Basalt hooks fly-fishing tourney | AspenTimes.com

Basalt hooks fly-fishing tourney

BASALT – Officials say they’ve hooked a big one on the tourism front.

Basalt has been named the host town for the 2013 U.S. National Fly Fishing Championship on Oct. 3 through 6, according to the Basalt Chamber of Commerce and Fly Fishing Team USA.

Bennett Bramson, a member of the Basalt committee working on the event, said it will have both direct and indirect benefits for the town.

“We’re anticipating 75 to 100 or more competitors,” Bramson said. Friends and family members could boost the number of people visiting Basalt for the event to 150 or 200 people, he said.

Even more importantly, it reinforces Basalt’s standing as a great fishing town and helps spread that word through news stories and coverage of the fly-fishing championships.

“We’re looking to get things in all the fly-fishing magazines,” Bramson said. Television coverage is possible on ESPN and fishing networks.

“We’re hoping to maximize the exposure of this,” Bramson said.

Basalt hosted the Rocky Mountain regional event in 2012 and proved to organizers that the Fryingpan, Roaring Fork and Colorado rivers were worthy of hosting a national event. Anglers in the Basalt event achieved two national records. One record was 55 fish caught in a three-hour period on the Fryingpan River. Another record for a float trip was established when 60 fish were caught in three hours on Ruedi Reservoir, according to Bramson.

The event is catch-and-release. Any fish that dies isn’t included in the scoring.

Basalt also showed organizers last year that the town is capable of accommodating a large group, according to Bramson. Thirty-two competitors visited Basalt in May.

Bramson said it is obvious that Basalt passed the test. Basalt was awarded the national championship less than two weeks after it applied.

The town is ready to capitalize on the recognition. The chamber has used the tag line “The Fly Fishing Capital of North America” since May in recognition of its gold-medal trout streams.

The top five competitors from the national competition in Basalt will advance to the World Fly Fishing Championships.

“It’s certainly an honor” for the top finishers, Bramson said. “It’s like winning a downhill ski race or winning an Olympic medal.”

The organizing committee will need help pulling the event off. It will be looking for 150 volunteers. Many of them will be controllers on the rivers who will track the anglers’ progress during the competition and measure the fish they catch. No fly-fishing experience is necessary for the volunteers, Bramson said.

Volunteers, sponsors and donors will be recruited as the event draw nearer. Anyone with questions should contact the Basalt Chamber of Commerce at 970-927-4031.

scondon@aspentimes.com