Why Choose A Specialty Fly Fishing Retailer?

Why Choose A Specialty Fly Fishing Retailer?


Fly fishing specialty retailers are free source of information to novice anglers.

Besides answering the two most important questions in fly fishing ("where do we go?" or "what do we use?"). Specialty fly fishing stores act as a conduit for future fly fishers into the sport. A combination of geographic information, seasonal bug updates, fishing regulations, technical equipment knowledge, guide services, field lectures, clinics,  demonstrations, classes, schools, environmental films, outdoor volunteer options, group outings, river clean ups, restoration projects and meeting new friends are all opportunities that can be found at the local fly shop. Most of these options are free! 

You may also get the rewards of learning and enjoying a new hobby, while actually gaining self-confidence as your talents progress. When learning about fly fishing you may just become more comfortable in your new surroundings, the sound of a scenic western river, and the smell of early morning sage or being surrounded by clear blue sky all day could be a welcome change from your current environment.

Let’s face it, if one fly worked all the time, Wal-Mart would sell it, all the fish would eat it and fly fishing in all but the most remote regions of the world, would be over. Luckily, trout eat selectively, typically based on what fly is most readily available and what stage of the insects life can the fish consume with the least amount of effort. Couple these facts with the fact that the flies we use are almost weightless and require specific gear to present them to fish.
 You now have the general reason these highly specific specialty fly fishing retailers exist and compete successfully in the market today alongside the heavyweight retailers, as well as the large internet/mail order catalog companies. This hobby/ art/ sport of fly fishing is complicated and personal instruction, as provided by your local specialty fly shop, is necessary and essential for continued success and enjoyment in fly fishing while learning.

Opportunities exist for beginners to learn and expand existing knowledge at fly fishing stores around the country. The majority of the items listed below are free for the asking and available at most but not every fly fishing pro shop in the nation. Customers willing to spend a few dollars are going to more than likely find out about a secret spot or hot fly tip.

  1. Geographic information is important to fly fisherman. Area specific information about where water conditions are best for the type of fishing you want to do will save much time and frustration. Directions to good fishing spot – FREE.
  2. Seasonal information is critical when we are talking about bugs that hatch annually or seasonally if you want to catch anything when you actually go fly fishing. You may ask what clothing or gear are most appropriate for weather while fishing. FREE.
  3. Fishing regulations and fishing licenses are sold at specialty fly shops. Regulations are provided for FREE. Sometimes you may find out about fishing spots with special regulations like catch and release and fly fishing only areas can enhance your fishing experience enormously. FREE.
  4. Technical equipment knowledge is essential, either if you are just beginning or trying to buy a $750 fly rod to add to your collection. Trained professionals know the questions to ask you, just as your doctor will ask questions, to see what will work best for you given your conditions. Technical knowledge you may need is FREE.
  5. Guiding Services apt to be found at many pro shops should be taken advantage of when you begin fly fishing. The investment in a guided trip will save you time, frustration, embarrassment and money in the long run. Also, please remember to be patient; fly fishing is based on accumulated specific knowledge. Just because you were lucky enough to golf with Tiger did not ensure you shot par. Not FREE, but worth the investment!
  6.  Field lectures are short interactive ways to learn more about a variety of topics like entomology, riparian zones and others. These field lectures tend to be seasonal. FREE.
  7. Clinics like fly casting can be found at most fly shops in the summer either weekly or even daily. Always ask for some casting advice if you are demoing a fly rod any time, an employee at a pro shop will always offer some assistance. FREE.
  8. Demonstrations or talks by local, regional or national fly tyers, fly fishing destination owners, wildlife photographers and conservationist are often provided for FREE.
  9. Weekly classes in basic fly fishing and fly tying are common. Not FREE, but worth the investment.
  10. Schools for basic fly fishing for varying lengths are offered for a fee. Some fly stores offer rowing and guiding schools for experienced fly fishers. Investment required.
  11. Group trips organized by the store are great ways to learn about a new area with people you already know or people you meet through the fly shop. Sometime trips are to exotic locations or some are just miles away. 
  12. Outdoor volunteer programs typically associated with a river clean-up, restoration or enhancement projects may exist in your area and your local fly shop can help you find one.This is a great way to give back to your community, meet new friends and participate in a clean-up party. Free.

All the free stuff adds up to a lot of fun but also a value that you will not receive from a non-specialty fly fishing supplier. For some anglers or future fly fishermen, the perceived value or price is what is most important to them when it comes to a buying decision. The actual value is much greater when you get involved with the gear and advice your local fly shop provides. 

At Vail Valley Anglers we pride ourselves on providing our customers with the best possible service and information. If you're looking for fly fishing stores in Colorado, check out our shop in Edwards, CO. 
Bill Perry
Content Writer and Professional Fly Fishing Guide