By Davis Horton

I can’t say enough about the quality of our show committee. Their dedication to planning and overall execution really brought a positive change to our annual event. The committee even provided me with some comments from the weekend, participation data, and other miscellaneous information to help recap for those that did not attend this year.

124 tickets were sold online for preregistration. For the first time, we had this process streamlined via our HFFA website and it really aided in having high event turnout. As we approach the next show, this will be a crucial piece of the puzzle that we are certainly going to bring back for 2024. There were 42 preregistration specials were sold before the March 1st deadline.  For this show, the special included a combination of a $100 weekend admission, 100 bucket raffle tickets, and a banquet ticket.  Keep this bargain in mind for the next show. 135 people attended the banquet on Saturday evening and 72 of our members had lunch with the board during the annual meeting Saturday afternoon.

The most astounding statistic was our walk-in registration total. Most of the walk-ins were Friday night and Saturday morning before the storm hit. We had 248 walk-in registrants total, so double our preregistration sign ups. Total registrants came out to 372 tickets sold, but with family night being included in that, the numbers are slightly more skewed towards higher attendance. Total attendance was closer to 600 because one registration ticket for family night paid for about 3 people on average. An exceptional turnout, to say the least!

Friday night was our first ever family night. People were standing in line, sometimes three or four deep, to tie flies, tie knots, and try their hands at casting. The scavenger hunt that was provided by the show committee was a big hit with kids, vendors, and nonprofits because it required a lot of interaction between show attendees and show “staff.” There were also a number of positive comments about the fly boxes that kids received at the tying station and after completing their respective scavenger hunts. All the flies were provided by HFFA members, so you all should be immensely proud that your flies are loved by the kids that won them.

Throughout the entire weekend, we saw the casting pond heavily utilized. The pond was another first for HFFA. Comments from the casting instructors indicate the pond was never idle. Starting beginner anglers with casting instruction was genius because it led them to explore the vendor room more after having a “hands-on” interaction with a fly rod for the first time. A great segway into the world of fly fishing!

At the conclusion of the event, the show committee shared some of their favorite comments from the weekend. I wanted to share those with our HFFA members.

“When does it open tomorrow, Dad?”

“I’ve fly fished for a long time and I didn’t know anybody else did that in Iowa!”

“My daughter wanted me to come over and see how big these flies are.”

“This has been an excellent event, head to toe.”

“Thank you so much for donating to help our kids get into fly fishing.”

Thank you to everyone that assisted with this event. Especially to the show committee of Kirk Rosenow, Willa Campbell, Martin Acerbo, Mike Schrader, Ben Olson, Chip Hildebrand, Paul Domoto, and also to members of the CIFF Chapter who hosted this wonderful get together. I’d also like to thank Dean Elder, Mike Jacobs, Dan Peterson, Joe Wedum, Mike Schrader, John Miller, Tom Wolske, Steve Veysey, and Carol Schutte for their various donations. Finally, to our vendors and show sponsors, thank you all for supporting our organization. Rod & Rivet, Fisherman’s Factory Outlet, Front 20 Outfitters, Bear Creek Anglers, CTI Ready Mix, Bass Pro Shops, Sportsman’s Warehouse, Derek DeYoung Studio, David Aeschilman, Jeremiah Hall, Pat Dorsey, Scheels Sporting Goods, David Kollmann, Jeff Moore, Lance Zook, Lee Schulteis, and Jeff Green assisted us throughout the process.

(Editors Note: After April 1st see the April Flyline under News on this website for more show information and photos)

New HFFA President Davis Horton with Pat Dorsey of Blue Quil Angler, Evergreen, Colorado featured speaker
New HFFA President Davis Horton with Pat Dorsey of Blue Quil Angler, Evergreen, Colorado featured speaker

Who We Are

Hawkeye Fly Fishing Association (HFFA) holds events and provides resources for people interested in fly fishing, fly tying and fish habitat conservation. We are an Iowa-based affiliate of Fly Fishers International.

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