The US National Fly Fishing Championships begins Wednesday, June 1st, when some of the best anglers in the country check-in at the Lake Placid Olympic Training Center at 7 pm. There will be three days of competition for spots on the National Fly Fishing Team.
According to event organizer Ken Crane, this is the first year the nationals have come to the area. Two regional qualifiers were held in the area last June. “We have 55 anglers: 11 teams of five guys, at five venues: three rivers and two lakes,” says Crane. “The competitors each get a beat, a section of the river or lake and have a three-hour catch and release session.”
Crane explains that there are no cash prizes. The top 15 anglers win spots on US Fly Fishing Team while the top finishers will be selected to represent the US in the World Fly Fishing Championships.
“Volunteers are always welcome,” says Crane. “Volunteers are the ones that receive all the prizes. We raffle off all the donations from our sponsors to the people helping out. Those volunteers also get to spend time watching the Michael Jordans of fly fishing.”
Tom Conway of Au Sable Two Fly Shop in Wilmington is a volunteer. Conway holds his own local fly fishing competition each year and his expertise has been called on to handle any local logistics.
“There are locations at the venues where spectators can view the competition,” says Crane. “It is more interesting to volunteer because you are able to talk with the competitors, watch various techniques and record the fish data. There is no experience necessary”.
The US Fly Fishing Championships will take place on the AuSable River, Wilmington; Saranac River, Clayburg; Mirror Lake, Lake Placid; Lake Colby, Saranac Lake and the Salmon River, Malone.
Photo: Fly Fishing on the Ausable River by John Warren