Iron Fly fly-tying competition set for Sept. 21 at Minturn Saloon |

Iron Fly fly-tying competition set for Sept. 21 at Minturn Saloon

Local fishing guide Ray Kyle ties flies at the Vail Valley Anglers shop in Edwards. Kyle is preparing for the Iron Fly competition taking place Thursday, Sept. 21 at the Minturn Saloon.
Vail Valley Anglers | Special to the Daily |


What: Iron Chef-inspired fly-tying event.

Where: Minturn Saloon.

When: Sept. 21, 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Cost: $10 to enter, free to watch.

More information: Call 970-827-5406 or visit

It’s called the Iron Fly competition in homage to the “Iron Chef” television show, but actual pieces of iron might indeed be among the ingredients competitors find themselves asked to use.

The competition kicks off at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 21, and there may still be entries available by the time you read this.

The idea is simple, anglers are given a few unusual ingredients that must be used to make a fly which can be used to fish, and a panel of judges will evaluate their creations over the course of the night and determine a winner.

Iron Fly events are not new to this area, but a regularly occurring competition is missing from the annual event calendar in Eagle County, something those affiliated with this event are hoping will change.

“I’ve done a couple of these competitions — you’ll get a secret ingredient such as old boot laces from a wading boot, or a rubber tube from a bike tire — and then you’re given a certain amount of time to see what you can come up with,” said Ray Kyle, a fishing guide with Vail Valley Anglers. “It gives you a chance to be creative and see how creative other people can get.”


Kyle said he’s hoping for a good turnout on Thursday.

“It’s usually a fun setting, you’ll have a beer and walk around and talk about fly tying with people,” Kyle said. “Unfortunately there hasn’t been enough organization to keep an Iron Fly event going every year, but I’m hoping the Eagle River Watershed Council will be able to make it an annual thing with this one.”

The Eagle River Watershed Council’s goal is to advocate for the health and conservation of the Upper Colorado and Eagle River basins through research, education and projects. Representatives say getting local anglers involved in their mission is paramount to its success.

“The fly fishing community is a great advocate for the rivers because they’re out there seeing everything first hand,” said watershed council board member Johannah Richards. “Ever since I started fly fishing I’ve had a larger awareness for what really affects the rivers.”


Events such as the Iron Fly competition help turn what it often a solitary sport into something social, Richards said, which is why she suggested the council host an Iron Fly event.

“When I went to guide school, I remember the nights where we sat down and learned how to tie flies, and the time spent together doing that,” Richards said. “There was great camaraderie, communication and sharing, a lot of talks about rivers and fishing.”

Richards said it’s also a great way to capture children’s interest in the sport.

“It’s a crafty thing — kids love playing with the thread and seeing what you can make,” she said. “It’s a way to get kids involved in protecting the rivers and being conscious of river health and everything that comes with that.”

Kids will be welcome to watch or compete in the Iron Fly competition on Thursday; if enough junior competitors enter, then judges will create a kids-specific division of the competition.

For all competitors the cost to compete will be $10, and that includes a beer or a soda. Spectators, or course, can watch for free.

Competitors should register in advance by calling 970-827-5406 or visiting

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