Once a year, for a weekend, there is a gathering of community. From all around the country they come to share their passion and wares. Some come to learn and listen and look. I go to live in those moments.

Last weekend,  under difficult weather conditions Tom Helgeson’s Greatwaters Fly Fishing Expo commenced for its 11th year . On Friday you could cut the stress with a knife as vendors made there way into the National Sports Center to set up their displays. Some did not make it, others ended up stranded in air ports or in the ditch. There was never any doubt about the effort made. When the doors opened, people came. Those who live in the North country have a resolve to endure the last of winters cruelness knowing the intensity of springs sun is just beyond the horizon. That resolve, once again, proved apparent. The Greatwaters has become a signal to us that wet lines are just around the corner. By Saturday everyone was there. Seminars were packed and traffic was lively. The exchanges were meaningful and honesty was at an all time high. I believe only about 1000 fish were overestimated in size:} It was good.

Thank you to all of you who made the effort. For me the experience is always meaningful. I made new friends and recalled adventures from the past with old pals. We all agreed we were the greatest anglers and teachers in the world, as we patted ourselves on the back,,,,, once again. I took a Tenkara lesson and gave out free flies to kids only after they promised to be the future keepers of our waters and wild places. I learned that parents are doing a great job of teaching their kids about the value of our resources. To those of you who watched my presentations, Thank You. Your comments and personal emails are humbling.  A vendor/friend who was near the stage asked curiously, how I could talk for 45 minutes about goats, bears, cops  and baby bottles at a fly fishing show and not have any one walk away from the show. With a smile I told him I’m not sure.

What was started by a father and carried on by a son and daughter has finished for another year. On March 1, I will wet my line once again in the waters of the Kinnickinnic River. My hopes will be to fool a wild trout and bring it to hand. The first one will get a kiss.  I will live in that moment just like The Greatwaters, knowing  all around me will be reminders of my good fortune.

Thank you