The end of summer can be bittersweet for anglers, so to ensure that we make the most of the late season, we launched the “20 Days in September” Photo Contest back in 2015. Ever since, the ninth month has been our favorite. The contest has grown every year, as well, and participants have sent us countless emails and messages about how much fun they’ve had and this challenge has caused them to check out local ponds and streams they’d passed by for years. Is there a stream or pond you’ve driven by and thought, “I wonder if there are fish in there?” Now’s the time to find out.
Please note that we’ve kept the important new rule we added last year (see Rule #3) to make the contest more fish-friendly. With high temperatures and low water in much of the country, it’s important that the health of the fish comes before any photo ops.
Check out the prize list below, and I think you’re going to want to give the contest a try this year. So kick things off right by getting out on the water today!
Here’s how it works:
1. Make an honest attempt to get on the water 20 times during September. Of course, these don’t have to be full or even half days of angling. Just 10 casts are enough to count on any given day. So steal time whenever you can: before work, at lunchtime, after work, or . . . (cough) during work. (If you’re still working from home, you’ll have your usual commuting time available for fishing.) On weekends, get in a few casts around family time, kids’ sports, or yard work. The full 20 is an aspirational goal; you don’t have to complete the 20 days to win.
2. This is not just about trout. Any species and kinds of water are eligible–from bass and pike in lakes, to stripers and bonefish in saltwater, to carp in canals. If you can catch it on a fly, it’s game. The only limitation is that the fish must be caught during the month of September 2022.
3. Take pictures of your fish, the water, your fellow anglers, the flies you’re using, or anything else. To promote good fish handling, photos may not show trout held out of the water. With so much low, warm water around the country, we want to ensure that trout are released as quickly as possible, with no extra time out of the water for photos. You’ll note that none of last year’s finalists were of the grip-and-grin variety.
At the end of the month, we’ll go through all the photos posted as part of the project and pick 10 finalists. Then we’ll let you vote for the winners! (Check out all of last year’s finalists below, and see all three winners here.)
Here are the prizes:
First Place: A Helios 3 Fly Rod of your choice.
(Artist collab model not available.)
Second Place: A Mirage Fly Reel of your choice.
We’ll also give 2 pairs of made-in-the-USA Orvis Nippers: One to a randomly selected person who posts a photo of them picking up trash while fishing, and one to a randomly selected voter at the end of the contest.
You don’t have to complete your 20 days to be eligible to win, but we will have a Roll of Honor for those who do manage to complete the Project. So start start carving out more time for fishing. Do you think you can hit the 20 mark?
The contest is open only to legal residents of the USA who are 18 or older. (We apologize to our readers in Canada and overseas; Click here for an explanation of why we have to do this.)