If you’re fishing in the Lake Placid area at the end of the month, you’ll have some company — a couple dozen competition anglers taking part in Fly Fishing Team USA’s regional qualifier.
The 23 competitors in the May 30-31 tournament will be vying for slots in the national tournament, which will, in turn, produce the team for the 2016 world championships.
Don’t worry about crowding; the anglers will be spread out among several venues, including the West Branch of the Ausable River in Wilmington, the Saranac River in Clayburg and (from boats) Mirror Lake.
They’ll all be on public water, but no closer to each other than 300 yards. You may not even notice them. But if you do come across a comp angler, you may want to watch him or her fish for a few minutes. It’s interesting stuff.
The stream fishing is primarily nymphing, and the anglers favor long rods and very long leaders; the droopy fly lines mostly stay on their reels as competitors high-stick the pocket water.
On the “loch fishing” boats on Mirror Lake, anglers mainly use Woolly Buggers down deep or wet flies just below the surface, said organizer Ken Crane of Syracuse.
“Lake Placid is a great host for the event,” Crane said. “All the anglers stay at the Olympic Training Center, and the rivers and lakes are amazing.”
Area businesses supporting the event include the Hungry Trout in Wilmington and Wiley’s Flies in Ray Brook, Crane said.
While the scoring formula for sanctioned fly-fishing competitions is kind of complex, the basic idea is very straightforward: Catch as many trout as you can.
It’s all catch-and-release. Each angler is watched by a volunteer controller who measures and records fish and makes sure the rules are followed (although cheating doesn’t seem to be an issue with this crowd.)
The tournament is looking for volunteers to serve as controllers. I did it once, and it’s fun. Watching a knowledgeable fly-fisher work a section of stream for three hours is fascinating and informative.
If you’d like to volunteer, contact Crane at (315) 725-7392 or [email protected]
In other news from the world of competitive fly-fishing, the United States has a representative on the sport’s world governing body for the first time.
Paul Bourcq of North Carolina, who has led the U.S. Youth Fly Fishing Team to three gold medals in the past four world championships, was named in April to the board of FIPS-Mouche, the Federation Internationale de Peche Sportive Mouche, or International Federation of Sport Fly Fishing.
FIPS-Mouche sets the rules for competition fly-fishing and organizes the world championships.
This year’s youth world championship tournament will be held in Vail, Colo., in August. The senior (over 18) championship will be in Bosnia and Herzegovina in June. The 2016 senior world championship will be held in Vail.
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