Presented by the Michigan Fly Fishing Club
Something for every fly angler at 2017’s Midwest Fly Fishing Expo
If variety is the spice of life, the lineup for 2017’s edition of the Midwest Fly Fishing Expo offers an intoxicating blend – from a native Michigander who made his name in Greater Yellowstone to a steelheader who chases chrome from the Great Lakes to the Pacific Northwest. The Expo is scheduled for Saturday, March 11, and Sunday, March 12.
“We’re pleased to have Craig Mathews, Rick Kustich, George Daniel and Landon Mayer headlining the Expo,” said Expo Chairman Jim Telinda. “We pride ourselves on bringing to Greater Detroit some of the sport’s most talented anglers. This year – our 40th annual Expo — is no exception. We’re especially pleased because this year’s cast is so education focused. Each excels in his own way in helping their fellow anglers become better.”
This year’s Expo headliners offer something for everyone, but the Expo is much more than the headliners.
“Are you interested in fly tiers who specialize in traditional Michigan patterns or those who create exceptionally realistic flies? We have them. Are you looking for tiers who are innovators or create flies for toothy species like pike and musky? We have them. Are you looking for a new venue to cast your flies? We’ve got travel specialists who will help get you to the destination of your dreams. If you’re a fan of angling literature or artwork, we’ve got specialists in those areas, too. If you only need to restock your supplies for the upcoming fly fishing season, we’ve got outfitters who’ll be happy to help you,” Telinda said.
The show will feature dozens of free seminars about fly fishing techniques, fly tying and fly fishing locales and will bring together more than 100 exhibitors, including dozens of tiers, rod builders, artists, guides, outfitters and conservation organizations. “We’ve got exhibitors from every corner of the country,” Telinda said. “While many of our exhibitors hail from Michigan and Ohio, we’ve also got outfitters, guides, artisans and artists from places like Washington State, Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Texas, Colorado, Illinois, Connecticut and Maine, as well as several from Ontario,” he said.
The annual Expo is the oldest all-fly fishing show east of the Mississippi and is hosted by the Livonia-based Michigan Fly Fishing Club. The Macomb Community College Sports & Expo Center is located at 14500 E. 12 Mile Rd. in Warren. Show hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $10 per person; boys and girls age 16 and under are free. Two-day tickets are $15. Parking is free.
See below for more information about the Expo’s featured presenters.
Craig Mathews, Montana:
Native Michigander Craig Mathews is a Michigan State University criminal justice grad who moved from Grand Rapids to West Yellowstone, MT, in 1979. The rest is history. In West Yellowstone, where he served as the town’s police chief, he and wife Jackie opened Blue Ribbon Flies (BRF) in 1980. While the Mathews sold BRF to long-time employee Cam Coffin in 2014, Craig will continue working with the shop. An innovative and prolific fly tier, Craig still ties 750-1,000 dozen flies each year.
As proprietors of BRF, Craig and Jackie have won numerous conservation awards for their environmental activities — the “Protector of Yellowstone National Park Award,” presented by Yellowstone National Park; “Business Conservationist of the Year,” presented independently by The Nature Conservancy and the Greater Yellowstone Coalition; and the “Lee Wulff Award,” presented by the International Fly Fishing Federation (IFFF). Fly Rod & Reel Magazine named Craig its “World Angler of the Year” in 2005. The Madison River Foundation honored him as a “Guardian of the Madison” in 2009 and Trout Unlimited named him its “Stream Champion” in 2011.
Craig has authored or co-authored nine important books on fishing. His latest, “Simple Fly-Fishing for Tenkara and Rod and Reel,” co-authored with Patagonia Inc. founder Yvon Chouinard, was published in 2014. The book has won two prestigious awards, the Banff Mountain Guidebook of the Year and the National Outdoor Book Award for a guidebook and instructional quality.
Craig recently completed a book project with Yale University, “The Artist’s Guide to the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem,” which is scheduled to be released in December.
Craig co-founded 1% for the Planet an alliance of businesses donating 1% of their gross sales to researched and approved conservation causes. To date, 1% for the Planet has donated more than $150 million to conservation and environmental programs.
Craig and Jackie both enjoy dry fly fishing for wild and native trout in Yellowstone country. Their favorite streams are the Madison and Firehole rivers. They have enjoyed winter fishing for bonefish and permit for more than 30 years in Belize, Mexico and the Bahamas. They also enjoy fishing in Chile and Argentina for trout as well as British Columbia for steelhead.
“The best thing about living in Yellowstone country and Montana and being in the fly fishing business for over 38 years are the people we work with and those friends we meet daily in the shop, as well as the wild trout and wild place we live in. We have always felt that giving back go the public resources we use to make a good living is not only the right thing to do but necessary to protect, preserve and enhance wild trout, wildlife and wild places for future generations to enjoy. That is how we modeled the BRF business ethic,” Craig said.
Rick Kustich, New York:
Rick began fly fishing more than 40 years ago on the lakes and streams of upstate New York. Since then he has traveled extensively to experience the finest fly fishing throughout North America and beyond but continues to find that some of the best fishing often exists in his own backyard – western New York, where he currently lives.
Rick spends a significant amount of time on the water each year and has developed a special passion for trout, musky and steelhead fishing in the Great Lakes and Northwest.
His writings and photos have appeared in numerous national and regional publications, including Fly Fisherman magazine. He is the author of “Hunting Musky with a Fly,” “Advanced Fly Fishing for Great Lakes Steelhead;” and “Reflections on the Water,” a collection of essays. He is featured in the DVD “Tube Flies for Steelhead.”
George Daniel, Pennsylvania:
George Daniel has been a fly fishing student all his life. He began fly fishing at the age of six in Potter County, PA, a remote region filled with wilderness and beautiful brook trout. By age 14, George’s family had relocated to Pennsylvania’s limestone region, which was home to the state’s best and best-known trout fisheries. By the age of 17, George was traveling throughout the state, seeking lessons from expert anglers. By age 21, George had learned from the best anglers in the region, including his mentor, Joe Humphreys.
Out of curiosity, George began entering local and national fly fishing competitions. Not long after, he earned a spot on Fly Fishing Team USA and remained on the team for seven seasons. Also during that time, George became a member of the coaching staff for US Youth Fly Fishing. He served two years as head coach.
As a member of the national fly fishing team, George won back-to-back US National Championships and placed in the top five in the 2006 World Fly Fishing Championship.
Eventually, the competition circuit took its toll, and George retired at age 32 to spend more time travelling with his family and to focus on fly fishing education.
George is a former manager of the TCO State College Fly Shop in central Pennsylvania and now owns and operates Livin On The Fly LLC, a guide/educational service company located near State College. George remains involved with the US Youth Fly Fishing Team and writes and conducts fly fishing clinics and presentations across the country. He recently became a contributing editor for Fly Fisherman magazine. His first book, “Dynamic Nymphing,” has become a best seller, and his second book, “Strip-Set,” was released in 2015. George lives along the banks of his favorite trout stream with his wife, Amidea, and their two children.
Landon Mayer, Colorado:
Landon Mayer’s angling career has been fueled by an addiction to pursuing large trout with small flies and lightweight fly fishing equipment. He enthusiastically teaches and demonstrates his techniques and on-river knowledge to fellow anglers and has developed innovative strategies for sighting, hooking, and landing selective trout.
He shares these tips and secrets in his books “101 Trout Tips: A Guide’s Secrets, Tactics and Techniques,” “Colorado’s Best Fly Fishing,” “Sight Fishing for Trout,” and “How to Catch the Biggest Trout of Your Life.” He also co-stars with noted fly tier John Barr in to two DVDs: “Landing the Trout of Your Life” and “Weapons of Bass Production.”
Mayer is a contributing writer for Fly Fisherman and High Country Angler magazines. He also has been featured in such magazines as Fly Rod & Reel, American Angler, Southwest Fly Fishing, Field & Stream, and Fish & Fly.
As an ambassador in the fly fishing industry, Mayer represents several lines including Simms Fly Fishing apparel and is a fly designer for Umpqua Feather Merchants. He is also an advisory team member for Simms, Ross, Abel, Scientific Angler, Smith Optics, Fish Pond, Yeti, Winston Fly Rods, and Casio Pro Trek watches.
Mayer guides in Colorado full time on the South Platte River. He resides with his wife, Michelle, and their four children in Florissant, CO.