Waterbrook Winery squeezes in Fly Fishing Fair

Participants were hooked by the pairing of reds, rods and reels.



Fly rod tucked into the arm of her sweater to help keep proper form, Mattie Maheras, 9, spools out some line during a fly casting workshop at Waterbrook Windery Saturday afternoon.


Guide and instructor Skip Pritchard works through the basics of fly casting with a group of people participating in a workshop near the pond at Waterbrook Winery Saturday afternoon.


Chuck Smith (in red) practices fly casting with a row of other participants in a casting workshop Saturday afternoon at Waterbrook Winery in Highway 12. Participants learned the basics of proper casting and practiced before competing in a casting competition for wine or gift cards.

WALLA WALLA - The centuries old adage, "A flask of wine, a book of verse and thou ...," had to be rewritten to something more like a taste of wine, a wooly bugger and us and the kids, as Waterbrook Winery hosted its second annual Fly Fishing Fair on Saturday.

Last year the event brought in about 100 people, and by noon on Saturday it looked like there would be more than 100 adults and children this year.

"It's a winery, it's not about kids," Waterbrook tasting room manager Ron Williams said, making it clear that the winery's primary goal is to cater to adults.

But sometimes adults have kids in tow. And when that is the case, it helps if the winery has a nice pond with a walking path, a bocce court, a large patio with fireplace and a wide-screen TV where they will gladly put on Sponge Bob. It's what Williams likes to describe as a "family friendly" winery.

"The goal is to keep the children entertained while the adults taste wine," he added.

Not only were kids entertained, but they got to learn about fly fishing, as members of the Walla Fly Fishers club answered questions, taught fly tying techniques and held casting lessons. Though there were more adults taking casting lessons than kids.

"If you look around there are a lot of kids here ... The folks at Waterbrook have done a really good job of being kid friendly," Walla Fly Fishers President Scott Peters said.

Travis Urlacher, 13, was glad to see his mom, Brenda, enjoying herself.

"I did a lot of fly fishing and learned how to tie a lot of flies, how to spin deer hair and elk hair ... to have kids being able to do something they like to do, it's a win, win situation," Travis Urlacher said.

Brenda Urlacher agreed. "This is nice. It is something I like to do and it's something they like to do. It's nice."

The event also include a dutch-oven cooking demonstration with various dishes, some made with copious amounts of Waterbrook wines, as well as a peach cobbler desert for the kids. But it was the fishing that seemed to hook the interests of many young and old.

"We were on our way to check out Walla Walla (wineries) and my husband said ‘They are fishing over there,'" said JoLynda Chronister of Bellingham, Wash. So the small party pulled in to enjoy the unexpected pairing of reds, rods and reels.


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