CUMBERLAND — For the past two decades, the Cumberland County Fair has offered a small display of fly tying, as insignificant as a stonefly on a stream. Alongside afghans, pickled vegetables, quilts and flowers in the exhibition hall lay a few flies displayed with little zest.

That all changed this year when Rod McGarry of the Gray Ghost Fly Tyers of Yarmouth decided to use the weeklong fair to raise awareness of fly tying in Maine among the non-fishing public. And McGarry did so with his best support staff.

“We’ve got more flies than they’ve got pies,” McGarry boomed at the fair on Monday in front of the 45 boxed displays of flies sent from fishing clubs around Maine.

“He’s a great promoter. Rod is the mover and groover,” said Steve Brann, who won Best of Show in this year’s competition with his squid flies.

McGarry proudly pointed toward three other fly tying stars from the Yarmouth club: Evelyn King of Cundy’s Harbor, Vicki Koshliek of Cumberland, and Wendy Furey of North Yarmouth, known as the Chicks That Tie.

They came to the fair to teach children and adults how to tie artistic and useful flies, having all won blue ribbons for their boxed displays of six flies.

King won for her display of tropical saltwater flies she hopes to one day use bonefishing in the Bahamas. Koshliek won for her wet fly series, and Furey won for her display of trout flies.

“I live through my flies,” said Koshliek, 57.

“I tie flies for people who go to places I’d like to fish, then I see the photos of the fish my flies caught. I’ve had flies go to the Bahamas, up to Alaska, to Newfoundland.”

And for the record, they know what they’re doing on a river, with photos of Atlantic salmon King caught in Labrador posted on Facebook.

“Vicki is the fish whisperer. She usually gets the first fish,” said Furey, 60.

“That’s because I’m always the first one on the water,” Koshliek replied.

The Gray Ghost group has been meeting in southern Maine in the winter sharing, swapping and creating fly patterns for more than a decade. The Chicks That Tie are an offshoot of the larger club, and have met on their own for five years.

King was tying several years ago, before her two friends. She knew Furey from college and ran into her and Koshliek at a fly tying class at L.L. Bean when they were just starting. A bond was instantly forged. And from that point forward, they met weekly in the winter to tie together.

Years later they called themselves the Chicks That Tie, inviting one more friend – Sandy Boland – into the club. Then they had bumper stickers made with their CTT logo.

When Furey was mulling over a fun vanity plate, King suggested she use their club’s name. Now at fly tying classes from York to Freeport, it’s obvious when the original three Chicks That Tie are in attendance with the license plates lined up: CTT1, CTT2, CTT3.

“We play dolls with flies,” King joked.

“We do refer to it as playing Barbies,” Furey added. “We dress up the flies like dolls. Then we organize them in fly boxes. That’s half the fun.”

How many flies are lined up in fly boxes owned by the Chicks That Tie?

“Oh,” King mulled, “hundreds. When I go fishing I have four boxes all jammed with maybe 60 flies in a box.”

And in recent years, when they’re not tying or casting for their own pleasure, the Chicks That Tie guide other fishermen, strictly as volunteers for such groups like the Wounded Warriors, who serve military veterans.

“For Wendy’s 60th birthday we went to Maine Guide Camp in Mattawamkeag. It was six days and five nights on the river and in the outdoors. It was cool,” said Koshliek.

In a wild state like Maine with more fishing destinations than people, and in a fly fishing community as tightly bound as a Gray Ghost Fly, word spreads of a band of women who can fish and tie as well as anyone. The Chicks That Tie have become proud ambassadors of Maine’s corps of fly fishing women.

“We make a commotion sometimes. Once at a fly tying class, we got sent to the back of the room,” said King with a smile.