The IFFF 50th Anniversary will be held in Oregon next week (August 13 – 15) at the Bend Riverhouse Hotel & Convention Center. If you are in the area, please plan to attend.

There are two venues for Fly Fishing Fair Activities:

The Riverhouse

This is where the actual Fair is taking place Thursday, Friday and Saturday. In the Exhibit Hall, you can expect to see fly tying demonstrations, vendors, participate in auctions and raffles, and sign up for classes and workshops. Check out the AWARDS BANQUET on Wednesday night, LIVE AUCTION on Friday night, or BBQ on Saturday night after the show closes.

The Old Mill

Many casting activities will take place on the Old Mill CASTING COURSE. This is your opportunity to receive help from Certified Casting Instructors. Activities include:

  • Casting demonstrations – FREE
  • Casting clinics – FREE
    • Casting Rendezvous – Either bring your rod or borrow one to improve your casting.
    • Casting for Fun at the Old Mill – Go to different course holes to receive help on a particular cast.
    • Casting Demonstrations – Specialty casting demonstrations on specific topics.
    • Spey Doctor – A walk-in clinic to help fix, diagnose and repair what ails your Two Handed Fly Casting.
  • Casting 5-Weight Games Competition – FREE
    • A combination accuracy, obstacle, and distance casting game for all skill levels. This is your opportunity to give it a try.
  • 9-Hole Fly Casting Course Tournament (Thursday beginning at 7:30 am) – To find more info or register, click HERE. I’ll be part of The Fly Fisher’s Place team. Come on down and cheer me on! 

For more info about all of the casting activities and times, go to the IFFF Website HERE.

I’ll be tying flies all day Friday, so be sure to stop by and say hello!

IFFF history

The idea of a national Federation began in Oregon by the McKenzie Flyfishers.

My friend Skip Hosfield writes about how the Federation of Fly Fishers began in his book Backcasts. Here are a few facts taken from his book.

In 1965, Flyfishers Conclave took place at the Country Squire Motel in Eugene, Oregon the weekend of June 18 – 20, 1965.

About 150 enthusiastic fly fisherman from British Columbia to California, as well as New York attended the first Conclave. There was a whopping TWO fly tyers lined up demontrate – Polly Rosborough and Buzz Buszek. It certainly has changed in the last 50 years!

Greg Pitts, a long-time member of the McKenzie Flyfishers, the Oregon Council, and FFF national past-president provided the following information which was included in the NW Fly Tyer & Fly Fishing program in March 2015:

“…In April 1964 The McKenzie Flyfishers was formed in Eugene. A group of fly fishermen in Eugene set about establishing a local group to share their interest and love of fly fishing. The founding member of the McKenzie club was Bill Nelson who had moved to town from Washington, where he had enjoyed being part of the Evergreen club. He brought with him the format of the club, style of meetings and bylaws as a template to form the new club. The club was really launched when officers were chosen. Bill shocked the membership when he announced his grand idea of forming a national organization to promote flyfishing.

Because of the daunting challenge, the local group thinned out to a hearty group who set about establishing a first meeting to be hosted by the McKenzie Fly Fishers. The audacity of that concept would probably occur to anyone, but they pulled it off. Bill had contacts all over the country who answered his invitation. When Lee Wulff, Ed Zern and a few others with national reputations committed to the event, others fell in line and committed to the “Conclave” to be held in June 1965 in Eugene. The basic format for the annual event was established by the initial organizing committee and continues to be used today.

The original meetings in Eugene encouraged the assembled fly fishers (and others who were quickly recruited) to form the FFF. The basic framework of a federation of affiliated clubs across the country was adopted. Working committees were appointed, including one to prepare bylaws. The success of the first conclave suggested strongly that an annual meeting of Flyfishers to exchange their expertise with others was a viable goal.

The initial organizing committee for the conclave was made up of members of the McKenzie Fly Fishers. The conclave chair was Stan Walters. Skip Hosfield served as program chair. And of course, Bill Nelson provided inspiration and guidance to all the committees. During this time, Bill worked tirelessly with his contacts all over the country to maintain enthusiasm for this gathering.

The McKenzie Fly Fishers have provided inspiration and leadership to the FFF throughout the 50 year history of the FFF. The highest annual award to clubs with the FFF is named The McKenzie Cup, inspired by the efforts with the first conclave (the McKenzie club also hosted regional conclaves in 1975 and 1985, then they hosted the international event for the 25th anniversary in 1990). The McKenzie club boasts three winners of the highest individual FFF award, The Lapis Lazuli. It has a past president of the FFF and three winners of the FFF man of the year award and a Buscek winner for fly tying…”

So if you are from Oregon, be proud of the fact that it all started here!

Hope to see you at the Fair.


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