County residents wanting to do a little anglin’ this fall would do well to join the Women’s League of Mount Airy for the Mount Airy Fly Fishing Expo.
The event will get under way on Saturday, Oct. 20, at 9 a.m., at Riverside Park.
Organizer and self-professed “instigator” of the Expo Lisa Goodin said Tuesday that the idea for the festival was the result of a fortunate happenstance.
“As a member of the Women’s League fund-raising committee, I’d worked on a project this spring working on the greenway,” Goodin said. “I saw a bunch of fly fishermen on the river, and as a fisherman myself I started talking to them.”
Once she realized that the majority of the fishermen she ran across were from other areas, the seed was planted.
“I decided this could be a great opportunity to get tourists into the area for some fishing instead of just seeing Mayberry,” Goodin said, “and the Women’s League could maybe make a little money to boot.”
The only other fly fishing Expo is held in February and is located indoors in Raleigh, she noted.
“Being outside on the river, people who come to the Expo will be able to try the techniques they’re going to be learning,” she noted.
And there will be a little something for everyone at this year’s event, thanks to participation from groups like the North Carolina Wildlife Federation, the National Wild Turkey Federation, Wheeling Sportsmen, Trout Unlimited, Project Healing Waters and Casting for Recovery.
“There’s going to be all kinds of stuff,” Goodin said. “We’re going to have people there teaching how to tie flys, rod builders, demonstrations of different fishing techniques as well as information about the different types of fish in the area and how to determine the best location to cast your line.”
And for those without a hankering to fish, the Audubon Society is going to be on hand to discuss different birds fishermen might see on the river.
Perhaps a first for the area, a Japanese Tenkara Fly Fishing Master, Misako Ishimura, will be on hand to demonstrate her technique.
With artists, games vendors and a children’s “hunt” for teddy bears, there will be something for everyone, Goodin said.
“There are going to be all kinds of things for everyone to do,” she promised. “We’re even going to have an enclosed booth set up where both children and adults can learn how to shoot with BB guns.”
The Expo is set to run until 4 p.m., but what may be the highlight of the day doesn’t get under way until 6:30 p.m.
The Expo will conclude with a dinner, raffle and silent auction at Old North State Winery.
During the dinner, representatives from Trout Unlimited will discuss the history and future of the Ararat River
“We’re going to be giving away several large prizes including guest packages at White Sulfur Springs and the Primland Resort in Meadows of Dan, Va.,” Goodin said.
The Expo will be held rain or shine. Admission is free.
Reach Keith Strange at email@example.com or 719-1929.