It is time for the seventh annual Lake Athens Fly Fishing Festival and it looks like a weekend of fun for the whole family. There’ll be a 5 p.m. launch Friday, June 11 at the Lake Athens Marina, with an educational presentation with live music by Grant Broderick to follow.
The Friday event will be a Sunfish challenge and will require the fish stats and species to be identified. This is free and for fly anglers only. Check-in for the Sunfish challenge will be at 3 p.m.
Saturday morning, June 12, will be the Big Bass Challenge. Launch will be at 5:30 a.m. when participants will pick up their ruler, goodie bag and get their number. After prepping the boats, they will launch with first cast at 7 a.m. and come back in at 1 p.m.
Both events are catch, photograph, and release. Anglers will place their fish next to a ruler, take a photo, then release the fish. Photos will be submitted via text.
“While the anglers are on the water there will be fly tying demonstrations and casting instructors available for anyone wanting to learn to cast a fly rod,” said founder Johnny Martinez. “We will have educational opportunities so they can go and try their luck on the bank. That is available all day Saturday.”
Challengers will compete for awards such as Biggest Large Mouth Bass, longest stringer with multiple categories including boat fishermen, small crafts and bank fishing.
The event is free to attend and competitors in the Big Bass Challenge will pay a $40 fee which benefits Project Healing Waters and Casting for Recovery.
“This is our seventh year and it has become a labor of love. We enjoy doing this and we hope to share it with the community,” Martinez said. “I got started in the Dallas fly fishing club, but once I joined, found out they are all over in the region.”
Martinez said he is very happy to see more lady anglers joining the fun this year. He also said he would like to thank his sponsors, which can be found on the Johnny on the Fly Facebook page. Martinez also offers lessons and guided fishing excursions for fly fishing on Lake Athens and suggests finding a local club and outfitter to help you get started.