The Fly Fishing Shows 2023

49443538563 a2de465b34 b
Winter can be a long and less inspiring time for many anglers. The colder weather has a pretty low ROF (return on fun). Some focus their time tying flies or bantering on the forums. The Fly Fishing Shows can be a bright spot for many looking to get into the fly fishing mindset with some fellow anglers. They are highly regarded as an opportunity to check new gear, but the shows hold so much more!

It is a great event if you are looking for trips, rods, reels, flies, waders, tying materials, or any fly fishing gear. More importantly, in today's online world, it is the best way to get face-to-face with manufacturers, vendors, and industry experts.

Each of the shows is a multi-day event that includes a very large exhibit floor, fly tiers, retail shops, and plenty of educational programs. The outstanding classes are led by some of the best pros in the business. Many of your favorite celebrity authors are found teaching techniques and sharing some great ideas on how to improve your fly fishing. Some of my favorite classes are programs about fly fishing locations near and far.

For me, The Fly Fishing Shows are a great chance to catch up with some friends I don't often see. There is always plenty of members from Paflyfish wandering the exhibit floors or in the booths.
49444162267 aec2b17b68 b

The Edison, NJ show is one of the biggest of the shows and the Lancaster event is clearly located close to home. I like going to both!

The local Fly Fishing Show Schedule
Edison, NJ: January 27-29
Lancaster, PA: March 4 & 5

You can find out more about times, entrance fees, and detailed locations here at the Fly Fishing website. For some more conversations follow along here on the Paflyfish forums.
I didn't really have a problem with distance or finding a spot. I parked in a garage 1 block away, easy walk.

But the traffic. OMG. What should be a 45 minute drive was almost an hour and a half. The last 2 miles took a half hour. Lights backed up past the light behind it. The other direction people pulling out into the intersection. When my light turns green, nobody moves. It took 3 or 4 cycles of the light to get 1 car through. Delivery trucks stopped in teh middle of the street, forcing 2 lanes into 1, while getting 1 car through the light at a time, or less so people aren't letting ya in. Kids in the back seat saying "how much longer?" My GPS says 2 minutes. Yeah, but it said that 20 minutes ago. I know, I know.

Then leaving, I couldn't figure out the pay system in the garage. Walked up 5 flights to the car because the elevator was out of service, to find out I had to go back down 5 flights to the pay kiosk thing. Which didn't want to read my credit card. That's all I had, never had a problem with that card before, or after. I had an 8 year old and 11 year old (who's autistic and starting to lose his sh**) in tow, so someone felt bad for me and paid for me, I gave him 3 bucks because that's all the cash I had in my wallet, but I think it cost 7 or 8 bucks. Then back up 5 flights of stairs. Then the gate didn't like my ticket, I put it in 7 or 8 times before it finally said ok and took it. It just felt like "nothing works in this town!!!!"

Lancaster is a nice area overall, I just don't like being in that downtown district very much.
Last edited:
Are these at all entertaining for the kids? (I've never gone.) I changed my mind about going to Edison this year because of kid activities that popped up. It hadn't crossed my mind to maybe bring the kids as an activity in itself.
If the kid isn't into fishing/fly fishing then it will likely be one of those childhood traumatic events they will remind you about until the day you die! :D
Are these at all entertaining for the kids?
Depends on the kid.

I have an 8 year old who is fishing obsessed. And an austistic 11 year old who doesn't like crowds and cares nothing about fishing.

The 11 year old didn't want to be there from square one, but I promised him we wouldn't be there more than 3 hours, and got to do something he likes after. He kinda likes conservation though so a stop by the TU booth to look at projects gets his interest for a moment. The 8 year old wanted to go, liked watching tiers and casting a rod in the ponds, and likes the artsy stuff, but got a little bored with the talks. I don't push them to stay too long, if the younger one says he's ready to go, we go, I went for him. If the older one looks about to lose it, we go.

If they are scouts, it's free entry, just wear the shirt.

Lancaster has TONS of kid friendly stuff around. We hit a trampoline park. The Science Factory is also really good. There's other stuff, like goin bananas, hands on house, Strasburg Railroad, etc nearby.
I almost always use the parking garages when in downtown Lancaster and walk. Some of them take cash and others are credit cards only. I don't mind walking since I walk all day at work. There is no one working at the exit to help.
I was there on Saturday with a couple buddies from about 9 - 2. I felt like it has recovered somewhat from the Covid downturn of the past few years. I got to chat with Joe Humphreys for a bit and caught Jake Villwock’s bass seminar (I’m not a bass guy, but Jake is a good dude). I was disappointed that Matt Grobert wasn’t there. I find his presentations to be informative. I can’t compare the Lancaster show to the NJ show because I’ve never attended the NJ show. I will say however, that I feel fortunate to have a fly fishing show within 35 minutes of my house each year. For that, I will continue to support it. I always pick up some fly tying materials, and at least one framed print from Dun & Dun. Overall, I give it an 8 out of 10.
I took my 8 year old son to Lancaster. He's not into fishing, but still said "It was more fun than i thought it would be". Like others, i stayed until he was done and promised him a Milkshake on the way home for coming along. We came prepared, i watched the presentation on NY steelhead fishing and he played on his tablet. He did try his hand at fly tying at the learning center. First time he ever tied a fly, so that was cool. We both enjoyed watching some of the fly casting demonstrations and seeing some of the youtube fly tiers in person.

There's always plenty of interesting decorations and artwork at every show to keep people of all ages interested. You just have to insist on walking slowly and looking at most of the tables so that they have a chance to see it.

I've been to the Edison show previously, a few years ago (pre-covid) and the Lancaster show is definitely a smaller venue with a little less to see. Less boats and vendors. But still a good time and worth the trip if you like perusing fly shops and just looking at all the different fly fishing swag. I always come home with a few goodies. I also liked those Dun & Dun prints, but couldn't bring myself to purchase one since i don't have a space to hang it.