Hundreds of Anglers in Branson for Fly Fishing Expo

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BRANSON, Mo. — A celebration of everything fly fishing is going on this weekend in the Ozarks.

The Springfield and Branson Chapters of the Missouri Trout Fisherman’s Association are holding their 2nd Annual Fly Fishing Expo — which is expected to lure up to 700 anglers to the area. 

This year’s expo is taking place at the Branson-Hollister Lions Club Community Center and features about 25 vendors and factory reps — plus close to 60 fly tiers showing off their skills.

Harry Morgan, Fly Tying Manager for the expo, says the proceeds from the event will help their cause.

“It’s actually a fundraiser for both the Branson and the Springfield Fly Fishing Club,” said Morgan. 

“When you see that line going out,” Morgan said, “and you got a big fish on there, there’s nothing like it,” 

For those who really understand the draw of fly fishing…they say it’s quite the art. 

“There are very many different techniques related to fly fishing,” said Dave Wotton, fly fishing expert and guide, “for the different species..you know and generally in this area is pretty much trout, which are cold water species and warm water species. But my program today will be orientated with trout fly fishing.”

Wotton says the sport today is not the fly fishing he participated in back in the 50’s.

“80 percent of what takes place here today..did not exist, said Wotton, “Most of the materials that people use here today for fly ties weren’t around. They use synthetic materials or man made products..you know. When I started it was all natural material.”

Although fly fishing is a male dominated sport — quite a few women are catching on. 

Carolyn Parker got interested in fly fishing back in the 60’s. Now, she and her husband own “River Run Outfitters,” a full line fly fishing store in Branson, where she also teaches women the sport.  

We started 10 years ago in April with 12 women,” Parker said, “We are now over 195. I think we’re close to 200 strong.”

“Went camping one time..and wandered into the fly fishing area at Bennett Springs State Park,” said Diane James, whose been fly fishing for 8 years, “And I saw the guys fly fishing and I fell in love.”

Tomorrow morning, the expo features fly fishing fun for kids 15 and under, at the Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery. 

Comedienne Steve Sanders will be there to entertain the children. It runs between 9 and 11 am.  

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