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Great Waters Fly Fishing Expo coming to the NSC, March 20-22

03/04/2015, 4:15pm CST
By Barclay Kruse, NSC Chief Communications Officer

BLAINE, Minn. (March 4, 2015) – The National Sports Center (NSC) in Blaine will host its third and final outdoor show of the winter season by presenting Tom Helgeson’s Great Waters Fly Fishing Expo, March 20-22, 2015. The Expo will be held at the Schwan Center on the NSC campus.  

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The NSC previously hosted the Hard Water Ice Fishing Show last November and will host the Minnesota Deer Classic March 6-8.

Tom Helgeson’s Great Waters Fly Fishing Expo is a celebration of the sport -- a chance for our diverse community to come together to share their knowledge and enjoyment of fly fishing.

The expo is a gathering place that allows new anglers to mix with a welcoming group of seasoned pros, helping those of all skill levels achieve a deeper and richer appreciation for the sport. Whether an angler is passionate about trout, musky or bass, the Great Waters Expo has the experts, gear and instruction necessary to make anglers successful in their pursuits.

This marks the fifth year that the Great Waters Fly Fishing Expo has been held at the NSC, in a partnership with the Tom Helgeson family. The event was started by Helgeson, a Minnesota fly fishing legend. Helgeson published Midwest Fly Fishing Magazine and was a leading conservationist and advocate for clean water and trout habitat preservation. Helgeson died of cancer in November of 2010. His family is dedicated to carrying on the Expo and Tom’s passionate advocacy for fly fishing in the Midwest.

Here are some of the special events scheduled for the Great Waters Fly Fishing Expo:

Master Fly

Coming back for a second year after its popular debut last year is Master Fly, the fiercest fly tying battle in the Midwest.

Master Fly is a high-stakes and fast-paced test to determine who can tie the best flies under a crushing deadline. This year, Master Fly will include two trying tournaments, both on Saturday, March 21. The first tournament, the Flashabou Classic, will determine who can tie the most badass musky fly. Participants must bring their own vises, materials and tools. This is a straight-ahead event with no secret ingredient. The second tournament, later in the afternoon, will test tiers’ skills at creating the most fearsome fly that best utilizes a secret material, revealed moments before each heat. Judging in both events will be handled by a range of fly fishing celebrities, experts and skilled tiers.

Montana Fly Co., Scientific Anglers, Hedron and Regal Vise are sponsoring Master Fly and providing prizes for the winners of each heat and the final champion. The event will be hosted by fly fishing celebrity and guide Paul Hansen.

Master Fly registration is free for expo attendees. To sign up, send an e-mail with the contestant’s name and phone number to greatwatersexpo@gmail.com. Master Fly will be held on Saturday, March 21, at 12 noon, in Gold Room B in the Schwan Center.

Federation of Fly Fishers Casting Lessons

The Federation of Fly Fishers certified professional teachers will be giving casting lessons for free during the entire show in the Sport Expo Center. They will have their entire team of certified professionals on hand to give free lessons on how to cast a fly rod.

Previously this winter, the National Sports Center hosted the Hard Water Ice Fishing Show last November. Coming up next month is the Minnesota Deer Classic, March 8-10.

Parent/Youth Introduction to Fly Fishing Class

This is a fun and fast-paced class designed to give the young angler a basic introduction to fly fishing including tackle and equipment, what and where to fish, fishing safety, and tips for adults to help young people learn to fish. This class is designed for youth ages 7 to 16 years old and at least one parent or responsible adult must accompany their young angler(s) to the class. Each youth will receive a “passport” for them to participate in hands on activities with the chance to win a drawing for a complete fly fishing outfit at the end of the day on Saturday.

The parent/youth class will be held on Saturday, March 21 at 11 a.m. in Schwan Center suite 2.

Great Waters Fly Fishing Expo Facts:

Location: Sport Expo Center and Schwan Center on the campus of the National Sports Center. 1750 105th Ave NE, Blaine, MN 55449.

Admission: adults, $10 per day; youth (12-17), $7 per day; Youth (11 and under), free.

Hours: Friday, March 20, 3-8 p.m.; Saturday, March 21, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; and Sunday, March 22, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Seminar Schedule:

Friday, March 20:

5 p.m., Schwan Center Gold Room: Andy Roth, “Streams of Western Wisconsin.”
6 p.m., Schwan Center Gold Room: Chris Hansen, “Musky Fishing in the Metro.”

Saturday, March 21:

11 a.m., Schwan Center Suite 2: Lew Jewett, “Parent/Youth Introduction to Fly Fishing Class”
11 a.m., Schwan Center Gold Room: “Trout Unlimited Conservation.”
12 noon, Schwan Center Suite 2: Carl Haensel, “Fly Fishing Northeast Minnesota.”
12 noon, Schwan Center Suite 3: Jean-Paul (J.P.) Lipton, “Rough Fish Flies.”
12 noon, Schwan Center Gold Room B: Master Fly Tying Tournament
12 noon, Schwan Center Gold Room: Wendy and Larry Mann, “Musky Fishing in the North Country.”
1 p.m., Schwan Center Gold Room A: Jamie Luneman, “Fishing the Streams of Northeast Minnesota.”
1 p.m., Schwan Center Suite 2: Jim Kojis, “A Beginners Workshop.”
2 p.m., Schwan Center Suite 3: Dave Whitlock, “Trout Flies.”
2 p.m., Schwan Center Gold Room: Tim Holschlag, “Bass Fishing.”
2 p.m., Schwan Center Suite 2: “Trout Unlimited Conservation.”
3 p.m., Schwan Center Suite 2: Bob Wagner, “Fishing North Central Minnesota.”
3 p.m., Schwan Center Gold Room: Scott Thorpe, “Coaster Brook Trout – Past, Present and Future.”
4 p.m., Schwan Center Gold Room: Jean-Paul (J.P.) Lipton, “Rough Fish, the Other White Meat.”
4 p.m., Schwan Center Suite 3: Patterson Leeth, “Minneapolis Fly Fishing.”

Sunday, March 22:

11 a.m., Schwan Center Gold Room: Carl Hensel, “Fly Fishing in Northeast Minnesota.”
11 a.m., Schwan Center Suite 2: “Writers’ Workshop.”
12 noon, Schwan Center Suite 2: Larry Donahe, “Bamboo Rod Building.”
12 noon, Schwan Center Suite 3: Jean-Paul (J.P.) Lipton, “Rough Fish Flies.”
12 noon, Schwan Center Gold Room: “Trout Unlimited Conservation.”
1 p.m., Schwan Center Gold Room: Dan Frasier, ‘Freshwater Bones: Carp on a Fly.”
1 p.m., Schwan Center Suite 3: Dave Whitlock, “Trout Flies.”
1 p.m., Schwan Center Suite 2: Kip Vieth, “Strategies for Trophy Muskies.”
2 p.m., Schwan Center Gold Room: Paul Hansen, “Kayak Fishing in the Midwest.”
2 p.m., Schwan Center Suite 2: “Trout Unlimited Conservation.”

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