If you're a fly fishing gear junkie, the biggest event of the year is just around the corner. July 9-12 is the International Fly Tackle Dealer (IFTD) exposition in Las Vegas, Nevada. Organized by the American Fly Fishing Trade Association (AFFTA), IFTD is the only trade show dedicated solely to fly fishing. IFTD is where the biggest names and brands in the industry get together to showcase new products, share industry news and network.


This year, IFTD and ICAST -- the world's largest sports fishing trade show (conventional tackle) -- are sharing dates and situating their expo space in adjoining halls. The combined event will dwarf all other fishing industry related gatherings.

A brightly colored Dolly Varden from the waters of the Tongass National Forest.

Until 1990, when congress passed the Tongass Timber Reform Act and changing market conditions forced the highly government subsidized logging companies in the Tongass to halt operations, the Tongass National Forest was the site of numerous large scale logging operations that clear cut old growth timber stands at the peril of the region's natural habitats and tourism industries. In 2010, the US Forest Service pledged a major course correction in management principles, one which would focus on young-growth timber and supporting job creation in existing industries such as fishing, seafood processing, mariculture, tourism, visitor services and alternative energy.

Alaska's tourism and fishing industries are both on the rise. Southeast Alaska is home to the largest workforce in Alaska's fishing and seafood industry and in 2012, the waters that surround the Tongass National Forest saw the most lucrative salmon harvests in the entire state. Cruise ship and tourist visitation have returned to previous high levels. Southeast Alaska's population of children and students are on the rise for the first time in decades.

Longwall mining in operation.

Anglers and other stream and river conservationists, already at odds with hydraulic fracturing, open pit mining and other fossil fuel extraction operations; are placing an increased focus on longwall mining after the state of Pennsylvania released information indicating that longwall mining operations by Consol Energy have severely depleted or entirely eliminated streamflow for six streams in the southwestern portion of the state.

Longwall mining is a more efficient mining practice than traditional room and pillar mining. In longwall mining, massive hydraulic equipment is used to shear and slice large segments of coal from mines. Unlike room and pillar mining, in which blocks of coal and other supports are left behind to support the earth, longwall mining leaves open caverns behind. These open caverns often cause surface subsidence above the mines, disrupting ecosystems and diverting water flows. In some locations, surface subsidence of more than 15 feet has resulted from longwall mining.

Hopper fishing is possibly the most exciting of all terrestrial fishing (photo: Louis Cahill).

The amount of useful information available to fly fisherman today is astounding. Folks with years of experience and expertise provide a veritable fountain of wisdom on virtually every topic that relates to fly fishing. The three reads highlighted below offer insightful information on a variety of early summer topics.

Terrestrials and the Weather

Terrestrial season has come to many areas across the country, but not to all. Knowing when, where and how to fish terrestrials will not only increase your chances of success, but may even offer up the opportunity to start your terrestrial fishing a bit earlier than you'd normally expect. Given that fishing terrestrials can be one of the most fun and exciting ways to take fish on the surface, this is good news for all. Kent Klewein from Gink and Gasoline covers how weather and other conditions affect the timing and tactics of terrestrial fishing.

Stealing away to the Southern Appalachians.

Every so often I find myself in a particularly lousy mood without knowing exactly why. In 99 percent of these cases, I have discovered the answer. It’s because I haven’t been up in north Georgia or east Tennessee recently enough, chasing the trout around.

With equal frequency, my non-angling friends ask me what’s the big about fly-fishing? While the adventure, the testing of one’s skills and the prospect of learning new things is allure enough, I have discovered that the answer for me is simple. It is the most restorative thing for my soul.

It all starts with getting there: at least out of Atlanta on a day or weekend trip. The smooth, speed limit transition out of the urban areas, through the suburbs, exurbs, and the gradual climb farther up into the southern Appalachian mountains is one long exhale after another into a slower heart rate and a clearer mind. Ah, there’s the Forest Service road. Six more miles at 15 miles per hour to go.