Flyshop Friday

Fayetteville, Arkansas


We all know what a proper flyshop is supposed to look like. You park where a gas station burned down in the Sixties, walk by a nice place to get a drink, cross over the rickety old porch and then flap through the screen door, stepping into a converted general store built before the crops all dried up and blew away. At least, that’s the theory....

If, as the classic narrative goes, there are more than 8 million stories in the naked city, Urban Angler flyshop, for the past 20 years, has been intertwined in the yarn. From links to the Madoffs (indirect at best, says Bernie) to recent American Express TV ads, this Manhattan retailer maintains its spot as the Big City stop for a community of hardcore fly fishers.

What would motivate a person to open a fly shop in the midst of the Great Recession? I asked this question to David D’Beaupre, who opened The Sierra Trout Magnet and Guide Service in Bishop, California, in August 2009. With small, independent fly shops closing left and right in recent years, I figured he had to be worried.

About a month ago we received a letter signed by a dude named Matt. He claimed he’d stumbled upon a flyshop so amazing, so gritty, so real, in a state so blessed—or cursed, choose your poison—with outfitters, that we must share it with you.

Sensing the big scoop, we dug deeper. Matt told us that he’s lived, fished, and guided all over the state, has spent a small fortune inside flyshops, and there’s only one, in his experience, that stands out as Drake material: The Otter’s Den in Columbus, MT.

In a town crazy for baseball, there are at least a few people in St. Louis, Missouri, that regard the Cardinals as mere amusement—something to occupy their time while driving to some of the most underrated flyfishing streams in the Lower 48. Many of those drives start at T. Hargrove Fly Fishing, tucked off Interstate 44 along the commercial sprawl of Manchester Road. A quick drive gets you to the interstate artery that leads to all directions from St. Louis. Hargrove’s is the last stop for a fishing license and supplies prior to the road trip.

Wiley Fly Shop

Ultra remote Rainbow Lake, New York, buried deep within six million-acre Adirondack State Park, may seem an unlikely place for any business, let alone a startup flyshop. But that hasn't deterred area native Vince Wilcox, who moved his online Colorado operations east and opened Wiley's Flies in May 2008.

Whistler, B.C.
Whistler Flyshop Fly fishing has yet to gain traction in the wide world of Olympic-caliber "sports"—trampoline, rhythmic gymnastics, synchronized swimming, curling, ping pong, to name a few of our favorites—but that has not deterred Whistler Flyfishing owner Brian Niska from reaping rewards with the 2010 Games touching down on his home turf this week.

inside Northwest Flyfishing Outfitters

When John and Shirley Hagan first opened Portland’s Northwest Flyfishing in May of 1993, Czechoslovakia was dissolving, Rodney King was testifying, and the Second Coming of the Spey rod was still a decade away. But 17 years later, the Hagens still offer the quality products and service that East Side Portlanders have come to expect.

Orlando Outfitters first opened its doors in January of 2005. Since then, Tim and TJ Bettis, along with shop manager Chris Barco, have shown that Orlando has much more than just the Magic Kingdom. With three full-time employees and a couple of part-timers, the shop always has someone ready to talk fishing. Redfish and seatrout are the primary targets for the guys at the shop, but they also fish for warmwater species like bass and sunfish, as well as snook, tarpon and black drum.

Nestled between the rolling hills of southeastern Wisconsin, you will find a unique town called Viroqua, home to eclectic artists, organic farmers, and The Driftless Angler Fly Shop. Located a short drive from just about anywhere in the Midwest, the Driftless Angler is within striking distance of hundreds of miles of classic Heartland spring creeks.