This month the Penobscot Fly Fishers celebrated its 20th anniversary. The Bangor area fishing club held a banquet for members and guests at a local events center. Following dinner and a social hour, the group’s president, Ed Dailide, offered some opening remarks. Charter members of the organization were recognized as well as past presidents. The anniversary cake was cut by past recipients of the Gray Ghost Award and guest speakers V. Paul Reynolds, editor of the Northwoods Sporting Journal, John Holyoke, outdoor editor of the Bangor Daily News, and Rod McGarry from the Federation of Fly Fishers entertained guests with reflections and fishing stories.
Since its inception in 1997, the Penobscot Fly Fishers has become a recognized community resource when it comes to fishery conservation efforts and the promotion of fly fishing and fly tying. The group mentors aspiring fly fishermen and offers basic fly tying courses every winter for a nominal fee. In early spring, the chapter sponsors a Cabin Fever Reliever weekend at the Brewer auditorium. During this event, more than 50 exhibitors represent a multitude of outdoor interests, including demonstrations of fly tying and fly casting.
The Penobscot Fly Fishers also supports fly fishing and fly tying educational programs at summer youth camps as well as scholarships for youngsters. The club also conducts an annual fly-tying symposium, during which well-known fly-tyers demonstrate special tying techniques for the general public.
In 2014, the Maine Chapter of the Wildlife Society honored the Penobscot Fly Fishers with a recognition award for its excellence in wildlife stewardship through science and education.
Throughout the year, the group holds monthly member meetings at local restaurants. The meetings include guest speakers on a variety of outdoor topics.
Although not talked about a lot, the club had an interesting beginning that was actually a product of conflict. In 1997, twenty-one members of the local chapter of Trout Unlimited (TU), which is a national organization, grew disenchanted when TU headquarters advised the local chapter that its position on a state dam licensing controversy was unacceptable. To its credit, the group refused to be dictated to and elected to split off from the national fishing organization: the Penobscot Fly Fishers was born.
The platitude applies. It’s an ill wind that doesn’t blow somebody some good. To its credit, the Penobscot Fly Fishers, in its reconstituted form, has probably made a more substantive and meaningful contribution to fishery conservation and fly fishing mentorship than it ever would have as a local TU chapter.
The charter members, whose vision and devotion to principles, led to the group’s founding are, in no particular order: Joe Bertolaccini, Janice Blake, Harold Brown, Ed Bruno, Ron Carr, Michael Caruso, Don Corey, Earl Eastwood, Ron Eddy, Robert Field, Alan Gray, Marcus Hale, Ronald Landry, John Lent, Fran Montville, Joe Partridge, Michael Roy, Bill Smith, Jim Snow and Paul Thibault.
Congratulations, Penobscot Fly Fishers, on your 20th anniversary and a job well done.