Hours May Change: Gone Fishing


Jameson Clifton

(Photo by Jameson Clifton)

(Photo by Jameson Clifton)
(Photo by Jameson Clifton)

There’s a sign hanging at the front counter of Fish Tech Outfitters that reads, “Hours may change during fishing season.” That sign, though tongue-in-cheek, illustrates what the shop values: fishing.
As national chains, such as Cabela’s, Scheels, and Bass Pro Shops, spread to more and more locations, locally owned shops easily fall by the wayside. However, Byron Gunderson, owner and founder of Fish Tech, said his shop, located just minutes away from Big Cottonwood Canyon, has not only survived but thrived by keeping things simple, selling quality products, and sharing fishing expertise with their customers.
“I think we rely heavily on customer service, taking care of each customer how they need to be taken care of,” Gunderson says. “We don’t rely on anything like commission or demand anything of our employees, except they take care of their customer. If somebody comes in and has never fished before, and somebody needs to take two hours to set them up, that’s okay.”
The story of Fish Tech actually begins at a different shop called Anglers Inn, now defunct. Gunderson worked at Anglers Inn and said the owner promised to sell it to him. When the owner had a stroke, his family took control of the shop and, Gunderson said, they had other plans.
“When the family moved in, they said something to the likes of, ‘Why would we sell it to you?’ ” Gunderson says. “That didn’t make us too happy.”
One day, that unhappiness caused Gunderson and a handful of employees to leave.
“We looked at each other one day and said, ‘Let’s get out of here,’ ” he says. “ ‘We’re not ever going to make any money, we’re not having any fun.’ So seven of us left and started Fish Tech.”
With the number of them leaving, they were able to take a lot of their Anglers Inn customers with them. Gunderson said the new shop started out well, both with employees and finances.
Fish Tech doesn’t offer fishing expedition or guides, but the shop does aim to give all fisherman a place to come and seek advice, or get the necessary equipment.
“We’re kind of unique as far as fishing shops go. There’s not many like us that aren’t part of chains,” Gunderson says. “We are just a free-standing … store that tries to have everything anybody needs for fishing. Whether it’s salt water, fresh weather, warm water, or trout, we got a little bit of everything here.”
Gunderson uses his long history with Utah waters to help his customers. He’s been fishing since he was a small child, starting when he and his father would go to the Jordan River in hopes of landing catfish. During his time fishing around Utah, Gunderson has been able to discover some of the best fishing the state has to offer.
“It kind of depends on what you’re in the mood for,” he says. “The high mountain lakes right now are beautiful, the fishing’s good, great environment up there, peaceful. I think when the opportunity presents itself, the high lakes of the Uintas are right on top of the list. As far as catching fish, Flaming Gorge is underfished. There’s so many big rainbows and lake trout, that’s probably one of the best places to fish.”
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