Fishing enthusiasts will fly high

Published online: Oct 22, 2009 News Peter Ottesen

If you are a wanna-be fly fisher, a rank amateur or an old hand at the sport, Friday and Saturday's Festival of Fly Fishing at Hutchins Street Square in Lodi, California should be high on your agenda.

The two day event is among the largest fly fishing shows produced in California and has something for everyone.

Doug Ridgway, a festival volunteer from the Delta Fly Fishers, said adults and children can receive one-on-one instruction on fly casting and fly tying, and all the equipment is provided.

"If you're seeking basic information or really technical advice, the festival is a great place to get it," Ridgway said. "We'll have two halls filled with exhibits, an education room that features 'Salmon in the Classroom' and two 'how-to' seminars running simultaneously. There even will be an outside casting pond."

Ridgway is pleased that Lodi will host the event for the second consecutive year.

"We've got terrific facilities, plenty of space and a central location," he said. "We expect fly fishers from Fresno to Redding, as well as from the Bay Area. This event, sponsored by the Northern California Council of the Federation of Fly Fishers, has a real strong following. It should be a positive boost to the economy and boost interest in fly fishing."

Hall of Fame fly fisher Lani Waller is the featured celebrity. Waller has pursued steelhead for more than 45 years and is considered the foremost expert on trophy steelhead fishing in British Columbia. He'll give three seminars during the two-day festival and introduce his latest book, "A Steelheader's Way."

Additional pro fly fishers such as Jim Victorine, Dave Scadden, Al Smatsky and Trent Pridemore will give destination travel and angling techniques seminars. Casting instructions will be handled by legendary anglers such as Al Kyte, Eric Sherar, Floyd Dean, Bob Middo and Michael Maloney.

Of particular local interest are seminars on hooking largemouth bass from a float tube by Jerry Neuberger and fly casting for striped bass in the Delta by Mike Costello. Days and times of all seminars are listed on the festival Web site: nccfff.org.

Especially for youth and beginners of all ages is the "Learning Center," where continuous Saturday activities include the basics of fly tying, casting, knot tying, reading the water and identifying insects.

Commercial will include all things for fly fishing - rods, reels, lines, pontoon boats, vests and float tubes - as well as guide services and destination travel.

Admission to the festival is $10 single day, $15 for both days. Youth 18 years and under are admitted free. Hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.
Information: (209) 957-0170.

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