The Value of Local Fly Shops

By Melissa Ceren LPCC, M.Ed., Ed.S.

Nov 22, 2023

Fly fishing shops are central to the fly fishing community because they provide local advice, gear, and guiding in the local area.

Are you new to fly fishing? Traveling? Need advice to get over the “skunk?” Here are a few reasons that might warrant a trip to your local fly shop.

Personal experience

When I was first learning to fly fish, I often visited the fly shop in my town and spoke to the employees at length. Everything they shared felt like nuggets of gold, and I would not have come this far in fly fishing if not for their generosity with knowledge.

At first, I felt intimidated as a newcomer and also a woman in the sport. I didn’t want to sound ignorant. But everyone has to start somewhere and there is no shame in admitting you need some help. One day, you may be on the other side of things, helping an eager newcomer yourself.

For the most part, people in the shop are eager to share their passion and knowledge of the sport. There has only been one fly shop that I felt not welcomed – and that was simply a signal to start going to a different place.

Benefits of a visiting a shop

Shop employees are local fly fishing experts that give advice on current water flows, bug hatches, and fly fishing locations. They are also happy to help you strategize in order to be more effective on the water. I remember when the employees at the local shop first taught me about a “hopper-dropper rig” – it changed my whole approach to fishing!

It may be more convenient to shop online or at a big box store, but supporting your local fly shop is a direct investment into your fly fishing community. It allows outfitters to continue employing guides and, in turn, provide education for generations to come. Fly shops are not paid to give you suggestions. Return that same kindness by spending money locally at the shop. It’s just the right thing to do.

Fly fishing supplies

At these fly shops, you can find an assortment of tackle and flies, waders, rods and reels, fishing accessories, and fly tying materials. If an employee does not offer to help outright, it is acceptable and welcome to ask something like “what are the fish biting recently? Where would you suggest I go to fish at this time of year? How would you fish with this particular fly?”

Local fly fishing shops near me

Interested in finding your nearest shop? Simply search: “Find fly shops in [location].” Oftentimes, these shops are located near popular fishing spots. Online, you will also see that some shops report on flows, fishing conditions, locations, and suggested fly patterns.

Melissa Ceren LPCC, M.Ed., Ed.S.
Melissa Ceren LPCC, M.Ed., Ed.S.

I am a mental health counselor and licensed fly fishing guide. I started fly fishing two years ago, when we moved from the East Coast to Colorado. Growing up, I was outside every chance that I had, and started going on weeklong backpacking trips with my dad at age seven. My other hobbies include painting, photography, birding, and gardening.