Fly fishing rod

Fly fishing shows are like opening day


Georges Liset

The fourth Saturday in April was open day in New Hampshire for trout ponds. Opening day in some places resembles a national holiday. Everything stops except fishing.

The first day of fishing brings back fond memories to an older generation. My wife, who is from Vermont, has fond memories of worming with her dad and fishing in the little creek in their backyard.

This generation is more excited for opening day when the new video game comes out.

The fly fishing shows are, in themselves, like an opening day. Shows are the opening day for new gear like fly fishing rods and reels, fly tying supplies, and planning future fly fishing trips. This is usually the time to get a bargain on all of the above. So, with some cash to burn, I headed to the New England Fly Fishing Show with my friend trainer Jim Boulanger.

The New England Fly Fishing Show is usually held in January, which is a slow time for fly fishing and anyone working in the fly fishing industry. January is a great time to introduce new products and make reservations for a future fly fishing trip as there are deals to be had. With Covid still active, the show was moved to April. The show is the perfect time to learn about new products, buy fly tying equipment, buy new flies, see great fly tying demonstrations and catch up with old friends.

The show did not disappoint, although the turnout was lower and there were slightly fewer sellers. I went down with my friend trainer Jim Boulanger. Coach Jim and I hope to get on the water a lot more now that we are both retired. We both wanted to catch up with the New Hampshire guide and noted fly tier Scotty Biron. We all worked together many years ago at UNH in the athletic department. Scotty was demonstrating tying flies on streamers. Scotty does a great job and helps a lot with New Hampshire Fish and Game.

Coach Jim and I had planned to fish with Scotty this spring. Scotty has the inside scoop on great places to fish and what to use to catch them. The way to become a better fly fisherman is to fish with someone who is more skilled than you, so any chance of fishing with someone of Scotty’s caliber, you do.

As I was walking around, I was lucky enough to meet Jeff Davis of Maine Fly Company in Falmouth, Maine. Before the show, I had seen an article about Maine Fly Company. I had planned a visit this spring, but was delighted to meet Jeff, the founder and craftsman of the rods. Maine Fly Co. specializes in small batch rods.

What I noticed about the uppers is the craftsmanship and feel. I have a number of expensive fly rods, and the Maine Fly Co. rods are as good as any I have. The rods were beautiful and a bargain. I have nice fly rods, as I told trainer Jim on the way to the show, I didn’t need another fly rod. I lied. I’m not an impulse buyer, but I could have walked away with two new rods. So Coach and I planned a trip to Yarmouth to pick up our new rods.

Fly fishing shows are a great way to keep you entertained until the fly fishing season fully opens. Tying flies, refitting your gear and planning your future trips will keep you busy until the official season opens. Until then, I’ll organize my gear and figure out where I’m going to put my new fly rods.

gGeorge Liset of Dover is an award-winning outdoor writer and fly fishing enthusiast who shares his thoughts on his time on the water exploring the streams and rivers of New Hampshire as well as those of New England. George is a graduate of Wheaton College, Illinois, and the University of New Hampshire. Her Writing on the Fly column has been honored by the New England Press Association and the New Hampshire Press Association.