PARIS — Fly fishing remains a popular outdoor activity for sportsmen. The Pine River Chapter of Trout Unlimited made an appearance last month at Paris and Brower parks to help the Mecosta County Parks System celebrate its 50th anniversary.

But Trout Unlimited also was on hand to show individuals the tricks of fly fishing.

The basics of fly fishing were presented by Dennis Douglas and guests from the Pine River chapter Trout Unlimited, a grass roots group of anglers and conservationists from Cadillac.

Trout Unlimited has the stated goal of conserving, protecting and restoring area cold water streams and fisheries and their watersheds.

Terry Tatarchuk, president of TU, said he dealt with a variety of skills during his clinic. The initial art of casting was practiced in an open area outside of the water.

“The people over here, some of them have not held a fly rod before, he said. “Some of them have fished before. We’re teaching them that the rod tip has to go in a straight line, you have to have an acceleration to a stop, there’s no slack allowed and you have to have some pause at the end so you don’t crack the whip.”

How easy it might be for a novice to learn the art of fly fishing depends on the student, Tatarchuck said.

“There’s people here that are really good,” he said. “They just picked up their fly rod for the first time. Some of them are getting the line out far enough so they can catch fish.”

Tatarchuck recalls the unique aspects of fly fishing he taught to the students.

“In fly fishing, you’re casting the line, not the weight of the lure,” he said. “We didn’t have a chance to talk about the aesthetics of fly fishing and how it’s relaxing and you get to enjoy the environment and be a part of the environment. That is the essence of what keeps them in the sport.

“More and more women are getting into fly fishing. That’s really a growth segment. It’s not a strength sport. It’s a finesse sport. Women can do it just fine and enjoy it. I think it’s the fact that you’re in probably some of the most beautiful places in the United States, in a calm and relaxing atmosphere, and lot of times your worries of the day aren’t with you anymore. You’re concentrating on the fish. It’s extremely relaxing and fulfilling for the people who try it out.”

The Pine River chapter also does a summer camp in Wellston.

“I was doing this at Grayling at another convention,” Tatarchuck said.

Matt Workman of Grand Rapids was among the students at the Brower Park workshop. It’s his first time.

“It will be fun to learn,” he said.