Anchorage, AK: Iron Fly Fly Tying Battle

One of the challenges during Iron Fly. Photo by Brandon Hill
By: Eric Booton
On September 15th, 2016 fly tyers of all abilities and backgrounds descended upon Chilkoot Charlie’s, undoubtedly Anchorage’s most renowned bar, for the one and only Iron Fly Fly Tying Battle - an evening of friends, beverages, and exploiting every ounce of creativity they possess. With more than 75 attendees, the energy was high as participants took on challenges including the blindfolded nymph, dollar store material fly, and "survival fly" comprised of scrap materials left on the table and safety pins.
All set up and ready for the first contestants. Photo by Brandon Hill
Pig Farm Ink is a nationwide network of anglers and outdoor enthusiasts aimed at building community and getting individuals involved and outside.  As far as fly fishing communities go, Anchorage's is the only one I know.  From my experience there are plenty of fishy events to get anglers through the dark days of winter and I personally owe members of the local fly fishing community for kickstarting my knowledge of fishing in the area, improving my cast, and inspiring me to dive into fly tying.  Unless you have loved ones who are passionate about all things fishing and are willing to pass on their knowledge to you, it can be difficult for people to learn the skills they need to succeed.  
Fixing that was the goal of Iron Fly Anchorage.

Participating in one of the challenges. Photo by Brandon Hill

The highlight of the night wasn’t the best fly tied from scrap materials, the innovative incorporation of stickers and coasters, or even the blindfolded nymph... But the beginner challenges where 24 veteran fly tyers were each paired up with one of 24 novice tyers so that the 'newbies' could participate in the action, while learning to tie some classic fly patterns.  Giving new tyers the skills they need to succeed, inspiring them to get outside and involved while having fun with 75 of their newest friends - and that is what Iron Fly is all about.

To learn more about what Trout Unlimited is up to in Alaska, follow us on Facebook, and if you are curious what the heck Pig Farm Ink is visit their website here. Thank you to our event sponsors for helping provide some awesome prizes - Costa Sunglasses, Yeti Coolers, PostFly Box, Mountain View Sports, Mossy’s Fly Shop, Upstream Journey, Alaska Fly Fishers, and the Southcentral AK TU Chapter.
Eric Booton is the Sportsman's Engagement Organizer for Trout Unlimited's Alaska Program. He lives in Anchorage. 



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