Are the shops our friends? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Are the shops our friends?

08-20-2002, 02:51 PM
Maybe this is just a personal rant or maybe something others might agree with. Here goes either way. I am curious if the board feels we are better off with or without local fly shops. I ask this question because of a couple of recent happenings and conversations.

First, a local shop manager went on for some time to me about the evils of e-bay and how it is killing his rod sales business. His comment was that now people buy and sell rods on e-bay and nobody pays full price to him anymore. My reply was can you blame them? With a new premium rod running between $500 and $800, and e-bay offering the expectation of being able to buy or sell the same for around half, it is hard to be loyal to the local guy.

Interestingly enough, I had this same conversation with an Oregon shop owner a couple years ago only this time the evil menace was the Internet. He claimed that webshops were driving him out of business. This was a curious admission as I had just purchased an used demo spey rod from him via a web classifieds board.

There can be little doubt that one of the only perks for the experienced shopper is the ability to go get it NOW. For things you don't mind waiting for, the web is most often the cheaper way to go.

Having said all the above, I do believe in loyalty to my local (or non-local) shops. I will admit though for large ticket items, I can be convinced to ignore this loyalty. Case in point, I was recently looking to purchase a 4" Hardy Bougle`. The local shop I do most of my business with had it for $385 + tax. A little research and I picked it up from a well known BC shop for $262 US incl. shipping and backing. Was I disloyal, I don't think so.

Now to the real bitch with some shops. This does not apply to all but is common enough to be more than an anomaly. I refer to the pushing of their product while bad mouthing brands they don't carry. I know that to a degree this is sales but it csan be taken too far. Case in point, I had a conversation with a local shop manager a couple of years ago. I knew his company had carried Scott rods for years until they dropped them in a huff over Scott marketing their rods through REI. At the time I was interested in the Scott 1509/4 ARC and asked what he thought of it. I was treated with a 5 minute lecture on what a piece of junk it was and how the 9150 Sage was superior in every way. (For what its worth, I have since spent considerable time with both rods and I agree for my style of casting.) Fast forward a couple of years and this store is now carrying Scott rods again. Imagine my surprise when I start hearing how this same person is now singing the praises of the Scott 1509. "The best rod he has ever cast." Sorry but forgive me, in my mind, he is simply a whore. Nothing more, nothing less.

Finally, a story out of a local store from a week ago. Let me preface this by saying that a staff member there has been very vocal about guarding access to a small river in the Seattle area. There has been a lot of talk against a local guide for taking groups of clients into this fairly unknown drainage. Much of the trash talking against the guide came out of this shop. ( I don't know if anyone other than myself and a couple others on the board here ever took the time to complain to the guide in question or not but lots were talking behind his back.) There was even talk of recruiting people to go up and interupt the guides teaching. Come on people, tell him you don't like him guiding there but to disrupt his business? How would you like it if I came to your shop and started telling customers that they shouldn't shop there as you were not doing what was best for the resource? Hmmm, that is an idea.

Anyway, back to my rant. Imagine my surprise when a close friend told me he was fishing this small river last week and had a father and son wade across the tail-out he was fishing. When they came up to talk to him, he explained that it was bad manners to cross through someone's run. They said they were sorry and then said they were from California and had never fished up there before. They had been in a local shop and one of the staff had told them they had to head up to the XXXXXXX as there were lots of steelhead to be had. When my friend inquired what shop and who had told them, yep you guessed it, the same shop and person who had been trash talking against the guide.
Shame on you!:mad:

So I ask you all, would we, and the resource, be better off without local shops? I have to think that in the case of at least a few, the answer is yes.

(vacating soapbox)

beau purvis
08-20-2002, 03:40 PM
i quess it depends on the shop and the idividual experience. i had a shop stop selling patagonia because they started selling at rei. however they did not badmouth the products. just said they no longer were a specialty product where they could offer an edge or semi monopoly. still liked the product.i dont resent that type of approach.
I feel that if a shop offers some level of advice or service i should pay them back by giving them business.over the yrs i have seen lots of people pump guys at local shops for advice and expertise and then go buy their recomends elsewhere. i dont think that is right. we owe something for that service.provided it is good .
now, when a shop has great special unigue products that you can touch and feel,plus good advice,its a no brainer that we need them. and those places do exist. the shop mentioned above in regards to patagonia gave his simms rainjacket to my son to borrow for a week on the Dean in case it rained .he did not want me to spend a lot of money for a week , when he might not even need it, especially if he ended up not liking steelheading. he also let me borrow a spey rod for the tripand a pontoon boat for a few days on the local rivers.he took us out fishing on some saltwater beaches and did not charge thats what i call service. as a result i am pretty loyal to him when his selection enables loyalty. now if he doesnt have what i want that is a different story.i go where the best gaulity products are located. beau

08-20-2002, 03:59 PM
Knowing all the "players" in this little drama (except the Californians), I can only reply with tired :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

Those guys have been ratting out that river for quite a few years. I knew about it before, but never was motivated to fish it until someone they told convinced me to give it a look-see a few years ago.

Seems everybody hates it when Someone Else exploits a resource in a way they could have (but didn't). I can name more than a few other shops that wish XYZ flyshop would quit their chatter, too. Yet they all have their "spots" that they give away to their own customers.

There's plenty of water out there, and as many of us know there's no guarantee of Steelhead no matter where you go. In fact, the hot reports of late come from a river much closer to Seattle that the one referred to above. :devil:

I believe it when I'm friends with the person away from the shop. That's about the only time you can be reasonably assured of a non-commercial opinion.

Do I think we need Local Flyshops? Absolutely!! They provide classes, advice, and instruction to beginners and supplies to the rest of us. Do I believe their advice?? Not always - I factor in that they are indeed representing their products and will always give them a favorable spin.

That being said, I DO find it offensive when they're blatant about hyping a product I know to be a piece of %#X#.

In this particular case, it's IMHO more about the extroverted, opinonated, and combative natures of the guide and the shop manager (who haven't liked each other for a long time) than it is about a river.

Welcome to Days of Our Lives - Flyfishing Edition

My 02,


08-20-2002, 04:22 PM
I buy stuff from local merchants as often as possible. These people are my neighbors and friends and I will support them over ebay or internet shopping or big mega everything department chain store every time. I make enough money that the 1 rod a year I might buy I can afford to help my neighbor make a living. I do not think it has anything to do with whether he gives me good information or whether he has the best deal around. I do not live in megatropolis either so maybe that is why I see things a little different.

08-20-2002, 04:29 PM
I agree with Kerry, I hate to admit that. I have been to his local fly shop, what a dive.

08-20-2002, 04:34 PM
Do we need local shops? Of course we do. They are a tremendouse resourse. When e-bay can teach you to tie a Bimini loop, an internet shop can tell you where to put your canoe in, and a catgalogue can help fix you tailing loop, the local shop might be obsolete.
If you don't like the local guy, don't go there. Ever.
If they "charge too much", don't go there. Ever.
But, if you still go to the shop, and compare reels, pick up information, and then shop on e-bay, then you are as bad as they are.
I suspect that you would agree and you were just venting because of the hypocracy of the local guy.

08-20-2002, 06:06 PM
I'm sure I know of the shop which Kerry refers to and I will never do business there again. When I have to go to the manufacturer for resolution of problems the local shop should have dealt with then he loses any chance of selling me anything further. It's called service after the sale. His loss, sales of: (3) rods, (3) reels, (5) fly lines, tying vise and mucho tying material over the past year. Shop owner, you want my business then, take your smart*** crap elsewhere.

Now if I need something, today, I will travel the extra miles to Bellingham. If I can wait awhile, I shop my "local" shop in Welches, Oregon.

And yes, this one is a heater... I'm still p***ed off.


P.S. I forgot, more of his loss sales: several pairs of waders, wading boots, vests, (10) fly boxes, various tools...

08-20-2002, 06:41 PM
I suspect that you would agree and you were just venting because of the hypocracy of the local guy.

Without a doubt this is somewhat true. I have long been fed up with this "prostitute to the mighty dollar" and will likely never sit foot in his shop again. It is unfair to lump him in with all shops though.

In this particular case, it's IMHO more about the extroverted, opinonated, and combative natures of the guide and the shop manager (who haven't liked each other for a long time) than it is about a river.

DS, you are right that there is that personal factor to this example but I only threw in the examples in to illustrate the cons of some local shops. There are many pros as well and some have been mentioned in the replies to my post.

I am not against local shops but have been thinking that with the changing business climates, i.e. the internet, ebay, etc, the days of the local shop might be numbered. When you look around, the ones who seem to be prospering are the ones that offer great customer service and some web presence. Maybe it is a case of change or perish.

08-20-2002, 07:00 PM
"When you look around, the ones who seem to be prospering are the ones that offer great customer service and some web presence. Maybe it is a case of change or perish."

You are right on Sinktip. I think the days of the 50% markup at flyshops and never having sales are numbered. Local shops are just not going to be able to justify how much they charge forever.

I think the internet age has killed the monopoly they once had over the buying public and those who have adapted are still doing quite well.


08-20-2002, 07:35 PM
My local fly shop owner here in Chicago told me the same thing that the internet sales were really hurting him on the big ticket rods and reels. He carrys Sage, Orvis etc top of the line stuff and his prices are high.

I buy all of my fly tying products from them but any big ticket items like rods and reels I would go to the internet, like I did for a spey rod in the spring.

I guess he was selling over the net and he said every one came back saying they could get the items cheaper else where and wanted him to come down in price. He said he got tired of it and stopped selling over the net.

Need the local shops but I can see where they are getting squeezed by the internet competition.

08-20-2002, 08:01 PM
When I sell something on the internet it's ALWAYS to go to my favorite shops to buy more brand spankin' new equipment! In fact, if I can't "move" my old gear I am significantly less likely to buy anything new. So in my case, the internet sales increases my buying activity in local shops. I noticed that a lot here in the Forum too. I bet reality is that the exchange of used gear to prompt new gear purchases is of huge value to manufacturers and retailers alike.

On the topic of good verses bad shops, they are just that - good or bad. Furthermore, some shops have good workers and bad workers - in the same shop! In a few cases I could cite (but won't) the departure or arrival of a single individual makes or breaks the shop!

Half of the equation is the consumer - if the majority of consumers are not savvy, then the business will cater to dummies. If the majority is very savvy, then they might have little patience for the uninitiated. So I think it's tough to judge our friendly neighborhood flyshops without giving them a lot of consideration for the dynamics of the whole business. It is, in the end, just a business. Our ideals for flyfishing don't always mesh with the cutthroat principles of good business, with all due respect to Ray Troll.

Frankly, I like the simple act of visiting flyshops, like my wife likes to visit shops or like my son likes to visit the videogame store. I also like to spread the wealth, visiting shops just because. I like the experience of letting my mind spin over the possibilities of a good materials section. One shop has a tiny fly section but the hackles are great because no one has culled the good ones. Another has everything under the sun, but is a 90 minute drive one way, something for winter weekends. Another saves my day when we do the Xmas shopping run to that area. Yet another has total crap on the shelves but in the bargain bin lie a half dozen $10 dusty shooting heads that provide 5-10 years worth of custom sinktips.

But to everyone's point, there are flyshops out there that are best avoided. When I visit these shops I am there only for their inventory, not their company.

On the other hand, I love some shops so much I go for the company, and might only walk out with a pack of this or a spool of that after being there for 2 hours. I would much rather give my hard earned dineros to a fly shop I like, and these shops are where I make my major purchases.

08-20-2002, 09:52 PM

you've started a thread here on a topic that has swirled in my mind for the past few days. I'd be curious to know how much of a flyshop's income is derived from classes and guided trips vs. minor expenses of tying items and tippet, vs. more sizable expenses of waders, rods, and reels. The reason that I ask is this - my local shop sees fit to charge $3 for the exact same tying material that costs $2 everywhere else, including in the next town over. So I stopped buying my tying supplies there.

Just the other day I (stupidly and hurriedly) paid $8 for a pair of Simms wading laces with a suggested retail of $2. Now that one took the cake, and took me! The service at said local shop isn't any better than any other shop within an hour drive (and we all drive places for other reasons - what better reason to stop than a fly shop?) yet they manage to stay in business while overcharging idiots like yours truly.

I rarely buy rods or reels because of new hype from the fly shop, though while they are heavy on it, my favored reels are no longer in production, and my favored rods are (mostly) already in grasp.

But, if/when the time comes to buy a new rod or reel, it ain't gonna be at the place that nickel and dimes me on everything else. that's fo sho.


08-20-2002, 11:41 PM
With regards to MSRP. If a shop charges more, it is at their peril, call them on it. If they charge less...they probably won't be around for long.
A CA owner of one of the top shops(retail, online, and catalogue) in the country figures that after all expenses are tallied, he makes about 13% margin on hardware. Sure, at the begining it is a 30-50%, but after the overhead the profit gets eaten up quickly. I think that the volume of the sales just aren't that great for even the biggest shops. At least not when compared to a clothing store(Prada in NY grosses 75G a day) or grocery store(typical Safeway makes over 30G a day). I would bet that this guy averages around four thousand a day(maybe less for just gear and flies). That's pretty good money, but there are only a few that are doing as well as he is.
A small shop that gives you a fly line, or a discount on current gear is basicly giving you their profit. That is very generouse, but the owner probably doesn't need to make more than 40 grand a year. The classic pattern goes like this: A guy loves fishing and wants to share his love while making a living. He opens a shop. He works hard and doesn't seem to be making much money. He doesn't get to fish much and he gets crabby. Now he makes even less money, and goes out of business. Everyone who has been fishing for more than five years has seen it happen.
I guesse my point is that most shops aren't making a ton of dough. Most shops help begginners get into the sport. Most shops are in it because the owners and employees(making 7 bucks an hour) love fishing and like to share their passion. If they charge a dollar more for a bucktail, and they are a good shop, who's nickle and diming? If they spend a half an hour showing you a few reels, and then let you cast a few rods, is that worth anything? What is the guy discounting on e-bay doing for anyone. He's a small shop owner trying to clear inventory so he can order this years gear without saturating his local market. He's barely making it.
My local shops really helped me out when I was first starting, and they still do. That's worth something to me.
Yeah, I worked in a shop and I'm forever scarred.

08-21-2002, 01:02 AM
But I have my thoughts on this one. First off, alot of fly shops (at least the ones in South Puget Sound) will eyeball you when you walk into the shop. And since most of these guys are fly only guys, and knowing I'm a gear/fly guy, I get a snub nose to alot of times. For myself, I've gained ZERO knowledge from a flyshop, in fact ANY tackle shop. I guess I was blessed that I learned to fish extremely young from someone who grew up before you ever saw a true "sportsman" shop. My Dad (and Granddad) used to buy their sporting goods at the local hardware store. We made all our own gear, and used to buy from Schoffs since they had all we needed. But funny thing of all, and even to this day, I seem to give the SHOPS more info then they give me. I fish only a few rivers RELIGIOUSLY, and know them stone for stone. I know when to fish, how to fish, and where to fish. Do I connect all the time? No, if I did I'd be a God. But I do quite well for the amount of hours I am able to put in nowadays.

I know I ran off a bit. But I had a question. Do most of you guys who "have recieved info" from these fly shops new to the sport? I mean this seriously. Normally if I have had questions, I have (or shall I say had since most of them are dead now) consulted some of my Dad's old fishing buddies who fly fish. So I can honestly say I've learned nothing from a flyshop tying flies or using my gear.

Now, onto buying all your supplies at a flyshop. I've found that you can buy alot of your tying supplies cheaper from somewhere else. Very rarely do I ever buy from a flyshop unless I'm desperate. There is no such thing as "loyalty" to a shop, unless this shop literally got you started out and put you into your first fish. In that case, I owe my first gear to an old Pay N Pak where I bought my ABU 5001c and Fenwick 85c I used for driftfishing I bought back in around 79' (my first outfit I bought myself). But alot of stuff they sell can be found much cheaper in places you least expect. For example, if I was to be "loyal" to a fly shop, I could buy some pearlescent green ribbing for $5 for 5' at local fly shop (supplied by Orvis). I can be the EXACT (and yes, I've checked to see) ribbing at Michaels for $3 for 100 yards. Hmmm, a lifetime supply for $2 cheaper. Same thing for alot of stuff at different places. They need to make a buck, but should you waste the money you make to pay their salaries (that's if you OWE THEM for your success I guess). I make pretty damned good money for having a blue collar job. But I work damned hard for my paycheck and don't want to blow my $$$ overpaying for something to be "loyal". There are times to splurge, but those who KEEP their money are the ones who know how to shop. I personally am out there to fish. I'd rather take the money I've saved (which is QUITE alot) to buy things for my kids. And as for ebay, it's just another sales place. Why do you think so many shops are selling online (yes, there are flyshops who sell online, and one of them is in Lynnwood, have bought a sparespool from them OFF ebay). Like Juro, I've sold stuff to buy more stuff. But normally I've sold off used to buy someone elses used rod (which is an upgrade for me) and the person I bought rod from bought new at a flyshop. The old circle of life scenerio. Money is going somewhere, just be glad it's going into the economies around here (well mostly). I've made some hellacious deals on ebay. I just scored a bunch of fly tying supplies for $12 (over $120 worth of NEW in package chenilles, quills, and misc all stuff I use). I'm sorry, but if you're gonna pass up a deal because it's not "helping" local business, then call me and let me know about deal. I'll gladly buy it.

I know I'll get flack on this one, but give me a break. I've watched WAY too much bad info at too many shops to give that devotion. I guess if I had an unlimited supply of cash, I'd throw it away too, but I prefer to help my family first. I'm just silly that way.

08-21-2002, 02:27 AM
I wasn't thinking about entering this fracus as it seems that my opinion maybe a little biased but I must admit that what local shops provide far outweighs any of their so-called cons.

I dont see any chain stores nor do I see Ebay supporting local consveration efforts or local charities. Last time I checked I did not see one of these outfits donate their space for meetings nor did I see one of these outfits donate juvenille trout for a very popular lake.

When was the last time a local chain store or Ebay put on FREE flytying clinics with some of the well-known world renowned tiers...when was the last time you saw a chain store or Ebay give a casting lesson to group of school age children???

I can not go into Ebay or go into a chain store and cast as many rods as I would like to decide which is best for me. And for those that use a shop's resources to decide what rod is best for them then buy it online...shame on you. You are the same dirty w-word the Sinktip used.

I have over the years lent out my own personell rods, reels, pontoon old co-worker of mine even went as far as to loan his driftbaot oars to one customer and the entire boat to another (at differnt times).

I have also shown favorite flies, favorite runs, favorite techniques etc. that I would never advertise to the masses or publish to say an out of towner that has a few hours to fish. It brings me great satisfaction to get a phone call or an email from some out-of-towner who is estatic because he just caught his first steelhead...or caught 20 trout here or 10 silvers here. And in my opinion, the resource is better of for it. They left nothing but some footprints and some sore-lipped fish but leave with a better understanding of our fisheries and a desire to protect them.

Doublespey brought up an excellent point...fishermen are gossipers. It is what we do off the river and on. It is what we do on the Web, on the phone, inside of shops and outside of them. It is a very 'clicky' (sp?) sport...especially us steelheaders. Rumors and gossip travels like wildfire and always seem to end up even more unaccurate then the original accuisations...sort of like that game you played in school where you whispered a phrase into one kids ear, and he passed it on. By the time it got back to you it resembled nothing of the original statement.

Shops are VITAl to a healthy flyfishing community and are VITAl to healthy fisheries. Support Ebay and/or a discounter and you are NOT supporting a healthy flyfishing community and you are not supporting healthy fisheries as much as you would be if you were supporting your local shop.

But remember...that is a biased opinion. :devil:

08-21-2002, 03:12 AM
...just so you dont think I preach buying your tackle at local shops then I myself go buy other goods at discounters or on Ebay.

Within the past few years, I have acquired a large record (cd) collection...eventhough the first 100 or so were stolen after my car was broken into. I buy the vast majority of my music at either Cellophane Square or Singles Going seems my record buying has tanked so I am no longer spending every day in the U-district.

I bought my guitar...a fairly decent setup at Band-Aid music in Lynnwood...a small wonderful little shop that may have been more expensive then Guitar Center, ebay or an online discounter.

Plus I always drop by a local flyshop if I am out of town...not to get the lastest where-to but just to say 'Hi', support 'em buying spending some money and see what else is out there.

08-21-2002, 07:54 AM
I agree that the price for quality gear is escalating out of control and, yes, some shops have a double dip in the markup. I like to save what little money I have, YET I know the health of the local shop requires a profit to be made at my expense. I don't begrudge him as long as the markup is reasonable, I'll buy. Eddie brings up MSRP - I always buy my gear at this price. I don't typically shop price, I shop quality gear and good customer service after the sale. Although I am perpetually broke, I'm NOT cheap. I'll pay the MSRP because I really want the shop to make it.

BUT, if you insist on being a smart***, know-all, then I will take my business somewhere else. If I drop a grand in your shop then find that customer service is a foreign language to you, I'm gone. And never coming back. The shop in Skagit county has lost about $3,000 of sales to me this past year because the owner was such a glib wise***. Too bad for him. I have found several merchants willing to be polite while taking my money and still being there for me when I need help with something or have a question. **Merchant, you become my friend and I will become your customer.**


08-21-2002, 09:06 AM
I have shopped at my local fly shop for number of years now and have had excellent service, good advice, and fair pricing. I would recommend the shop to any one.

I would not drive your car to shop in Bellingham.

08-21-2002, 11:27 AM
I like Juro's comments that he sells on the internet and replaces at his local shop. Good for you Juro. I am a strong suporter of buying at a local shop but in order to do so that shop must have a healthy out look on what has happened to fly fishing over the years.
Over the last five years or so I've been fortunate to be able to travel the country to fish and work. My job takes me to some of the best rivers in the country and that means I have a lot of time to stop into fly shops. What I've noticed in areas where fly fishing is king like West Yellowstone, Bozeman is that local shops are going in two directions.
One direction is to give out as much info as posible, be it schools, classes, where to and what you should.
The other direction some shops are taking is to get away from this information trend. Their belief is fly fishing is your experience to enjoy so go out and learn it experiment with it and explore. It's this type of shop that believes that no matter what experience your ability is at that you are an equal as a fisher person. That being, they will not send a beginer to slaughter on the Henery's Fork to fish for fish they do not have the capability to fish for and get in the way off others more experienced. They will not encourage a person new to fly fishing to go for steelhead with a fly or bone fish with a fly but start small and with experience you will know when the time is right to challenge your skill level.
What this all means to me is that one shop will try and talk at you and the other type of shop will converse with you. Both shops would like your money but go about it differently.
I know of two shops now that have all most entirely done away with fly fishing schools and encourage their guides to be less teachers of how to and more a mentor and an encourager that one of the wonderfull things about the fly fishing experience is for you to learn by your own observations of yourself and the river you fish.
Why this outlook, because some shops owners are begining to realize they got into being a shop owner because they love fly fishing. Yes putting food on the table is important but being a steward of the quality of the experience for all is the end result.
I hope we begin to see more shops and guides going in this direction mentioned above. I would hope you all would suport this type of local shop, this type of guide, we need them if our love of fly fishing is to reach some sort of healthy equilibrium in the future.

Ol Rich
08-21-2002, 11:35 AM
I am biased toward local shops because I owned and operated a retail bicycle shop for 7 years and know the challange of giving good cuatomer service and competing with the discounters.

I have received most of my information from local shops and this board. I was introduced to steelhead fishing through a two day class conducted by one of the shops. The owner conducted the best class on fishing I have had. (Cast, mend, swing and three steps downstream)

I drive about 20 miles to a shop that has given me much good information. They are willing to share their knowledge of equipment and thechnique. Their prices for materials are very competitive. I have purchased a couple of items from shops off the internet but when it comes time to make my next rod purchase "the shop" will get my business.

I believe that if I use the shop to try out equipment than I should support them with my business.


08-21-2002, 12:34 PM
Some very good feedback from both sides. Without a doubt there are good shops and bad ones. One common denominator of a good shop is customer service. Some shops just pride themselves on it and well, others don't.

As SH69 mentioned, some shops tend to size you up when you walk in and the service you get depends on their opinion. I know of one local shop that all but ignored a buddy of mine when he went in to purchase a new speyline. He is a blue collar guy and dresses the part. He got so fed up with the snubbing he got from the manager that he left and went to Lynnwood to a gear/fly shop and got great service. Another hole in the wall shop near my house lost my business after the owner actually yelled at my two-year old son for picking up a spool of thread and saying, "look daddy, red." I shared with him my thoughts on his lineage and I have not been back.

I dont see any chain stores nor do I see Ebay supporting local consveration efforts or local charities.
Sparkey brought this up so I feel compelled to respond. Right you are Spark! Some shops go out of their way to help the public and the resource. Others could care less. Oh sure, they might donate something to an auction but this is just a tax right-off and is usually last year's model they are trying to get off inventory. But will they actually do anything to help the resource they profit from?

Case in point a local store which has a younger and more wealthy steelhead clientele. As such, you would expect them to do more than vocally support the recent CnR push for wild steelhead. After all many shops did. Wrong, the manager told me that even though he belives that wild steelhead CnR is the right thing, he "can't risk alienating any of his customers that bonk wild fish". Can you say Whore? I know I can.

So yes Sparkey you are right, some shops go the extra mile and others, simply across the street to the bank.


08-21-2002, 03:54 PM
Some great points in this thread - another reason I love coming here. :)

One interesting point Sparkey made is that local shops support the local conservation and rehabilitation efforts. Yes they do, and it's one of the reasons i don't mind (occasionally ;) ) spending a bit extra in them.

Another is that they're the "hangout" of many of the leading anglers of the area. I know that when I'm headed home from the Snoqualmie I'll detour a bit to stop by a shop where a rather famous steelheader and guide works to chat a bit about the fisheries etc.

But the "River Runs through It" days of massive expansion of flyfishing shops and the exponential rise in tackle prices (probably the only thing that rose quicker than petroleum products in the '90s) have ended and the shops are all experiencing the pains of a dwindling market and shrinking customer base. With the state of the economy, many fly anglers aren't willing to pay for the 6-$700 new Sage rod. They'll buy off EBay or pick up a St Croix or other 2nd Tier rod. And many are quitting fishing in disgust, with the closed seasons and overcrowded conditions on many rivers and lakes.

Times are a-changin', and I think this is reflected in the increasingly hostile and competitive attitudes of many of the shopowners. They're searching for something unique to "sell", even if that's the very resources they've only whispered about in years past. I know of beaches, rivers, and lakes that the shops and guides have recently "sold" to get new clients, as venues for classes, etc.

All of us who fish these places feel a bit violated, butt the prevailing mentality among shops and guides seems to indicate that it's time to Sell if you have anything left to Sell. Doesn't seem like anyone has a lot of faith that it (quality fishing) will be around much longer.

Just my .02


08-21-2002, 05:11 PM
Doublespey, I hope you are right and fly fishing is becoming less popular. I hope that 3/4 of the flyshops world wide go down the tubes, 3/4 of the rod & reel companies most now owned by big corperations file chapter 7. And what about all those fly fishing magazines out there selling the promised land and ignoring the fact they are only helping keep way too many people coming into the sport and keeping way too many who would have given up on it long ago comming back. May the paper they are printed on somehow grow back into stong healthy shade trees for our poor rivers and lakes. Maybe most of the lodges and travel agents will go under too and we can get back to the adventure of looking at a map of some far distant place, thinking that it might be a wonderful place to go and see how the fishing is. Taking the time to plan a trip getting in your car or on a plane cold and unknowing and making an adventure out of it instead of rushing somewhere to fish with everything taken care of by someone else because we are too busy with the every day stress of work and family. Wouldn't it be nice to go to Alaska or N. Canada not see a lodge every 1/2 mile on some famous river deneying us the right to just camp out sit by a fire in the evening BS about fishing with a few other fishermen who have learned to take the effort to be more independent from what fly fishing has become.
Some say it can't go back and they are right but one can not deney that history will repeat itself. Maybe most of us won't be around to see it. Then again maybe it is us that can change the present state of fly fishing. It needs to be changed for the better I think most will agree it has gotten somewhat out of hand. Suport those shops that believe quality comes from less, try to make fly fishing into a cottage industry again and away from the slick corperate image it has now. Yes there will be less gear to buy and what there will be will be more expensive even than now but think about driving to your local river and not having to worry if there are going to be 30 guys and gals fishing there when you get there. Yup just driving with that good old expression on your face that it's going to be a hell of a great day on the river today.

Most of all stop supplying all this info to every Tom, Dick and Harry, we the fisherman have become such yada yada yada, we are worse than the shops and guides and we all know how bad they are. Hopefully someday the internet and fly fishing won't be mentioned together. Instead it will be two fishermen meeting for the first time on some river or beach, maybe just saying, " hello how has your day been, getting a great answer, " like good so far and you"? Then the golden moment of just moving on in your own direction and fishing.
Am I crazy for thinking we the fishermen can control every bit of what it takes to get more quality out of our fishing than the industry telling what they want us to do. And they do, just take a few minutes of soul searching and you will see we are getting the short end of the stick.
With love to all! Except, Sage, Winston, Orvis,etc,etc. But burkinhimer(sp) your all right.

08-21-2002, 06:26 PM
There is so much hostility towards shops. It's funny, because when I worked in them, our customers were totally stoked.
Sure, once every month there would be a person who would walk out in a huff. I would be spooling up a few reels and helping two other customers and answering the phone and signing for UPS and greeting five more customers and asking everyone to be patient, and quickly ring in a sale for some flys, and fill out a steelhead tag and rig up another demo rod and I would look up and someone who had been in for a minute sighing loudly walks out in disgust. I hope he didn't think that I was "sizing him up".
How can you tell if someone isn't going to buy that T&T split bamboo? If you learn one thing in retail, it's that you can't. The other is that fishermen in all tax brackets are willing to pay for the best. So all fishermen deserve the best service. Sometimes you run into a jerk, but you don't judge all fishermen based on a few a-holes.
Of course you can get stuff cheaper, but a good shop provides a better value. I have worked with thousands of people that would agree. Nobody is getting rich off of this.
I am sorry that so many out there don't have access to a good shop. Most are good shops that serve their comunities and customers well. Don't judge them all based on a couple of shops.
SH69, you are very lucky. Many do not have access to the mentorship provided to you. I am a little jealouse.
Phew! Like I said befor...scarred for life.

08-21-2002, 06:43 PM

Exactly my point in starting this thread. If some, surely not all, of the shops (and guides) have adopted the SELL out attitude, do we need them? My rant is not against the shops but this sell out attitude that I find hypocritical. Will they have to change to stay in business? Yes. The market and internet age has seen to that.


Since I am one of those that have been telling you that you can't turn back time, I won't repeat it. I will acknowledge that the internet is in my opinion, a great detriment to the sport but it can be its salvation as well. If not, why do we spend hours discussing these ethical and conservation issues.

While one can pine for the old days where there were no river level websites, fishing chat pages or e-mailed fishing reports, all these things now exist and all of us, yourself included, partake. Why, because we are addicted to our sport and can't get enough of it. I guess if we really wanted to impact the man-hours on the river, if all of the readers of this forum decided to hang it up, it would make a sizable dent in the rivers you and I love to haunt. I'm not willing to go there so don't feel I have the right to ask others to.

I have seen the enemy and the enemy is us.


08-21-2002, 06:50 PM
And not afraid to admit it. I was blessed in that dept. BUT, I had to earn alot of the knowledge. Wasn't all given to me. Alot of the zippers I know (that are still rarely fished) I had to earn with my own fish finding/fighting abilities. Once that was earned, then more and more knowledge was bestowed upon me.

But I do know for a fact that I was sized up. An EMPTY fly shop except employees. I walked in with my grubs (had been doing repair work on a friends truck) and wanted to buy a few supplies for some jigs he wanted. I got the one up/down and they wouldn't give me time of day. Well, that's until one guy reckognized me and wanted info on any fish on some coastal rivers I fish. But after I gave him a brief (and VERY bland but true) report, he ran off and wouldn't help me finding materials I needed. They of course are dressed to the T like they're going out to a fancy restaurant after work (just throw on a tie and jacket). This has happened in a couple shops I have visited.

Now Sparkey, now now now. You know you're biased. I understand, your job is due to us coming in, business drops off and layoffs happen. So I'll give you credit on your rant. :p But I feel if it's a good fly shop, then go for it and spend your money. I have no use for them except the occasional quick fix tying supply. But if you want to get down to , just because you're not buying from a local shop (say Cabela's for example) does that mean you're worse off? I do alot of buying through Cabela's, WELL before it was the craze. My relatives homesteaded that WHOLE part of Nebraska and still populate the majority of the countryside there. Family has been buying stuff from Cabelas since day one in little shop outside of Sydney. Should I give up a long standing tradition of buying from friends (my uncles grew up with the Cabela brothers) because I should frequent local shops? I understand the local shop aspect, but I guess since I don't gain from it I'm a bit cold to it.

As to test driving rods then buying online. Hmmmmm, I would have to say that it's par for course on buying retail. Now, before ANY of you jump the gun saying it's "Lowlife" to do. How many of you have bought a brand new car? Have you test driven a new truck/car and bought the first one you drove, even if you loved it? Hmmmmm, I bet alot of you started sticker shopping after that. Best deal (and service) sold the car I bet. No difference with rods. They are a big investment. Only difference is you have to come up with lump cash at once instead of bartering down/payments. I have yet to go into a flyshop and test drive a rod and buy somewhere else. Normally I'll find someone who has one then buy according to my testing. But, I digress, I've rarely bought rods brand new. I buy used and let guy I'm buying from buy new with money I supplied. So, the used rod you buy today may be helping fund a new rod at a local fly shop. So don't diss on people for buying off internet. We're all ONE country, and every penny given funds something else. Well, that's unless you're a penny pincher who never spends money. :hehe:

Scott K
08-22-2002, 12:57 AM
What I like about the shop I go to up here in BC is that it's a place where everyone knows your name. You walk in, "Oh hey Scott what's new." And they take the time to get to know you as well and your personal situation. Considering the amount of business they do, I think that's an exceptional quality to have.

For example, I told one of the employees during the odd BS we have about how I was going to put the two hander down for a few weeks to do a bit of bar fishing back in May for some Springs (Yeah I know, up here it's a bit late for WR's and a bit early for most SR's so I had to fill the time in somewhere!) on the Fraser. Sure enough I walk into the store a few weeks later and the person goes "ring ring, ring ring, is that a bell?" Oh it's just Scott" It's things like that, the person taking the time to get to know you, and remembering some of the details, that makes the place worth going to (and with a sense of humour too, something I do appreciate and I have made that known many a time). The Customer service, and the advice are of paramount importance and this shop has strived in them all. Also, being a regular and loyal customer I regularly get breaks on the items I buy. The friends made are also a nice thing, and the fact that the place trusts their customers. I borrowed a reel and a spey line for two weeks with no if's and's or but's. My Simms waders, my Simms guide jacket, my boots, my rods, my reels, my fly lines, being loyal has gotten me the best price by far (EG I got around 100 bucks off of the Simms guide jacket MSRP if I recall correctly). Not always the best price compared to say Ebay, but the best price compared to other shops.

Ebay and internet boards are a great medium for purchasing items cheaply if you know exactly what you are looking for, and you know exactly what you're doing, but at the same time my loyalty to this fly shop has put a dead stop to me even considering purchasing items off of Ebay that I can't find in this store. Also, a lot of times you can't find EXACTLY what you want on Ebay. You can't find things that are the exact size, or the exact condition, or things to that effect. So there are pitfalls to it.

Can you put a price on convience, customer service, advice, trust, friends, and the fact that if it wasn't for you there wouldn't be any speciality fly shops which promote our sport?

There are also many other advantages that flyshops have that Ryan just touched upon and I can probably only barely touch upon by adding a few points.

They serve as a medium for the governining bodies to announce openings/closures/regulatory announcements.

They serve as a medium for various conservation groups who are often founded by anglers (Such as the Steelhead Society of BC) to advertise their cause to anglers because anglers go to them.
Or as of late, for petitions to get signed by anglers to stop cuts to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans which could be coming to BC.

They often support angling/conservation groups as was already mentioned.

They serve as a place for people to get advice and become educated in the sport. Many shops offer courses, as was mentioned which take it to the next level. Spey casting clinics are one example.

They serve as a medium for advice to recommend other services (EG guides, places to stay, etc.) to make your trips better as they often have the expierience. You can't buy this type of stuff off of ebay.

I assure you that loyalty to a GOOD fly shop will turn into a win win situation. There are some things you can't put a price on.

08-22-2002, 02:05 AM
This term sell-out is being used very loosely and thrown around like us 'shopies' are some how making a small fortune on telling a guy "Yeah I heard the Upper Sky is fishing well."

I, in no way benefit, in telling Joe Blow customer my secret spot or the hole I hit a couple fish in the day prior. If I am a good salesmen I can pimp Cracker Bar so hard that I could have half the neophyte steelheaders up there thinking it is the must be secret place to catch a steelhead. Either way the customer will be back because he thinks I just gave him my secret spot.

...but why does it matter if he is back. I will make my poverty wages no matter if he or he isnt. I have had full oppurtunity to graduate with a degree in fisheries science within a year...I was in commision sales for almost 6 months, at this moment I do miss netting $3,000/month working partime but at the time I missed working in a shop too much and sharing my passion and love with others.

Finacially, I am in much worse shape for working in a shop...I live with my parents, live paycheck to paycheck and am $7,000 in credit card debt. Do I really care???...not really. I love this sport too much and want to share my knowledge and my passion with other people so they can experience an activity, hobby, obbession, LIFE, etc. that has brought me so much joy.

I think we are being a little selfish when we suddenly want the rivers to ourselves again and dont want the so-called Orvis-clad yuppies running around the waters we fish...

It only benefits conersvation, technology within the industry etc. to be open about the love of the sport. should know this as well as anyone...there is power in numbers!! Not all of us were lucky to have an elder show us flyfishing.

I picked up a rod one day, walked down to the beach...and from that time on it was a sport I discovered on my own.

Just because someone is not lucky enough to get an introduction to the sport in the above mentioned manners doesnt mean they should be kept in the dark if intrested.

I also want to clarify something, shop clerks, atleast the ones I have worked with at Ted's and now at Kaufmann's, do not draw maps to places other then Reiter, Fortson, Two-Bit, Lincoln Park, etc. etc. etc.

If a customer comes in and asks where the fishing has been good...a typical reply will go something like the following:

"Go hit the Upper Sky...stay above Gold Bar. If you jump on Hwy 2 and follow it up you will have no problem finding good water to fish."


"The Stilly has been fishing really well (a response I will give eventhough I enjoy having the river to myself and dread July when the hordes of people show up). Hwy 530 will follow the river all the way to Darrington. Obviously Fortson is the place to be but if you do some bushwacking you will find some good water below"

In both instances, the customer had to take some inititiave to find the good water, look around, study a map and put in the time to find out where the fish hold in when.

But even so....say the couple runs into Sinktip's buddy up on the river. The 'shopie' in question told him to go hit the Upper Sky...they say to other fisher " and so told me they were catching fish 'up here.'" 'Up here' could be Gold Bar all the up to Stevens Pass or wherever the Hell the NF Sky originates from...but the person fishing the river could have misunderstood it that shope in question direct this couple to this spot or this very river.

I am not going to lie to a customer and tell him to go to Buck Island and expect to have a good chance of running into a summer-run in the middle of August.

Lastly...whore is a very extreme word to use...especially if you are not going to say it to the person's face. Personel grudges should be taken out in a private manner and not disguised as a subject of discussion on an Internet bulletin board!!!

08-22-2002, 10:37 AM
We all must suport one of our local fly shops. To do so is very import for all the positive reasons everyone has mentioned above.
But you the fisherman hold the ultimate power on how these shops do business in our fly fishing community. Your voice of encouragement if a shop is doing a good job is important to the owner and his employees. If you feel the shop is going in the wrong direction let the owner know, stop in some afternoon when he is not busy and talk with him about your concerns or what you like about his business. If he is any kind of small business owner he wants your imput, he needs it to be sucsessful. Please give your money to the small shop owner, we need them. Yes they are more expensive than buying off the internet or these big chain type stores but ya got to realize why. They can not buy products wholesale in mass numbers. Most of us have families and money is always tight but please walk the extra mile save your pennies for awhile longer and buy from the little guy you feel is doing a good job. A few times on this post there has been mention of face to face. That is what you get with a local shop face to face be it a complaint to him or a thankyou for doing business in his or her shop. We are loosing our identity not only as fly fishermen but as people as capitalism changes from local family owned service to corperate. There is nothing wonderful about it except the prices might be cheaper. Yes I most definately agree that many of our local shops are selling out what is sacred to most of us and doing so to survive one day longer. But these are the excess shops usually in the first place they came along to capitalize on a popular trend. Those are the 3/4's of the shops I would love to see go by by and hope they are soon gone to never, never land.

Sinktip my best fising buddy, one more time, I repeat one more time. I do not want to go back to the past, one can not go back to the past, period! But one can learn from the past, utilize those experiences both good and bad to help pave A SOUND PATH FOR THE FUTURE and I'm a strong believer we as fly fishermen can change the negative things we see out there in our little world of fly fishing. Some will disagree that there are problems out there others will admitt that there are but for one reason or another just don't want to take a stand. All that I can do here is voice my concern and hope others here will do so too. You can call me a snob, an eleitest, a selfish SOB and a trouble maker. I don't mind at all, like a lot here I've been doing the fly fishing thing for close to 40 years now I'm a believer in what generation after generation before me believed in when it came to the philosophy of fly fishing. I and all of you have just as much right to fight, kick and scream if you think it is needed as those who feel they have the right to destroy the simple pleasure of going fly fishing.
Yes sinktip I use the internet for my platform, (thankyou Juro you have great patience) but yes I detest the very idea of what these types of sites can be, a social gathering place for people who don't have enough imagination to go out on their own and figure out how to fish and learn on their own, for people who love to fly fish in large #'s I think they call them a claves. Internet sites have become a haven for cheesy guides to pedal their wares of mass exploitations and promises of grander to newbies nation wide. Yes I uses the internet for my own selfish reasons, but i must admitt that I enjoy the good stories told here the ones where people tell of a great day on the river or flats without ever needing to mention where or how just about those great days we all get once in awhile. I will always come back for that reason alone.
Thankyou sinktip for bringing up the flyshop thing I would hope that everyone of you would suport one that you believe in. There are good ones out there and we all need to take the time to think about what makes a good one for you and then give it your time and fly fishing money. We need him in our community and he needs us.
And sinktip If there were no river guage site or fish passage readings on the internet to check with at 0300 I'd still see your head lightsin my rear view mirror just about every morning pulling into your secret spots. you fished before the readings were posted and if they stop being posted you will continue to be at the river before the sun rises.

Bunny Leech
08-22-2002, 11:40 AM
Sinktip, you really started one here. Good work, it seems everyone is passionate in one form or another.

Do we need flyshops? No. Do we want them? Yes. Should the buyer beware? Yes. Is running a business a risky undertaking? Yes. Do you need high margins on products you don't sell a ton of every day? Yes. Do we want our manufacturers to stay in business so we can keep buying toys? Yes. Is there a place for the internet? Yes. Is there a single business that isn't facing challenges from the internet marketplace? Not likely.

In short, a shop earns my business based upon it's total value. Multiple posts have surmised the same in different words.

Shop employees behavior towards customers will ultimately determine whether a shop makes it. When I started fly fishing I found myself drawn to what appeared to be "the right places" to shop. Nice shops with the "right" gear, etc. Over the years I found myself following certain "employees" to where they worked with little concern for the name of the shop. Only reasons of convenience take me elsewhere. the best way for us to show how we feel is to demonstrate it with where we spend our dollars (which everyone here does).

I'm partial to OC's "learn the sport" mentality. I like hearing what the shops are doing in Montana to that end. We are all stewards to the sport and the fisheries. The more effort one puts into learning the sport, the more convicted one tends to feel towards those tenets.

Shop keepers can put people on all kinds of great water without giving up the "honey holes" learned by seasoned locals. Good effort on good water more often than not can turn a fish, or at least a good day. If nothing else there is experience gained. What has a newbie learned if they are sent directly to a honey hole and ultimately develop an unrealistic perception of what fishing or steelheading is about? What are the chances that person will continue to fish and explore and SPEND MONEY if every following trip is a comparative let down? Teach those who are willing to learn and then they will earn their own respect for the sport and pass it along. A smart shop keeper will "size someone up" in a "conversation" about needs and expectations and ultimately do both the fish and the sport a good turn by doing the right thing.

The following defines this view for me. I had the good fortune to learn steelhead flyfishing on the Deschutes from a guide on a customer fishing trip. He didn't care if you fished gear or a fly rod; he grew up on the river and inherited the business from his father. I'll never forget the first time he dropped me out on a run...a huge piece of water totally unlike the pocket water I was accustomed to fishing for trout. I asked, "where will the fish be?" He answered, "everywhere, you just worry about fishing that fly like I told you. You do it right and you'll hit a fish." I fished for three days and landed nothing while everyone else caught fish. At the same time it was the best trip ever. I learned to read water, how to present the fly, and how to fish with confidence. Consequently I pulled fish from those same runs multiple following years and feel I can assess and fish most any steelhead river as a result. Any guide who is a steward to the sport is a friend of mine. If he can make a living at the same time, good for him. By the way, this guide lets clients throw spinners or spoons, but he'll cut a side planer off your line in a heartbeat. Again, a steward of the river, fish, and sport.

People, not shops, are our friends.

08-22-2002, 06:15 PM

I am sorry if I have not made myself clear. My problem is not with any one person but with what I see to be an attitude of some shops. I have gone to great lengths to not identify any people or shops; be they, in my opinion, good or bad. We are discussing the idea here not the people. I only intersperse anecdotes to support my points.

As for my use of the term "whore", I thought long and hard about its appropriateness before using it. Given the givens, I don't feel it extreme in the least. My apologies if you or others are offended.


08-22-2002, 09:50 PM

You have the power and the right to state you opinion. However, it is pretty easy to tell exactly who 90%+ of the players refered to are in your post. I also have a problem with shops directing to specific areas. The problem generally isn' that people are fishing the "my" water. The issue is when they aren't told how to fish wade to their arm pits...... One of the shops on the East side sends people regularly down to a river I enjoy fishing. They tell them exactly where to park and fish. Pisses me off big time. Do they catch fish yeah, does it get them off the rivers the shoppies fish at yeah. Will I step foot in that shop no.. I've cost them $4-5K over the past two season via redirection to another eastside shop (they bought a couple of trips and gear that where the $$$).
I think its simple don't volunteer information if you work at a shop, don't direct people to small fragile waters, and don't give up secrets.

RE a shop "whoring" you have the power don't shop there, recommend shops that you like don't bad mouths ones you don't. However, shops should carry gear they believe in shouldn't they? In reality I don't think there is much bad gear out available these days. Particularly if you compare it the gear 8-10yrs ago.

How did the shop manager respond to your point of "My reply was can you blame them? With a new premium rod running between $500 and $800, "? The ebay thing I believe is perpetuated by the manufactures. Where do you think all those new rods come from? My bet is prodeals that's wh you don't see many Winstons. IMO

The shop manager is in business anything that reduces revenues is bad You are in business for your personal P&L you shop where you see fit. I also watch the big ticket purchases.

" I hope that 3/4 of the flyshops world wide go down the tubes, 3/4 of the rod & reel companies most now owned by big corperations file chapter 7. And what about all those fly fishing magazines out there selling the promised land and ignoring the fact they are only helping keep way too many people coming into the sport and keeping way too many who would have given up on it long ago comming back. May the paper they are printed on somehow grow back into stong healthy shade trees for our poor rivers and lakes. Maybe most of the lodges and travel agents will go under too and we can get back to the adventure of looking at a map of some far distant place, thinking that it might be a wonderful place to go and see how the fishing is"

OC I hope this was in jest? most of the people that run the same companies that you wish would bankrupt are the very people that give back hours to the preservation and conservation of the sport. The competition helps keep prices in check. Don't you already pay enough in taxes...All these people will be collecting unemployment and fishing on your dollar. Take the travel agents and lodges well last time I looked. No real lodges on the Washogal, Lewis, East Fork, Kalama, Cowlitz, Klick, Deschutes, Sky, Stilly, Skagit, Sauk...... If you can't ship these people off where are they going to fish? I the run that you are racing for!

08-22-2002, 11:42 PM

Some very good points. I find it hard to disagree with much you have said.

You have the power and the right to state you opinion. However, it is pretty easy to tell exactly who 90%+ of the players refered to are in your post. If this is so, I have failed in a sincere attempt to keep individuals out of this. In all honesty, my references for both good and bad encompass no fewer than six "local" shops. In going back and rereading my posts, I agree the Lynnwood reference was a no brainer and I should have not said that even though it was to paint that shop in a positive light. If the other shops are that obvious outside of an inner circle of friends of friends, I do aplogize.

The shop manager is in business anything that reduces revenues is bad. I do take issue with this statement if you are looking at the long term picture. To me it always comes down to the resource. If protecting the resource reduces short-term revenue, it is not a bad thing. Especially when not protecting the resource means no long term revenue.

For those who know me, they know my passion towards the resource and the thousands of hours I have dedicated to saving wild fish. During that time, I have met much opposition from those that want to continue killing them. While I disagree with these people, I at least respect their right to have their opinion and try and defend it.

What I can't respect is anyone, be they shop or individual, who agrees that it is the right thing to do but ignores it in favor of minimal short term financial gains. This to me is selling out the resource and to my way of thinking, is no better than selling your body on the street corner. I guess either way, you have to live with what you've done.


Duggan Harman

08-23-2002, 02:02 AM
Well, guys I thought it would be a good time to join in on this thread, and address my opinion on this subject. Duggan brings up some very interesting points, and I think that you should make sure that the things you here are factual. When I fish a stream or lake and learn something about it and share that the person or persons I fish with does that make me a whore? When that person I fish with takes a friend to the same lake or stream does that make me a whore? When that person goes online and posts a fishing report that goes to 300 users am I the whore?
Sorry for the rant, but I've seen both sides of the fence, but having worked in the industry for 10 yrs, it is a very fine line. So what is the best is the best approach,is it best to label a fishery a secret or fill the river with anglers with bad etiquitte,this again is a fine line. There is nothing more madening to have an angler ruin your fishing experience, and even worse to disturb your water, I do not support this and never will. In my opinion to properly educate is important to the future of our fishery.
Overs the years of fly fishing for I have had many good and bad experiences on the water, and I have learned that when you went into a shop and shared your fishing experience with an employee you had to be careful. I remember one experience when I told a fly shop employee about a recent experience and he quietly told me to look around and all business stopped and at that point I learned how negetive my excitment could have ruined this fishery.
What I have noticed over the last few years, is thatmost anglers want action now, so they post a question, call a guide, buy a guide book, very few just buy some and say in heading to xxxx river. Self sufficient anglers are rare and they are the anglers I first served. One other point I think is fare to bring up some business and anglers would spend there time saying follow so and so around and you will find the good water, does that make me a whore?
Andre brought a good point when a customer comes into the store and says where do I fish xxxx river, from your perspective I should be unimformative or should I have him call so and so guide, or do I lie? What is best for the business, or what is best for duggan? It is irresponsible to direct anglers to a specific stretch, and I don't feel that is being practiced. As an example most shoppies mention numerous rivers and stretches of these rivers and let the angler decide.
Most board members have shared a piece of water with a friend and the told them not to tell anyone and that angler took a friend and so on. I see this daily in the shop from customers and friends are lost because of it.
One point duggan makes in his first post is that I chose to not support the W.S.C because I did not want to alienate a person for harvesting a wild steelhead, to post that is unfair to me and the future of wild steelhead release. I happen to be in a difficult position and have work very hard to reach the ultimate goal.
When a customer comes into the store and says I have been steelheading for 20 yrs and wants to learn how to fly fish for steelhead and would like to keep a native fish, I suggest that he keep a hatchery fish let the native go. This is done in a subtle way and the person is not affended, this is the first step and many anglers that have harvested native steelhead there whole life now chose of there own free will. One comment I here from some steelheaders is they feel fly fisherman are arogant because they want to dictate this principle and that does not help our cause. One thing to remember is it is legal to kill a native steelhead in our rivers and I do not agree with the departments decsion to support this. How does this make me a whore.
When I spend my day of not fishing, and spending talking to politicians and commissioners small town mayor governers on why it is important to support wild steelhead release, does make me a whore. My wife would very much like to speak to you about to you about my lack of support of the W.S.C and wild steelhead release, because it is our quality time that is lost to support our cause, to descredit me for my efforts is sad and especially comes from someone with your affiliation with the W.S.C.
Please forgive me if I seemed harsh but some of the comments may have been stated because I care about the future of our fisheries and felt neccary to comment.
In alot of ways I feel it not appropriate to comment because I'm in the industry so I will not go there. But I would like to bring up excise taxes pay for a portion of the Departments budget and where does that come from, so you can answer that question when there no longer a budget for your fishery that we all hold dear to our heart. Who is going to stick up for the user and there fishery?
Lastly there are a lot of steelheaders that have water they protect as we all now thay have friends to, to attack a guide, a fly shop manager, a internet page, a biologist, game warden, we all impact these fishery and to single one or two is not seeing the whole picture.
If there are few users the fishery will not have the support neccessary to continue toexist, support in a positive will benefit the future of fishery and we will all benefit.

No longer a lurker
Tight Lines Dennis

08-23-2002, 02:15 AM
Originally posted by sinktip

I am sorry if I have not made myself clear. My problem is not with any one person but with what I see to be an attitude of some shops.
As for my use of the term "whore", I thought long and hard about its appropriateness before using it.

Sorry but forgive me, in my mind, he is simply a whore. Nothing more, nothing less.

You do make it seem as though you are only using anecdotes to prove your point...but they went much further then just being anecodtal.

...and even if you did not mean to, for anyone reading your thread, it would seem as though you do have a problem with one person.

Anyway, back to my rant. Imagine my surprise when a close friend told me he was fishing this small river last week and had a father and son wade across the tail-out he was fishing. When they came up to talk to him, he explained that it was bad manners to cross through someone's run. They said they were sorry and then said they were from California and had never fished up there before. They had been in a local shop and one of the staff had told them they had to head up to the XXXXXXX as there were lots of steelhead to be had. When my friend inquired what shop and who had told them, yep you guessed it, the same shop and person who had been trash talking against the guide.
Shame on you!

I admit it...I was the evil bastard that told some father and son in town for a day to go to the Upper Sky. I am a whore...should be tarred and feathered!!

It was me sending these two gentlemen up there that provoked this thread.

Here is how the story goes...
Father and son come in looking for some steelie flies and some direction on places to fish as they are in town for a couple days from Arizona, New Mexico (not California...amazing how the story changes as it gets passed on). They have two days to fish...I advise them to spend one day on the Upper Sky and the other day on the Stilly to see two totally differnt river enviroments.

Well where do we fish on the Sky, the father asks. Not wanting to draw him maps or give him specific directions to the 'scared water,' I tell him quote/unquote "get on Hwy 2 and head for the water above Gold Bar. If you see good water, fish it. Dont be afraid to do some driving and looking around. There are alot of fish around and if you find them you will have a good chance of hooking into one."

Now onto day 2. A couple days prior I had walked into a hole on the Stilly and found a good pod of fish. This is a hole I had been fishing for years and discovred on my own. These are all hatchery fish and so I thought why not drawm them a map on how to get into a hole that is rarely fished. This is there last day in town and since they are looking at schools in Oregon (up in Wa. to visit relatives), I figured no harm, no foul.

So I told them how to get into my own water that I highy doubt any of you ever fish...I took the chance of them finding someway to publize the water but I highly doubted that would happen.

Dennis, my manager walks over as I am ringing them up and gives them a quick 5 minute lecture on proper river etiquette (I guess it did not work). I loaned them a couple of the Lani Waller videos no charge and send them on there way.

I come to work on Wendsday...they fished on Saturday and Sunday and I had Monday and Tuesday. I walk in and there is a not sitting on the counter from the reads sorta like this:

Thanks for all your help. My son and I had a wonderful time on both the Skykomish and Stilly. We had a wondeful time but sadly we hooked no fish.

We did though see your beautiful rivers and gained a deep appreciation for your rivers, your fish and the resource.


I bolded the last line because I think that says these two gentlemen are candiates for the WSC and other conservation groups. Now they understand what a wonderful resource we have and will be willing to protect it.

So because I sent a father and son in town for a couple days to the Upper Sky and Stilly, the resource is possible better of for it.

F*ck anyone that thinks otherwise...selffish bastards!!!! :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad:

08-23-2002, 03:14 AM
Originally posted by DWorley
. But I would like to bring up excise taxes pay for a portion of the Departments budget and where does that come from, so you can answer that question when there no longer a budget for your fishery...

...which implies the excise tax is paid by whom? You? And here I thought the excise tax was paid by the consumer and "collected" by the merchant for submission to the taxing authorities by statute.

Or do you mean that because we elect to buy from an out-of-state source via the internet or whatever, the excise tax is not paid and the state's budget suffers? Well I have always assumed that the excise tax has indeed been collected for I have never been given an excise tax reimbursement or waiver because of residency outside of the taxing jurisdiction where the purchase is made. Hmph! and learn my daddy used to say.

Thanks for clearing this up for me.


08-23-2002, 03:35 AM
In the vast majority of cases, the excise taxed is in the end paid by the consumer but is directly paid by the manufacturer.

When a product is purchased from a maufacturer whether it be by a wholesaler or retailer, the excsise tax is paid by the manufactruer based upon that purchase.

In most cases, that price is directly reflected in the wholesale price of the good so the wholesaler and then the retailer mark up the merchandise based upon that price.

There are a few companies that invoice the excise tax seperatly...wholesale total of goods, plus excise tax plus shipping (if it applies).

This is my understanding of how the system works but because I dont pay the bills I am not 100% sure and because at my new job I do not see the bills and thus it has been many months since I have seen more then a couple invoices, I may be off on what majority pay the excise tax in the manner I described.

08-23-2002, 09:22 AM
I think it's time to jump in for a number of reasons:

1) I know almost all of the players in these scenarios personally and have a deep respect, admiration and friendship for all - I can't be fooled by these posts into thinking that we are all anything but stewards of our resources acting on what they believe is the way to achieve the same goal. In that sense, this discussion is healthy and worthwhile as long as we stay on the high road.

2) The core of this matter is that we are all impassioned about our resources, our steelhead in a time when threats are mounting and we should not focus on tangential flare-ups but remain steadfast on the big picture.

3) We are close to dipping below the level of decorum expected on the Forum.

When you shake out all the details and study the basic themes, we are not at odds here. Let's take the high road and direct our energy toward what is best for our steelhead first, our fishing second, and ourselves last.

There is a fire that burns in the souls of the steelheader. I may now live on the other coast, but you all know that fire burns within me as sure as the magma under St.Helens. Let's not use this against each other, but work to find ways to a positively directed outcome.


08-23-2002, 11:24 AM
Juro, et. al,

I agree completely that this has gone on far enough. What began as an attempt to get us all to look at what is best for the resource has deteriorated into mudslinging and worse. My sincere apologies for my part in bringing this unpleasantness to the forum. I will drop this now for good. Should dennis, his wife or anyone else wish to continue this topic offline, I am agreeable.


08-23-2002, 01:03 PM
WOW, some of you guys are really preceptive to what fly shop it was that sinktip was talking about. I had to ask him this morning at 0500 on our way fishing if he would mind telling me what shop he was talking about. I don't think sinktip had any intentions of saying what shop and wanted you all to make your own desisions on suporting your local shops. Looking back at the original post I see no mention of a shop but looking back at some of the others it was actually an employee of that shop that gave it away. It is not a surprise.

Yes there are no resorts on any of the rivers you mentioned but there sure are in many other areas of the world. We as steelhead fishermen are very lucky we really don't have the over crowded conditions that other places are having. Maybe if we get a few good years of winter runs I'll think differently on that. I've given up on the Snake for this year I'm tired of the zoo, too much info out there and too many fishermen who legally have the right but sure know how to make a mess of a great thing.
I don't know how much any of you steelhead fishermen fish for other fish and travel to other destinations but all I can say is that problems are surfacing that 10 or 15 years ago were unthought of. These problems stem from us the fisherman and mostly fly fishermen as that is the only type of fishing allowed in those rivers. What was once thought by all of us that the increased popularity of fly fishing would help with conservation, more catch & release would make for better fishing and it did for a good 10 or so years in the places I'm talking about. But now in those places, locals, guides and fly shop owners have begun to recognize that the incredible popularity of fly fishing has created mediocrety an a loved to death situation. The reasons of river degredation I won't get into again, I've mentioned them before. What is begining to happen and PM put up a post not long ago about law suits on some of the SW Montana rivers to limit man hours on the rivers. Some of the more established shop owners have relized that they themselves were part of the problem with the over popularity in their areas. Not all of it but at least they realized they needed to do what ever they could to reduce the chances of a collapse of their business, of their enviroment on a grand scale and to do this they realized they needed to be more resonsible with how they delt out information.
They also realized that the schools they were running on a daily basis no matter how well intentioned were creating more problems on the rivers than being helpfull. A little bit of information can be a dangerous thing. These good shops have known for a long time that there are just too many people coming to fish and no matter how good the conservation laws are and no matter how much money they are making fishing is going to go to hell. They have realized that the only way to fairly thin the crowd out is less information. They will still sell their gear they will still get a new person set up and pointed in the right direction and most of all they will encourage a new person into fly fishing to go out and learn as much as you can on your own. That getting wind knots, not knwing exactly where to fish and not catching a trout the first few times out is part of the on going experience of fly fishing. Are they going to loose repeat business? Yes, some but they are at least attempting to find away without resticting fishing rights to lower fishing hours naturally. This is different from the philosophy of the entire fly fishing industry for the last 25 years give or take a few. In the past, schools were created to get as many people fully entrenced into the sport as possible. I being in the industry in the early 80's remember well the memo's from reps on why and how to create fly fishing schools for beginers, how to hookem and how to keep them coming back and more new ones coming. Remember the Fenwick fly fishing schools all over the country they weren't out of the goodness of their heart there was a profit to gain for the entire industry by getting as many people involved in the sport as possible, period! Hey the hell with over population on our rivers.
Guys, we the fishermen need to start to look at ourselves and not just the shops and the other parts of the industry of how easy we are making it for new fishermen and lazy fisherman who use the excuse that they just don't have the time to go out on their own and gather the info they need to fish. I know in some ways we all wish everyone could take up fishing of some sort to experience what we do from time to time. Hopefully you are begining to realize that your flats and rivers are becoming harder to fish as you would like them to fish within reason But we have to question if all the help and information we give out is not letting the natural thining out process take place of old when fly fishermen were a zipper liped group . Remember when you were a kid that most of your friends fished but as time went by they became fewer and fewer, they went on to other interests. My belief and others is less info means that those who are not sure they want to be fly fishermen probably won't become flyfishermen and that is not a bad thing. Those like many of us who really have the passion will no matter what become fly fishermen just as we all did and those are the type of new people I would want to see become part of fly fishing.
In fly fishing less is better there is no way around it, sorry.

08-23-2002, 05:27 PM
"Too many people".
I ask, who is "too many?". Me? You? A father and his child? Everyone that picked up fishing after a certain date? Can kids under 12 get a by? Can those busy with work and families get grandfathered in? Maybe some folks are fishing too much or for too long? Should they be less selfish and share the resource?
I learned from shops, books, friends and figured out some stuff on my own. I am like most people. I think that it would be hard to identify the person that is "too many". Every one likes to blaim someone else. Fishing is not "too easy"(not for me anyway), and it is not hard to understand why so many people want to fish. With the added pressure, I would argue that fishing is harder than it's ever been. One interesting fact is that liscence sales in California and other states have been flat for years. So much for "The Movie". Why does it seem so crowded?
When I come up on a river and see "too many" people, I include myself and look for a different spot.

08-23-2002, 05:33 PM
Over the last few days I have seen what I thought was a good topic for discussion and reflection turn ugly. What should have been kept general has turned personal with all the accusations and counter accusations that usually follow.

I am in a unique position here in that not only am I a poster to this forum but am also a moderator. I feel that my strong personal feelings on this subject have blurred with my role of moderator.

For this reason, and to also help end this descent into the gutter, I am ending my part in this discussion. My opinions could be construed to reflect those of the Forum. This is something that I am very sorry for and would like to state that I speak for myself only and not for the Forum, the WSC or any other conservation organization.

Dennis is certainly entitled to his opinions and I would encourage him to continue to share them. In this case I guess we will just have to agree to disagree.

The important thing is that the Forum remain as a place for civil discourse and sharing of opionions and knowledge. When all the dust clears and the scabs heal, the need to protect steelhead will remain. I sincerely hope this discussion did nothing to conceal that fact.

May all your fish be wild, unless you need a hatchery fish for the BBQ --- Duggan

08-24-2002, 01:42 PM
Sinktip et al,

I know all of the shops within 80 miles of my home, and I requent veruy few of them because I get tiered of hearing someone who has little or no fly fishing experience, let alone stealhead fly fishing experience telling people that x brand rod is not as good as y brand rod simply because they sell x brand. This is uncalled for, and blatently dishonest.

I also have a problem with shop owners or employess who don't fish 2-handers, let alone ever cast one, tell customers that one 2-hander is as good as the next. WE all know that is not true, yet I have heard one the shop owners in my 80 mile radius customers just that. Is it that hard for a shop owners or empoyee to be honest and simply tell the customer that s/he has never fished or cast a 2-hander but that the shop carries x and y brands that or models that vary in price? I think not!!

I have found over the years that I have provided far more info to customers in most fly shops I have visited whether in Washington. montana, Pennsylvania, or New York than the vast majority of owners or employees. It is appalling how little most owners or employees in the shops know about fly fishing, lines, leaders, flies, fly tying material, fly tying tools, etc.

I can't bring myself to be quiet when in a shop and hearing an employess or owners telling someone that a Griifin vise is every bit as good as a Renzetti or Dyna King! I can't let this kind of crap go so I almost always speak up and tell the 'customer' that the Giffin, or whatever, has these limitation compared to the Renzetti or Dyna King and the Renzetti or Dynaking has these feature and qualities that the lower priced vise does not have. It should be the customer's decision based upon good, honest information as to what the customer purchases, not what the shop wnats to sell that day!

Also, why can't a shop owner or employee simply tell a customer that they don't have anything in stock like what the customer wants? I have seen a shop owner 3 years ago tell a customer who had just placed a 2-hander on the counter and said he wanted a line to go with it that a RIO single hand Windcutter WWF9 would be fine for the rod! When the owner said this he had an Airflow 9 wieight and an 8/9 SA Spey Line in the bargain basket! I intervened at that point and told the customer that he should buy either the Airflow of the SA. The shop owner then told the customer that RIO made the best spey lines and he still recommended the RIO single hand line!

The customer decided to buy the Airflow because of the reasons I provided him. The shop owner told me after the customer left that he didn't appreciate my 'meddling' in his business and he had to get rid of the 8 single hand 9 weight Windcutters he had in stock. Besides, he mentioned that the customers wouldn't reallyknow the difference because he had not been fly fishing very long and that he will be back later to buy a more sut=itable line! I haven't been back to that shop since.

And yes, I used to sell that shop around 150 dozen spey flies/year. I don't do that anymore either. I refuse to do business with dishonest shop owners. Or those who try to BS there way instead of admitting they don't know very much.

Therein lies my problem with most shops. There are shops that I hae been in that this does not happen in, and they are a pleasure to deal with.

08-28-2002, 06:20 PM
I have been reading all of this for the last few days and I have my OPINION also. Its only an opinion(as are all the others).
Being new to the Seattle area (moved from Bend, OR) I really appreciate the help from the local shops in learning some of the local waters. I dont have a Dad or his old buddies to get advice form. I see alot of this as sour grapes from the "locals" ( I wonder how many are local?). It would be wonderful if we had beautiful rivers and"secret" spots only to ourselves but wake up! Look at the population increases in the area, rivers and lakes are going to be used by this population. The "good old days" are gone.
I think its a valuable service to the fishing public that is provided by the shops in helping people find places to fish. I dont believe that the best or most prized spots are ever shared and I think this is fair. Fly shops are in business to make money. If people have bad experiences fishing they are less likely to by more gear. This is NOT prostitution, its business! Its NOT personal, its business.
I know the shop in question and they have been friendly and very helpful to a newcomer. I have fished with one of the people involved in this discussion and had a great time. I had my 12y old daughter with me and he was great.
I think guys sharing spots and secrets in their fishing club is just about the same. Its selective distribution of privileged information, its just from a different source, not for profit but the end effect is the same, more people in those special spots.
Again, I think this is alot of sour grapes from people holding on to the old world . WAKE UP and smell the fish


08-28-2002, 10:46 PM

Although I am one of the locals in the N0rth Puget Sound and the NOrth Olympic Peninsula now, I was nothing of the sort when I moved here to Washington 12 years ago. I grew up in Pennylvania, left there when I was 25 for a year in South Dakota followed by 12 years in Montana, and then I moved to Prt Angeles.

My father never moved out of Pennsylvania, he still is a very active trout fisherman in Northeast Pennsylvania today at age 76. I moved to South Dakato, Montana, and Washington all by myself, without knowing anyone in either of the three states or the areas I moved to in any of the three states mentioned either. So I never had dad or my buddies show me where to go or get advice from on local waters in South Dakota, Montana, or Washington.

I have never hired a guide in my life, because I know that if you are a good fisherman who knows how to read water and are a competent caster you will find fish on your own. And I never looked for, nor worried about, finding a local fisherman to take me out to find the 'good' water. I simply took my gear out to the river, walked the bank at whatever public access points I could find, and fished. And I have caught my share of fish doing this.

Not all of us herein or within the fraternity of flyfishers or for that matter fishers in general, regardless of the gear they use, have needed someone to tell us where to go when we moved to a new area. Secret spots, who cares? Find them on your own by simply going to the river and fishing.

08-28-2002, 11:16 PM
that flyboy had said. The whole "I dont have a Dad or his old buddies to get advice form.". Well, I'd love to inform you, that I got my general fishing knowledge from them (tying knots, how to cast, etc). But I only learned a couple rivers from them. The majority of the rest I learned by FISHING THEM!!!!!!! I didn't run to the local shop (especially since there weren't many then) nor did I beg and plead some people I knew had knowledge of rivers either. I put my dues in learning them. Some spots were given to me because I had PROVED I was willing to learn by actually going out and doing some old fashioned FOOTWORK! Too many are WAY too lazy to actually READ water and FIND fishing holes. It's always a hunt to find a spot. I did some fishing when I visited friends in Ohio, NY, and NJ. Not ONCE did I run to the local fly shop/sporting goods store for info. I bought a license, had a map, and a regs book. I then scouted out a river for decent holes that would catch fish. I actually did really good for doing the work MYSELF. Did I hit a major school of aggressive fish, nope, but I caught some damned nice fish in some nice holes.

As I said, fly shops are great for the person who wants something handed to them. If you're very new to the sport and looking for a quick way to get started. You can get some good general info, that's if they person running/owning the shop is REALLY a fisherman. Not a person who cast a few rods and decided to buy a shop. But as I said, never had the need for a fly shop. I usually try to do things myself. Especially if you're living here, there's no excuse in not exploring. Asking for fishing ops is lazy IMHO. Go buy a Washington Gazateer and start hunting.

08-28-2002, 11:44 PM
Thanks for your insiteful reply!! :)

As much as I want this thread to die, I have got something to say!!...

flyter, sh69-
I give you credit for exploring the waters on your own and finding every piece of water you fish on your own but get off your high horses.

You make it seem as though you are special in some form of another...this is the elitism that makes me sick, that gives us flyfishers a bad name.

You think transplants like Fliboy come into a shop begging for information (where to?)???...and that all they want is information (where to?)???

Many, if not most, customers come in and get direction to a certain piece of water, a cetain beach a certain lake etc. etc. They go fish this piece of water, get the hang of the fishery and then yearn to lean to new waters...they start exploring.

All a little direction from a shoppee to a customer provides, is a little direction...a starting point you could call it. If the customer is unwilling to form their paths to other pieces of water, it is their loss...if they are a succesful explorer and discover new pieces of water...wonderful!!! I can not wait to hear their stories of discovery...and in no way desire to know the spots they have uncovered.

08-29-2002, 12:17 AM
First off, no high horse here. Just that alot of us grew up in pre internet/pro shop age. We had to learn. Most want quick info. In almost ever instance Ive been in a fly shop there's always someone hunting for quick info on the "hot spot". Not out there learning a river. I fish only a few rivers religiously. Nothing "high" about it. I put my dues in. I was replying to the fact that I was "given" my info by Dad and friends.

Next off, and you should know this, I am NOT a fly fisherman. I'm a fisherman, plain and simple. I'm far from an elitist in any form or another. I fish best gear for situation. I see NO method MORE spiritual or peaceful then the other. It's a choice, not a style. I have been raised with a VERY hard nosed, hard work ethic. I was taught to be self sufficient. I didn't say for a new guy NOT to go into a shop, I quote myself "If you're very new to the sport and looking for a quick way to get started. You can get some good general info". I just get sick of people who take all from a fly shop as "gold". I go into these places (fly shops and tackle shops), get what I need, and get the hell out of there. I've seen and heard ALOT of BS. Selling wise and info wise. If I'm on a high horse because I actually had to learn my sport, and actually perfect it myself, then I'll be on it. Character isn't something learned, it's something you have. I take alot of pride in my family, my fishing, and my job. I work and perfect all three (well, the family is more a go with the flow). Because I actually WORK hard and try to do something for myself doesn't mean I'm on a high horse.

I also wanted to add that I am born and raised in Washington. I AM LOCAL. But I have put MORE people into fish and have taken MORE people on some of these rivers then most have. I was taking friends fishing (who had NEVER fished before) in my old DB when I was 18. I have taught QUITE a few people how to fish and where to fish. But I don't freely give out info. Good ole boy's club, eh Flyboy? Well, I'm only 32, and started fishing young. Didn't realize I was fishing with bubba and a big wad of chew in my mouth. I am HIGHLY aware of change of the world. I know what GROWTH is. I've seen the Puyallup Valley go from all daffidols to warehouses. I've watched developement after development come in. I am HIGHLY aware that we have to share the river. BUT. I'd rather share the river with someone who cares about what they're doing and respects it. Most who actually learn a river respect. Very few that are only given info (as their primary way of learning) respect the resource. I don't appreciate having to earn info as being in a "boys club" or on a "high horse". I guess those of us who actually had to learn our trade take it seriously.

08-29-2002, 02:29 AM
I couldn't agree with steelheader69 more. But as far as giving up spots- I don't think "fly fishing elitism" enters into it. It's just fishing. We all hope our favorite spots don't get overrun, it's universal! I also agree that in some sense the shop guys "feel" those who will do the fish good, C&R, and become future defenders of the resource- after all, the shop is where a lot of education takes place- yes maybe subtly maybe not, but heck this can be complex sh*t for the uninitiated. In my opinion we should support the local shops, and spend money with them, and give 'em our opinions while we are there- as they are the most immediate information source for new fishers. After all, those shop guys are just like us, they just have a job we wish we had ;)

Sorry to see the earlier posts get rough. I think this text/discussion board makes things seem more harsh than personal conversation would. It's cool to get the discussion out there. But heck, don't we all want to preserve this resource? The idea that we can hide spots or despise those who simply don't know the complexities of the issues- that is a failed, and elitist, strategy. Education is achieved through knowledge, and with flyfishing, that means some success on the river. I'm willing to share my spots with those who seem like me when I was learning: over eager and a bit dumb, like a black lab puppy. Hey we all learn.

About localism: I'm not a WA local but I am a 6th generation Californian, by way of Minnesota. Rip on the Californians all you want, but old locals like me possess what you WA natives lack- that is the truth of what happens when your resource is overrun and TOTALLY destroyed. Maybe you can learn from us, eh? I learned to fly fish in the early 70's, from my Grandfather (a farmer), who was taught by his grandfather. I used to catch and keep native fish- even Bull Trout. Bull Trout are extinct now in CA, the trout in my home waters are all 12" planters, and the pressure/resource sucks. So hey, I guess I know the consequences, for real, out of experience, not just selfishness. If people had been more educated about the value, instead of filling rail cars full of fish in Tahoe, maybe things would be better. I don't see much hope for WA at this point- it looks just like modern CA- polarized, splintered special interests, no consensus, splitting hairs, while the resource goes down the drain. It's very obvious we need real leaders here. I hope they emerge: coalition builders, politically savvy, able to raise money, focused, filled with common sense language. Sorry for the rant- I've just seen what will happen. I also had the fortune to live in Minnesota, where, despite the conflicts between natives, sports, and commercials, they have managed to maintain a level dialog and address the real issues. Maybe the so called current political "leaders" should take a clue about other similar battles that have turned out in favor of the resource (besides listed ESA). The pessimist tells me that WA just doesn't have it in her. I hope to god I'm proven wrong.

Tight lines, while you can get em. The shops might save our fish, not ruin them. The political organizations just might ruin them, while trying to save them, or maybe not.


Edit: Wanted to reiterate how I agree with Steelheader69. Character and values, mixed with understanding and experience, are required of the future leaders that will, I hope, help us out of this resource death spiral. Pointing fingers and judging won't get us anywhere, IMHO. Change is achieved through will, which is earned mostly through first hand experience. Sport fishers need to speak up for the values that fishing represents to our families, youth, the value of nature, the backbone of the American West. If we think we might be able to take fish 10 years from now, we better show the value in a way that jibes with our neighbors.

08-29-2002, 09:18 AM
Sparky -

You've made some good points and I enjoy open debates conducted in a civil manner, especially when like this thread we stay on the high road... but elitism? That's just plain BS!

Step back and look at the reality of the situation - the vast majority of anglers in the PNW and beyond are non-flyfishermen and any discrimination goes in the other direction. Elitism is defined as:

"the attitude that society should be governed by an elite group of individuals"

What regulations are set in favor of FF?

What percentage of water is FF only water?

What decisions are made by FF that impact non-FF? How about the opposite?

The reality is that there are so few FF compared to non-FF that we could not possibly reach effective quorum to govern how to pick our nose as a standalone group - you said it yourself, as has Duggan many times.

Step back and take a good look... there is no such thing as FF elitism.

08-29-2002, 09:29 AM
sh69, juro-

My apologies...I think elitism was a very poor choice of words on my was the best word I could find to describe the manner in which flytyer and sh69 came across in their posts.

To myself, both their posts made it seem as though they were like in some way a better fisherman or they were more competent because they discovered all their own water.

Elitism may have been a poor word choice but I will still stand beside my opinion...there is nothing wrong with recieving a little direction when looking where to fish, no matter what others (flytyer, sh69) say.

08-29-2002, 11:41 AM
Like you I'm not a local and yet have not once ever had the need or the urge to ask for any directions or help. Maybe it's our generational differences, me being brought up by tough old Cape Cod striper fishermen who wouldn't give you a direction, a hint or a pointer but if ya wanted a fight just get in their way more than once. What I got from them was a big smile and lots of encouragement to take the time and figure it out on your own. It worked well fly boy believe me it worked well. I get more than my fair share of steelhead on a fly, I share that info with few to none. I walk softly around the local water respecting the locals rights far more than my own rights to fish these waters. I'd rather drive for two hours on icy roads to get to a run I discovered on my own as have many before me discovered that same run. If that run has folks fishing it that belong there because they also work at earning respect on the river and tread lightly where ever they fish then I have no complaints I'll be happy to sit on a rock in the rain for awhile and enjoy watching them fish.
Juro, I'm going out on a limb and say that maybe sparky is right and guys like he mentioned are the type of elietest he wanted to portray them as. Funny thing is I'd be proud to be one as it does not hurt mine or many others around this board feelings if they think about it to be called one. It's funny how we can be called such names because we are self suficient, we have the ability to observe and we make the time in our lives no matter what sacrifices it takes to become good fishermen who move quietly and respect the fact we are treading a thin line of becoming obtrusive. And that we would question that our rivers and bays are becoming over crowded with fly fishermen who are not like us but of the new breed of info fisherman. They who fly fish in large warm fuzzy groups called claves and fly fishing schools who seek from others what tide to fish on and what river hight is best. There is nothing more repulsive to this fisherman than hearing the excuse that I took some fishing classes because I don't have the time in my life to learn on my own. God, now that would tell me that one 's life might need some changing if you can't find the time to do something as simple and gradifying as learning to fish on your own. It is just my opinion that if we gave out less info be it shops, other aspects of the industry like all these how to fishing shows and tv shows showing every fishing site in the world and if we as fly fishermen spent more time enjoying being a bit more secretive that many of those who fish today would not be fishing because they don't have the patience or time to learn on thier own. I don't deny anyone one the right to fish, there is no law in this country yet like Europe has denying all but a few wealthy people the right to fish. But having less info may make it harder for those who start fly fishing to continue on. Those who really want to become fly fishermen will figure it out on thier own and continue to fish. This is the reason why the old time fishermen were secretive, to protect the waters they fished from the masses. Is there anything wrong with that? I'm proud to be an eleitest and a snob, we who take our fishing seriously should be proud of that if that's what the industry wants the new comers to believe we are.

08-29-2002, 03:25 PM
Since this post started out addressing the necessesity of flyshops, I would like to add my .02 worth on the subject. And I do not work in, or have any ties to a flyshop.

First of all, like it or not, a flyshop is a for profit business. As such, they need to turn a profit or they will go away and we will have to buy everything by mail or the internet. Not a pleasant thought when it comes to clothing or feathers. Comparison shopping is nonexistant on the web. Price yes, compare no.

Do I really like the MSRP setup on the big ticket items? No, but this enables a small shop in a small out of the way community, that wants to sell Sage, Winston, whatever, to be able to compete with the big boys in the big city? It was also what allowed the creation of speciality flyshops in the first place. The price we pay is returned in service. Service on a level that you could never get at the large chain stores.

Although I do not have the rivers (in So. Calif) I do have a good number of flyshops in my area. One of which is possibly the largest in the country. And while there will always be exceptions to the rule, I have found that no matter what flyshop I have been in, anywhere in the country, The people working there are courtious and informative, about what is going on in their area, willing to give advice, whatever. Admittedly, if they do not carry your favorite brand name rod or reel,you can't really expect them not to push what they do sell. A little common sense here. And most do not draw maps to the honey holes but mearly point you in the right direction.

Like a lot of you, I can always appreciate a bargin, but don't think for a minute that they cannot be found at your local flyshop. Do I shop at Cabelas? Sure, for some things.

All flyshops have beginner classes in casting and flytying, for a fee. They also, sooner or later, will put you onto some of the local flyfishing clubs. Clubs which may have their own casting or flytying clinics, usually for free. Why? Because they know that the more involved a person gets, the more they will be back. That is good for business.

How about the guys who work in these flyshops? You think they have a degree in marketing? Or they are in it for the money? How about a guide that also ties flies for and spends his off river time working in the shop? Is he any more or less a whore than those of us who work in some other profession?

So the next time you feel some anymosity towards the flyshop. just ask yourself, is he providing a service to the community? Or is he just there to rip me off? Where else can you go and try every 8wt rod from every manufacturer before making your decision on which to buy?

The Sandy Clave was kind of hinted at a couple of pages back with what I conceived to be unfavorable overtones. Were you there? For the first one as well as the second one? The first one was put together by the guys on the old Spey board. They got two or three flyshops in the Portland/Seattle area and a couple of rod reps to attend. It was a cool get together. One of the closer flyshops saw this as a good thing and took it upon himself to make all, or most of, the arrangements for this years event. There were more rod reps, and demos on technique by more people, some of notoriety. And free coffee and donuts, and lunch. Price of admission? $5 entry fee to the park.

Was there a profit motive behind the flyshop doing this? Does it really matter? Lots of bang for the buck here. You won't get that kind of service from the web. So are flyshops necessary? You bet. And those are the kind of shops that deserve our support

my .02

beau purvis
08-29-2002, 03:30 PM
when i moved to texas i hired a guide a couple of times to learn how to fish for bass. i liked my third guide and his methods appealed to me. reminded me of some of my steelhead on conventional casting tackle skills. i fished with him a few times on a new lake. liked the lake and was convinced of its potential as it aged.i had purchased a boat and nfigured after learning i would do it myself as usual. however i learned all his spots and respected all the research he had and was doing to find them.i also enjoyed fishing with him. as time went on i noticed that others on the lake also respected his ability so much that they were always following him trying to steal his spots. i got to the point where i just could not and would not want to be in one of his spots when he was counting on it aqnd pulled around the corner with a client. i sold my boat and and have fished with the guide for many yrs rather than use all the knowledge he passed on to me. the spots were just to good for me to potentialy mess themup. beau

08-29-2002, 04:37 PM
I think that is what Sinktip was trying to say about fly shops and guides. No one should question thier need to put food on the table but where does the need for profit by giving out info come into play when that info effects others on the river. Is it not important for you as a fly fisherman to walk softly out of respect to others who fish. Why not the shops and guides of all people should have that same type of respect. What Sinktip was saying is to question your shops or guides if they are part of the problem in having a quality experience on the river or flats. There is nothing on a river more depressing than having some turkey guide or flyshop come down river with a fleet of pontoon boats full of trainees. Why? Because fly fishing has never been intended to be a group thing. You can't put 10 guys on a run all at once without effecting those that will fish that run later. Now if all those 10 people just came to the river on thier own that would be different, they would be spread out through the entire system and the water at each run they fished would not be whiped completely to death. Besides having a fleet of pontoon boats go by is no visual panarama. It can be the same with claves too. I would be embaressed to be in a clave that came down to some river or flat and being a part of a group of 10 or twenty ruined a perfectly good day on the river for others with our group mentality. There is nothing wrong in having the clave in some field where other fishermen will not be affected by the # all in the area they went to to seek a quiet and quality fishing experience. But if you ruin it for even one person who is fishing for the real reasons we fish then I think your clave is selfish to say the least. But the shops and guides are really out of bounds when they pedal thier wears on our public rivers for profit at the expense of others. I know how I treat others on the river and I would hope they are not so selfish as not to do the same to me. Guides and fly shops that give out info for the purpose of obtaining profit can only be called one name! _ _ _ _ _ _

08-29-2002, 06:10 PM
Sparky -

Didn't mean to come across so worked up, I just don't buy that elitism label when in reality people who use it are discriminating against the flyfishing minority.

OC -

I appreciate your reply but I took that definition right out of the English dictionary. Your definition of elitism seems to be "customized" ;)

No high horse, just a soapbox!

08-29-2002, 07:47 PM
You had said regarding myself and flytyer in your reply "there is nothing wrong with recieving a little direction when looking where to fish, no matter what others (flytyer, sh69) say." First off that was a flame in all sense of the word. And if you actually throroughly read my post, you'd have seen that I had said, "If you're very new to the sport and looking for a quick way to get started. You can get some good general info", about fly shops. I have nothing against them, if you want to find a general sense of what's going on. But it seems most guys I've seen want more then a taste. They want the full meal. I'm not being all high and mighty. I was raised to diagnose things. Raised working on cars, doing mechanical things, diagnosing things. When you read water, you're diagnosing a situation. Then I take the best action to fulfill the goal I'm trying to achieve. I'm more then willing to share the resources, BUT with people who are out to use them and respect them. WAY too many are out in the "ME ME ME" mode. I don't own the Wynoochee, but parents have had property on the river for years. I know a certain spot religiously and fish it quite regularly. Had a guy read me the riot act for fishing a slot, moving down to the tailout and "hogging the hole" as he said. Well, he wanted to pull plugs through, and myself driftfishing made it impossible for him to go through. Problem is, I offered to let him pull through ONCE, but that wasn't enough, he wanted to work the slot over and over again in different spots. I offered him an unhassled run of the slot and that wasn't enough. And if any of you have pulled plugs, you'd know a good plug puller will take quite a bit of time working down a slot. I was giving up a good bit of my fishing time so he could work through. It's people like that I can't stand and why I don't freely give out info. Funny thing is, I'd been fishing this same run 1000's of times and never had seen him before, nor his DB. And when I was growing up I fished that river alot since my parents always headed that way and I couldn't drive. Yet I was taking HIS slot. I'm not saying it's my slot, but if I'm there first working the slot, I have free roam until I have finished my run. Then they are more then welcome to fish through. But that's not enough for most. So I'm an elitist pig, and damned proud of it. World would be a better place with more people that way. Normally people like myself are a bit more honest and forethright and hardworking. I give out more then my share of info, but as I said, person has to be "proven" to get it. If that's a boy's club attitude, then so be it.

08-29-2002, 09:00 PM

I have nothing against fly shops per say. I do hav e a problem with shops and shop emplolyees/owners who give out BS to the customers in the shop. And I clearly stated this in a posting on this thread some time ago.

If I am an elitist becasue I learned how to read water, where fish are likely to lie, how to cast both short and long, control my fly after the cast, how to choose flies appropriate to the water being fished, species fished for, and the time of year, so be it. I simply call it what it is: being a skilled fisherperson.

I did not say people should not hire a guide, I said that I have never felt the need to do so because of the skills I have taken the time to learn and perfect, as Steelheader 69 so well put it. I was responding to Flyboy's implications of locals wanting to keep things to themselves and his assertion that we all had dads or other relatives showing us the best places to go, and his assertion that we wanted to keep it all to ourselves. That is hogwash! My intent was clear, point out the error of this sort of thinking, and do so in a civilized manner.

Steelheader69 is right about character being something that is developed through work, the acquisition of knowledge, and honesty. And I have not always found folks in fly shops to be honest nor knowledgeble.

08-29-2002, 10:37 PM
Wow, congratulations Double Spey, over 1200 views in just 10 days since this thread was started. Must be a record.

Who would think such a seemingly benign question would generate such passionate responses and interest by the forum members ? Some shops are good for the fisheries they base there business around and some are not. Those that are not, will exploit the fishery and the fisherman in their pursuit of economic success. I have seen at least one that I disliked that hurt one of my favorite rivers in the mid 1980s. Still will not shop there to this day even though there are new owners of it.

Can't wait for the thread on using bait with a fly rod ! :hehe:

BTW, thats how many of us old timers started fly fishing. Worms. salmon eggs, inch worms, grasshoppers etc. on the fly rod in our boy hood years. Just like in E. Hemingway's classic "Big Two Hearted River".

I do not recall seeing anybody using that technique these days.

Hope I did not just start this discussion in this thread :whoa:

08-29-2002, 11:10 PM
I said above that I wasdone posting on this thread I felt it had gotten out of hand. While there have been many new thoughts shared on this issue, I will stand by my decision. I would however like to clarify my position on a couple of things I have said earlier as I'm hearing a lot of sintip said or sinktip meant .

First off, I am pro shop. I simply asked people to ask the question is the shop supporting the resource or taking advantage of it. I know that they are in the business to make money and I have no problem with that. The phrase just doing business does not absolve someone of the moral obligation of honesty and conservation though.

Many have tried to make this thread into an issue of shops giving out secret spots. That was not my issue at all. I included an example of this simply to illustrate hypocritical behavior regarding bad mouthing of a local guide by members of a shop. Please re-read my posts above if you details. Since that time, a forum member has stated only general information was given out in this case. He should know.

Finally, while I have opinons about learning on ones own, the value of self- discovery, fly shop and guide schools, claves and other items either attacked or defended in this thread, I have not shared them here. I stand behind what I have said but disavow much of what others have attributed to me.

I did not start this thread to bash all shops or one particular one. I just wanted people to think. Despite the fact some feelings got hurt along the way, I am happy that apparently many of us are indeed thinking about the issue.


08-30-2002, 06:40 PM
Quote by Nailknot-
“I don't see much hope for WA at this point- it looks just like modern CA- polarized, splintered special interests, no consensus, splitting hairs, while the resource goes down the drain. It's very obvious we need real leaders here. I hope they emerge: coalition builders, politically savvy, able to raise money, focused, filled with common sense language.”

Nailknot, I believe there is hope on the horizon. The Wild Steelhead Coalition is currently hard at work organizing and sponsoring a “Steelhead Summit” for November 23, 2002. The purpose of this summit is to invite representatives from other clubs & organizations to discuss and collaborate on various issues regarding wild steelhead.

Letters of invitation have been sent out and a facilitator has been secured. The event will be held at the Waterfront Activities Center near Husky Stadium on the University of Washington Campus.

If you or others would like more information regarding the summit, please contact the leaders of our planning committee Dick Burge email: or Dave Bailey email:


Rich Simms
1st VP Membership
Wild Steelhead Coalition

08-31-2002, 12:53 AM
Well guys i'm very new to this board, but this was a very interesting subject for me, and just thought i'd drop off my .02.

I work for a shop in california that's a sporting goods store, but we don't carry many of the top name brands because of the walmarts and the sportmarts, and cabelas, they can discount a lot of lower end merchandise and maybe make a 2 or 3 bucks. But then there are companies that have top shelf programs. With the top shelf programs, smaller shops (like us and most privaly owned shops) can compete with the marts, on higher end merchandise. With the top shelf program, certain reels and rods must be sold at a certain price. Thats why you don't see the big marts selling top end merchandise. Most of the smaller shops do put on line or give away lures for free, with the purchase of these big priced items.

P.S. Guys this is a great forum, i'ts very hard to find fishing forums that have so many people active!!!