies. And they'll even open up their fly box and are very accommodating."
Allison said he likes that High Country Fishers also works to help heal the environment throughout the year.
"We do river cleanups and some of us will got to the lower Provo and pick up trash all day," he said.
The group also works with military veterans.
"We are involved in a program called Project Healing Waters, where we take disabled veterans from the VA Hospital and teach them how to tie flies, teach them how to cast and then take them to the river," Allison said. "Chris Robinson donates his lake in Heiner Canyon and we'll take 30 or so vets out there and have a ball."
The group also helps when the National Ability Center asks and provides services for the Wounded Warrior Project for veterans who have become disabled during battle.
"We also work with a program called Casting for Recovery that works with breast cancer survivors," Allison said. "And we go into some grade school classes and do some education through a TU program call Trout in the Classroom. This program provides an aquarium and eggs from Cutthroat Trout that are raised in the by the students in the classroom and then released. Again, we want to get the community involved and share our love of fly fishing."
The High Country Fly Fishers will host its annual men's clinic on April 30, and May 1 and 3. The women's clinic will be held on May 14, 15 and 17. Contact Dave Allison by calling 561-251-3543 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up for the men's clinic. Sign-ups will also be taken by Mike Leigh at email@example.com or 435 901 8486.