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A wealth of fly-tying materials uncovered locally

By Don Daniels
Mike Zutter was a master at tying classic fishing flys. Heidi Zutter photo

By Don Daniels

It all begins with a simple tackle box and along with a fishing rod, you’ll be able to go out fishing.

Over the years, the materials gathered will grow and at times, extra storage boxes will be added along with closets being filled with fishing odds and ends, which will then extend to storage in the garage or basement. I know a number of people who have collected fishing rods, hooks and boxes full of swivels and other fishing-related supplies.

There are people who buy and sell online while others haven’t looked at the boxes that that have been in storage for years. There are collectors that know some old treasures are sellable but it takes time and experience to know what is valuable and what should be discarded or donated. And there are guys who have in storage enough fishing gear to outfit an army.

The late Michael Zutter was a miner in Kimberley, an avid fly-fisher and tyer and at one time owned a fly shop, then he moved to Campbell River. Heidi Zutter decided to liquidate the fly-tying materials and had reached out through social media. She also held a garage sale in Courtenay and try to downsize the materials remaining in the house.

There were hundreds, if not thousands of various fly-fishing collectibles and it would take time to sort out. The more expensive items were set aside for a silent auction; the rest of materials were put out for the public to purchase. Those who attended were given a number and then could buy any materials that were displayed.

Members from the fly-fishing community have dedicated time and effort to help out in the sale and the interest has spread around Vancouver Island. Michael Zutter was well known for tying classic flies and collecting feathers was a passion and obsession.

We have one more session for the fly-tying for beginners at the Seniors Centre at Ironwood Mall this Friday from 1 to 3 p.m. We have a full house and the students who have attended these workshops will come back for the final session in April. There might be an added session in May but it will be announced once details get nailed down for a time and date if we go forward.

These sessions are a great way to learn the art of fly-tying for beginners and I get to see the progress they have made since day one before they get out and fish local rivers and lakes. I also get to learn about each person and learn why fishing is so important in their lives and since we live in the fishing zone, each angler has a story about why they get out and go fishing. I am working on a book giveaway and it will be free to enter at the place that is chosen in weeks to come.

At the time of writing, the rain is coming down hard and when things clear, it will be a check of river and lake conditions around Campbell River and north to Sayward and the Salmon River. The area looks fishable but the recent rain will change that.

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