This weekend is the 12th annual Mat-Su Outdoorsman Show at the Curtis Menard Center in Wasilla. While there is something ironic about outdoorsman getting together inside on a sunny spring weekend, the show is a good opportunity to see what local outdoor recreation related businesses have to offer.
Here are 5 things that fly fishers will find interesting at the 2017 show:
1. Spey and Switch on the Fly
Shortly after the gates open on Friday, Sportsman’s Warehouse’s Jim Pougher will host a discussion on rods, reels, line selection and casting techniques for two-hand fly casting. While many think the Valley is limited to the small roadside streams, there is are a number of long, wide runs on our larger rivers that are ideal for two-hand casting. Once you learn the two-hand casting techniques, many of them can be applied to casting a single-handle rod on small streams. Jim’s presentation is on Friday, March 24 at 1pm and is free with the price of admission.
2. Flies for All Five Species of Salmon
Pudge Kleinkauf, a pioneer of female fly fishing guides, will be sharing flies from her book Pacific Salmon Flies: New Ties and Old Standbys. I’ve seen a version of this presentation and highly recommend it to anglers new to the sport. Pudge will set you up with proven fly patterns and the techniques used to fish them but you’ll also leave inspired by her passion for the sport. Check out the video below to hear how Pudge got started fly fishing. Flies for All Five Species of Salmon is on Saturday, March 25 at 2pm and is free with the price of admission.
The Alaska Fly Fishers have been offering fly fishing programs to Alaskans since 1973. This Anchorage based club has an upcoming 4-part seminar for the beginning fly fisher that they’ll be promoting at the show, along with fly tying demonstrations by club members. Stop by their booth to find out what they have planned for the summer.
Project Healing Waters is a national organization offering fly fishing programs to disabled active military service personnel and veterans. Project Healing Waters – Alaska is sponsored by the Alaska Fly Fishers and offers a fly tying clinic in the Mat-Su Valley. PHW-Alaska has a number of fishing trips planned this summer and now is a good time to speak with a program representative about participating and volunteering.
With over 60 members, the Mat-Su Basin Salmon Habitat Partnership funds projects to help ensure salmon remain a key part of life in the Mat-Su. The Partnership hosts the annual Mat-Su Salmon Science and Conservation Symposium – a forum to share information about the Mat-Su’s salmon and their habitat. The Partnership has helped replace over 80 road culverts in the Mat-Su, making it easier for salmon to travel up river to spawning areas. The Valley’s vibrant trout population thrives on good salmon returns, so stop by the Partnership’s booth to see what projects they’re working on this summer and how you may get involved.
5. Women and Couples Go Fly Fishing in Alaska
Pudge Kleinkauf is back to close out the show with her presentation about the fishing destinations where she guides women and couples for a chance of catching the salmon, rainbow trout, dolly varden, and grayling of a lifetime. Yes, this presentation is part sales pitch but it’s also about learning about other fisheries. I’ve attended a handful of Pudge’s presentations over the years and she is open to all questions. Go ahead and ask. She’ll answer your question honestly and will get straight to the point – something you can’t say about all fishing guides.
Fly fishers are a very small population within the angling community, therefore it’s reasonable to expect an outdoorsman show to have more vendors catering to gear fisherman and hunters than fly anglers. The Mat-Su Outdoorsman Show is no exception. But what you will find are a few helpful presentations and organizations ready to help you prepare for a successful season. Visit www.chinookshows.com for a complete list of vendors and seminars