CLEVELAND, OHIO—Each year the Cleveland Museum of Natural History’s Trout Club hosts its annual “end of the season” celebration. As the Great Lakes Steelhead run winds down, anglers head west or across the Ohio state line to pursue trout and other species.
This year, though, the end of year “party” had a different twist as opposed to an evening sharing fish stories and photos with each other.
While there was still time to do that, the museum brought some of the top names in fly fishing to Cleveland for the inaugural, “Reflections from the Water.”
Event organizer and local anger, Jerry Darkes wanted a “fresh perspective” and to “attract some younger people to fly fishing,” as opposed to hosting the same event year after year.
Headlining “Reflections from the Water” was Global Fly Fisher, Jeff Currier, who has caught over 300 species of fish on the fly in addition to a lifetime worth of flyfishing experience.
Currier gave two lectures, “Improve your fishing photography,” and “Fly Fishing through Midlife Heaven.”
“The biggest thing, I want people to get is how to build your own story,” said Currier. “Everyone wants the hero shot of them holding the fish but there’s so much more to photographing fish and showcasing the trip you were on. You have to build a story for those that weren’t there.”
“I wanted to bring [Currier] in because he’s never been in this area before,” said Darkes. “Let’s try somebody new that’s fresh and can provide some new perspective and show everyone what fly fishing is about.”
For fly anglers, Steelhead fishing highlights the Lake Erie scene. However, Currier spoke on how starting out targeting a species can lead to a life long passion pursuing fish on the fly.
During his lectures he shared experiences fishing all over the world, traveling tens of thousands of miles, pursuing his dream of giving lectures, shooting photos and being a super-talented artist.
Drawing fish he has caught is a passion of Currier’s and he had his art front and center on display. From beer steins to coffee mugs and Cliff Fly Boxes, he can draw just about any fish known to man.
To make a living though he isn’t using thousand-dollar equipment the average person cannot afford. “I have a Nikon CoolPix that I take photos with,” added Currier. “Composition and light make up a photo and you can use the simple knobs on your camera to do that.”
After hosting trips and detailing experiences in Africa, India and places across the Globe, his most recent excursion brought him to Cleveland, a vastly different place than his most recent trip to Gabon.
While in Cleveland he did have the opportunity to get in some fishing in a region so vastly different than any other place.
“I’m a Northland College graduate in Ashland, Wisconsin,” said Currier. “I spent time fishing Lake Superior in school and absolutely just love the Great Lakes region.”
“What I love about the Great Lakes is they’re very undiscovered,” he added. “You can catch a lot of different species all year round and have great fishing almost anytime.”
From carp, musky and the warm water species, all the way to Salmon, Steelhead and migratory species, there’s something for everyone in our region.
“There are younger people in the sport now, targeting all different types of fish,” said Darkes. “The opportunities in the Great Lakes are unlimited and it’s easily accessible and affordable.”
In addition to Jeff Currier, some young anglers made their presence felt at the museum. Andrea Larko had her artwork on display while also providing plenty of cool insight about catching native Brook Trout and other species throughout her home state of Pennsylvania.
Other presenters were Greg Senyo and Steve Wascher, two household names in the fly tying business. The men had their bugs on display, demonstrating how to tie effective patterns. Jimmy Lampros and Jeff Liskay added some local flavor about gearing up to fish around the Great Lakes.
“Each presenter had an educational station,” said Darkes. “The whole idea was for attendees to stop, talk and learn a thing or two about fly-fishing from these people.”
“I’m glad we can show people fly fishing isn’t stereotypical old men fishing western rivers wearing tweed jackets,” said Darkes.
It’s time to put that image to bed and remember some of the names mentioned above. After this event, these anglers have not only made wakes in the fly fishing business already, but will do so for many years to come.
As for the event, a good crowd was on hand, engaged with all the presenters and all left exciting about getting on the water with a fly rod this summer.