Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Remember the Denver Fly Fishing Show?

It’s hard to believe that is has been almost two months since JT and I attended the Denver Fly Fishing Show!  The calendar does not lie, March 14th, it has been.  JT and I officially announce the “start” to our season by attending the annual Fly Fishing Show in Denver. The show is the time that we reflect on the seasons past, look at new gear, dream about trips we can’t afford, and seek to pick the brains of area and nationally recognized masters to improve our skills

The show is three days long and this year, I was able to enjoy the show for two days. Over the course of the show I was blessed to hang out with my youngest son, John; JT; Mr. Fiberglass himself, Cameron Mortenson; Mr. Big Dry Fly Mike at Big Dry Fly; and Gerry an amazing person and friend along with other blog buddies! I would be remiss if I did not tell ya that it was not the same this year without seeing Howard’s big smile from Windknots & Tangledlines. He was recovering from a serious health scare and his brother from another mother Mel, from the Pond Stalker, who was keeping all of us updated on Howard’s progress! You both were missed!

It is my hope that as my youngest son continues to grow that he will still find time for the show….we all know it is not about the show! It is the quality time spent with family and friends consumed by a passion that takes us away from life if even for a couple of hours.

I could not have asked for a better back drop for the Fly Fishing Show in Denver this year. The first day found clear sunny skies with temperatures in the high 50's. The weather beckoned JT and I to pass on the show and head for the river; however, we didn't. JT and I started our day bright and early, grab our traditional cup of coffee and breakfast and enjoyed an uneventful drive down I-25 under sunny skies with the snow covered Front Range in the background. The second day found my son and I driving down I-25 in a blizzard! I love Colorado! The forecasted snow storm was hitting the area with all of its fury reminding us that is was still winter and spring was still months away in Northern Colorado. With temperatures in the 30's and Jack Frost blowing snow it was the perfect time to be inside with thousands of like minded people enjoying all aspects of fly fishing.

The show traditionally begins in the parking lot for us looking at all of the fishing rigs! Everything from the unsuspecting Subaru Outback to the decal adorned fly fishing machine with multiple hi tech, high end, fly fishing rod vaults yelling steal me!

The doors opened and the lines to get admission tickets formed; you get a sense that everyone is fighting for a position at the secret honey hole on the river. This year’s show had approximately 24 fly tiers, 126 vendor booths, and three days of speakers, authors, casting demonstrations and classes for all levels. The crowds were larger than past years; yet a sense of camaraderie was felt among the masses and not the pushing and shoving you would expect at a gathering of this size.

Show highlights this year included listening to my friend, CAMERON MORTENSON, of The Fiberglass Manifesto fame, educated us on the resurgence and increasing popularity of fiberglass rods in our sport. It was impressive to see the number of quality rod builders in the United States and abroad that are producing some amazing fiberglass fly rods. The craftsmanship is amazing. Check out his site,

The demonstrated creativity and amazing flies that were produced by the seemingly effortless skills that the celebrity fly tiers humbled any fly tier. The fly tying beginner or expert could enjoy demonstrations, speak with celebrity fly tiers, or participate in the many tying classes offered.  It is always a pleasure to speak with and watch Northern Colorado’s very own, Rick Takahashi, angler, fly tier and author of Modern Midges.  

Of course Ed Engle, no need for introduction to the nymphing world, demonstrated tremendous skill tying small (micro) flies. Patterns are available at! Other notables included Dave Whitlock, Gary Borger, A.K. Best, Rick Hafele and Charlie Craven.

Daniel Galhardo and Team Tenkara USA, were educating the masses on the Tenkara fishing system and it was very exciting to see how the Tenkara approach to fly fishing is growing in the United States. I enjoyed spending time looking at new models of the Tenkara rods, including the Rhodo, which allows the rod to be fished in three different lengths.  I got to spend some time at the casting pond with Graham Moran of the Tenkara Grasshopper fame casting the Rhodo Tenkara rod. Amazing rod! Thanks Graham. Daniel, Graham, and TJ Ferreira, were nice enough to sign a first edition of Tenkara Magazine for me! Check out all the happenings with Tenkara at

You know that special book that you have in your library that you have read and reread and then read again… The authors’ booth at the show allowed you to get that favorite book signed by the author! John Gierach was kind enough to sign a copy of “No shortage of Good Days” for me and Ed Engle signed a copy of “Trout Lessons”

I have to tell you though the highlight of the entire show this year for me was watching Dave Whitlock autograph a brown trout print for Mike! Dave Whitlock is truly a humble man and spent time with Mike and the rest of us as if we were lifelong friends. Dave took the time to personally enhance the print and personalized it for Mike. It is a cherished piece of artwork that Mike proudly displays in his office! I was fortunate to have been there and had the opportunity to share in a small piece of Mike's experience!

I can’t end the post without acknowledging two vendors that are worth checking out, Hills Discount Flies and Vedavoo fly fishing gear.

I was blown away by the selection and quality of flies that Brandon Hill of Hill’s Discount Flies out of Avon, Colorado brought to the show. Whether you are looking for single hard to find patterns or full collections of stocked boxes Brandon can get you hooked up! Pun intended. Check him out at

I met Scott Hunter, the founder of Vedavoo, and spent time admiring his line of fly fishing gear that has been field tested and designed with the fly fisher in mind. Whether it is a sling pack, back pack, fanny pack or a combined set up, he will make it for you. All of his gear is handmade and comes with subtle design features that are ingenious and lend themselves to use on the river. Check him out at

Whether you stop by for a couple of hours or spend the entire weekend at the show you can count on something to satisfy your fly fishing interests. The $15 entrance fee opens the doors to new products and old, exhibitors offering everything from apparel to fly fishing trips to exotic locations, authors willing to sign your favorite copy of their books, and chances to cast a rod you have been drooling over. The fly tiers’s demonstrated the latest techniques and shared their fly tying secrets. The seminars and professional instruction are worth the cost of admission alone. You would have to be asleep to not enjoy some aspect of the show. 

Happy Nymphing!


  1. Thanks for the shout out Al! I'm recovering and excited for the coming fishing season. I have to admit that I've missed Noconympher. I guess I also missed the Fly Fishing Show, Christmas, New Years and John G. At least that's what I was told. Hope to see you soon.

    1. Howard so nice to hear from you and you keep taking care of yourself! I hope we can get on the water together sometime this year. One day at a time and you will be up and running in no time. I appreciate you stopping by and your continued support my friend! If you need anything giv-a-yell!

  2. As Howard's brother from another mother, I too, want to thank you for the shout out. I wish that Howard and I both could have attended and enjoyed all that you just filled us in on with your post. It would have been an incredible experience. If the good Lord is willing, perhaps, we all will get another opportunity next time around. Great to see you posting again, and, thanks for all the comments you leave on my blog. They mean a lot too me.

    1. We will plan on 2015 Fly Fishing Show for sure Mel! I want to thank you for always having time to stop by and chat! I look forward to your adventures with your new vise and we will have to swap some flies. Always a pleasure my friend and spring is around the corner!!!!

  3. Great post Al, well written and a good job of covering the show. The show was a great experience, and it was fun thinking about it again through your story!

    1. Hey BDF! You and your print made my show! It was a pleasure and any chance I get to stop by and see it brings a smile! Thanks for the comments and stopping by! It is almost time to get on the water!

  4. Al
    Enjoyed reading this post, because this is probably the closet I will get to a fly fishing show this year. I really enjoy going to Troutfest in the Smoky Mountains each year, but I want be able to make it this Troutfest. So your report was my show for this year. Thanks for sharing

  5. Bill I am glad I was able to help you with your show fix! I will be heading over to fishing through life to catch up! Thanks for stopping by it is always a pleasure! I have some more flies I am gonna send ya to try out!

  6. Al
    I appreciate the gesture, and know they will be put to good use. Thanks for being one of my fly fishing blog buddies.


Thanks for stopping by. Hopefully you found something that interested you. Leave a comment and I'll get back to ya. Happy Nymphing!