In this 2019 photo, Steven Mogul (left) holds up a soft-hackle fly that Rob Dunnett tied during Saturday's Fly Tying Symposium in Brewer. BDN File

There is no better time to stock up on fly fishing and fly tying supplies than during the cold weather months.

And there’s no better way to expand your fly collection and hone your tying skills than to attend the Maine Fly Tying Symposium.

Penobscot Fly Fishers are gearing up for their annual event on Sunday at the Penobscot County Conservation Association clubhouse in Brewer. The event, which is free to the public, returns after a COVID-19 hiatus last year. The symposium will run from 10 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.

As many as 20 fly tyers from across Maine are expected to be on hand to share their tips and techniques for creating flies that will entice even the fussiest of fish.

Paul Markson can attest first hand to the value of attending the Maine Fly Tying Symposium. His own introduction to fly tying came about 12 years ago at the event.

“I hadn’t even started learning yet. I had signed up, so I just showed up in Brewer,” Markson, the public relations coordinator for Penobscot Fly Fishers, said. “I met [PFF president] Don Corey and walked through and I was in awe at the time.”

The gathering will include fly tyers of all skill levels who will provide demonstrations and share ideas about how to create effective flies.

“People are welcome to come and just stop and watch,” Markson said. “You may see three different techniques to tie the same fly.”

Some attendees enjoy picking the tyers’ brains about techniques, vices and fly patterns, while other folks simply like to watch.

“There’s a lot of brainstorming going on,” Markson said.

The event is a great chance for anglers, fly tyers and those aspiring to get on the water to get excited about upcoming fly fishing opportunities.

“Fishing season winds down, then it’s grouse and deer season. Except for the ice anglers or the hare hunters, it’s fly tying season [now],” Markson said of the opportunity to restock the fly box.

Fly tyers who develop some proficiency are able to tailor their tying to the species they’re targeting and also to what patterns are working on a given water at a particular time.

“The first fish I caught on a fly I tied, it was one of those, ‘huh, it really works!’ kind of moments,” Markson said.

The PCCA clubhouse is located at 570 North Main St. in Brewer. Coffee and snacks are available for a donation.

For more information, check out or the Penobscot Fly Fishers Facebook page at

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Pete Warner

Pete graduated from Bangor High School in 1980 and earned a B.S. in Journalism (Advertising) from the University of Maine in 1986. He grew up fishing at his family's camp on Sebago Lake but didn't take...