River fun at GoPro Games
Special to the Daily
One of the first major events (and my favorite) of the summer is the GoPro Mountain Games — and this year fly-fishing has a huge presence during the weekend. All of these events are competitive, but fun natured and a great way to meet other anglers in the community. Big thanks to Rick Messmer for all the hard work in organizing these events. It’s going to be a fun year for fly-fishing at the Mountain Games.
A new event that is taking place on the fast and technical Eagle River puts an experienced oarsman and angler in a boat together to try and outfish the other teams. After one run down the river, the teams will be shuttled back to the put in and the angler now will take over control of the sticks, while the oarsman now becomes the angler.
The boats are going to launch on Thursday at 8 a.m. The competitors are required to have the experience and knowledge that it takes to get down the Eagle River. There will be a judge on each boat to record the number of fish caught and the length of three fish that the anglers choose as their bonus fish (each inch counts as two bonus points).
This is definitely an event for the hardcore anglers out there who love float fishing the Eagle River. There are still spots available for registration. The top two winners will go on to fish in the finals on Sunday.
Kids Cast & Catch
Another great new event added to this year’s Mountain Games is the Kids Cast and Catch. This event is for kids 14 or younger and will give them a chance to cast at targets on dry land and then participate in a catch and release competition on a local pond. Both girls and boys are encouraged to sign up for this fun event and they will need to provide their own fly rod, reel, and flies for the fishing portion.
The first 50 kids to sign up will receive a set of six flies from LL Bean and will also have an opportunity to win some amazing prizes for the top three competitors. The event is at 9 a.m. on Friday You can sign up your kid on the Mountain Games website.
For the second year, the Iron Fly competition puts the top fly tiers in the area in a head-to-head competition. The format is similar to the television show Iron Chef where seasoned tiers receive random materials to create unique and functional flies to be judged by a panel of experts from the fly-fishing community.
The competition consists of three challenges testing classic tying skills, creativity and speed with the added twist of some mystery ingredients. The competitors must bring their own vise and tying tools however all materials and hooks will be provided. The top two winners will go on to fish in the finals on Sunday.
2 Fly X-Stream Casting
The X-Stream Casting competition is the one that started it all for fly fishing at the Mountain Games. This is a two-round event with the qualifiers consisting of an accuracy and distance challenge. The top 15 men’s and the top five women’s scores from the qualifier round will go on to the International Bridge to show off and test their skills in front of a crowd.
The semifinal round will have anglers going for targets along the edges of Gore Creek and a few hanging from the bridge. The top seven men and top three women will then go on to the Sunday Fishing Final and will finally be able to aim for fish and the championship. There are spots still available for both men and women for this Saturday morning event held at Golden Peak.
Sunday Fishing Finals
If you are one of the top competitors in Catch Wars, Iron Fly or the X-Stream Casting competitions you get your ticket punch for a chance to win the championship. The finals are a head-to-head, catch and release, float-fishing bonanza. The Sunday Fishing Finals isn’t your average fishing competition though. Competitors will only be able to have two different types of flies and a total of only six flies in your box. Your choice of flies could be the difference between losing and standing on top of the podium.
Check out the Mountain Games website (www,mountaingames.com) for more information about the events, rules and times. You can also register on the same website if you feel testing your fly-fishing skills. There’s always a great swag bag for just signing up. If you don’t feel like competing but still want to be part of the fly fishing events, there are opportunities to volunteer. If you are interested in volunteering contact Messmer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 970-376-0041.
Ray Kyle is the Shop Supervisor and a Guide at Vail Valley Anglers. He can be reached at (970)926-0900 or email@example.com