Orvis endorsement?

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by dfl, Mar 1, 2012.

  1. Bill Aubrey Active Member

    Posts: 939
    Tacoma, WA
    Ratings: +165 / 0
    "Wow! Where do I start? I won't." Actually, Leland, that was a hell of a start. And a finish.

    I am mostly a Sage guy, but have some Orvis stuff with no complaints. Those of us who know and have dealt with Leland and Derek know they are first class, and I have never had a bad Orvis experience. Like Jesse, I have been to the shop in Bend and have also been to the shops in Manchester, outside Glacier NP, and God knows where else. Again, nothing but good experiences. I guess I must have a whole lot of that 90% coming...
  2. Jergens AKA Joe Willauer

    Posts: 2,141
    Twin Bridges, MT
    Ratings: +19 / 0
    Start! I'd be interested to hear about it. I was always under a similar impression to Hydrological that it is mostly a marketing tool that one pays for without any specific qualifications/experience, at least as a guide or outfitter (The reason you might see Orvis endorsed guide/outfitters who are also new at guiding). As a shop is it more of a commitment to selling Orvis product than other brands? I hope that this doesn't come across negatively as Hydrological is getting accused of, and having never worked for Orvis I find the program interesting.
  3. Derek Young 2011 Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide Of The Year

    Posts: 2,667
    Snoqualmie, WA
    Ratings: +844 / 1
    Joe, you can also call me if you'd like to hear about the program. I'd be happy to answer your questions. It's already been defined and explained here, in terms of how Orvis endorses guides, outfitters, and lodges. It's different for retail stores and Company stores, with the difference being fly shops that sell Orvis products are "Authorized Dealers."

    As posted previously, each operation is vetted by professionals at Orvis. It's a unique program in the industry in many ways, the most important in my eyes, as an Endorsed Guide, is that my customer's experience with me is surveyed by Orvis, across many factors. If an Endorsed operation isn't living up to the Orvis standard and The Sporting Tradition, then they know about it from their customers. Too hard to monitor as stated earlier? Hardly - you can bet that as an ELOG operation there are many eyes on what's happening in your lodge, with your guides, and with your operation. Orvis started their "Guide Rendezvous" 26 years ago, and it's a testament to their dedication to building professionals in the field.

    Give me a call if you have additional questions,

  4. DKL Nude to the board

    Posts: 167
    West Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +16 / 0
    I'd love to hear about it to. I find the questions interesting and would love to know the answers. I'm not sure why you would not want to answer the original questions in dfl's post rather than react to Hydrological's post. Perhaps it is against company policy to disclose the endorsement policy.

  5. DKL Nude to the board

    Posts: 167
    West Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +16 / 0
    Thanks Derek, you posted faster than me.
  6. Stewart Skunk Happens

    Posts: 949
    Ratings: +48 / 0
    I know two former Orvis endorsed guides. Former only as in life brings changes. One was a guide of the year, the other has been a fishing buddy for years. Since I don't have guide/lodge income, I may never know what it's really like. What would I say about the two guys I know? Superb fishermen. Excellent teachers. Patient to a fault. Dependable. Great people. I'd be surprised to find that their typical endorsed guide is any different.
  7. miyawaki Active Member

    Posts: 3,210
    Kent, Washington, USA.
    Ratings: +836 / 1
    On a previous post, Stewart printed and posted a link that defines what the Orvis Endorsed Lodge, Outfitter and Guide, or ELOG are. Then we got off subject a bit and into customer service which, incidentally, included some very kind words.

    So now that we know what it an ELOG is, the most important thing is what it means to you, the customer. It means that there is an expected quality, knowledge, cleanliness, skill, and service from an ELOG participant. From all over the world, wherever there is endorsed guide and you book him, you will ALWAYS know what to expect - same with lodges etc. There are no surprises save pleasant ones. After returning home, clients receive a short questionaire. ELOGs that don't cut it are weeded out. As an example, after a little over a year as an ELOG, Derek received so many rave reviews that he was named 2011 ELOG Guide of the Year. That was no mean feat brothers!

    Yes there is a fee involved but it doesn't buy endorsement, it buys Orvis worldwide marketing. Derek is guiding people from more than around here. Brits bonefishing in Belize at El Pescador can find an Endorsed guide near Seattle on their next vacation. So ask Derek if being knowledgeable, skillful, qualified, smart, clean, charming and all-around good guy has paid off being an Orvis ELOG.

    As a postscript, I have been asked to rate guides occasionally who have applied to join. So far, Derek is the only one I passed.

  8. dfl Active Member

    Posts: 310
    Sequim WA
    Ratings: +130 / 0

    Thanx so much for your response. You touched on an issue that I think many of us are curious about. Certification. You've been ask to evaluate guides who have applied for an Orvis endorsement. Are all applicants evaluated by an Orvis rep? And how are lodges and outfitters assessed? Do they apply? Does Orvis solicit some to be endorsed? Are they visited by a rep etc? We've all come across Orvis ELOG. Now we get to learn what it means.
  9. Freestone Not to be confused with freestoneangler

    Posts: 2,337
    Ratings: +1,172 / 0
    dfl, a few years ago, a lodge managed by a friend of mine applied to become an Orvis Endorsed Lodge. From what he said, it was a very difficult to even get approved for a site visit, let alone earn an Endorsement. All aspects of their business were examined, fishing trips were made, the program standards had to be agreed to, etc. My memory is that there was a team of Orvis people who took part in the evaluation, including the CEO of Orvis, Perk Perkins. It was definitely not a 'pay us and we'll rubber stamp you" process. The lodge was honored to even be considered and get a site visit.

    I've never stayed at an Orvis endorsed-lodge, but 2 years ago, I had a free weekend to fish in the middle of a business trip on the east coast. I stopped in at a local Orvis lodge to buy a few flies and get the low-down. I wasn't sure how I would be received as not only was I not a guest, I was doing the trip NW-style, and slept in the back of my rental car for two nights. I didn't get much sleep the first night as the car was buffeted by high winds, pelting rain, and loud thunder and lightning all night. To say that I looked worse for the wear when I walked in the lodge was an understatement. But, from the reception I got, you would have thought I was a life-long return guest with big bucks. The manager let me use the restroom to get cleaned-up, plied me with hot coffee to get warm two mornings in a row, and allowed me to use the internet (for free) to check-in at home several times over the weekend because there was no cell service in the area - all the while knowing I was crashing in my rental. The guides were out getting tackle ready that first morning, but she called in the head guide to point me in the right direction and while I only bought a few flies, I came away with a carefully annotated map and tips that led me to two days of good fishing. Needless to say, I have very fond memories of the fantastic treatment I received. But, the icing on the cake was when she called another lodge to try to fix me up on a date with a guide that she thought would love to meet me! Talk about customer service!
  10. miyawaki Active Member

    Posts: 3,210
    Kent, Washington, USA.
    Ratings: +836 / 1
    There are over 55 company owned stores (by the way, we are still a family owned business) that are sometimes asked to evaluate as well as other guides etc. We do not seek out ELOG candidates, they come to Orvis. Every ELOG is a small independent business and, as such, are into building their business. Seeking Orvis endorsement is something they all look into at one time or another.

    We have been talking fly fishing here but there are Orvis endorsed hunting and even dog breeders. The program is huge and worldwide. I think the Perkins family like their dogs and guns more than their fly rods. And if you ever want to have a raucous time, be in a town like Cody when the ELOG rendezvous is happening and go into a bar stuffed wall to wall with guides on their sixth bottle of beer.

  11. Big Tuna Member

    Posts: 1,958
    Wenatchee, Washington
    Ratings: +39 / 0
    Truly world wide. I found an Orvis shop on the Pulteney Bridge in Bath, England this fall.
  12. DKL Nude to the board

    Posts: 167
    West Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +16 / 0
    Thanks Leland. Interesting stuff.

  13. Jergens AKA Joe Willauer

    Posts: 2,141
    Twin Bridges, MT
    Ratings: +19 / 0
  14. tediousthumper Hello My name is Thad and Im addicted to flyfishin

    Posts: 465
    Ratings: +39 / 0
    Good guides never die, they either get married or happily go work for Orvis. Every one always wants to knock the big guy. In my opinion good company, great products!
  15. Derek Young 2011 Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide Of The Year

    Posts: 2,667
    Snoqualmie, WA
    Ratings: +844 / 1
    And if you ever want to have a raucous time, be in a town like Cody when the ELOG rendezvous is happening and go into a bar stuffed wall to wall with guides on their sixth bottle of beer.


    Cody was nothing, you should have been in Casper.....and Missoula is up next in April!
  16. scottflycst Active Member

    Posts: 1,711
    Ozark Mtn springwater
    Ratings: +24 / 0
    Could an unknown thistle-down tosser crash that party?
  17. BT New Member

    Posts: 22
    Bellingham, WA
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    Thank you all - for your input. I have a new understnading of the Orvis brand.
  18. Jonathan Tachell Active Member

    Posts: 790
    Gig Harbor, Washington
    Ratings: +186 / 0
    I recently booked a trip with an Orvis endorsed lodge with orvis endorsed guides. I have only read and heard good reviews of the place and I hope they are true becasue it is not cheap.
  19. Longs for Cutts Member

    Posts: 337
    Gardiner, MT (formerly Bellingham)
    Ratings: +15 / 0
    I want to preface this by saying I use a wide range of Orvis tackle and the shop for which I work is an Orvis dealer.

    My outfitter looked into the Orvis endorsement last year. I have no idea what the later qualifications are, but the initial requirement was paying Orvis several thousand dollars. For me, this removes all credibility from the program.

    I have known Orvis endorsed guides/outfitters who were good and some who were bad, but the endorsement itself had nothing to do with their quality.
    creekx likes this.
  20. Darthmonkey Active Member

    Posts: 190
    Tacoma, WA
    Ratings: +147 / 0
    I worked for an Orvis retail store in northern VA while there I learned a thing or two looking through the catalogs, talking to the Perkins head honchos, and a lot of the endorsed guides, shops and lodges. Orvis sells an image as well as gear, 150 years of making fine fly-fishing equipment. The clientele I often sold product to were most likely 1-10 years away from retirement having worked in industry and business for the better parts of their adult lives. Keeping themselves busy with work, family leaving little time for themselves much less going to shops and casting all the neat new fly rods and seeing what has changed in the sport fly fishing since his summers spent in "camp X" for boyscout troop Y. The most easily identifiable determination of who to go with for most of these types is how long a company has been around, Orvis and Hardy pretty much trumps all having been doing this whole fly pole thingy for the last 150+ years. So yeah a lot of these folks go to Orvis, and as I'd take a customer out to cast a Superfine or a Helios I could almost see the hypnotic image of New England backroads in the fall leading them to their favorite little stream, that and their sloppy backcast or tailing loops that needed to be corrected.
    Does Orvis make good stuff? Some of it is good stuff that people get a lot of use out of. No denying that, I just don't care for the image of a distinguished New England sportsman. I don't care for the latest and greatest industry changing rod to come out every 36 months, I don't care for re-manufactured knick knacks from china sporting the orvis label shitting on the guy in wyoming who's got a patent pending on his little gizmo. That I really don't care for about the company and won't use my time or money to support a company that does do that.
    However, of the guides, shops and lodge/outfitter dudes I've met during the infamous "Orvis Days" events all of them were competent folks who knew their shize. Some had drank the Orvis koolaid others, not so much and really just wanted a discount on sticks and other gibberish to help offset their yearly incurred costs. I've even fished with a fair number of them as client-guide or just buddy buddy fishing. Haven't met any of them that didn't know the game, some were a little more crotchety than others, but to be fair he's an old Chesapeke Salt who looks like a baseball glove and has been cursed with a frighteningly attractive daughter that had recently discovered the joys of dating.
    Its a good program and of all the customers I sent that way all came back with glowing reviews, none were the hardcore fisher-types, just casually doing this for some cool photos, great memories and time in the great outdoors. So for the casual angler who maybe spends 20 full days on the water fishing, its a good program, for others who really take fishing seriously, you don't really need the program do you?
    Just my two cents.