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Fly-fishing museum opening delayed

out flyfishingThe grand opening of the Fly-Fishing Museum of the Southern Appalachians in Cherokee, originally intended for May 1, has been rescheduled to 10 a.m. June 6.

The original timeline had been pretty ambitious, the project’s self-described instigator, Alen Baker, said last fall. The group just needed more time to get exhibits in place before opening day.

The museum will showcase fly-fishing stories, equipment and fishing arts from the Southern Appalachian region. The project is a collaboration by a diverse group of anglers as well as the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, which is providing the building. 

The hope is that the museum will serve as a draw for tourists and fishermen. Proponents hope anglers will extend their trips to WNC to take in the museum and maybe bring the family along. Tribal members see it as a way to showcase the fish-related aspects of their culture while welcoming tourists to town. 

“To be able to add a new attraction that would have the idea of representing culture, plus tie in modern-day fishing and fly fishing,” said Skooter McCoy, the tribe’s destination market manager, “we felt like it was a win-win situation.”

Fly-fishing is a growing sport nationwide and in North Carolina, with anglers describing WNC as a “Mecca” for the sport. Between 2002 and 2012, North Carolina fly-fishing license sales increased 175 percent, with fly-related sales in the South rising from 16.3 percent of the national total to 23.7 percent, according to the American Fly-Fishing Trade Organization.

The tribe’s chamber of commerce will also operate the musuem and be housed in the same building, located on Tsali Boulevard.

— By staff writer Holly Kays

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