Carp Fishing for Piece of South Fork History


Proceeds of this years annual carp tournament that takes place on May 20 and 21 on the Blackfoot Reservoir will go toward getting a hip replacement for Ooley Piram.  I first met Ooley while guiding out of the South Fork Lodge for Spence Werner.  Lodge is a generous description, when in fact the place was no more than a bar and some RV hook ups.  Spence loaned me a boat for my 1st year of guiding the SF.  I purchased a drift boat the following spring but the boat came without a trailer.

Over drinks at the “lodge” one night I got talking to Ooley about his trailer.  He informed me that he made it himself and would be making some more soon.  After telling him I needed a trailer he offered to build me one at cost of materials if I helped him out.  True to his word he called me later that spring saying he was ready to start.  I would drive from Jackson to Palisades stay at Ooleys place and spend the days cutting steel, grinding steel and trying not to f — things up on the trailers Ooley was actually getting paid to make.

Help get the man a new hip

After work each evening we would head over to the “lodge” to give the trailer buyers the progress report.  Ooley was an enthusiastic updater and liked to report well into the wee hours of the morning.  Pounding steel, grinding steel and bending over to move steel do not go hand in hand with hang overs.

One of the customers for the trailers being built was South Fork Lodge owner Spence Werner himself.  When his trailer was finished Ooley and I drove it over to the “lodge” figuring we could tie in one more session with the delivery.  It turned out Spence didn’t want to take possession of the trailer that night.   In our usual early morning departure from the lodge Ooley managed to jack knife the trailer bending the tongue.

A mere hang over did not cloud Ooley’s mind and he had a solution.  We to out the cutting torch and I heated up the steel on the tongue where it had been bent.  Once the steel was red hot I signaled Ooley who was sitting in his brown Suburban at the ready.  Once signaled Ooley would proceed to jack knife the trailer in the opposite direction (from the previous nights jack knife), doing multiple knifes at high speed.  Every high speed jack knife sending the trailer wheels into the air while they bounced and skidded.  This was repeated until the tongue was “straightened”.  Job well done!  Trailer delivered.  Ooley paid.

I still have that boat and trailer and think of Ooley every time I hook it up.  He is a great person and I am sure if you attend this event everyone who knows him can share a list of Ooley stories one better than the last.

~ Zach

Ooley Piram:
This year’s fundraiser, in the grand tradition of the Carp Classic, is to help Ooley with his surgery.

“After 35 years of guiding, Ooley’s hip socket is worn out like an old rusty trailer hitch, and he needs it replaced. He can barely get up in his boat to slap a client across the noggin and say “drag free drift is not a parade in San Francisco!”.
Ooley’s family built a cabin on Palisades Creek near Swan Valley in 1954. He spent his early years fishing on Palisades Creek, and when he turned ten he started fishing the South Fork with his father. In 1978 Ooley began his guiding career, and in 1980 became an Outfitter on the South Fork of the Snake River.  Ooley ran his own guide service until 1992, at which time he sold his permit. Ooley started working for South Fork Outfitters in 1993, and is licensed through Henry’s Fork Anglers to guide on the Henry’s Fork and surrounding waters.

Ooley Piram is a master on the history of our area, so by spending a day on the river with Ooley not only will you catch fish but you will also receive an education. In his spare time Ooley likes to hunt, fish, and as master carpenter builds beautiful wooden drift boats and trailers.

One Response to “Carp Fishing for Piece of South Fork History”

  1. Patrick says:

    * * WARNING * *

    Road Report for Blackfoot Reservoir

    For those attending the Carp Classic and are coming in from the Idaho Falls side be aware that the Bone road is in pretty bad shape due to snow drifts, ice, mud and ruts. The road is not passable for those without 4-Wheel drive or those who are pulling 5th Wheels/motor homes etc.

    It is highly recommended to take alternate routes via Blackfoot, Soda Springs or Freedom/Wayan. Look forward to seeing you all there. Please drive safe.

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