CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- It's no coincidence that the inaugural Mountain State Trout Festival will occur at the pinnacle of West Virginia's trout-fishing season.
The two-day event, scheduled for June 1-2 at Snowshoe Mountain Resort, will come just one day after the state's final springtime trout stockings, and during the week when trout tend to feed most eagerly.
Phil Smith, the event's coordinator, called the festival "a celebration of our sportsman's heritage and the trout waters of the state."
More than 1,200 miles of trout streams course through West Virginia's tree-lined valleys, from tiny unnamed brook-trout rivulets to roaring whitewater rivers. Smith said it's about time someone threw a party for them, and for the wholesome recreation they represent.
"This will be an opportunity for anglers to talk trout, maybe talk a little smack, and get out and fish a creek together," he said.
The West Virginia Council of Trout Unlimited is sponsoring the event, but Smith said it "isn't a TU party."
"At TU, sometimes we get a little too focused on our mission of preserving, protecting and enhancing [trout fishing], and we forget to have fun," he added. "This festival is all about the fun."
The idea for the event was born two years ago as a group of trout-fishing friends sat around a campfire at the Monongahela National Forest's Day Run Campground.
"A bunch of guys who knew each other through the wvangler.com website had a campout, and in the midst of all the talk around the campfire someone said it would be a good idea to hold a rendezvous where sportsmen could get together and celebrate our trout-fishing heritage," Smith said.
The festival's first-day activities will take place at Snowshoe between 9 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. All activities are open to the public, and many of them are free.
"We'll have several presentations by trout-fishing experts during the day," Smith said. "Our keynote speaker will be Ed Engle, an author from Colorado, who will give two talks. One is on the trout-fishing experience as a whole, which will include a lot of neat stories. The other one is on tactics to catch wary trout."
Two well-known West Virginia anglers will handle the other presentations. Jack Bell, an expert fly caster, will demonstrate fly-rod techniques and Joe Messinger, a famous fly tier, will demonstrate tying techniques.
"Weather permitting, we'll also have contests at various times of the day," Smith said.
"Some of the contests include fly casting, spin casting, and speed fly tying. The contests will have $5 entry fees, and the winners will get prizes."
Another contest -- a rather unusual one, at that -- will involve the resort's zip line thrill ride.