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6th International Science Symposium

November 10, 2017 - 9:00am to November 11, 2017 - 10:00pm

Symposium Overview

Don't miss the greatest gathering of flats fishing we can fit under one roof!

Sixth International Bonefish & Tarpon Symposium 
November 10-11, 2017

The Bonefish & Tarpon Trust 6th International Science Symposium takes place November 10—11, 2017, at the Bonaventure Resort and Spa, in Weston, Florida. Register today and make plans to join other anglers, guides, conservationists, fishing industry leaders, and scientists for what promises to be the most comprehensive flats fishing event in the world. 

The global leader in bonefish, tarpon and permit conservation, BTT has once again assembled the top scientists in the world of flats ecology to share their research findings on why fish do what they do—and how that knowledge benefits the species, their habitats and the larger fisheries they support. Featured scientific presentations will spotlight BTT’s ongoing science and conservation programs in the Florida Keys, Bahamas, and elsewhere across the Caribbean Basin, including recently completed studies on bonefish and tarpon genetics, the role of ocean currents in juvenile bonefish recruitment, a landmark effort to spawn and raise bonefish in captivity, and the role of water quality in ensuring healthy habitats.

In addition to learning more about science-based approaches to conservation, Symposium participants will enjoy time with the legends of our sport—top anglers and guides who will be on hand to share their time-tested techniques for catching the iconic gamefish of the flats. Fishing and casting clinics (fly and spin) will be taught by some of the world's top anglers, including Andy Mill, Chico Fernandez, and C.A. Richardson, while other legends will join lively panel discussions. The 2017 Symposium also includes Fly tying and photography clinics, an Art & Film Festival, and a Flats Expo that runs concurrently with other activities, providing opportunities to learn more about fishing and travel-related products and services offered by industry leaders.

The Symposium concludes on Saturday evening with a banquet honoring conservation leaders, as well as silent and live auctions. Offerings will include bucket-list destination trips, fine art, top-of-the-line spin and fly-fishing gear, and a special 20th Anniversary trip to fish and conduct research with BTT-affiliated scientists.


***For those looking to register from international addresses, please contact Pat Bowman***

(305) 393-5115 or

Be There. Celebrate the Fish - Support the Science.
Hotel Accommodations: Bonaventure Resort 250 Racquet Club Rd, Weston, FL 33326
Event Committee:

Jeff Harkavy, Bill Stroh, Dr. Aaron Adams, Bill Klyn, Rodney Barreto, Harold Brewer, Bill Horn, Pat Ford, Andy Mill, Greg Fay, Stu Apte, Nelson Sims, Wayne Meland, Dave Horn, Dave Nichols, Steve and Mary Stanley

For more information on becoming an event sponsor, or for lodging information, contact Pat Bowman at:

(305)393-5115 or   

Symposium Schedule

The schedule is here! Hit the link below to download the schedule*:

  Download the Schedule (.pdf)

*Schedule subject to changes.

Check out the BTT 2017 Symposium brochure for details about all of this years talks and panels.

BTT 2017 Symposium Brochure


Take a look at our lineup of auction items that have been donated by our amazing sponsors! These items will be sold the evening of November 11th, but you have the opportunity to bid now, even if you can't join us the night of. We have a great selection of gear, trips, art, literature and more. 

Browse Auction Items

Live Auction

1: Stu Apte’s Missouri River Ranch Package

Value: $5,000

Category: Trip

Donated By: Missouri River Ranch & Stu Apte

You and a guest will spend two nights and one day of guided fishing at the Missouri River Ranch located south of Craig, Montana on over one mile of the Missouri River. Included are lodging for two individuals (two rooms), all meals and alcohol.

This package also includes a signed, numbered, silver-embossed hardcover, limited edition of Stu Apte’s latest book, My Life in Fishing: Favorite Long Story’s Told Short. Also included are a Stu Apte Signature Series engraved fly rod by Reilly Rod Crafters and a Stu Apte Signature Series Performance Fly Reel by 3-TAND engraved with the BTT 20th anniversary logo. This is a one-of- a-kind fly rod and reel!

Valid until November 1, 2018. Reservations must be made with Missouri River Ranch in advance, space based on availability. Additional days can be organized based on availability.

2: Gallatin River Lodge, Fly Rod & Reel

Value: $6,000

Category: Trip

Donated By: Gallatin River Lodge & Stu Apte

The winner receives a three-day, two-night fly fishing package for two. The Lodge is 15 minutes from Bozeman in the heart of the gorgeous Gallatin Valley of Montana.

Lodging accommodations include either a suite in the Main Lodge with fireplace and Jacuzzi, or a room in the new Trout Lodge with spa showers and beautiful views. The lodge is located in close proximity to some of the best blue-ribbon rivers in the world, as well as private ranches and spring creeks, and offers an amazing diversity of fly fishing options. This package includes meals, prepared in their gourmet restaurant, recognized as the premier fine dining establishment in the region. Steve Gamble, or one of his top guides will fish with you. And, if you like, Stu will go along, too. Your fly fishing adventure starts right here!

This package also includes a signed, numbered, silver embossed, hardcover, limited Edition of Stu Apte’s latest book, My Life in Fishing: Favorite Long Story’s Told Short. Also included are a Stu Apte Signature Series engraved fly rod by Reilly Rod Crafters, and a Stu Apte Signature Series Fly Reel by 3-TAND engraved with the 20th BTT Anniversary logo. Topping off the package, you and a guest will spend two nights and three days at one of Trip Advisor’s Top 25 Small Hotels in the United States, and world- class fishing lodge, the Gallatin River Lodge.

3: Rio Marié Brazil Package

Value: $7,325

Category: Trip

Donated By: Untamed Angling

Enjoy a six-day, seven-night all-inclusive fishing package for one angler at Rio Marie in Brazil. The Rio Marie is a bucket-list Amazon destination trip for anglers seeking trophy-sized peacock bass. The Rio Marié is scientifically proven to hold larger peacock bass than any other fishery, and twice the amount of fish in any other Amazonian river. Rio Marié is remote, pristine, and has 500 miles of fishable water with exclusive, fly fishing-only access. The program’s home base is a mobile, luxurious, technologically advanced yacht that enables the operation to fish the entire watershed.

Included are all charter flights and boat transfers, all necessary ground transfers, one overnight at Caesar Business hotel in Manaus on arrival, guide-operated 21-foot, fully equipped shallow draft skiffs, fishing licenses, all meals and beverages, and daily laundry and maid service on mothership.

Not included are international airfare to Manaus, Brazilian visa, Native Association Fee, gratuities, mandatory evacuation coverage, food and beverages in Manaus, any private city tours, airport departure tax, satellite phone calls, extra hotel overnights, hotel accommodation on return if needed, and flies from the lodge’s extensive selection.

This trip must be redeemed for use between November - December 2017 or 2018 only.

4: Rainbow King Lodge Trip

Value: $8,750

Category: Trip

Donated By: Rodger Glaspey

The winner receives an all-inclusive six-day, six-night fly fishing excursion to Rainbow King Lodge, Alaska for one angler. There’s nothing in the world like fishing in Alaska, and there’s nothing in Alaska like fishing at Rainbow King. Each day you will fly out to remote rivers to fish for rainbow trout, arctic grayling and one or two of the five species of salmon, depending on the season.

Rainbow King Lodge is nestled on the shores of the largest lake in Alaska, providing you with a spectacular view of the surrounding area from the moment you arrive by plane. Rainbow King Lodge stands out among other Alaska fly-fishing lodges by providing you with a top-notch experience whether you’re fishing, dining or unwinding with your fellow sportsmen by the fireplace.

Not included are bed tax, fishing license, Anchorage airfare, Merrill Field transportation, and gratuity.

5: Faraway Cayes Honduras

Value: $9,850

Category: Trip

Donated By: Fly Fish Guanaja, Steven Brown

Winner receives one spot on an all-inclusive Heli-Salt trip to the Faraway Cayes, Honduras in 2019. The package includes helicopter transportation, two days fishing at the private island lodge, four days of fishing at the remote Yurt Lodge at Faraway Cayes, transportation from Roatan, all meals, beverages, fishing and accommodations.

Not included is round-trip airfare to Roatan.

This trip must take place between March - May 2019.

6: Moon of the Polychaetes by Stanley Meltzoff

Value: $18,000

Category: Art

Donated By: Silverfish Press

Moon of the Polychaetes is an original monochromatic painting by Stanley Meltzoff (1917-2006) depicting tarpon feeding at night: Size 20.25” x 37.75”

This unique piece was originally commissioned by National Geographic in 1969. Meltzoff was the first artist to paint big- game fish in their natural realm, and he remains the undisputed master of the genre. In his day, Meltzoff’s incredibly diverse work could be found in publications around the globe: from Field & Stream to National Geographic, Fortune to Sports Illustrated, Gray’s Sporting Journal to Life. His 65 covers for Scientific American set a record that remains unchallenged to this day, and he was widely recognized in later life as one America’s finest 20th century artists.

7: Crocodile Bay Resort Costa Rica

Value: $10,000

Category: Trip

Donated By: Crocodile Bay Resort

Winner receives a three-day tower boat fishing package and three days à la carte at the Crocodile Bay Resort for two people. Once you arrive, enjoy three full days of fishing offshore or inshore on our tower boat. Also included are luxurious air- conditioned accommodations, meals, wine at dinner, cooler with beer and soft drinks when fishing.

Additional guest added to certificate will receive 10% discount.

Not included are international air transportation - Juan San Maria International airport in San Jose Costa Rica (SJO), meals in San Jose, alcoholic beverages, domestic transfer, and gratuities at the resort. A domestic transfer package may be purchased, which includes ground transfers, round trip domestic airfare from San Jose, Costa Rica to Puerto Jimenez, and inbound night at a San Jose hotel.

This trip is valid only from April 10, 2018 - December 10, 2018.

8: Wollaston Lake Lodge Package

Value: $11,000

Category: Trip

Donated By: Mike Lembke

Enjoy a four-day, all-inclusive fishing trip at Wollaston Lake Lodge in Canada’s serene northern wilderness for two anglers. More than 100 miles long and 400 feet deep, Wollaston Lake attract seasoned anglers with its vast population of trophy-sized species of the Grand Slam in freshwater fishing: northern pike, lake trout, Arctic grayling and walleye. The magnificence of the fishery is matched only by the beauty and comfort of its premier destination at the Wollaston Lake Lodge.

Included are over-night hotel accommodations for in-bound trip, round-trip air charter between Winnipeg, MB Airport and the lodge, all meals, evening wine with dinner, modern cabin accommodations, Wi-Fi, daily housekeeping and laundry service, and 2x1 fully guided fishing. Not included are gratuities, spa services, tackle, liquor, fishing equipment (may be rented), daily fly-out/ fly-back trips and fishing license at $80/pp. Additional anglers or non-anglers can be added to the trip.

This must be redeemed and used between June through August 2018 only.

9: Salvelinus Spain Trip

Value: $13,900

Category: Trip

Donated By: Frontiers Travel

The winner receives a seven-night, six-day trip for two with Salvelinus Outfitters for premier trout fishing and touring in the Pyrenees of Spain.

Experience the unspoiled nature of Spain’s Pyrenees where crystal clear waters teem with wild trout. You’ll have access to more than 60 rivers and 180 lakes all within easy driving distance of the two lodges Salvelinus utilizes, both of which feature comfortable accommodations, delicious Mediterranean cuisine and Spain’s famous Rioja wines. It’s the perfect trip for couples blending first-rate fly fishing with Old World charm. Iván Tarín is the Head Guide, a passionate devotee of fly fishing for trout. Iván has built up an efficient guide team, all expert fly fishers.

Not included: flights to/from Madrid or Barcelona; gratuities, travel insurance and any items of a personal nature such as laundry, telephone, gift purchases, etc.


BTT has set up a room block at the Bonaventure Resort with a special rate for our event attendees. Unfortunately, this block is now full. We are able to offer accomodations at Vacation Village across the street from Bonaventure.  You can call Owner Services and reservations, tell them you are with Bonefish & Tarpon Trust or BTT and organize a 1 bedroom ($199/night) or two bedroom ($259/night) unit. The phone number is 954-384-9445, or you can book online at: 


By Car:

If you are traveling by car, please use the Bonaventure Resort Address in your map program:  250 Racquet Club Road, Weston, FL  33326.

By Air:
There are two near-by airports.  The Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport (FLL) is the closest airport to the Symposium with a 20-30 minute drive.  Many of our international guests are flying into Miami International (MIA) which is a 45-50 minute drive.  Car rentals are available at both locations.  BTT will have shuttle service on a limited schedule from/to both FLL and MIA.  Contact for Symposium shuttle service details.


The International Bonefish & Tarpon Trust Symposium: Bringing internationally recognized marine scientists and resource managers together with experienced anglers to collaborate in conservation.

The 2017 Symposium is being held at the Bonaventure Resort in Weston, FL on November 10 – 11. The Symposium will provide a forum that will:

  • Bring together world-class experts to discuss issues in flats conservation;
  • Share the latest research results;
  • Plan additional research necessary to support evolving conservation needs;
  • Promote discussions among resource managers, flats guides and anglers, and scientists on future directions for science, conservation, and education.


Science and Conservation

The Symposium science and conservation goals are to present the latest research findings, provide synthesis and consensus on appropriate scientific research approaches, and discuss how this information is best applied to fishery management and conservation efforts to build sustainable fisheries for bonefish, tarpon, and permit. To achieve these goals, the Symposium will be comprised of multiple sessions:

Science and Conservation Sessions

Biology and Conservation of the Flats

As a science-based conservation organization, Bonefish & Tarpon Trust conducts and supports science with the goal of applying research results to known and anticipated conservation needs. This session provides a forum for scientists from around the world to present their latest research findings, and to promote discussion about how these findings contribute to conservation. Topics will include species-specific research as well as research focused on habitats, management, social components of the fishery, mapping, and more. The format will be oral presentations and posters.

Florida Keys Initiative

The Florida Keys Initiative is a multi-year, collaborative effort to understand the causes of declines in flats fish populations, particularly bonefish, identify habitat needs of flats species and the status of these habitats, and use this information to improve resource management and design programs to restore these fish populations and their habitats. The goal of this session is to summarize progress to date by sharing research results, and discuss planned research, conservation, and restoration efforts. The format will include oral presentations followed by a moderated discussion.

Bahamas Initiative

The Bahamas Initiative is a collaborative, multi-year program to understand, conserve and protect the bonefish fishery and habitats in The Bahamas. Research findings are being applied to identify bonefish home ranges, spawning locations, spawning migration pathways, and connections between spawning locations and juvenile recruitment locations. This information is being used to prioritize areas for habitat conservation in collaboration with fishing guides, lodge owners, and the Bahamas Government. Considerable work focusing on catch-and-release dynamics, effects of climate change, physiology, and other factors influencing bonefish and the flats is important to education and large-scale conservation efforts. The goal of this session is to share research findings to summarize progress to date, highlight ongoing collaborations, outline plans for moving forward, and discuss progress, threats, and future collaborations. The format will include oral presentations followed by a moderated discussion.


Call for Abstracts:

Both oral presentations and posters will be accepted. When submitting an abstract, please indicate your preference for oral or poster presentation, and preferred Session. Preferences for oral presentations will be accommodated subject to space limitations.

Submitting your abstract: Abstracts must be submitted as a Word document attachment by email to The subject heading should be: BTT Symposium Abstract – (lead author’s last name)

Abstract Deadline = May 15, 2017.  Notice of acceptance or refusal of abstracts will be given by June 15, 2017.

Abstract Format:  Please use the format below. Please use Courier 12pt font (this makes formatting the Symposium Program much easier).

Tarpon Spawning in the Gulf of Mexico and Off the Florida Keys

Jonathan Shenker1 and Mitchell Roffer2

1Department of Biological Sciences, Florida Institute of Technology, 150 West University Boulevard, Melbourne, FL 32901 ( 2Department of Marine and Environmental Systems, Florida Institute of Technology, 150 West University Boulevard, Melbourne, FL 32901 and Roffer’s Ocean Fishing Forecasting Service, Inc. 60 Westover Drive, West Melbourne, Florida 32904

Determining where tarpon, Megalops atlanticus spawn and larval transport pathways are critical for evaluating connectivity among regional populations, characterizing temporal/spatial patterns in regional recruitment, and assessing the vulnerability of spawning to major events such as the Deep Water Horizon oil spill. We conducted two ichthyoplankton surveys and accessed the SEAMAP Ichthyoplankton Survey conducted in the Gulf of Mexico since the 1980s. In 2008, larval sampling seaward of Ft. Lauderdale produced larvae that were estimated to have been spawned off the mid-far reaches of the Florida Keys. We identified the 650+ elopomorph larvae collected during the SEAMAP survey to species, and identified 60 as tarpon. Newly hatched tarpon yolk sac fry were found clustered at the edge of the continental shelf just south of the Mississippi River Delta, including the region of the DWH spill. Yolk-sac and early (<10 mm) leptocephali were also found along the edge of the continental shelf of peninsular Florida, over 100 miles from the coastline. Larger (>10 mm) larvae were found further inshore around the periphery of the GOM, apparently on their migration to their coastal nurseries. An ichthyoplankton survey conducted in June 2014 confirmed the Florida pattern: yolk-sac leptocephali were captured 120 miles seaward of Boca Grande Pass. These results indicate that adult tarpon migrate variable distances offshore to the edge of continental shelf to spawn, and that larvae are potentially entrained in currents that enable widespread dispersion from their spawning sites.

Format preference: Oral or Poster


Limited Edition Symposium Tackle Bag

We'll have Simms Dry Creek Duffel Bags with commemorative BTT 20th Anniversary logo luggage tag will be available for purchase at the 6th International Science Symposium. You can also purchase them online.

Purchase the limited edition tackle bag



Symposium Sponsors






Art & Film