In just two weeks, eleven talented fly tiers from across the Great Lakes region are headed to Warren, MI, for this year’s edition of the oldest fly fishing show east of the Mississippi to demonstrate their talents and ties. They will be tying flies from the tiniest nymphs to tempt finicky trout to huge creations worthy of a slashing strike from a Great Lakes musky.
Here are this year’s Midwest Fly Fishing Expo featured fly tiers:
Kevin D. Compton
is a commercial tier, author, speaker, tying instructor and a fly designer for the Solitude Fly Co. He lives in central Pennsylvania near the banks of the Little Juniata River and spends part of each summer in the Colorado Rockies, fishing and tying patterns for competition anglers, guides, and the bins at Vail Valley Anglers. His fly-tying company, Performance Flies, (www.performanceflies.com) distributes select tying materials, tools, and hooks, throughout North America. In 2006, he was the runner-up in the Team USA National Fly Tying Competition sponsored by “Fly Tyer” magazine. In September of 2006, he traveled to Portugal to the World Fly Fishing Championship where he contributed flies to the US competitors. Since then he has tied for members of Team USA at the National Championships and at the America’s Cup. In September of 2010 Kevin was the runner-up (to Charlie Craven) in the first annual Ironman Fly Tying Competition at the Denver Retailer Show. Kevin’s flies have been featured in magazines such as “Fly Fishing and Tying Journal” and in collections such as Rick Takahashi’s “Modern Midges” and George Daniel’s “Dynamic Nymphing.” He is currently at work on two fly-tying projects with Stackpole Books – “Tying Czech Nymphs” and “Styles of European Fly Patterns.” Compton will be demonstrating techniques for tying European nymphs.
is the person behind the fly tying website Frankenfly (www.frankenfly.com). His passion for fishing took root as a child watching his grandfather create homemade lures. He felt he could continue in his grandfather’s footsteps as a fly tyer. As a tier, Beel specializes in modern streamers and classic Michigan dry flies. He enjoys fishing for bass and trout. He ties commercially for Gates Au Sable Lodge and has affiliations with the Regal Vise Pro Staff, the Partridge of Redditch Pro Team, Enrico Puglisi’s Pro Staff, and Deer Creek Pro Staff.Beel will be demonstrating his modern streamers and classic Michigan dry flies.
Alan “Al” Ritt
grew in Michigan where his passion for fishing was born but that passion took flight in the West. He spent time in the early 1980’s in Northern California where he began tying flies and started fly fishing. In 1989 he moved to Northern Front Range of Colorado (Longmont), where he and his wife Diana reside. He is currently a member of the Pro staff of Whiting Farms, PEAK Fishing, Flymen Fishing Company, Performance Flies, Clear Goo Glue, Fishing for a Cause, Performance Flies, Pro Sportfisher, Diiachi Hooks, and a fly designer for Montana Fly Company. Ritt is on the board of International Federation of Flt Fishers (IFFF) Fly Tying Governors. He also is a guide on Colorado and Sylvan Dale Ranch just outside of Loveland. In addition to authoring articles in various magazines, he also published a book, “25 Best Most Versatile Flies.” His web site is: www.alrittflies.com. He will be demonstrating various Western trout flies..
is originally from Illinois, but now lives in Wellington, CO. He is a veteran guide who enjoys guiding clients on the waters of Colorado’s Front Range and the beautiful, productive waters of southern Wyoming. When he’s not guiding, he spends as much personal time on the water as possible and then it’s back to the vise, designing new flies and modifying older pattern. Haddix owns and operates his own tying business, Waters Edge Fly Tying Company. Not only are Jason’s flies extremely productive, but, because of the processes he uses, they are also very durable. Jason is affiliated with companies like Rite Bobbins, Peak Vises, Enrico Puglisi Products, Daiichi hooks, Rip Lips Fishing, Flymen Fishing Products and Rivers Wild. His website is: www.watersedgeflyco.com. Haddix will be demonstrating his famed warm-water flies.
is a third-generation fly tier, one of the true keepers of Michigan’s fly fishing history; and one of the best commercial fly tiers in the Midwest. Just like Trout Unlimited, Jerry was born along the fabled trout waters of the Au Sable River in Grayling. As a kid he learned fly tying and fishing from genuine Michigan legends like Earl Madsen and Ernie Borcher. True to his roots – and those of the flies he ties – Regan has avoided synthetic materials that have flooded the flytying market, preferring to stick with the original materials that were used. Regan will be demonstrating classic Au Sable fly patterns.
began tying more than 30 years ago … even before he began fishing on the Au Sable River in Northern Michigan. He has spent four seasons at the Gates Au Sable Lodge as a fly fishing instructor and is recognized as one of Michigan’s leading instructors of fly tying. His fly designs are fished extensively and with great success throughout the U.S. The owner of Riverhouse Fly Company, Potter has produced a number of fly tying videos. His web site is: www.riverhouseflyco.com. He will be demonstrating various trout patterns and fly tying techniques.
having grown up in Michigan, has been surrounded by big water all his life. Fly fishing and fly tying have been passions since he received his first fly tying kit at the age of 15. Even though he really likes the “traditional” fly fishing experience, he has taken the concepts of big saltwater flies and applied them to the big waters in Michigan. If you are interested in “blg flies” for lake trout, musky or bass, you can check them out at Great Lakes Fly (www.greatlakesfly.com). Berant will be tying his monster musky and pike flies.
is a world-class deer hair tier who hails from Howell, MI. He has spun many an amazing deer hair bug. In fact, in 2006 Federation of Fly Fishers competition he was awarded six world champion medals on all six of his entries. In addition to being a master at the spinning of deer hair, he is a very versatile tier. He has demonstrated and taught around the Great Lakes region and Midwest. He also has been featured at a number of IFFF Conclaves and Somerset (NJ) Fly Tying Symposiums. Reed will be tying his famous deer hair flies and other patterns.
is owner and principal fly tier for Angler’s Choice Flies of Dublin, Ohio. He specializes in winged wet, warmwater, coldwater, and saltwater patterns. He is an Orvis fly designer, a fly tying instructor for Mad River Outfitters, signature tier for JagFly Company/Steelhead Alley. He has published articles in Hatches on-line magazine. Schmidt’s web site is: www.anglerschoiceflies.com. He will be demonstrating his winged wet flies and “big fly” patterns.
has been fly fishing and tying for more than a decade. Originally a warm water fisherman, he began experimenting with deer hair bass bugs. Then he met the late Chris Helm of Toledo, Ohio, who was widely considered to be one of the world’s finest deer hair tiers. A friendship quickly developed. While Samson continues to specialize in deer hair bugs, he ties epoxy flies, saltwater flies, classic Atlantic salmon patterns and a variety of trout flies. Samson comprises one half of the duo from Glenn River Fly Co. www.glennriver.com. Samson will be demonstrating saltwater fly patterns.
Todd A. Schotts
owns and operates a production fly tying company “Grizzly Flies by Schottsie,” which launched more than a decade ago and founded the “Michigan Bobbin Slingers.” He is a long-time member of and volunteer for the Michigan Fly Fishing Club. A number of his patterns are to be featured this year in “Eastern Fly Fishing” magazine. He considers himself a bass bum, chasing both smallmouth and largemouth. He also enjoys chasing trout and whatever will take a fly. Some of his patterns can be seen in Bailiwicks located in Dexter, Michigan and through Brookhaven Lake Guide Service. He can be contacted at GrizzlyFlies@yahoo.com. Schotts will be demonstrating various warmwater and Thunder Creek patterns.