IDAHO FALLS — A local fly-fishing group, the Snake River Cutthroats, had a record turnout at Tautphaus Park during its annual fly fishing clinic Thursday.
“We generally get about 10 to 15, maybe 20 people, (but today) we have over 50 people, old, young, women, men, it’s just fantastic a great turnout despite the weather,” Past president and club member Rory Cullen says.
The annual event has been held by the non-profit group for over 20 years. Cullen who’s attended the event annually over the last 10 years hasn’t seen this much excitement to learn from the public.
Two certified casters attended the event to train the new anglers. Some 10 members of the Snake River Cutthroats assisted in the training that was free to the public.
“There’s a certain way of casting that improves your fly landing on the water and staying on the water,” Cullen says. “The improvement that you see in an hour and a half is amazing. Makes it worth coming out and you see the improvement almost instantaneously.”
Instructor John River says he enjoys teaching fisherman the rules and fundamentals of fly fishing.
“We enjoy giving back to the community, we enjoy teaching to cast for the first time. We think it’s a gateway to fly fishing conservation,” Rivera says.
During the 90-minute class, instructors focused on teaching a roll cast and an aerial cast.
“The roll cast is when there’s a lot of trees or a lot of cover, a lot of foliage and you have to stay low on the water,” Rivera says. “Aerial cast is more like what you’d see on a “River Runs Through It” with Brad Pitt up in the air, it’s graceful and it’s beautiful, and you deliver the fly to rising trout.”
Idaho Falls resident Vanessa Prairie picked up a rod for the first time last summer and is excited to learn more as her interest in the hobby progresses.
“My husband and my son both fly fish really well and I wanted to get some outside pointers. I’ve heard a lot of great things about the Idaho Falls Cutthroats and they do a lot for the community,” Prairie says.
Prairies says she felt welcome at the clinic and not intimidated in any way while attending with fisherman of various skill levels.
“There’s lots of people here to help. It’s kind of fun just to meet different people,” Prairie says.
The Snake River Cutthroats is affiliated with national organization Trout Unlimited and Fly Fishers International. The group works to sustain and expand fly fishing and fly tying opportunities throughout the area. They also work with various government and private entities to maintain and improve coldwater fisheries throughout the region, according to the organization’swebsite.
Cullen says the group has activities all year long and monthly meetings from October to April. For more information on those events follow the groups Facebook Page.