Go fish

Craig Wetzel, shown fly fishing at Beaver Creek, will instruct fly fishing classes at the Center. (Photo by Larry Claypool)

Many of us as a child played the game “Go Fish.” That is the message today. Spring officially begins tomorrow. When a young man’s thoughts turn to Spring he thinks of fishing. That may be true of some young, and not so young, women also.

One purpose of the Center is to bring to residents of the area opportunities to acquire knowledge and discover new interests. The editor of the Ohio Valley Outdoors Magazine approached the Center several months ago with the idea of offering a class on fly fishing.

The obvious question was which of the lakes or streams on our 8 acres of land just north of the East Liverpool High School property would be best suited for such a fishing experience. Editor Larry Claypool assured us that open water is not necessary. There is no intention that anyone will leave with a catch of the day. Everyone will receive valuable knowledge and acquire new fishing skills that will prove helpful regardless of where or what type of fishing they may choose for spending time on warm spring or summer days.

The first of three classes will be held at the Area Community Center on Tuesday, March 28. A second class will occur on April 4 and then on April 11. The time of the classes will be 7-9 p.m. There is no need to have any experience with fly fishing to participate. Prize drawings will be held at the end of each session with the prizes provided by area sponsors of the program. There will be a charge of $45 for the six hours of instruction included in the program. All classes will be held at the Community Center at 110 Maine Blvd., East Liverpool.

Preregistration is recommended due to limits placed on the size of the classes. Registration can be arranged by calling the East Liverpool Area Community & Learning Center at 330-303-2110. Messages left on the answering machine will be responded to promptly.

The Instructor of the classes is Craig Wetzel, who is a longtime practitioner of the art of fly fishing. Craig has fished most of the waterway habitats of creeks, ponds, lakes, rivers, streams and cutter strips that abound throughout the tri-state area. All present opportunities for fun and sport for a fisherman. The favorite and most productive fly fishing spots are found in the waters of Beaver Creek, designated as a one of the nation’s Wild and Scenic Rivers. Claypool has opined that one of the best fishing streams in the region is Middle Beaver Creek and he says that Craig knows those waters best.

Students will learn about area fish species, rods, reels, line, the selection and tying of the flies and particularly the proper and unique methods of casting a fly. A fly rod requires a very different technique and skill than traditional spinning and bait fishing which may be more popular among local fishermen. It has been said that fly fishing presents a greater challenge and is more of an art form than the other forms of fishing.

Wetzel is a man of many talents. His wall murals of the downtown of the city and area attractions have, for years, graced Nentwick Convalescent Center, now the Valley Oaks Convalescent Center. His wall paintings cover all the hallways there. What a treasure and a wonderful way to help the residents recall their earlier and perhaps better years. Craig also authored a pictorial book about his murals entitled “Come Home and Remember.” Copies of his book are available for sale at the Center and at the Museum of Ceramics.

Over the years, Craig has shared his historical musings about local history and events through numerous articles in The Review and at appearances before local clubs and gatherings.

Now Craig offers to share his cumulative knowledge of his favorite hobby — fly fishing — with others from his community through these classes entitled “Fly Fishing 101.”