Editor’s Note: The 2020 Expo did not happen due to COVID-19
Every year I write about the NW Expo held in Albany Oregon and why you and the reader of these articles should attend the show. The show is an awesome showcase of local and national tyers. There are also educational components to the show like the classes they offer. I’ve taken and put on classes there and I would recommend anyone who is looking to better their casting, fishing, or ting should really consider taking a class, nothing replaces real life instruction.
There is always the eclectic group of fly tyers there. Tying everything from full dress and classic steelhead flies to bass bugs to euro nymphs to streamers to dries. I’ve learned tons over the years of attending the show. Some of my favorite full dress tyers are Linda Bachand, Mike Marlet, and Rockwell Hammond. These tyers do an excellent job on freestyling new patterns and recreating old classic flies from hand forged hooks. They are a treat to watch and especially informative if you want to get into that style of fly tying. The Steelhead tyers are some of my favorites because of who the people are and what they tie. Guys like Sean Dehlquist, Nick Riggs, Dave McNeese, Jon Harrang, and John Shewey are pleasant to be around and get tiers. Sean and Nick are a dynamic duo that should be experienced by all. Dave is a nutcase but a wonderful tyer, instructor, and a PNW classic. Jon Harrang is methodical and precise so pay attention to him. John Shewey and his dogs are great. His flies speak for themselves to go check them out and talk steelhead. The other tyers I would go check out no matter what you tie would be Garren Wood, Me (Garrett Lesko), Shawn West, Chris Williams, Steven Fernadez. Shawn and myself tie deer hair bass flies. Shawn ties smaller and more classically, where I tie big and more modern. We send people who watch us to each other so you can get two different positions. Garren is multi talented either weaving steelhead or stonefly patterns of diving into his synthetic paper flies, he is a well of knowledge. Chris Williams is a great dry fly tier. His flies catch fish and are perfectly and originally tied. Steven Fernadez is one of those guys that you might miss at this show if you don’t know who he is. His flies are some of the best tied flies in the world. He invented the pompadour wing steelhead fly and has won the Buz Buszek award. His nymphs and dries he ties are just spectacular and so clean. So whatever your fancy he’s got it. I could go on and on about tiers like Jackson Leong who does realistic flies to the anatomical precision. Or Tony Muncy who does a little bit of everything and is a great educator.
If you do make it to the show please come by the Oregon Fly Tying booth. We will have materials, flies, tools, and other stuff for sale. Also if I’m not tying or wandering around the floor i’ll be there tying flies and spraying poppers. Becca Huffman will be there as well tying flies and showing off her recycled fly line jewelry. She’ll also be on the floor tying flies. Jay Nichols will have some loot there for sale so keep an eye out for that. Nothing else comes to say hi to Garren, Becca, Jay, or myself.
Below there are some pictures of some of the tyers and some flies they tie, all the pictures can be found on the website under photos.