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The Contented Angler
gene utech and lefty kreh
gene utech ted williams
Everyone's Friend
Gene (middle) with Irv Swopes and Lefty
Gene (left) with baseball great Ted
Williams and Sam Wilkes a "Letort

Even though it was a long time ago when Amy and I met Gene Utech, I remember it like it was
yesterday.  We were making our way down Yellow Breeches and there was that tall figure
sitting on the bench. Amy went over to take a break and Gene said: “Young lady, Ive  never
seen a girl cast a fly rod so well.” The meeting could have been just another one time
acquaintance, however, Gene also collected Classic Salmon Flies and, as always, Gene pursued
the friendship because he knew the value of friendship. Perhaps that’s why he had so many  
friends. He also knew the magic of stepping into the Miramichi and casting for Atlantic Salmon
and offered his guidance so that I could pursue this.
Gene introduced us to people like, Ed Shenk and Joe Humphreys. Even though Gene was as
good as any, he chose to pursue the relaxation in a quiet way with no fanfare.
Gene attended Gettysburg college and had a carreer as a game warden. He fished when the
fishing was good. A time when the hatches were still being identified on the Breeches. In fact,
he out-lived the good fishing. In his era, there were very few authors, but the writing was
sincere. I have a stack of old Pennylvania Anlger magazines only because of the sincere
writing and the Chauncey Lively articles. No one held up a fly rod in these articles so you could
see what they were using. It was sincere writing about fishing. In fact, most of the fly anglers
from this era had no use for the latest and fanciest rod. Gene’s rod rode in the back of his
truck with a cast of three spiders rigged and ready to go. Spiders are soft hackles in today’s
When you visit the Yellow Breeches today, you may come across a run that sneaks into the
Breeches above the Allenberry. Locals simply call it “The Run” Follow this and you will come to
a bench. It’s a monument to Gene. It’s not there because of all the fish he caught. It’s there
because he touched so many people and made a difference in their lives. Some anglers will be
immortalized in print. The ones with special qualities get a bench on a special stream. There
are only a handfull of these fly anglers left. Only a handful of benches and monuments yet to
be built.
I still talk to his good friend Bill, and I know Gene is involved in all of the conversations along
“The Run” It’s difficult to fish a spider without thinking about him. I’m sure many have trouble
fishing the Breeches knowing he is no longer there. But Gene would have wanted us to be out
there swingin’ spiders and fishing the suphur hatch, so we do it. Although, it will never be the
The Contented Angler
147 Jefferson Avenue
Lower Burrell,  Pa