Great cast of fly-fishing enthusiasts ready to share passion and knowledge

Annual event set for Castlegar Community Complex this weekend

A who’s who of local and national fly-fishing aficionados will gather in Castlegar this weekend presenting a prolific array of gear and seminars for anyone interested in the challenging but immensely satisfying pursuit.

The 12th Annual Fly-Fishing Symposium goes Saturday and Sunday with casting, gear and fly-tying seminars going on hourly all day, in addition to conservation and remediation displays and numerous draws and raffles.

Master casters and Sage representative Peter Morrison will be on hand to offer expert tips on fly-casting as will Reuben Breitkreutz from Redington rods and reels.

East Kootenay fly-fishing guide Kelly Laatsch has appeared in numerous magazines and fly-fishing shows and will also be conducting a fly-guiding seminar.

“There will be everything from experts teaching in a classroom fly-tying and talking about a certain pattern, we have an hour set aside for casting with Peter Morrison, an hour for Spey Casting with a guy like Bruce Kruk – these are really good people in their field,” said Rod Zavaduk, event organizer and owner of Castlegar Sports Centre and Fly Shop.

As well as the expert demonstrations, a variety of new gear from all the big names in fly-fishing, G Loomis, Lamson, Sage, St. Croix and more, will be on hand for fly-fishers to salivate over.

Highly acclaimed Fly-Fishing Federation expert fly-tyer John Newbury will be joined by accomplished locals like Fruitvale’s Phil Milburn and Castlegar’s Ed Smith.

“We’ll have about 30 or 40 fly-tyers from the area and out of the area that show off their patterns and fly-tying – we have some phenomenal tyers here.”

The free symposium dubs itself as a family-orientated event and strongly encourages young anglers to get involved.

“We have a fly-tying table set aside for kids with half a dozen vices set up, with three or four instructors and materials, so kids can come in and learn to tie their own flies.”

Zavaduk also recognizes the support of Teck, Columbia Basin Trust and Columbia Power Corporation.

“They all support this to such a degree that without them we couldn’t run it – and that’s why it’s free.”

The West Kootenay Fly Club, a social fly-fishing club that organizes a number of outings, events, and fly-tying nights throughout the year also host the symposium.

In addition, the club supports various conservation initiatives and has helped the Slocan and Salmo Stream Keepers enhance, protect and improve stream and trout habitat.

While the club boasts about 150 members they are always looking for new members and regardless of experience, all are welcome.

“Our biggest push is for young people and try and get them into it, but it seems like we get more and more older people getting into it, retirees, families and couples . . . it’s a very nice social club and anyone can join.”

The symposium runs Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Castlegar Community Complex.