GLIDE — Vic Hadley of Eugene has been coming to the North Umpqua Fall Fly Tying Festival since it started nine years ago and plans to keep coming back.
“There were five of us when it started, and I love this place,” Hadley said. “The people are so nice, it’s one of the better shows, and for a small community they get more people out than any of the other shows.”
Fly tyers from all over Oregon and other states, came to the event at the Glide Community Center on Saturday.
“Some are from Redding, Boise, some from Washington and various parts of Oregon. Word has kind of spread,” said Tresa Ronco, the organizer with the Umpqua Fly Fishers, which hosts the event every year.
Ronco said the turnout was a little lower this year because of wildfires and resulting smoke, but the group was still happy with the number of participants.
“This is a day for the tyers to come and enjoy one another, and they come at their own expense and all we provide is a space for them,” she said. “It started very casual, very informal and we try to keep it that way.”
The event normally attracts 25 to 30 tyers every year, along with various vendors. Ronco said the group tries to get people interested in the hobby who may not know about fly fishing or tying, or who are new to the practice. More women are also joining in the hobby, with Umpqua Fly Tyers now including about a dozen women in the club.
Sara Joe Royalty is a fly tyer from Bandon. She was a commercial fisher for several years on the East Coast, and when she came out West, she decided she needed to stay involved in fishing.
“I just had to keep it interesting, so tying my own flies and catching a fish on them is how I do that,” Royalty said.
She ties for Loon Outdoors and Dr. Slick, which sell fly tying equipment, and she also fishes for TFO Rods. The Glide show is a regular stop on her schedule of shows.
“I do a lot of these events for my pro staff position and Tresa asked me to come do this a few years ago,” said Royalty.
Ronco says the club is working closer with Boy Scout troops, and the Scouts were represented at the event by Steve Strable, who is an Eagle Scout and a member of the Umpqua Fly Fishers. He has been coming to the event for the past three years and is a qualified trainer for several of the merit badges the Boy Scouts can earn. He said fly fishing and fly tying fits right in with what the Scouts are all about.
“Yeah, it’s outdoors, its conservation, ecology, all of that stuff that they learn,” said Strable. “We try to get involved with the boys, that’s why we’re showcasing the merit badges.”
George Foster of Winchester was there representing Project Healing Waters, which is dedicated to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled veterans through fly fishing and other outings.
“We teach veterans how to fly fish. Volunteers take veterans fishing,” Foster said. “We have various events through the year.”
If they don’t have any fishing gear, and they can’t afford it, the veterans get the equipment they need from Healing Waters, which has between 60 and 70 members in the Roseburg chapter.
Admission to the Fly Tying Festival is free, but food donations are accepted for Glide Helping Hands Food Bank. Last year, 126 pounds of food was donated from the event.
The Umpqua Fly Fishers also makes a cash donation to the Glide High School Scholarship fund with money raised at the event.
Umpqua Fly Fishers holds monthly meetings on the first Thursday of each month. Its new meeting place is at Cascadia Coffee Co. on Cass Street in downtown Roseburg.