IFTD is OFF for 2021


As many of you have heard by now, the International Fly Tackle Dealer show has been called off for 2021.

It’s sad news, but it was a responsible call by AFFTA.  Too many questions about travel in this Delta variant COVID era still loom, with a number of major players asking their employees not to travel at all.  It was a game effort with good intentions, but it wasn’t going to be an “all-in” show.

COVID has changed a lot of how we work and operate now.

We need to take this latest development as a reason (and opportunity) to rethink the entire IFTD trade show approach.

Let’s start by being honest about a few things.

First, what was the number-one motivation for many of you who were planning to attend, or attended regularly in years past?  For us, it was seeing people.  A family reunion for the fly-fishing business community.

New products?  C’mon… we all know what the products are before we get to the show.  Almost nobody is actually writing orders still in late October.  And if you want to get people to learn about new products—talk to us at Angling Trade and we’ll get the word out to everyone who makes, buys or sells fly-fishing product in the country.

When the show get’s re-imaged, we need to think about timing.  Again.  Probably July or earlier.

We need to think about consumer-facing aspects as opportunities.

We need to let cities fight over the right to be the “Fly Fishing Capital of America,” which is where we hold the family reunion, rendezvous, or whatever you want to call it.

We need the business improvement seminars and all that (which is what will really be missed this time), but we also need to open dialogues about conservation, and how we work together to make fisheries more sustainable, and avoid some of the shit shows that are happening in certain places now.

We support AFFTA, because we think AFFTA is needed more than ever to promote the sport and ensure its future.  But we think it’s time to rethink IFTD entirely. And we stand ready to help.

-The Editors


AFFTA Announces IFTD 21 Postponed

August 31st, 2021- The American Fly Fishing Trade Association (AFFTA) Board of Directors announces today that the 2021 International Fly Tackle Dealer (IFTD) show, scheduled for October 20th-22nd in Salt Lake City, Utah, has been postponed until 2022.

“I am beyond excited by the show AFFTA, and our Show Director Kenneth Andres, put together. There is a real buzz around the show, and we are proud of the almost 100 exhibitors we partnered with to join us in Salt Lake City this year. We were looking to strike a balance between safely gathering and providing an exciting, educational, and productive show. We had the latter, but safely gathering was getting harder and harder due to the spread of the unpredictable Delta variant,” said Lucas Bissett, Executive Director of AFFTA.

A follow up email will be going out within the week to exhibitors. Answers to questions regarding the logistics of this postponement will be included in that email along with the opening of a dialogue around next year’s gathering.

“While I am disappointed we are not getting together as an industry this year, I am confident we are going to bring our membership together with an even better industry gathering in 2022. The Board unanimously made the difficult but correct decision to postpone IFTD 2021, as the safety of our members is paramount. Under our new Executive Director’s leadership and vision, the future looks bright, and we are excited to get everyone’s input on what gatherings look like moving forward”, said Jim Bartschi, Chair of the AFFTA Board.

A robust communication plan will be implemented over the next couple of m




  1. This is sad to see, and no doubt a serious let down for the industry as a whole. While I understand there may have been some reservations, many other industries are going forward with their events.

    While it wasn’t going to ever be an “all in show”…. it never ever is an “all in show” ….. as someone will always be happy to sit on the sidelines and let others take the risk.

    This will hurt the small companies the most as they are struggling to say afloat, while the larger companies will likely not miss it nearly as much.

    This would have been a great opportunity to gather momentum for the remainder of 2021 and propel us forward for 2022 with renewed, or even brand new relationships. Giving folks the option to come or not would have seemed like a better option. Going forward would have been hard, but that’s what leadership is, making the tough calls and leading from the front as much as possible.

    Still, everyone has to decide for themselves if they want to push forward or hunker down and wait things out. My only thought is if we can do without this event for 2 years in a row……do we need it at all?

    Covid is here to stay and we need to learn how to live with it or our industry will wither away, and become an even smaller subsection of the fishing industry than we are now.

  2. Enjoyed what you had to say in your recent editorial regarding the AFFTA trade show and what lies ahead. In a few months I will direct my International Fly Tying Sympsium for the 30’th time. It has always been the “canary in the mines” to project what to expect in the coming winter show season for The Fly Fishing Show. As you may know my son, Ben, has inherited the reins of those shows three years ago. Of course he will watch closely at the results of the tier weekend, the house count, consumer spending. and opinions of the exhibitors to the value of the event. Please accept my invitation to attend if you are in the area, but get your shots first. My friendly tiers are know to chirp like canaries, I’m more like a crow. But you’ll find everyone willing to talk and share opinions.
    Chuck Furimsky

  3. I was saddened to hear about this show being canceled. Many of our exhibitors were looking to see how things went at this show for the return to business. I agree with the comments by AT above, as well as what Beau mentions. I am most concerned for the smaller businesses or those that have suffered the most from border closures and mandates. These are the same folks that are most likely to help others when it matters. Many of the bigger companies also rely on these smaller operations. Maybe you might not notice a season closed at your favorite destination, but what would happen if we lost all our flats lodges outside of the US? What would happen if all hand crafted products made by your favorite garage/shop builder went away because they no longer had the means to sell and meet folks? I enjoy fly fishing because we are a family.
    Safety is a major concern, and I’m very saddened by the losses we have had. But I know of people that had more issues with going to SLC than risking the virus in their minds. We will need to adjust to living with Covid. We have learned to live with other viruses, and adapted. Personally, I’ve chosen to have a number of vaccinations just to go fishing in some far off country to wet wade in crocodile infested waters. Would I again? Yes, and that’s pretty much the reason I’m in the industry! And I planned to attend IFTD because I want to talk with people face to face. Here’s hoping we can get together soon. I for one, like to know the people behind the products I use. Just the other day I was using a product I told a friend had some flaws and they asked why I use it. I told them I really liked the person that invented it. They smiled and asked about them, not the product.

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