2023 Virginia Fly Fishing and Wine Festival
The 2023 Virginia Fly Fishing and Wine Festival is scheduled for January 14-15. A press release about the festival is below.
On January 14-15, 2023, the 22nd Annual Virginia Fly Fishing & Wine Festival will draw anglers from throughout Virginia and the Mid-Atlantic, Ohio, Georgia, South Carolina, New York, and even Vermont. Held at the Meadow Event Park, just 15 miles north of Richmond on the site of the state fairgrounds, the Virginia Fly Fishing & Wine Festival is the first event of its kind to combine fly fishing and wine tasting. Fly fishing manufacturers, lodges, guides, artists, fly tyers, wineries, and specialty food companies are among the more than 100 vendors who hail from all over the country. This year’s festival sponsors include the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation, Alaska Trophy Adventures Lodge, Harman’s North Fork Cottages, Steam Bell Beer Works, Norvise, and Trout Unlimited.
The 2023 Virginia Fly & Wine will feature several of the industry’s most prominent anglers and authors. Noted speakers and fly tyers include Tom Rosenbauer, George Daniel, Mac Brown, Beau Beasley, Tim O’Neil, Wanda Taylor, Ian and Charity Rutter, and special guest Kent Edmonds. Attendees will also enjoy hearing from popular regional guides and speakers like Colby Trow, Wayne Mcgee, Tom Sadler, Robert Thomas, Allen Rupp, Jim Bensinger, Matt Reilly, Gary Edwards, Matt Miles, Captain Peter Scafaru, and many others.
In addition to hearing from fly-fishing experts, attendees may enter a drawing to win a fabulous Grand Prize: six days of guided fishing (including accommodations) in Alaska, compliments of Alaska Trophy Adventures Lodge. Attendees may also proceed to the Trout Unlimited booth where they can meet Beverly Smith, Vice President of Volunteers for TU, and enter to win a drawing for a free annual membership as well as other prizes at the VA Council TU booth.
“We work hard to demystify fly fishing,” says festival director Beau Beasley. “Many are simply too intimidated by fly fishing and fly tying to even give them a try. We believe that the quiet sport is for everyone, so we find casting and tying experts who make it simple and fun.”
New this year is the festival’s Beyond the Cast Women’s Fly Fishing Symposium. “After our 2022 Texas Fly & Brew, I was challenged to bring something unique to the fly-fishing community just for women fly anglers,” says Beasley. “I’m grateful to be able to partner with Take Me Fishing to bring this fly-fishing symposium for women that offers more intermediate and advanced classes. We need to see more women with fly rods in their hands.”
“We are thrilled to be the festival’s sponsor and support this unique women’s initiative at the fly-fishing festivals in Virginia and Texas,” says Stephanie Vatalaro, Senior Vice President of Marketing & Communications for the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation. “RBFF’s Take Me Fishing brand has a focus on women with its national campaign Women Making Waves, supporting initiatives that make women feel comfortable and confident in the sport.”
The symposium stretches over two days, covers numerous topics of interest to outdoor women, and is open to fly anglers of any skill level. To kick off the weekend’s Beyond the Cast Symposium, an evening “Women’s Meet & Greet” for symposium attendees will be held Friday, January 13, 2023, from 5:30 to 7:30 PM at the festival hotel. Hosted by Steam Bell Beer Works, Meet & Greet guests will enjoy heavy hors d’oeuvres and great conservation with likeminded women.
“As far as I know,” Beasley continues, “nothing this specialized or large has ever been attempted at an event like ours. We are limiting the symposium to only 50 students on a first-come, first-served basis.” Symposium instructors and special guests include Charity Rutter, Kim Ranalla, Stephanie Vatalaro, Kiki Galvin, Tom Rosenbauer, Beverly Smith, Jonathan Mozingo, Pam Dunlap, Kaitlin Groundwater, Sarah Holt, Celia Johnson, Dana Williams, Rachel Bernard, Cheryl Bastian, Gabriella Hoffman, Amanda Nevel, and Bonnie Braiel.
Tom Rosenbauer will offer a number of specialty classes–some paid, and some available to all attendees–at the 2023 Virginia Fly & Wine. Returning this year is a streamer tactics class taught by author George Daniel and an advanced nymph fishing tactics class taught by well-known angler and author Mac Brown. All paid specialty classes are first-come, first-served.
“Our festival brings fly fishing to everyone,” says Beasley. “Commonsense fly-fishing and fly-tying instruction for the entire family–and wine tasting to boot? Frankly, the festival’s a pretty easy sell.”
Virginia Fly & Wine director Beasley recently sat down for an interview with Gabriella Hoffman to discuss public and private access along New York’s Delaware River, where a landowner has redrawn his property line to include the center of the river in a bid to deny access to wading anglers. The interview is available on Hoffman’s District of Conservation Podcast. You can find more information on the 2023 Virginia Fly & Wine by visiting vaflyfishingfestival.org.