Basalt lands big catch in the fly-fishing world
Basalt has landed a big fish to help boost business in the offseason this spring and build the town’s name recognition in the fly-fishing world.
The town will host the Rocky Mountain regional qualifier for the U.S. National Fly Fishing Championships, according to both Basalt organizers and the U.S. Fly Fishing Team’s website. The qualifier will be held in Basalt on May 5 and 6. At least 32 top anglers in the Rocky Mountain states will appear and possibly more.
“These are top-flight fishermen,” said Warrick Mobry, owner of Frying Pan Anglers in Basalt.
The anglers will be involved in competition on a Saturday and Sunday, most likely with two sessions of two hours each on Saturday on the Fryingpan and Roaring Fork rivers, then a another session on the streams and a session on Ruedi Reservoir on Sunday. Details will be arranged by the U.S. Fly Fishing Team after it examines the rivers and gauges conditions as the competition nears, Mobry said.
Mobry worked with contacts on the national fly-fishing team to build interest in Basalt. Once the team indicated it was interested in holding a qualifier in Basalt, Mobry started working with Bennett Bramson, a past president of the Basalt Chamber of Commerce and a driving force on the Basalt Arts and Social Happenings committee.
“I think this is an incredible opportunity for us,” Bramson said. “It’s not a massive number of people [in the event], but they’re going to bring their families.”
More important than possible short-term gains is the long-term exposure the event could bring to Basalt, Bramson and Mobry said. They want Basalt to become a regular host of the Rocky Mountain qualifier. Mobry said Basalt could even pursue the national competition, which determines which five fly fishermen make the U.S. team and compete in an international competition.
“I think it’s excellent,” Mobry said. “It’s amazing the number of people that haven’t heard of Basalt.”
Mobry said Basalt earned the qualifier because it is the only town in North America that has the confluence of two Gold Medal trout streams at its heart.
Bramson said some stretches of private water have been secured for the competition. Public sections also will be used. They will remain open to the public, but anglers will be asked to yield the waters to the competitors.
Mobry said anglers trying to improve their skills will have ample opportunities to watch the experts.
The competitors will catch and release the fish, collecting points for length and weight of their haul. Mobry said the stream flows at that time of year should be favorable. It is typically before the temperature is high enough to melt the snowpack enough to swell the rivers. The weather won’t make any difference to the anglers.
“They’ll catch the fish wherever they are,” Mobry said.
Bramson is recruiting businesses to contribute goods and services for the event. Volunteers also are needed. Bramson said people interested in helping can contact Darcy McNew at the Basalt Chamber of Commerce at 970-927-4031.
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