Eleven hundred people from several countries participated in the 2017 Fly Fishers International Fair in Livingston, MT, during the first week of August.   There were 74 high caliber demonstration fly tiers, 93 educational workshops, women’s events and some of the best casting instructors in the world, all surrounded by legendary fisheries for those who wanted to wet a line while there.

Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing had a significant contingent.  CEO Todd Desgrosseilliers, Founder Ed Nicholson, COO David Folkerts, Southwest RC Carole Katz, Bozeman PL Jim Wenger, Albuquerque PL David Patton, five participants from Long Beach, CA, three from Phoenix, AZ, and many others.   We were introduced to Duke Davis, who will be joining the HQ staff September 1, and Pete Robertson, who will helping with the casting competition planning.   We hope to have at least 100 PHWFF participants and volunteers at the Fair next year in Boise, ID, August 6-11.

Southwest Regional Coordinator and FFI Board Member Carole Katz and Founder Ed Nicholson in the PHWFF Booth at Fish Fest

Our leadership had meetings with various leaders of the FFI to discuss several collaborative efforts and Carole Katz was added to the FFI Board of Directors as a PHWFF representative.   Our veteran participants had the opportunity to fish the Madison and the Yellowstone Rivers, and local spring creeks.   We attended some excellent workshops such as spring creek fishing, roll-to-spey casts, and casting workshops with MCIs Bruce Richards, Jim Valle, Rick Williams, Mark Huber.  There is such a wealth of information available to attendees that it is difficult to make workshop selections.

Long Beach, CA Participant Jim Graham with fish caught on the Madison River

Long Beach, CA Participant Lisa Ornelas with a big catch

Two individuals received the Patriot Award during a dinner at the Fair: volunteer Bob Frey of Bozeman who has led fishing trips in Montana for several years and Don Lee of Long Beach for his rod weaving excellence and fundraising.

Todd was introduced to the legendary Bob Jacklin of West Yellowstone, who later sat at the PHWFF table during dinner.   We staffed the PHWFF booth at the Fish Fest, where we raffled a rod by Don Lee with a weave of the PHWFF logo that earned $800.

Todd Desgrosseilliers & fishing legend Bob Jacklin at the President’s Award Dinner.

Some comments from the veteran participants who attended:

“The casting instructors were fantastic.   They addressed bad habits and I learned something from each one of them.”

“The Spring Creek Workshop was so comprehensive.  The side-by-side comparison of natural insects vs commercial flies was an eye-opener.   This workshop really helped me understand the pros and cons of various casting presentations.”

“The MCIs really understand various medical problems and suggested small changes in technique that really helped me.”

 “I really enjoyed the lightly used gear sale at terrific prices.” 

“I learned so much from Jim Valle and really appreciated his positive comments to all of us.   He was so positive and encouraging.”

“I was amazed to learn how useful single-hand spey casts can be in many fishing situations.  I’m a much better roll caster after that workshop.”

“I left there a much better fisher.”

Mark your calendar and plan to join us August 6-11, 2018!