Expo hopes to reel in fly-fishers from around the region
Event will be held April 7-8
Scott Antonetti hopes the upcoming Intermountain Wasatch Fly Tying and Fly Fishing Expo will reel in an array of seasoned fly-fishers as well as pockets of people who are interested in getting their feet wet for the first time.
The event will be Friday and Saturday, April 7 and 8, at the South Town Expo Center in Sandy and is presented by some of Utah’s Trout Unlimited chapters, including Park City’s High Country Fly Fishers, Salt Lake’s Stone Fly Society, Cache Valley Anglers and Weber Basin Anglers who have partnered with the Bonneville Fly Fishers of Federation of Fly Fishers.
Antonetti, the expos general manager, said there will be plenty activities for everyone to enjoy.
“We will have classes, demonstrations, vendors and other educational opportunities for people to try and see,” Antonetti told The Park Record. “We also have some fun activities for kids, where they will learn to tie flies and learn fly rod casting techniques.”
This year, the expo hooked up with fly-fishing notable Jack Dennis, who came on board as chairman.
“Jack will also lead a presentation called ‘25 Places to Fly Fish Before You Die’ on Saturday,” Antonetti said.
Dennis’ presentation is just one of the many workshops that will take place during the expo.
“We will also have entomology classes and a Trout Unlimited panel that will show what all the chapters do,” Antonetti said.
Trout Unlimited is a national nonprofit organization that works to conserve, protect and restore North America’s cold-water fisheries and their watersheds.
In addition to the classes, there will be fly-tying demonstrations.
“The expo is a pretty big fly-tying show and it always has been,” Antonetti said. “This year, we’re going to present a fly-tying theater, where we will have all the tyers on the floor, but we’ll project the tying on a screen in real time.”
The screen makes in so a crowd of 25 to 35 people can participate.
In keeping with the indoor theater idea, the expo will also feature an Adventure Theater.
“This will help present hourly discussions on fishing around the west and elsewhere in the world,” Antonetti said. “This will be a tent inside the Expo Center, where 35 to 40 people will be able to see videos, and this is great for people who offer guided fishing trips.”
One of the big draws is the Top Gun casting contest, where men and women will compete for cash prizes.
“Competitors will be able to select a rod from one of five different rod companies and do some casting in a pond for five minutes,” Antonetti said. “They will be judged on distance and accuracy.”
First place will receive $3,000. Second place will get $500 and third place will take home $250.
There will also be a casting pond for those who don’t want to compete, but still want to cast.
“People will be able to try new fly rods supplied by the vendors,” Antonetti said.
For those who want to learn by experience, the expo will offer on–the–water classes Thursday through Saturday, April 6-8, by notable fly-fishers George Daniels, Phil Rowley, Heather Hodson and Lance Egan.
“These classes include streamer strategies, Euro nymphing, spring creek strategies and still water fly-fishing,” Antonetti said. We have never offered classes on the water before, so this is great, and some of the classes will also only be offered to women.”
Registration deadline for the classes is Wednesday, April 5. Registration can be made by visiting wasatchexpo.com.
An Expo Banquet will be held on Friday. Tickets are $45.
There will be an array of opportunity drawings and a live and silent auction during the banquet, Antonetti said.
Some of the live auction items include a golf session for four with PGA winner Mark O’Meara, a two-day guided Pyramid Lake trip for two with lodging, two trips to Alaska and a slew of river trips.
“Hyde Drift Boats will auction off a one-of-a-kind drift boat and we also have a week condo rental in Hawaii and a guided trip for two to Henry’s Fork River,” Antonetti said.
The money raised during the auctions will benefit conservation, youth and humanitarian projects
Rounding out the expo, will be the art and photography contests.
“Artists can enter three items that they created that have to do with fly-fishing,” Antonetti said. “They can enter drawings, paintings, engravings, sculptures, anything like that in three categories: professional, amateur and kids.”
Photographers can also enter their photos.
“Now, the art and photos have to be done or taken in the past two years and the artist and photographer has to personally drop off the art to ensure the works are all original,” Antonetti said.
One of the judges for the photo contest is Park City’s Jared McMillen from McMillen Fine Art Photography.
“So, you can see the expo really has something for everyone,” Antonetti said. “So, if you come and you’re bored, it’s your own fault.”
The Intermountain Wasatch Fly Tying and Fly Fishing Expo 2017 will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, April 7 and 8, at the South Towne Expo Center in Sandy. Tickets are $8 in advance or $10 at the door. Kids, under the age of 15, are free. For information and tickets, visit http://www.wasatchexpo.com.
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