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Fly fishers compete for USA Team

Angler hooks 42 fish on Crooked River to lead pack

Lance Egan of Lehi, Utah, caught and released 42 fish over the two days of competition in Central Oregon last week to win the regional USA Team trails competition for the National Fly Fishing Championships.

Thom Smith of Redmond, Wash., was among three fly anglers who qualified for the National Fly Fishing Championships.

Smith finished seventh overall in the trials to earn a spot at the nationals, set for State College, Pa., in the fall.

Other qualifiers included Alec Gerbec, of Durango, Colo., who finished third, and Kurt Finlayson, of Salt Lake City, who took fourth.

The top two anglers at the trials – Egan and Anthony Naranja, of Grand Junction, Colo. – were already on the roster for Team USA and had already qualified for nationals.

The event was staged on the Crooked River, South Twin Lake and Paulina Lake.

Anglers were invited to the trials based on their associations with past competitions. Four groups of six anglers competed in four different sessions: two sessions on the Crooked River below Bowman Dam, and one each on South Twin and Paulina lakes. The anglers fished each session for three hours.

Each fish caught by the anglers was measured and recorded by one of a number of controllers, most of them volunteers from the Central Oregon Flyfishers or Sunriver Anglers. Trials participants earned 100 points for every eligible fish – a trout or whitefish at least 8 inches long that was released unharmed – and additional points for the total length of the fish: 20 per centimeter.

A placing system based on those points determined the final standings.

Last weekend marked the second time the trials were staged in Central Oregon. The first time was 2005.

Scott Robertson, of Bend, Ore., a member of Team USA who will compete in the nationals, finished ninth. Robertson also organized the trials.