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Trail Sponsors Fly Fishing Silver Medalist

BEND, Ore. — Fishing with sponsorship from the WNC Fly Fishing Trail, expert angler and Sylva native Josh Stephens earned a silver medal in team competition during the 2012 National Fly Fishing Championship in Bend, Oregon. Stephens captured the medal as a member of one of three Team USA squads competing. He also placed eighth individually, winning the fourth round of the 5-round event in late October. Stephens has now won a team medal in seven straight national championships, to go along with two individual medals during that span. Stephens credits his dual sponsorship from the WNC Fly Fishing Trail and the Jackson County TDA for allowing him to arrive early and properly prepare. "I was able to pre-fish different rivers and get a feel for what I was about to face. I cannot stress how important the sponsorship was and how much it helped," said Stephens, who qualified for the World Championships. A total of 60 anglers on 12 teams competed at the 2012 National Championship, which was hosted by the U.S. Fly Fishing Team. Stephens posted a personal best when he caught 63 regulation fish in three hours during the fourth round. That catapulted him into third overall, before a tough final round of lake fishing dropped him out of individual contention.

"It means a lot to say our local fly fishing trail here in North Carolina sponsored me. It's something I'm very, very proud of," said Stephens. "People were impressed and saying what a great idea it is. All you have to do is open the map and everything you need is right in front of you. It sparked a lot of interest."

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