Speakers

Captain Lucas Bissett is the owner of Lowtide Charters LLC and a Louisiana native who has been guiding the marshes of Hopedale for the last 7 years. He is also an Orvis Endorsed Guide and was honored as the Orvis Endorsed Saltwater Guide of the Year in 2017. Bissett’s love for the marsh has driven him to start a nonprofit called Anglers Bettering Louisiana’s Estuaries, where he works on coastal restoration and community outreach and education projects. Captain Bissett prides himself on bringing new folks into the sport of fly fishing and teaching them the skills needed to enjoy and protect Louisiana’s pristine estuaries.


Mac Brown of Mac Brown Fly Fishing & Guide School was the first full-time fly fishing guide in Western North Carolina. Educating fly anglers is Brown’s burning passion; he fulfills that role as an Associate Professor at Western Carolina University. He is the author of Casting Angles, and in 2017 was inducted into the Fly Fishing Museum of the Southern Appalachians Hall of Fame. When not on campus or on the stream, Brown teaches specialty casting classes all over the country. He’s a certified Master Casting Instructor with Fly Fishers International, and has served as a coach for multiple fly casting competitive anglers. Brown is on the pro-staff of Sage, Regal Vice, Simms, and Ross Reels, among other national brands. This year we are delighted to offer Brown’s “Advanced Fly Casting for Instructors” class. This specialty class will be held at the festival hotel on Friday, the day before the festival. This day-long class has very limited seating and includes a weekend pass to the festival. Brown will also be speaking at the festival.


For 30 years Blane Chocklett has fished and guided Virginia’s famed rivers, including the James, Roanoke, Jackson, and New. He has chased trout, stripers, and small and largemouth bass, and has become an authority on landing the apex predator of the freshwater world, musky. When not guiding, Chocklett enjoys tying flies and creating new, innovative patterns, many of which are sold in fly shops throughout the country. Some of his better known patterns include the Gummy Minnow, T-Bone, and the Gummy Tarpon Worm. Recently Chocklett has collaborated closely with Flymen Fishing Company to create the Fish-Spine, a series of specifically-designed articulated shanks that allow tyers to create multi-jointed, highly articulated streamers. The result is his revolutionary Game Changer, which catches both fresh and saltwater species all over the world. When not guiding Chocklett serves as a consultant and brand ambassador for a host of companies including but not limited to Temple Fork Outfitters, Scientific Anglers, Patagonia, Fishpond USA, Renzetti/RD Distribution,  and Hog Island Boatworks. Be sure to say hello to him in the TFO booth at this year’s festival.


Steve Dally was raised in Tasmania–the Australian equivalent of Montana–and shamelessly squandered his youth surfing, diving, and fishing. His fly fishing obsession was born in his late 20s, when he was first convinced to grasp a fly rod. He cut his teeth on the challenging wild brown trout and rainbows of Tasmania’s wilderness lakes and streams before moving to the US. A former journalist, Dally spent 3 years in the US as a traveling fly fishing writer and photographer, a job which saw him land, fly rod and camera in hand, in Montana, Wyoming, Alaska (twice), Baja, New York, Michigan, New Mexico, Idaho, and finally Arkansas. Dally has been guiding on the White River tailwaters and running fly shops since 2005, including Dally’s Ozark Fly Fisher since 2011. He is a Sage Elite Pro and fly designer with Rainy’s Flies. His articles and photographs have appeared in numerous publications and websites, including Fly Fisherman and Anglers Journal, and he remains a masthead columnist and regular contributor on tactics, destinations, and fly tying with Australia and New Zealand’s premier fly fishing magazine FlyLife.


Jerry Hamon is an avid fly angler, fly tyer, and dedicated kayaker who loves nothing better than patrolling the local waterways of Texas looking for his next trophy bass. He is President of both the Texas Council of Fly Fishers International and the Mariner-Sails Kayak Fishing Club. Hamon is serving his second term on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Freshwater Fisheries Advisory Committee and was recently appointed to serve as its Chairman. He’s a certified Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Angler Education Area Chief/Instructor and enjoys fishing tournaments when his schedule allows. Be sure to take in Hamon’s class “Fly Fishing from a Kayak” both days of the festival in cooperation with Mariner-Sails.


Ed Jaworowski is passionate about fly casting. The author of The Cast and Troubleshooting the Cast, among other fly fishing books, Ed is an excellent instructor who connects well with his students regardless of their skill level. He is currently on the Temple Fork Outfitters Advisory Staff, and his Intermediate to Advanced Casting Class is just what you’ll need to take your casting skills to the next level. Not long ago Ed collaborated with his mentor, the late (and deeply missed) Lefty Kreh, to create a casting DVD called The Complete Cast: Applying  


Landon Mayer’s angling success is fueled by an addiction to pursuing large trout with small flies and lightweight fly-fishing equipment. Mayer enthusiastically teaches and demonstrates his techniques and on-river knowledge to fellow anglers and has developed innovative strategies for sighting, hooking, and landing selective trout. He shares these times and secrets in his books 101 Trout Tips: A Guide’s Secrets, Tactics, and Techniques; Colorado’s Best Fly Fishing; Sight Fishing for Trout; and How to Catch the Biggest Trout of Your Life, in addition to two DVDs: Landing the Trout of Your Life and Weapons of Bass Production.  His articles have appeared in such publications as American Angler, Southwest Fly Fishing, and Field and Stream. As an ambassador in the fly-fishing industry, Mayer represents several lines including Simms; he is also a royalty fly designer for Umpqua Feather Merchants. He is an advisory team member of Simms, Bauer Reels, R.L. Winston, Scientific Angler, Smith Optics, Fishpond, and Yeti.


Tim O’Neill, who began fly fishing at ten, is the founder and owner of O’Neill’s Fly Fishing, an online community dedicated to all aspects of fly fishing culture. For three decades his passion for the quiet sport has carried him through many parts of the industry including retail sales, commercial fly tying, lecturing, seminar teaching, and guiding. He recently became the owner of the Nor-vise fly tying system. O’Neill’s fly fishing exploits have been published in Out and About Delaware and Delaware Today, and he’s also been a guest on NPR. O’Neill considers himself an educator first: he loves nothing better than to help others learn more about this great sport. When asked what is his favorite fish to catch, his response is always the same: “The one on the end of my tippet.” Attendees can reach O’Neill to discuss all things fly fishing at tim@oneillsflyfishing.com.


Jason Randall, Temple Fork Outfitters national pro-staffer, has been an outdoor writer for the last 16 years. His feature articles appear regularly in American Angler, as well as Fly Fisherman, Eastern Fly Fishing, Northwest Fly Fishing, and many other outdoor magazines.  His first book, Moving Water: A Fly Fisher’s Guide to Currents (2012), studies the effects of current on trout, their prey species, and presentation, where vertical layers of current create drag and require adjustments to improve nymph fishing success. His second book, Feeding Time: A Fly Fisher’s Guide to What, Where and When Trout Eat (2013), focuses on matching your fishing strategies to the trout’s feeding strategies, especially when targeting large trout. His third book in the ‘Fly Fisher’s Guide’ trilogy, Trout Sense: A Fly Fisher’s Guide to What Trout See, Hear and Smell (2014), offers anglers the opportunity to know more about the quarry they seek. Randall’s fourth book, Nymph Masters: Fly Fishing Secrets from Expert Anglers, explores the depths of nymph fishing and advanced nymph-fishing techniques and incorporates tips and ideas from some of the leading experts in nymph fishing. He will be teaching a specialty class on nymphing at this year’s festival.


Nate Stevane, who comes from a line of Montanans that stretches back to the country’s homesteading days, has been fishing the Big Sky State’s premier trout waters–like the Bighorn, Yellowstone, Stillwater, and Boulder rivers–all his life. At 13 he picked up his first fly rod, and he has been addicted ever since. Stevane began guiding in 1999, and even met his wife on the Gallatin River. He is the owner and operator of outfitter Trout on the Fly, which introduces anglers young and old, beginner and veteran fly fishers, those with disabilities, large groups, and clients suffering from terminal diseases to Montana’s big water to make memories that last a lifetime.


Aquatic Biologist Peter Stitcher is the owner of Ascent Fly Fishing and River Oracle Inc. As a biologist, Stitcher works across the United States in the assessment, restoration, and management of trophy trout waters. Approaching the sport of fly fishing through the lens of a biologist, he strives to break down the sciences of entomology, fish feeding behavior, and fish habitat use into easily applied fishing tips and tactics for the fly fisher. Armed with an extensive invertebrate database and more than 400,000 flies, Stitcher and his team at Ascent specialize in the creation of Biologist Crafted Fly Selections specific to the trout foods and their life-cycles when and where you fish. Stitcher also just released his first film titled Creating Order in Your Fly Box, and is a regular contributor to High Country Angler Magazine. ALL NEW! Stitcher’s unique “Mayflies and Microbrews” is a specialty, two-hour-long class held once each day of the festival. Each student will receive 10 trout flies and a ticket for a Texas microbrew (participants 21 years and older only) to enjoy during class. Students will learn how to quickly identify which insects are most prevalent in the river they fish, and how best to match the hatch. This class has limited seating and operates on a first-come, first-served basis. The class fee does not include admission to the festival.


Matt Supinski, owner of Gray Drake Lodge in Newaygo, Michigan, has been fly fishing for nearly half a century. While Supinski has lectured and fly fished successfully across most of Europe, he is best known for helping his clients in Michigan land monster steelhead and salmon. If that weren’t enough, Supinski is constantly on the hunt for brown trout which easily exceed 24 inches. His work has appeared in nearly every well-known fly fishing magazine in the United States, and his book Selectivity: The Theory & Method of Fly Fishing for Fussy Trout, Salmon and Steelhead, was a bestseller. His new book The Brown Trout-Atlantic Salmon Nexus will be released in November and contains information on landing Atlantic salmon and brown trout in Europe and the United States. On Friday, the day before the festival officially opens, Supinski will be holding a special limited seating, paid class called “Selective Trout Tactics for Tailwaters, Spring Creeks, and Freestone Streams.” When not lecturing or signing books, Supinski has promised us to do a gourmet salmon cooking demo, open to all festival attendees.


Mike Tayloe is the co-owner and Director of Operations of Finns West, a unique company in the fly fishing industry that provides Wilderness First Aid courses and Emergency Action Plan development for fly fishing lodges, outfitters, guides, and staff. He has combined his professions as a paramedic and fly fishing guide to provide a much-needed and often overlooked service for our industry. Tayloe has been providing remote medical support and wilderness medicine education as a wilderness/remote paramedic for over two decades, from Mount Everest to Antarctica. He guides for several outfitters in Colorado and spends his winters in Chilean Patagonia guiding for Lakutaia Heli Fishing Lodge on Cape Horn. New at this year’s festival is Tayloe’s Freestone First Aid class offered on Friday, March 22. This daylong course is perfect for guides and serious anglers who want to be prepared to respond to emergencies that occur on the river or in remote fishing locations. This course has very limited seating and includes training in CPR and admission to the festival.


Featured Fly Tyers

Dutch Baughman serves on the Fly Fishers International Board of Directors and Executive Committee, and is the Chairman of both the FFI Education Committee and Learning Center Fly Fishing Skills Resource Area. He is also responsible for developing the FFI Education program and Learning Center. Baughman is a demonstration fly tyer at prominent fly tying events across the country. He authored the FFI Comprehensive Introduction to Fly Fishing class, and teaches the same class at Tarrant County College, near his home in Southlake, Texas. Baughman is particularly passionate about fly fishing for Pacific Northwest Steelhead and casting two-handed rods. He fishes regularly in Texas, Montana, and other destinations. We are fortunate indeed to have such a talented fly tyer and instructor at this year’s festival.


Matt Bennett is a full-time commercial fly tyer and the owner of Fly Geek Custom Flies.  He most enjoys both tying flies and fishing for the native bass species of the Texas Hill Country, and although most of his flies were created to fool these specific quarry, his patterns have a broad appeal. Matt has fished the waters of southwestern Colorado since he was a teenager and especially enjoys chasing native cutthroat trout in creeks throughout the San Juans.  He is a member of the Umpqua Feather Merchants Signature Fly Designer program, and his initial pattern, Bennett’s Lunch $, is available in fly shops all over the country.  Matt currently serves as the Conservation Chair of the Austin Fly Fishers, the Vice President of the Texas Council FFI, and was awarded the 2015 Charles E. Brooks Memorial Award by the International Federation of Fly Fishers.  He resides in Austin with his wife Amanda and Welsh Corgi Winston.  You can view more of his work at his website flygeek.net or on Instagram @flygeekmatt.


Jim Bensinger is a former Marine and the owner of Fiber Flies Dubbing. Obsessed with all things fly fishing—and especially fly tying—Bensinger has developed a line of materials derived from Alpaca. This material is perfect for dubbing. Amateur fly tyers will love it. Stop by Jim’s booth, and let him show you how it works. Bensinger is also on the Regal Vice pro-staff and will be demonstrating their use at the festival.


David Klausmeyer is a name known well within the fly fishing industry. Since 1994 Dave has spent much of his time working in one capacity or another for American Angler, and began to write for, and eventually becoming the editor of Fly Tyer. Dave’s amazing photographs of fly patterns combined with his uncanny ability to tie nearly any pattern has garnered him a great deal of respect. His work has not gone unnoticed and in fact he’s authored more than a dozen books on various aspects of fly tying. In In 2006, Dave was the first recipient of the Golden Hook Award, presented to him by the Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum for his many efforts towards educating the public about fly fishing and tying. Be sure to stop by the American Angler/ Fly Tyer booth and say hello at this year’s festival.

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For more information contact Festival Director Beau Beasley at Fishutopia@comcast.net, or call 703-402-8338.