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Few events at ESPN's Great Outdoor Games combine strategy and finesse like the Fly Fishing competition.

The Games are one of the few venues where competition is introduced into the sport of fly fishing, but the results are exciting. The 12 best fly anglers in the world compete on their own stretch of the beautiful Truckee River with the goal of landing the longest trout they can find. There are two flights of anglers — morning and late afternoon. The anglers can land as many trout as possible in a three-hour period. The catch is that they can only submit one fish as their official fish. That's where the strategy becomes a factor. If an angler catches a 15-inch rainbow trout and he has two hours left to fish, does he return that 15-inch fish to the water and risk not catching a larger fish?

In 2002, Pete Erickson, a Boise, Idaho, resident who works as a junior high English teacher and flyfishing guide, caught an 18-inch brown trout on the Au Sable River near Lake Placid, NY, which proved plenty big enough to earn Erickson the gold medal in the One Fish Fly Fishing event. Erickson's team had won the 2002-Livingston, MT-ESPN Fly Fishing Challenge to qualify for the Great Outdoor Games. Erickson will compete in Reno against the two other medal winners, Andy Fisher of Cody, WY, and Chuck Farneth of Little Rock, AR, as well as 9 other top anglers.

The Truckee River spills out of Lake Tahoe south of Tahoe City, California, winding its way north for 14 miles to the small town of Truckee before bending north/northeast and following I-80 across the California/Nevada state line for roughly 30 miles to downtown Reno. It then continues east for another 44 miles before emptying into Pyramid Lake. The freestone stream is home to both Rainbows and German Brown trout and it is not uncommon to find an 18 - 23 incher tugging at your line. In July, expect a clinic on mayfly and caddis from the competitors.

Qualifying criteria

Automatic invitations will be extended to the three medal winners from the 2002 Great Outdoor Games. The remaining nine competitors will qualify as follows:

  • The top three anglers from the eastern ESPN Fly Fishing Challenge, Spring Ridge Club, PA March 19-21, 2003.
  • The top three anglers from the western ESPN Fly Fishing Challenge, ID, April 8-10, 2003.
  • Three competitors will be selected at the discretion of the sport organizer.

    2003 registered competitors

    Fly Fishing terms

    Extra line wound on a reel behind a fly line, used in fly-fishing.

    Snarl of line on reel.

    Cork float attached to line in still fishing; movement indicates when a fish bites.

    Artificial wet fly made from hair of a deer's tail.

    Basket or bag suspended from the shoulder in which to carry fishes.

    Movement of line across the water that gives the lure unnatural action in fly-fishing.

    Place in a lake where shoal water near shore suddenly drops off to the depths.

    Extra fly affixed to the leader ahead of the end, or "tail," fly.

    Circulation of water in a moving stream in whirlpool fashion, which frequently concentrates food for fishes.

    Eyed fly
    An artificial fly without a piece of leader already attached to it.

    Forage fishes
    Fishes commonly eaten by other fishes for food.

    The hooking of a fish accidentally in any part of the body except the mouth.

    Hair frog
    Imitation frog made from deer hair.

    Emergence of natural insect life on the water.

    Hook cast
    A type of cast in fly-fishing in which the lure hooks around interfering objects.

    Hook shank
    Long straight part of the hook.

    Landing net
    Cotton or linen net bag on a hoop used to lift hooked fishes from the water.

    Nylon or gut extension attached to the end of the line.

    Type of fly resembling underwater insect life.

    Pan fish
    Type of fish most commonly sought for food rather than sport, such as perch and crappies.

    Wooden or plastic lure with hooks attached made to resemble a food attractive to fishes.

    Deep portion of a stream commonly found at bends, where bigger fishes lie.

    Reel seat
    Place where a reel is affixed to the rod.

    Shallow portion of a stream, where water passes over sunken boulders or rocks.

    Activity of fishes in feeding on a natural insect hatch.

    Type of cast developed in fly-fishing where background obstructions prohibit a

    Rough fish
    Type of fish not considered useful for food or sport.

    Cotton or twine net used to capture fishes.

    Lead weight that can be affixed to the line to carry the lure into deeper water.

    Hooked lure fouled on some obstruction.

    Snelled fly
    Fly with a piece of leader already attached to it.

    Shiny metal blade that revolves around a fine wire shank when pulled through the water and thus attracts fishes.

    Split shot
    Type of sinker in the shape of a sphere, with a split in the middle in which the line rests.

    Wet fly made from full chicken feathers to resemble a minnow.

    Action of a fish in taking a lure.

    Graduation in diameter of a line or leader from large to small.

    Terminal tackle
    Part of fishing gear nearest the lure--for example, leaders.

    Extension tied on to the end of leaders that have been broken off or used up.