John McClatchy first came to Idaho in 1976 from Pennsylvania to ski for a winter season when ski passes were only $325. He returned to the Wood River Valley in 1978 for another winter's season and he's remained ever since. A jack-of-all-trades, McClatchy began worked as a carpenter for six years before he started elk guiding in 1985. Adding to his love of big game hunting and of catching big fish, McClatchy started salmon fishing in Bristol Bay, Alaska, which led to fishing on the Kenai River, home to the biggest salmon in the world, followed by elk guiding in the Selway Wilderness, which also included bear and cougar hunting.
Fishing partner John Coupe gave McClatchy his nickname "Big Fish" from a column he wrote on fishing for the Wood River Journal. Coupe said he met McClatchy fishing in Bristol Bay more than 20 years ago.
"Every time we went fishing he would catch a big fish," Coupe said. "He threw big lures and +always knew where the big fish were hanging out."
Coupe said McClatchy led him to many great fish spots and big fish.
"He was talented," Coupe said. "I don't know what it is, a scent or a gift, but some guys have got it, and he was a really successful at fishing."
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Three and half years ago, McClatchy was diagnosed with a very aggressive prostate cancer. Radiation treatments were extensive and medical costs escalated to $100,000. After his medical bills were settled, McClatchy was diagnosed with brain cancer.
McClatchy's brother Jim McClatchy said this benefit is to give McClatchy's wife Kathy some debt relief.
A benefit for McClatchy will take place on Sunday, June 6, from 4-8 p.m. at River Sage Stables, 20 Prairie Road in Bellevue. The event will include a spit-roasted pig, barbecued chicken, beer, wine and live music by No Cheap Horses. A raffle and auction will include a signed copy of "Riding Through" by Olympic dressage rider Debbie McDonald, a Beval jumping saddle, a teeth-whitening package from Sun Valley Dental, a facial from 24/7 Skincare, dog boarding and many more items.
Activities will include a Grand Prix dressage musical freestyle demonstration, show jumping and Western roping, as well as riding lessons and pony rides.
Tickets are $40 and children under 12 are free. Anyone attending the event has been asked to RSVP by June 3. For details, call Jim McClatchy at 720-0797. Donations can be made to the John McClatchy Medical Fund, 400 Byington Lane, Bellevue, ID 93313.
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