Speakers

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. Bensinger also serves as the Assistant Project Lead for the Quantico Program for Project Healing Waters in Quantico, Virginia. He’s lead hundreds of fly tying classes, and is especially gifted at bringing along those new to fly tying into the fold.

Fifteen-year-old Jackson Dean, owner of the Flyest Shop Around, learned to tie trout flies courtesy of his Jeff Dean uncle, who runs Boone, North Carolina’s Mountainbound Fly Guides. When he returned to his home state of Texas, Dean quickly realized that the midges and dry flies he’d learned to tie to entice Carolina trout weren’t going to be effective on the local bass population; he set to work on original fly concepts to deploy on his home waters. Dean’s successful patterns were the foundation of the Flyest Shop Around, his innovative online storefront. His patterns are also sold locally in stores like Dallas-based Tailwaters. Those interested in Jackson Dean’s killer patterns like his Crayfish Carl, Gallatin Guppy or his Texas Style Bulkhead should check out his booth at this year’s festival.

Kirk Deeter is the editor-in-chief of Trout Unlimited Media, including TROUT magazine, and TROUT Digital.  He’s also the editor of Angling Trade, the business-to-business media group that covers fly fishing in North America.  A long-time editor-at-large for Field & Stream, he is the author of several books, most notably The Little Red Book of Fly Fishing. His work has also appeared in WiredOutsideMen’s JournalThe New York TimesUSA TodayGarden & Gun, and many other publications.  Known for his offbeat, “out there” story angles, he’s covered fishing on five continents and three oceans, from the tip of Tierra del Fuego in Argentina to north of the Arctic Circle in Russia, from the Tasmanian highlands to the Amazon jungle. He lives in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, with his wife, Sarah.

Photo by Jay Nichols

Pat Dorsey is the head guide and co-owner of the Blue Quill Angler fly shop in Evergreen, Colorado where he has guided for 30 years. He oversees and trains more than 25 guides, setting the standard for integrity and professionalism in the Blue Quill Angler guide operation. Dorsey also, maintains an online stream report that monitors stream flows and conditions for the Blue, Colorado, South Platte (Cheesman, Deckers, Spinney Mountain Ranch, and Elevenmile Canyon), North Fork of the South Platte, and Williams Fork Rivers. Dorsey is an accomplished fly tier and has originated a number of very effective patterns such as the Mercury series, UV scud, Limeade, Cherry-Limeade, Paper Tiger, Top Secret Midge, Medallion Midge and the famed Black Beauty. Although Pat Dorsey no longer has the time to tie flies commercially, he once produced over 28,000 flies in a year. Dorsey is a fly designer for Umpqua Feather Merchants. His signature flies are available at the Blue Quill Angler and other specialty fly shop throughout the United States. Pat Dorsey is also a Pro Team Member for Whiting Farms. Many of his flies incorporate Whiting Farm products. Don’t miss his specialty class Fly Fishing Tailwaters it has limited seating for availability check here.

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 past 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. Hamon’s class “Fly Fishing from a Kayak” has proven wildly popular and this will be offered both days of the festival in cooperation with Mariner-Sails.

Phil Iwane ties each fly like it’s a work of art. He is an Umpqua Signature Fly Designer with patterns including the Iwan-e-Dun extended body mayfly series and the Phil’s No Mercy Midge. He is also on the pro team of Whiting Farms, Abel, Ross Reels, Airflo, Solarez, Force Fly Fishing, and Dr. Slick Co. He has tied flies at numerous local, regional, national, and international venues. Iwane is a volunteer with Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing in Colorado. He is eager to tie for attendees of the 2021 Texas Fly & Brew, where he hopes to share his insider tips and tricks and reveal the secrets of his highly successful nymphing rig. Make plans to watch Phil while he ties his No Mercy Midge.

Chris Johnson is the owner and founder of Living Waters Fly Fishing, a fly shop and guide service based out of Round Rock, Texas. He has guided the Texas Hill Country since 2006 and has fly fished the heart of the state for over 20 years. Chris has been a licensed guide in Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Alaska. Chris is an IFFF Certified Casting Instructor, Umpqua Signature Fly Designer, Tenkara USA Guide, and TPWD Angler Educator. He is also a pro team member for Whiting Farms, Scott Fly Rods, Dyna-King, and Scientific Anglers. Chris is dedicated to sharing his passion for the sport and investing in the next generation of fly anglers. He often is a featured presenter and fly tier at fly fishing, outdoor, and community events throughout the state. Johnson and his shop have also been featured in several outdoor publications including Trout magazine, Garden and Gun, and Tenkara Magazine. He was also awarded the 2014 Man of the Year from the IFFF Texas Council, and in the same year, Living Waters was the recipient of the IFFF’s prestigious Lee Wulff Award. In addition to fly fishing, Johnson is passionate about film and photography. He co-produced the short film “Unspoken,” in an effort to raise awareness for Rio Grande Cutthroat trout conservation. As a result, Living Waters is working with Trout Unlimited as a Gold Level endorsed TU Business to restore Rio Grande Cutthroat throughout their native range. This marks the first year Johnson has joined us, and we invited you to attend a variety of his classes over the weekend. These include Fly Fishing the Republic of Texas, Fly Fishing Southern Colorado and others.  He’ll also be sharing some fly tying tips with us as well. Johnson is happily married to his wife Emily and together they enjoy fly fishing the world and raising their children in the sport.

Veteran Ron Kless, who spent nearly 30 years in the US Air Force, brings a lifetime’s worth of teaching experience to his class. His own angling journey began at age 8 when, with a stick and a piece of string, a hook he found on the ground, and a balled up piece of bread, he landed his first bluegill. Kless, who is on the Hardy Pro-Staff began fly fishing in 1996 and worked as a fly-fishing guide for Blue Quill Angler, John Hagen Outdoors, and River Ranch Outfitters from 2002 to 2010. In 2008 Kless began his Euro Nymphing journey; he started competitive fly fishing at the 2014 America Cup. Since then Kless has been training for and competing in regional, national, and international events; his personal goal is to make the United States Fly Fishing Team. In the meantime, he’s helping others achieve their dreams, working with anglers vying for spots on national and international competitive teams. For the last several years Kless has taught Euro Nymphing at Albuquerque’s Los Pinos Fly Shop; now he’s bringing that expertise to our festival. If you’ve ever been curious about Euro Nymphing, here is your chance to get in on the ground floor. His class, which will cover equipment, techniques, and approaching the water, is designed to make students more confident anglers.

His father introduced Steve Maldonado of Evergreen, Colorado, to the outdoors as a child, and he has been fishing ever since. He is an Umpqua Signature Fly Designer with numerous patterns to his credit, including Maldo’s Trico, Maldo’s PMD Emerger, and Maldonado’s Jungle Junkie. He is also a pro staffer with Semperfli, Regal Vise, Scientific Anglers, Ahrex Hooks, and Solarez. A huge saltwater angling fan, Maldonado has fished all over the United States as well as Belize, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, and Canada. He is passionate about fly fishing and fly tying and teaching others to match the hatch and learn to tie flies. Be sure to watch Steve as he teaches our attendees how to tie streamers for big trout.

Julie Mattson, owner of On the River Fly Fishing Guide Service, has been chasing trout since she could hold a fly rod. Mattson began her career in Alaska and then returned home to Montana before relocating to the year-round fishery in Oklahoma. Because of her more than 20 years of experience guiding, she was selected to participate in this year’s Ask a Female Expert panel discussion. Be sure to stop in and listen to Mattson as she shares her guiding experiences.

Wayne McGee‘s lifelong dream has been to run a world-class fishing operation on a prolific river system in Alaska’s Bristol Bay. Luckily for his many clients, McGee’s dream came true! For the past 18 years, McGee has fished across Alaska–including his “home water,” the Alagnak River, where you’ll find his Alaska Trophy Adventures Lodge. McGee doesn’t limit his fishing to Alaska, though: he has pursued everything from tigerfish and Nile perch in the Congo and Nile Rivers of Africa, to Atlantic salmon and sea trout in Norway and Scotland. In a former life McGee owned a charter boat company based in Senegal, West Africa, where he chased blue marlin, tuna, and sailfish. Today his heart is firmly fixed in Alaska’s Bristol Bay and the wild Alagnak River–and he’s eager to share the region’s beauty and bounty with you!

Wes McNew is a commercial/custom fly tyer and owner of Austin-based Onion Creek Fly  Co.  Instagram: @onioncreekflyco), which focuses mainly on saltwater flies and fishing. When McNew is not tying flies, he enjoys hanging out with his wife and young daughter and chasing redfish on the middle Texas coast. McNew is on the pro-staff with Norvise, and we are pleased to have him as a Featured Tyer at this year’s festival.

At eight years old, Braden Miller taught himself to tie flies by watching Youtube and Instagram videos. Now 14, Miller has traveled the country chasing fish with his TFO fly rods and hand-tied flies. Current fave prey: muskie! He has tied flies at the Fly Fishing Expo in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, Lefty Kreh’s Tie Fest, and The International Fly Tyers Symposium. Miller was the youngest competitor in last summer’s iCast Iron Fly Competition in Orlando, and tied flies for the Project Healing Waters 2-Fly Tournament at Virginia’s Rose River Farms. Last  year he started a fishing club at his middle school, and with the support of his principal and science teacher, helped bring in Trout in the Classroom, which teaches students about fishing and conservation. Miller is TFO’s first Junior Ambassador, a Norvise team member, and an ambassador/pro-staff member for Fly Life Company, Flymen Fishing Co., District Angling, Fair Flies, and most recently, Catch Cam Nets. Follow Miller on Instagram at flyfisher0906, on Facebook as Braden.Miller.0906–and watch for his upcoming YouTube channel!

Pierce Oja was spawned from six generations of grizzly Montana blood. Starting his first job in a fly shop at 14, Pierce has spent over a decade in the fly fishing industry managing fly shops, guiding the most productive waters in Montana, and catching fish above all else. He is the visionary and owner of Wet Net Outfitters and strives to offer the finest trout fishing trips in Montana. These trips are facilitated by top shelf guides, private water leases, unique accommodations, and over 400 miles of floatable river within 90 miles of Livingston, Montana. Don’t miss his talk on “Where and When to Fish in Montana.”

Karlie Roland grew up with a fly rod in one hand and a fly-tying vise in the other. She spent her summers in Last Chance, Idaho, where her family has fished the Henry’s Fork for generations. Roland has traveled from the Rockies to the Pacific Northwest and from Patagonia to Cuba and Christmas Island in her ongoing search for trout, salmon, steelhead, and anything else that will eat her fly on the flats! A tireless advocate for fisheries conservation and watershed protection, Roland is a passionate angler and educator with extensive experience in leading fly fishing schools and hosted travel. She guides for TroutHunter Lodge on the river that started it all: the Henry’s Fork. Roland will teach a limited-seating, women-only class at the 2021 Texas Fly & Brew titled “Becoming an Independent Woman Angler.”

Allen Rupp has been tying flies for 30 years now. Growing up around the District of Columbia, his first fish on the fly were Potomac River smallies. Allen now owns and operates Fly On the Water  and while he lives in New York City, his flies have caught fish all over the world–from Belize, Chile, Canada, Mexico, the UK, and the Seychelles to Colorado, Montana, New York, Wisconsin, and beyond. Lately saltwater fish–and especially snook–have been taking up most of his time. This is Allen’s first appearance at the Texas Fly Fishing & Brew Festival, and we are pleased to have him. He’ll be tying flies and doing demos at his booth throughout the weekend.

Tim Urtiaga discovered fly fishing at a very young age and quickly decided he wanted to share his love for the quiet sport with others. Over the years Urtiaga has successfully guided many clients to beautiful trout on New Mexico’s famed San Juan River. After catching a few monster Northern pike on the fly, Urtiaga was himself “hooked”—and began to offer the only guided fly-fishing trips for Northern pike off of a boat. Urtiaga, who has been featured in Field & Stream and American Fly Fishing, is trying to raise awareness of Northern pike, abolish the catch-and-kill rule, and increase conservation efforts to protect this species. Urtiaga opened Eagle Nest Fly Shack in Eagle Nest, New Mexico, to provide a new generation of outdoor enthusiasts with the gear and equipment they need to become independent anglers. The Fly Shack, which really did begin as a shack beside an old gas station, thrived and grew until Urtiaga expanded to include more space and even lodging. Today Eagle Nest Fly Shack and Lodge offers eight hotel-style accommodations as well as guided fishing with four different experienced fishing guides.

For 16 years Dallas-based casting instructor, fly fisher, and fly tyer Rex Walker has been helping people improve their fly casting skills.  He has worked with many of the region’s fly fishing clubs, at fly fishing events across Texas, and with both Reel Recovery and Project Healing Waters. Walker is a Fly Fishers International-certified instructor and the fly casting coordinator for the Dallas Fly Fishers.  When not helping other fly fishers, Walker can often be found on Lake Texoma chasing black bass and striped bass on the fly.

Greg Welander is a manufacturer’s representative for major fly fishing brands like Norvise, Thomas & Thomas, Dagon Apparel, Seigler Reels, Sight Cast Fly Fishing and many others. He’s a lifelong angler who has been fishing since he was four years old; he started tying flies not long after. Growing up in San Antonio, Welander has fly fished for everything from stripers on the Red River below Lake Texoma to redfish in the Lower Laguna Madre to bass in local Texas Hill Country streams and lakes. He has been a fly-tying instructor and licensed guide for over ten years. Welander regularly guides clients on the Brazos River and its tributaries in North Texas, where he lives with his wife. Be sure to take in his class where he’s co-teaching Bourbon & Bass Bugs as well as his lecture on Texas Bass Fishing. You can follow Welander’s fly fishing journey through Upstream on the Fly.

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