Fly fishing festival returns to Midway
The Heber Valley Fly Fishing Festival returns for a seventh year of free family entertainment, courtesy of the Fall River Fly Rods Company of Midway. The event is Aug. 12 and 13 at Hamlet Park, across from the Legacy Bridge on the corner of S. Johnson’s Mill Road and E. Main Street in Midway. Festival hours for vendor booths and free classes are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days and the hours for free live music and a community BBQ continue until 8 p.m. on Saturday. Proceeds from the event will benefit Utah veterans and active duty personnel via the Salt Lake City Chapter of Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing.
“The Heber Valley Fly Fishing Festival has doubled in size again this year, both in the number of talented Utah companies and organizations being represented at the event and in the amount of free fly-fishing instruction being offered this year,” Event Organizer Julie Zicha said. “We believe we continue to see this growth due to the collaboration with Fall River Fly Rods Company, Utah Trout Unlimited and the companies like Travz Art and Sundance Mountain Resort, who return each year to sponsor us and participate in the event itself. The partnerships are invaluable as they afford us the ability to offer everything at our festival entirely free to the public each year and provide us with a pool of talent to draw from for the classes themselves.”
Zicha went on to say, “We have some of the most respected voices in the fly-fishing industry doing our instruction this year, as well as professional guides from outfitters like Fish Head’s Fly Shop, Spinner Fall and Western Rivers Fly Fishers, who have been fishing our local waters for decades. People will also find some pretty cutting-edge gear from up-and-coming Utah companies like Tacky Fly Fishing, Rising Fish, Blue Halo and Flycraft USA. These are smaller Utah companies who have really begun to make a big name for themselves nationally so we’re excited to be able to have them at our event.”
The Heber Valley Fly Fishing Festival will offer instruction aimed at anglers of all skill levels; the classes range from “Ladies Only” courses to classes for kids to clinics on the water being given by world-class fly fishers. There will be casting instruction, fly tying demonstrations, “how-to” demonstrations on topics ranging from nymphing techniques specific to the Middle Provo River to the skills necessary to successfully fish the Utah “Cutthroat Slam.”
The “Slam” class is being given by Spencer Durrant — author of “Learning to Fly” and the “Trout Bum” column for the Standard-Examiner — and is expected to fill quickly. Other notable courses include a free demonstration from Spey legend and best-selling author Dec Hogan and a few advanced-level on-the-water clinics being given by championship fly fisher Lance Egan, of the Lehi Cabela’s store. Egan will be covering topics such as “Advanced Dry Fly Tips & Techniques” and “European Nymphing” via separate demos both days.
Colby Ottley, of Heber City, participated in one of Egan’s clinics last year.
“I did the Euro nymphing one last year,” he said. “It was great and I’ve done nothing but Euro nymphing since then and have caught more fish in the last year than all my time fly fishing before that.”
Details for all classes offered by the Heber Valley Fly Fishing Festival may be found at HeberValleyFlyFishingFestival.com and print copies of the schedule will be available at the event.
Festival attendees can also try out demo fly rods from a number of fly rod makers while at the event so that they may see which best suits their fishing style and needs. Fall River Fly Rods Company’s in-house bamboo fly rod master craftsman Jason Zicha will have their entire line of demo bamboo fly rods lined up and ready to go for those who dream of having a custom rod built to their specifications. At the other end of the spectrum, this year’s sponsor of the kids fly fishing derby, Maxxon Outfitters, will be on hand with their quality starter-range gear such as the $139 Stonefly rod and reel combo unit that is the top prize in the kid’s derby this year.
The Heber Valley Fly Fishing Festival will also feature local artisans such as Travis Sylvester of Travz Art, casting competitions, gear-giveaways and the Provo River Kids Fly Fishing Derby. Bring the kids down for free youth fly fishing lessons both Friday and Saturday with Utah’s own Twin Territory and to take part in the derby. The derby is a catch-and-release-only competition open to all area youth ages 15 and under and is scheduled to run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. Kids must have a parent or legal guardian with them at all times and those who are 14-15 should have a valid fishing license to participate.
The festival will have a limited amount of gear available for youths who do not have their own and volunteers on-site to assist kids who are new to the sport. Prizes will be awarded the same day for top finishers by age and by gender. You may register your child for the derby the morning of the event at the festival information booth beginning at 10 a.m., but organizers suggest that you consider pre-registration via email as the event is limited to the first 50 children who register for it due to state regulations for the fishery. Contact Julie Zicha at Julie@hebervalleyflyfishingfestival.com for the registration forms.
The Heber Valley Fly Fishing Festival will round out their seventh annual event with free live music beginning at 3 p.m. on Saturday and with a free community BBQ courtesy of Canyon Coolers. Anyone interested in additional information regarding any of the weekend’s free activities can find it by visiting the Heber Valley Fly Fishing Festival’s website at HeberValleyFlyFishingFestival.com.
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