OCTOBER 15th, 2022 Fly Fishing in Honor of Late WRWA President Bill Rose
(above) Bill Rose fly fishing on the Westfield River
WESTFIELD (Oct. 5, 2022) – The Westfield River Watershed Association (WRWA) and the Western Mass. Fly Fishermen (WMFF) will honor their late president with the free Bill Rose Memorial Fly Fishing clinic Saturday, October 15 from 9:00 a.m. to noon. The clinic will take place on Route 20 in Huntington, Mass., in the turnout on the Westfield River, across from the Huntington Health Center. Children and teens are welcome with the supervision of an adult at this family-friendly event.
“Early fall is a lovely time to get outside and enjoy the treasures of the Westfield River watershed!” encourages Mark Damon, current WRWA president. “Bill Rose was president of both the WMWA and the WMFF at the time of his death. He loved fly fishing! In his memory, we invite folks to try fly-fishing for the first time—or get expert tips and coaching for the experienced fisherfolk out there.”
People can drop in throughout the morning and watch a fly-tying demonstration and practice casting. The late Bill Rose, president of both the watershed and fly-fishing associations for many years, was an avid fly-fisherman. He always urged folks to give it a try, “Beginners are welcome! It’s not as complicated as it looks on TV,” he would declare. “Kids as young as 6 can successfully tie simple flies and cast their lines. You only need to cast out a few feet to successfully catch fish in our local streams and rivers.”
The Mass. Division of Fisheries and Wildlife stocks waters around the state. “You can spend a great day outside in nature fly-fishing and then enjoy a nice home-cooked meal of fresh trout or bass,” says Brian Conz, WRWA Treasurer. “Or, catch-and-release like many folks do now, to help protect our local resources.”
In addition to fly fishing activities, Damon, who is a biologist, will be on hand to net insects from the river and help participants learn to identify them under microscopes. “Knowing what the fish eat and how those bugs behave in the water helps make folks better fishers,” says Damon. “The flies you tie need to mimic the real bugs to entice the fish.” The WMFF will guide folks through tying simple flies that they can use when they go out on their own.
WRWA encourages people who own a fly rod and want to learn more about using it to bring it to the clinic. For those who have never tried fly fishing before, some equipment will be available to use at the clinic. “A decent beginning fly-fishing combo is available for as low as $25-50 complete,” according to the fishermen’s group. “Take up the challenge of outwitting the fish. It’s great family fun! If you have an interest in fishing and want to try fly-fishing, then come out and join us!”
Damon adds that as a tribute to Bill Rose a beginning fly-fishing set will be given to a young participant who otherwise would not be able to access the sport. “Our organizations are committed to making the river and its environment accessible, safe and fun for all those who live in our watershed. We strongly encourage people from all walks of life and ages to come and learn some of the basics of this sport.”
There will be a portable toilet on site. The clinic will be held rain or shine, barring extremely stormy weather.
The Westfield River Watershed Association was established in 1953 to protect and improve the natural resources of the watershed, as well as to expand recreational and other land use opportunities for people's enjoyment and for sound ecology.