So what is the Lovefest?
THE STREAMER Lovefest is our Celebration of Big Flies, Big Rods and Big Fish.
Every year devotees of streamer fishing come to Cotter from all over the US at the end of January, looking for White River brown trout, and the chance to hang out with some of the best in the game. For 2017 the Lovefest is held from 6.30 pm January 28, 2017.
Every year we have assembled some of the best and most entertaining streamer talent in the country. The 2017 bill includes from the Godfather Kelly Galloup, returning for the third time; Angler’s Choice Flies Michael Schmidt who has done much to fuel the explosion in streamer design; commercial tyer and Montana Fly Co designer Rich Strolis. We also expect the popular musky guide and tyer Chris Willen to be back this year.
Our own designers and guides Chad Johnson (Umpqua Feather Merchants), Alex Lafkas (Catch Flies)and Steve Dally (Rainy’s Flies) will be tying, alongside video guru Brian Wise and Missouri guide and buddy Jeff Trigg. Coming from futher afield are Umpqa designer Matt Bennett and blogger and guide Dave Hosler. And we are stoked to have our former peripateic guide and shop rat Chris Franzen and new family returning.
This is no stuffy tying demonstration: interaction between tyers and attendees is encouraged. The one fly shift, rule means tyers are spending plenty of time mingling with the crowd and answering questions. The food is also exceptional, helped out with the back of Rob Williams at Shawnee-Supreme Boats in Midway.
Every fly goes into a serious streamer fly box which is the main prize in the raffle. Last year we raised $2000 for the local Trout Unlimited Chapter. Our vendors normally offer up some other serious contributions. As well we probably have the best schwag bags of any show in the country that make it worth arriving early.
In conjunction with the event, we also have a very popular series of classes and events during January, for some quality learning.
January 14: Alex Lafkas Streamer Class $225. Class Full
January 15: Chad Johnson $50. Read More
January 28: Mike Schmidt (Class Full). Rich Strolis Class Full.
2017 TYERS. Click Each Name For More Details
A Louisiana native transplanted to the Texas Hill country, Matt Bennett joined us last year for the first time. He came to prominence outside his Texas networks with his Lunch Money pattern released by Umpqua in 2016.
Allan Broyhill is the tyer behind the Fish-Skull Broyhill’s Jackknife predator fly, which won Best Of Show – Freshwater Fly Pattern at the 2015 International Fly Tackle Dealer Show with Flymen Fishing Company. This native North Carolinian streamer junkie and photographer is the current Tennessee state record-holder for largest musky on the fly caught in a tournament. After spending much of the last nine years chasing predator species across the South with a fly rod, Arkansas is one of Alan’s final streamer frontiers
You might not know Justin Cowley’s flies but if you have fished any of Chad’s Streamer patterns or Steve’s Twerking Minnow then your have fished Justin’s ties. A former Montana fly fishing guide, Justin is back in Little Rock and has been streamer fishing the White and Little Red heavily.
His tying jones for articulated bugs has been such that Chad and Steve put him to work. Now we let him out from the back room.
The Tasmanian born dry fly addict would have rather curled up in the bottom of a boat for a nap than pull a bugger. But big bugs, big flies and big rods took the place of Steve’s dry fly jones. He loves taking photos of trophy brown trout, rowing people into trophy fish as much as swinging the rod. Steve is a fly designer for Rainy’s and a Sage Elite Guide.
Franz was a shy and quiet teenager when he first visited the White, fishy as all get out, and worked a couple of stints as shop rat here. Since then he has guided in Alaska, Chile and out West, but now settled back in the mountains of North Carolina.
He returns this year all grown up with wife and fellow streamer addict Jessica, and baby son. Check out his tying broadcasts live on Facebook
The Godfather of Modern Streamer fishing, Kelly has lost none of his hunger for trophy trout, radical streamer design. Sixteen years after Modern Streamer Fishing was release Galloip has a new wave of patterns being released by Montana Fly Co and his lines with Airflo.
This is Galloup’s third Lovefest and second year on a serious 30″ White River brown trout hunt.
Dave is the nice quiet one, in this cast of noisy beggars. A guide, blogger and photographer Hosler also gets noticed for some great ink, and a dry, very funny wit. He comes to this crowd with serious smallmouth jones and some no-holds barred fly design, pushing the boundaries.
Dave is also allowed out to play by one of the smartest, coolest chocolate labs we know, Finn
“Mississippi” Johnson has been a huge part of the development of the Fly Shop and our streamer passion and with Alex, and Steve one of the key figures in the growth of White River streamer fishing.
His talents as a guide and fly tyer has been recognised widely: he is an Umpqua fly designer and guide ambassador for Simms and Rio.
The spiritual leader of our unholy alliance of streamer guides Alex sparked White River streamer game in 2010. His incessant curiosity, and refusal to accept, and conventional wisdom as good enough, has driven a lot of the White River innovation. And he’s damn fun to spend a day in a boat with. Alex’s patterns are beign sold by Catch Flies. He is also a Sage Elite Guide
The “Ginger Viking” has done as much as anyone in the last decade to maintain the flame of modern streamer fishing.
Through his company Angler’s Choice Flies, he has churned out thousands of big articulated streamer, that catch fish and have inspired plenty of tiers and fishermen. He remains devoted to his craft, and nurturing the same skills in other. Check out his Facebook tying video sessions too.
We finally dragged Rich from his home waters in Connecticut, and the winter show circuit down to our tailwaters. A guide and commercial tyer Rich has several patterns in our bins with Montana Fly Co, from the 22 he has in production with MFC. Rich’s first book, Catching Shadows: Tying Flies For The Toughest Fish and Strategies for Fishing Them from Stackpole Books was released January 1, 2016.
Jeff is the owner/head guide of Ozark Sweetwater, based in central Missouri but a regular on the tailwaters in search of a large predatory brown trout or chasing smallmouth on the smaller streams in the Ozarks. He has tied at all the Lovefest events.
Jeff is a member of the Sage Elite Pro Staff, a certified casting instructor through the FFF and the sales rep for Towee Boats in Arkansas and Missouri.
Brian is another nationally known tier who has been around since the beginning. Brian put streamer fishing the North Fork of the White just across the border on the map and has had a huge influence on the popularity of streamer tying globally with what is undoubtably the best streamer tying videos anywhere. His new Streamer Chronicles series is not to be missed.
What can we say about Willy other than if there is a crowd of big streamer types Willy will make it more fun by being there. An exception musky guide in Wisconsin, he has been here since the beginning working on his trout game and miniaturizing his working patterns for the spotted fish.
Thanks to our Sponsors: Shawnee/Supreme Boats; Farbanks Brands (Sage, RIO & Redington; Yeti; TFO; Orvis; Rainy’s Flies; Montana Fly Co; Renzetti; Fishpond; Umpqua Feather Merchants; Hareline Dubbing; Wapsi; Whiting Farms; FlyMen Fishing Co; Howler Bros.,Rising.