Flyshop Friday

Islamorada, Florida

“Florida Keys Outfitters, this is Auggie.”

“Hey, man. It’s Geoff, from The Drake. Is Sandy [Moret] around?”

“Lemme check. [Long pause.] He’s out. What are you doing in town?”

Steamboat Flyfisher has traversed several storefront locations over its more than a decade long morphology. From its Old Town Square digs to its newer, plusher location on Yampa Street, the shop today sits a rollcast away from the Yampa River, where across the street you can peer over the bridge railing, break out your rod, and fish more than 6 miles of bike-accessible public water through Steamboat’s meandering core.

Williamsville, NY

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There are two types of fly shops out there, destination and local. Oak Orchard Fly Shop defiantly falls into the latter category. Of course this was not always the case.

Arvada, Colorado
Digging into Charlie’s, the 6-year-old Arvada, Colorado flyshop mainstay, is akin to entering the box of a tying master. But instead of perusing a dozen rows of meticulously filled C&F foam slits, you’ve stumbled into a dream selection of 2,400 fly bins filled

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Sisters, Oregon
The Fly Fisher’s Place has been a fixture in the quaint town of Sisters, Oregon for nearly 25 years, and is the longest continuously owned shop in all of central Oregon. Jeff Perin, owner of The Fly Fisher’s Place, purchased it 20 years ago, fulfilling a life-long dream of owning a shop just like the ones he started working in during high school.

Last Chance, ID

[Last Friday we posted a short piece on Last Chance, Idaho, flyshop, The TroutHunter. Co-owner Jon "The Animal" Stiehl joins us today, filling you in on the dirt: High times, low times, drunken A-Bar debates, scraps with reps and the establishment, Idaho gun love, and Rene Harrop's penchant for Natty Lite. Enjoy.  —GM]

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When I moved to an Albany, NY suburb from northern Michigan five years ago, my first priority was to find the closest flyshop. At my new place of employment, I walked through a maze of cubicles, searching for the most outdoorsy looking guy in the building.

“Bruce, where’s the local fly shop?”

“We don’t really have one.”

Cue the violins.

Melrose, MT
Next time you’re driving around fishing the rivers of southwest Montana and you’re in the mood for a little adventure, try driving the High Road. This rough-and-tumble 20-mile county road connects Twin Bridges to Melrose and the Big Hole River to its confluence with the Jefferson.

 But before you start out, learn from the mistakes of others and check to see that your drift boat trailer is firmly attached to your truck and that everything on your roof rack is securely tied down. It’s also not a bad idea at this point to double-check your buddy’s AAA tow-package. Then floor it.

Bozeman, MT
Sunshine and Salmonflies on the radar

Of the laundry list of flyfishing variables we cannot predict, weather—good or bad—ranks near the top. So far spring 2010 has been a strange, extended winter for many living in the West: Rain, snow… more snow. Nowhere is that more prevalent than in southwest Montana, where late-season snowpack continues to pile on, extending runoff season indefinitely.

Watching the incessant deluge from the windows of The River’s Edge flyshop, in Bozeman, MT, good fishing is always a go—whether it’s delayed or not. And the promise of rivers returning to fishable levels, and Salmonflies smashing down the doors is, like every year, inevitable.

  “It’s been a weird year,” says Steve Summerhill, who co-owns The River’s Edge with business partner Dan Lohmiller. “We ended April looking at maybe a low-water year, and all it’s done since is rain and snow, which has pushed us to above average snowpack and tilted things the other direction. Our long range forecast is for more cool and wet weather in the coming weeks. Keeping in mind that the only two jobs you can consistently be wrong at and still get paid are a fishing guide and weather man, hopefully this means that the fishing will be that much better in August.”

 

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Gig Harbor, Washington

Most people with a shred of business sense would question 31-year-old Blake Merwin’s motivation to open the Gig Harbor Fly Shop in March of 2009, right in the midst of America’s largest financial collapse since the Great Depression. The established flyshop of twenty years, and barely ten miles down the road, had just been forced to close. And Merwin had been successfully running an online flyfishing catalog for five years out of his home, with minimal overheard and operating expenses. He was now shifting operations to a retail storefront in a town of 7,000, in what some would call a backward—and definitely more expensive—move.

 

Surely, the life expectancy of his western Washington shop would be measured in months, not years. However, this definitely was not the case. Merwin and his staff just celebrated their one-year anniversary—with a full-day blowout of demos and lectures, and food and booze—and the shop was recently awarded “Western Washington’s Best Fishing Gear Shop” by a 24-year-old news magazine seen on Seattle’s local NBC affiliate, edging out almost 20 other established specialty flyshops in the region.