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Will Elliott: Helping fly fishing take flight

Fly fishing has a fascination that has drawn anglers to water edges for thousands of years.

The legendary nun, Dame Edith Sitwell, wrote a treatise on fly tying in a 1496 “Book of St. Albans” publication, long before Izaak Walton penned his “The Compleat Angler” and long after Greek and Roman authors had tied hair and feathers on angled iron to hook fish in the Classical Era.

That tradition and spirit of angling involvement can be learned and enjoyed during two schooling programs that teach teachers and serious students the ways of the waters and the lure of tied flies.

• Albert Rey, a Fredonia State College professor and co-founder of the Sports and resources education youth fly fishing program, has organized another “Children in the Streams” program. “This program is designed for teachers, conservationists, fly fishing guides and retired folks interested in learning more about how to teach aspects of fly fishing,” Ray writes.

The classes, held June 29 to July 2 at the Roger Tory Peterson Museum of Natural History in Jamestown, consist of morning sessions in classrooms and afternoons in the field and on the waters.

Along with Rey, the instructor team includes Dr. Janeil Rey and Dr. Mike Jabot. “The ultimate goal is to get youth outdoors and provide them with a fuller understanding and appreciation of their environment,” Rey added. The program accommodates 15 students and registrations must be in by June 5.

As a warmup to the class instruction, Rey also coordinates the 10th annual Canadaway Creek Conservation Project, which is set for 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. June 20. For more details on the conservation project and the Children in the Streams program, check with Rey at 410-7003.

• Pitt-Bradford will be the site for two sessions of the 2015 Kinzua Fly Fishing School. Session One goes May 2-3; Session Two is set for May 15-17.

Free loaner gear is provided for students without good fly-fishing tackle. Instruction is provided for anglers ages 12 and older at all skill levels.

Day sessions begin with morning classroom and casting sessions afield. Afternoon instruction is mainly on streams. Evening gatherings offer options for fishing approaches, knot-tying, fly-tying, line leaders, entomology and other learning sessions.

Instructors Steve Skvarka and Carl Zandi began the Kinzua Fly Fishing School in 1994 and cover most sessions. Professional fly fisherman Joe Humphreys will be a guest instructor for Session Two.

Fees vary for commuter and resident students and range from $285 to $445, depending on sessions and lodging.

For details on the school and registration information, check with Skvarka at (814) 368-5814 or email: