Elite fly fishermen from around the world came to Vail in September, 2010 for the America Cup International Fly Fishing Tournament. Though it was only in its fourth year, it is now the largest fly fishing competition in the United States.
Competitive fly fishing has been popular in Europe for decades, according to tournament founder and organizer John Knight, but is only beginning to gain traction here in the states. “You train a lot all year round individually, yet there are very few tournaments to test your skills,” he says. It was at Nationals in Boulder a few years ago that Knight got the idea to start his own competition with an international focus. Four years later, 70 anglers are competing for the Cup from states all over the U.S. as well as from Japan, Australia, Ireland, Italy, Poland, and Canada. Team USA and the U.S. Youth Fly Fishing Team should be fun to watch considering their success this summer at the World Fly Fishing Championships in Italy. Team USA took fifth place overall, the highest ranking in their history, and the Youth team walked away with Gold. A particular stand out was youth team member, Dan Marino, who won the individual Silver Medal. Participants are drawn to the Cup for a variety of reasons, but paramount is the location. National and international anglers love to compete in the premium fishing waters of the High Rockies and can bring along the family to enjoy Vail’s leisure activities. And while September is a very affordable time to visit Vail, it’s also a great time to snag some “browns,” or brown trout, that thrive in the cooling temperatures pre-fall spawn. The anglers will meet Thursday night at Evergreen Lodge and draw their beats for four competition venues: Lake Nottingham, Sylvan Lake, the Colorado River and The Blue River. For more information on times, events and how to get to the competition sites visit theamericacup.com.
PHOTOS courtesy of Justin Way, 2010 America Cup International Fly Fishing Tournament