Notes on Fly Fishing

Enjoyed a pleasant afternoon strolling around the Kentuckiana Fly Fishing Show at the Fern Valley Inn in Louisville Ky., on Saturday The show was hosted by the Derby City Fly Fishers, who put together a solid show stuffed with just enough gear, vendors and seminars to keep customers occupied without sliding into sensory overload.

Ran into several friends (Larry Drake, Dick Haas, Tim Tipton and Lewis Bradley to note a few) and met several folks who I hope to soon see on the water, among whom was Dustan Harley. Harley is the head guide (and owner) at Ripple Guide Service out of South Bend, Ind. He grabbed my attention when he started talking about steelhead and salmon and the conversation quickly turned to scheduling a trip.

Enjoyed a similar Wisconsin-flavored smallmouth and trout visit with David Barron, owner/operator of Jacquish Hollow Angler¬† And a stop at the Elk Springs Resort table, where resort manager Chad See was touting the wonders of West Virginia’s trout fishing, led to talk of sampling their angling.

In the seminar room Lee McCellan was making such an impassioned plea on behalf of several local waters (Elkhorn Creek, Green River and Otter Creek, among others) that had the weather not been painfully windy and cold half the guys in the room would probably have grabbed their gear and been out the door. McCellan is associate editor for Kentucky Afield magazine, an information officer for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, and a skilled and passionate fisherman. It showed.

The show was slanted toward trout, which is the species most anglers (and probably non-fishermen) associate with the fly rod. I enjoy trout fishing as much as anyone and fish for them as often as possible. But I live in warm water country. And although several trout streams are reachable in a day trip – including a couple of exceptional tailwater trout fisheries – it’s bass, bluegill, crappie, redear, pumpkinseed and their various brethren, catfish and carp that comprise the bulk of the local angling menu. Maybe that’s why Jack Miller attracted such a large crowd.

Miller is probably the best fly fishing ambassador his Clarksville, Ind., Bass Pro Shops store employer could have. The guy just likes to fly fish. He likes for others to fly fish. He’s good at it and he knows how to teach others how to fly fish. (Miller is a FFF certified instructor.) He spent most of his seminar time talking about the fun and challenge of warm water fly fishing. His basic advice: think big. Big flies. Big line. Big casting.

“If you’re going to start warm water fly fishing a heavier line with help you,” Miller said. “The proper technique will help you. The double haul will help you.”

I know plenty of men (and a few women) who want their fly fishing water cold and trouty or not at all. To bad. Fly fishermen who haven’t wrestled with a 1/2-pound bluegill, 2-pound smallmouth, 4-pound largemouth or 10-pound carp should get out more.