On January 15-16, 2022, the annual Virginia Fly Fishing & Wine Festival will celebrate its 21st anniversary, drawing anglers from throughout Virginia and the Mid-Atlantic, Ohio, Georgia, South Carolina, and even New York. Held at Meadow Event Park, just 15 miles north of Richmond on the site of the state fairgrounds, the Virginia Fly & Wine was the first event of its kind in the country to combine fly fishing and wine tasting. Fly fishing manufacturers, lodges, guides, tourism agencies, wineries, and specialty food companies are among the more than 90 vendors who hail from all over the country. Virginia Fly &Wine sponsors include The Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation, Gangler’s Lodge, Harman’s North Fork Cottages, Steam Bell Beer Works, Trout Unlimited, Fly Tyer and Norvise.
The 2022 Virginia Fly & Wine will feature several of the industry’s most prominent anglers, fly tyers, and outdoor authors, including Pat Dorsey, Jen Ripple, Wanda Taylor, Capt. Gary Dubiel, Mac Brown, Kiki Galvin, Tim O’Neill, Snookie Risch, Pam Dunlap, Gary Edwards, Jim Bensinger, Matt Reilly, Colby Trow, and Capt. Mike Tayloe.
“We’re always trying something new,” says festival director Beau Beasley, “and we eagerly welcome fly angling beginners.” At the same time, says Beasley, “We also offer specialty classes that experienced anglers won’t find anywhere else. Pandemic lockdowns canceled our 2021 event, so our vendors and instructors are eager to gather again and share their passion for the quiet sport of fly fishing.”
Returning this year is the popular “Bourbon and Bass Bugs” class with Scotland-trained Lauren Riggleman of Silverback Distillery. Each student will enjoy an education in distilling and then taste five unique bourbons. Next up is Capt. Simone Valencia, co-owner of Richmond’s new Current Culture Fly Shop, on how best to fish five top bass bugs. Students go home with all five patterns so that they can conduct their own “research” with the bugs.
The 2022 Virginia Fly & Wine will feature a brand-new series of specialty classes, including; “Fishing Tailwaters Effectively” with Pat Dorsey; a class on advanced steelhead tactics with Gary Edwards; and landing monster red drum with Capt. Gary Dubiel. Jen Ripple will lead “Becoming an Independent Angler,” a course designed especially for women on the water. Experienced anglers might check out “Advanced Fly Casting” and “Understanding Advanced Techniques” with Master Certified Casting Instructor Mac Brown on Friday before the festival begins. Also available are numerous beginner and advanced casting and nymphing courses.
Lodges, outfitters, craftsmen, and professional guides from the Mid-Atlantic region, Maine, Montana, Colorado, Alaska, and Canada will be on hand, as will regional wineries and Steam Bell Beer Works.
“We of course have the public’s safety in mind “say Beasley “and we have complied with all state and local health codes. There are currently no mask requirements and no occupancy restrictions at Meadow Event Park where our festival will be held. If anything changes, we will notify the public”.