Organizer hopes the 13th annual fly-fishing expo reels in a Park City crowd
13th annual Wasatch Intermountain Fly Tying and Fly Fishing Expo April 11-13 American West Expo Center, 9575 State St., Sandy Adult tickets are $8-$16, children ages 14 and younger free with paid adult Wasatchexpo.com
Dave Allison hopes the 13th annual Wasatch Intermountain Fly Tying and Fly Fishing Expo that will be held from April 11-13 will catch casual fans as well as cater to the longtime casters.
To do this Allison, president of High Country Fly Fishers, the Park City branch of the environmental nonprofit Trout Unlimited, has programmed a tackle box full of angler fun for all ages.
Trout Unlimited is a national nonprofit organization that works to conserve, protect and restore North America’s cold-water fisheries and their watersheds, Allison said.
The expo, which is also sponsored in part by Fly Fishers International and the Great Western Fly Fishing Club, features on-water workshops, in-venue classes and vendors, Allison said.
All of the fly-tying classes and workshops, including tail water strategies, modern Tenkara fly fishing and Euro nymphing — all fly-fishing techniques — will be led by industry leaders such as Duane Redford, Luong Tam and Lance Egan, according to Allison.
Another class focused on stillwater strategies will be taught by Skip Morris, fly-fishing instructor and author of “The Art of Tying.”
Morris’ class will be held at East Canyon Reservoir, Allison said.
“We have an agreement with Chris Haramoto, manager of the East Canyon State Park, who allows use of the reservoir for the class,” Allison said.
The expo will also offer women-specific classes that include intermediate fly-fishing for women, entomology, key knots and rigging and common casting fallouts, he said.
The different classes will be taught by Whitney Gould, Molly Semenak and Mary Ann Dozer, all renowned fly-fishing instructors, Allison said.
The expo’s main mission is to raise money for various projects helmed by Utah’s Trout Unlimited branches, Allison said.
A portion of the money will also go towards High Country Fly Fishers’ mens and womens fly-fishing clinics that will be held in April and May. (see accompanying story).
“The clinics introduce people to what fly-fishing is and gets them working with gear and casting techniques,” Allison said.
Some of the funds will be given to Project Healing Waters, a nonprofit dedicated to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of wounded veterans, while another portion will be earmarked for the clean-up and rebuilding of the state’s fishing areas, according to Allison.
“We worked with the Division of Natural Resources to plan willows on the banks of the Strawberry River to strengthen the banks, but we ran out of river,” Allison said. “So the DNR is looking for other things for us to do.”
Money will also be set aside for Trout in the Classroom, which gives students the opportunity to hatch trout or salmon in their classes and then release them in the wild.
There are five Park City schools — Park City Day School, Weilenmann School of Discovery, McPolin Elementary School, Parley’s Park Elementary School and Park City High School — that participate in Trout in the Classroom, Allison said.
The expo will also continue one of its more popular events, the Top Gun fly-casting contest, Allison said.
“Competitors will cast for distance and accuracy,” he said.
The course will be set up in the expo center. Target scores are 100 points inside the outer ring and 200 points inside the center ring. All casting must finish in 4 1/2 minutes, and the flies must be on the water when time expires to record a score, Allison said.
First prize will be $3,000 and first choice of a rod and reel used during the competition. The second-place finisher will get $500 and a choice of the remaining rods and reels used during the competition. And the third-place finisher will take home $250 and a rod and reel.
There will also be an opportunity drawing featuring fishing boats.
Allison said there is something for everyone in this year’s expo.
“Right now we’re standing at displaying 102 vendor booths, and we have recruited 80-plus tying instructors,” he said. “We’re full again this year, and we would love to see people come and enjoy what it has to offer.”
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