November 19, 2012

Deirdre Fleming: More Mainers hooked on fly fishing

It's official. A year after some of Maine's avid trout fishermen rolled out the state's only fly fishing show, they're committed to make it an annual event.


WHEN: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Dec. 8

WHERE: Elks Lodge, 1945 Congress St., Portland

COST: $5 for adults, $3 for children

WHAT ELSE: For more information, go to

The Maine Council of Trout Unlimited is hosting the second-annual Maine Fly Fishing Show to raise money for its ninth Maine Trout Camp for Youth.

For years Massachusetts and New Jersey drew fly fishing enthusiasts to shows. The Maine event will be a far cry from the East Coast's biggest shows, but larger than it was last year.

This year the venue is bigger, more vendors are turning out and there are more experts to explain where and how to fish in Maine.

"Last year's show was a jumping-off point. But it was much more successful than I ever dreamed," said Registered Maine Guide and show organizer Sean McCormack.

Last year's show had just 12 vendors at the Maine Military Museum, a tiny, cozy hall. But it proved Maine fly fishermen love an excuse to gather in the offseason to learn from bamboo fly makers, fly tyers, rod and reel manufacturers, and state biologists.

This year's show also features guides, lodges and fly fishing groups, such as Project Healing Waters, as well as world-class bamboo fly rod builders, like Fred Kretchman, whose work is featured in the Smithsonian Institute.

There will be both saltwater and freshwater fishing guides, as well as experts in both cold-water and warm-water fishing.

"It's a fly fishing show, not a trout fishing show. We are trying to keep it as broad as possible," McCormack said.

The 42 vendors made donations to cover the cost of the hall, so all proceeds from admission, raffle tickets and the casting contest go to TU's youth trout camp, now in its ninth year.

The camp hosts 12 young conservationists each summer at a lodge on the Kennebec River. It mostly serves Maine youth, but also draws qualified anglers from across the country. Young anglers apply to the conservation and fishing camp with an essay explaining why they want to attend.

Last year's show raised $4,500, a third of the $12,000 needed to run the trout camp, McCormack said.

"We eventually want the show to increase the level of support for the camp. Whether we get it all this year, I don't know. But we have a nice mix of vendors," McCormack said.

Staff Writer Deirdre Fleming can be contacted at 791-6452 or at:

Twitter: Flemingpph


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