International fly-tying event comes to Pa.

Next weekend, I will be a featured fly tier at the International Fly Tying Symposium.

This will be the 27th edition of this prestigious event, which showcases some of the best fly-tying talent in the United States, the Netherlands, Italy, Canada and the United Kingdom. Whether you want to see tiny dry flies designed to tempt the fussiest trout or some gargantuan creation to seduce some saltwater monster or just about anything in between, the ITS will have more than 80 tiers producing all sorts of specialty fly patterns and fly-tying techniques.

I’m especially excited that this year’s IFTS will be held here in Pennsylvania at the Lancaster Marriott in Lancaster on Nov. 11-12. Since its inception in 1991, the IFTS had been located in northern New Jersey, but the large convention center there that housed the event closed its doors earlier this year, making a change of venue necessary.

Show promoter Chuck Furimsky chose the Lancaster location for the new home of the IFTS, which should be more appealing to fly-tying enthusiasts throughout central Pennsylvania as well as Maryland and northern Virginia. After having been a featured tier during the first several years of the IFTS, I am looking forward to being part of the event again, seeing old friends and making new ones.

Fly tiers and fly anglers of all skill levels and experience will benefit from attending the IFTS. There is so much to see and learn that it is almost impossible to cover it all in just two days. Just roaming the show floor to observe and talk with some of the best fly tiers in the country one-on-one as they demonstrate their favorite patterns and tying techniques is an incredible opportunity. I always enjoy sharing my passion and expertise regarding fly tying with the show attendees, and most of the other pro tiers at the show are equally willing to do the same. In fact, one of the downsides of being part of the show is not having the time to get around and “talk shop” with many of my fellow tiers.

In addition to the dozens of great tiers on display throughout the show, special tying demonstrations with be presented by noted tiers, including: Bob Clouser, “My Latest New Patterns;” Tim Flagler, “Flies That Catch Fish and Are Easy to Tie;” Charlie Craven, “My Favorite Patterns;” Blane Chocklet, “Trigger Flies and Game Changers;” Daniel Galhardo, “Tying and Fishing Tankara Flies;” and Robert Smith, “Soft Hackle Techniques.”

There will also be a continuous array of free seminars both days of the show presented by experts on topics like Live Insect Identification, Designing Flies that Trigger Strikes, Dry Flies and Matching The Hatch, Development of the Wet Fly, Finding Success with Emergers and Late Fall Fly Fishing.

And for intermediate level tiers who would like to ramp up their tying skills, special tying classes will be offered on Saturday and Sunday mornings for a registration fee of $80. Class sizes are limited to ensure all students will get plenty of personal attention from experts in their craft. Classes scheduled are: Jerome Coviello, “Hair Spinning and Stacking;” Charlie Craven, “New Patterns;” Blane Chocklett, “New Tying Techniques;” Matthew Green, “Identify and Imitate Insects;” and Tim Cammisa, “Tying Flies That Have Won International Competitions.”

The 2017 IFTS will be held in the ballroom of the Lancaster Marriott Hotel, 25 S. Queen Street, Lancaster, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Nov. 11 and 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 12. Admission is $15 on Saturday, $12 on Sunday or $22 for a weekend pass. Children under age 16 are admitted free. For more information about the IFTS, ticket information or class registration, check out the show website,, or call the show office at 814-443-3638.

If you plan to attend the IFTS, please stop by my tying table and say “Hi.” I will also be unveiling a special new fly-tying material to tie the popular Walt’s Worm fly pattern. I created that simple little fly back in 1984, and it has since developed a loyal following here in Pennsylvania and around the country as well. It has been a tremendously productive fly to say the least, but I am constantly amazed how many anglers have adopted it as one of their favorite patterns as well.

It is quite simple to tie but does require a special blend of rabbit fur and some synthetic fibers to work well. By popular demand, I have found a supplier to produce that blend in four useful colors and will be debuting it at the show. I don’t really want to get into the fly-tying material business, but if the stuff goes well at the show, I will try to find some local outlets for the material in the near future. I’ll keep you posted.