Monee Reservoir reels in unique fly-fishing exhibition with ties to Chicago history
If you love fly-fishing, want to know more about this alluring sport or are curious about Chicago-area history, Monee Reservoir Visitor Center is hosting a unique exhibition that ties all of these interests together.
“World’s Finest: Fly-Fishing Tackle” opened Aug. 8 and runs through Oct. 31.
“Fly fishing is truly an art,” said Jessica Prince, the Forest Preserve District's facility supervisor for Monee Reservoir. “It’s beautiful, it has a nature element and it’s also outdoor recreation.”
The exhibition, the first to be hosted by Monee Reservoir Visitor Center, was created specifically for the site by the Manchester, Vermont-based American Museum of Fly Fishing. Museum staff picked items relating to the Chicago area and fly fishing that will appeal to a wide variety of visitors.
Many of the rods, reels, flies, photographs and books that will be on display date back to the 1800s and the Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893. The exhibit also highlights influential anglers, all of whom exhibited at the exposition.
“Women are featured in this exhibition because, evidently, the movement of it is very elegant and women tend to do great at casting,” Prince said.
The exhibition also interprets flies and the feathers used to create them.
According to the National Park Service, "Fly fishing gets its name from the lures used. They’re referred to as 'flies' because they’re made to imitate small insects or prey items that a fish may want to eat. Flies are usually made out of materials like yarn, sewing thread, feathers, fur, and a single hook. Flies also range in size from as small as a grain of rice to the size of a 10-inch fish."
Prince said she hopes people who come to the exhibition get a better appreciation of fly fishing.
“And maybe some of our anglers will try fly fishing and learn something they didn’t know before," she added. "I’m excited and I hope other people get excited about it.”
In addition to the exhibition, Monee Reservoir will offer free exhibition-related programs including:
I Spy Something Fly: Aug. 8 through Sept. 17. Grab an I Spy worksheet to guide you through the exhibit. Get up close to this custom collection of items to see how many fly details you can spy. Turn in your completed worksheet at the concessions window for a prize. All ages.
Fly Fishing 101: 9-11:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 23. See description above. Register by Sept. 20.
Try-It, Ty-It Fly-Tying Workshop: Three 90-minute sessions at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 30. The Forest Preserve has partnered with Trout Unlimited so you can try your hand at fly tying. This workshop is intended for those with limited fly-tying experience, including beginners. General fly-tying techniques will be shown, and basic trout fly patterns will be demonstrated. All equipment and materials are provided by Trout Unlimited. Register by Sept. 27.
Spot it on the Fly: Sept. 19 through Oct. 31. Grab an I Spy worksheet to guide you through the exhibit. Get up close to this custom collection of items to see how many fly details you can spy. Turn in your completed worksheet at the concessions window for a prize. All ages.
Monee Reservoir Visitor Center is located at 27341 Ridgeland Avenue, west of Route 50 and south of Pauling Road, in Monee Township.
Exhibition and I Spy program hours are 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays in August; 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays in September; 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays in October.
The exhibition is brought to the Forest Preserve through funding provided by The Nature Foundation of Will County.