Best Fly Shops in the world

Puget sound fly company is a pretty cool spot. When ever I go in there they are very helpful and not pushy. They will show you how to tie a fly, and encourage you to take a rod out back if you have questions for a quick test. And they fish! I know it will be hard to find time the first year, but you gotta get out and fish. Puget Sound Fly and Auburn Sports and Marine know local fishing. So I go there to hear what rivers are hot and what to use. They always pull a couple dollars out of my pocket because they spend time with me giving me the in's and out's. A report board is always neccesary. Have a web site so people can find you. That is the only way i found puget sound fly company. The coolest sporting goods stores I have been in have old wood floors, and pictures of local fish and game. I would love to have a log cabin looking store. If you can offer a demo program. Most people will pay $20 or so to demo a couple rods if it will go toward their future purchase. Have a variety, don't get loked into just a 1 or 2 brands. Finally, have fun, you are starting a busniess that millions dream about (like me).
As far as my ultimate flyshop... Having the "women in waders" serving hot cup o' joe between the rod rack and the wading boots, my brittany pointing at a squirrel that is running up and down a tree trunk out front and my wife sitting at the tying bench fixing the holes in my waders from the previous days excursions...

ooohhhh the thoughts that run through my melon!!!!



Idiot Savant
MacRowdy said:
I want to think out side the box ...

MAC :thumb:
OK, here's a few "strategic initiatives" you could implement.

1. Plug other local businesses, bars, restaraunts, motels, guides...etc. They'll plug your shop in return.

2. Get a "hero shot" board put up as soon as possible. Download photo's from visitors or take photo's folks what kind of fishing opportunities are in the area. You know, fish porn...

3. Cross over to other outdoor opportunities, like hunting. Be aware what is happening around the shop. Many fishers also hunt. Remember, you're enriching their experiences. Information is free, no overhead.

4. Make your shop as "interactive" as possible, either real or virtual...


Idaho Resident Craftsman/Artisan
Hi all,

Thank you for the great feedback. I agree with everything posted.

So imagine, there you are rolling up highway 20 like you're going to West Yellowstone or Island Park and you see on the side of the highway a big phat log home with a fly shop out front and a mechanical "bull trout" with a hot hot hot little cowgirl riding hard.

Would you stop for that? hahaha

If not, just wait until you smell the bbq that will be going every single day. (free dogs and burgers) Pull over and get yourself a popcicle or a cold rootbeer. Cold Morning? Hot pot of Coffee and fresh doughnuts.

I plan on incorporating pretty much every suggestion that has been given.

I've got the hunting dog.

Got the dope antique pine tying table.

Got a big chair for fat asses.

I've got a pepsi fridge that will be stocked and free.

(seriously it is the little stuff that are key).

It is never what you say to someone. It is how you make them feel.

I am good at being a total Ass. But mostly that's only after I know you and have kissed your grandma and your mom and taken a ride in your family shortbus.

I love people. I have complete confidence in my ability to provide a wonderful fly shop experience. And hopefully I can incorporate some of the great suggestions provided on this thread.

Thank you. And keep the ideas coming!!!



Active Member
the shop that i grew up going to was NW Angler in poulsbo, and now on B.I.
It used to be a "bad" shop... they didnt really care about you. Now that troy runs it it is much better. I used to just hang out over there for hours because i could and it was the same with many others. We could just hang around and BS without any string attached.
I love the couch and chairs that are around the TV. I have watched Lani Waller on that thing more times than i can count, but it is a good video for a shop. Any place you can have to sit down and make people feel comfortable is great.
I also like having a whiteboard with river reports on it in the window of shop when it is closed... i think if you can let people know that even though you might not be open they can still get info it will help in the long run..


Active Member
one old shop i used to visit on the east coast would make coffee every morning and guys would come to get their coffee and sit around and bs. just gave them a place and something to do... the coffee was free but people always chipped in to keep it going.
Do not run out of the most common sized fly hooks such as #18 dry fly hooks. Also it would be nice to get larger packs of hooks then just 25 each of the common sized hooks for the area the shop is in without having to always order them up. Bulk beads would also be a nice touch without having to mail order them, I can use up 25 packs of beads pretty quick. When I go into a fly shop for hooks I need them right away in many cases not a week from now otherwise I could of got them mail order myself. I do understand when non-common sized hooks are not in stock such as size 26 or smaller dry fly hooks.

One thing I have always felt many shops have to much of is dubbing. It sometimes seems like over 25% of the peg hooks are filled with diffrent dubbing. It always seems to me that most shops have a lot of inventory dollars tied up in dubbing that could be used for items with better turns on them. A good example of this now out of bussiness was Salmon Bay.
Also the same goes for yarns on a card. Just how many are willing to pay $1.99 for a 3 yrd card of olive or black yarn anyways. Also whats to stop a flyshop from keeping just bulk yarns etc and selling it by the yard instead of in the little packs from Spirit or other such companies. Would it not be cool to go into shops with bulk cheniles, yarns etc and buying it like you would rope or chain from a hardware store. It always seemed to me a flyshop could buy a deal of yarn and sell it for 50 cents for 3 yards and still make a profit without those little bags and cards and we the buyer would feel better about the purchase both in the money saved as well as less packaging means less garbage for the land fills.

A good gimmick for a fly shop to try might be free lessons on a local pattern with a diffrent one done up each week with the purchase of a bag of materials needed for making up a dozen or so of the pattern shown. The bag would include the materials minus thread needed to tie up a dozen of the pattern and sold on a set night of the week and a table would be set up for a demostration of how to tie it at a set time. Each person would need to bring thread, tools and vise. This would also be a good way for people to learn how to make use of the many new materials that come out all the time. I know Ron does his classes for free but if I ever get up that way I myself would feel better buying something while I was there.

Lastly let me walk around the store for a few minutes before comming up to me and asking me what I am looking for or asking me if I have been fishing recently the minute I walk through the door. Saying hello when I walk in is ok but give me a few minutes to get my bearing and to at least start to walk around before going deeper. Otherwise it always seems to me at least that you are trying to decide if I am worth your time to wait on.

I will get off my soap box now. Sorry for the long winded writing. I hope it all makes at least some sense.
I would like to know what you like best about your favorite shops.

My favorite shops have a friendly, no BS atmosphere. Also, having a casting pond or stream nearby is very helpful. Shops that encourage me to try out stuff before I buy (rod, line, whatever) are at the top of my list.

What draws you in? What makes you stay?

An open, inviting fly tying area is a cool thing to have in a fly shop.

What do you look for? What are some items you want and haven't been able to find?

I look for flies and advice for local waters. Maybe a local fly section in the fly selection would be a good idea. Also, its cool when the fly shop person shares their experience and knowledge of how the locals fish the local fly.

What do you hate about fly shops? As a consumer what is your take?

Hmm. There is a fine balance when it comes to approaching customers. Avoid making the customer feel like you're hovering. However, make the customer feel like you're there to answer questions.

mike doughty

Honorary Member
MacRowdy said:
I plan on incorporating pretty much every suggestion that has been given.MAC
So when would you like me to send my pictures for your walls? this is key. also when you do your 'hero shot' board let me know and i can give you some picture taking pointers, i've seen your photos, they leave something to be desired, that's where i step in. :thumb:
I don't have anything really exciting to add. What I would say, and it pretty much is common sense for anyone in sales or customer service: remember names!! When I walk into my fly shop, the owner looks up and says "hey Desmond!" I don't think I ever told him my name, he must have just memorized it after I gave him my credit card.
All of the above are good and I especially like being able to find the basics if I am on a trip and forgot some tippet, or forgot my split shot (toxic and non-toxic), or lost my cheap forceps.

I am also a sucker for stuff on sale or discontinued.

My wife would tell you to carry stuff specifically for women even if it is just a small corner of the shop they can call their own. They feel left out and intimidated in most pro shops like fly shops, hunting outfitters and golf shops.

Always be willing to have some low end stuff and not be snotty about selling it..."You can buy that Cortland package but you'll be disatisfied in a few months and want this ________." Better, " You can get started with this package and if you want, it can serve you the rest of your life. It's whatever you feel comfortable with that counts. Remember, there are still kids with cane poles and worms having fun. I want you to have fun with this sport."

Always, be willing to show someone how to tie a woolly worm or mohair beadhead or tom thumb. Make getting started simple and enjoyable and they'll be back to spend the big bucks later...or maybe they'll be your bread and butter, always dropping $10 or $20 every week or two.

Keep plenty of copies of the Curtis Creek Manifesto available.

Have videos to rent.

Give discounts to fly club members (think of the word of mouth and influence of these customers).

Get around the fixed prices of the high end stuff by offering free stuff to encourage the sale from you and not the internet. For example, eat the tax on a pair of $425 Simms waders or throw in a hat and a dozen flies with that new Winston. Just something that has sucked me in before.

Don't be afraid to offer your regulars something extra now and then, especially if they are there regularily and bring you customers and are a steady if modest source of revenue.

Carrying a few local non fishing related touristy items might be cool for walk in traffic. This might even include some consignment stuff.

Fresh good coffee would guarantee I would feel like dropping a few bucks if you are off the beaten path or out of Starbucks range.

Always remember that selling something no matter how insignificant is better than pushing something big and selling nothing.

Where in Idaho are we talking about? I'm seriously considering retiring there in the next 3 years.


Zen Piscator

Supporting wild steelhead, gravel to gravel.
Here are a few ideas you may find helpful, or maybe not. I want to show the difference between a really great shop and a very poor one in this short story:

Maupin oregon, on the banks of the deshutes river, is a great little town with alot of fishing. It has 2 flyshops, a good and a bad. The good one is run by locals, and they offer totally unbiased advice on the river, and about flies and such. The you cast rods, and they will even tie a fly for you if you need to see how its done. The other shop is new in town, and orvis endorsed deal, which can be a good or a bad thing depending on how its done. The first time i came into the show, i was informed that the owner had brough spey casting, fishing, and rods into america and the 21st century. He was a man of honor and would like to be treated as such. He was the one telling me this. The lady pointed out the only picutere in the shop, of Tiger Woods with the woman and the man around him. I asked them to suggest a few effective nymphs for that time of year, and the anwers i received was "We only use dry flies" So, i asked them about preductive spots on the river, and they answered with rates for guides and how I could set one up. I told them i already had arranged a guide through the "other" shop, and he was teaching me to spey cast. I mentioned the guides name, Breden, and she only laughed. Amy Hazel preceeded to tell me my guide was incompetent, and i was wasting my money. Earlier that day he had helped me catch my first steelhead and over 30 trout, in the middle of summer on what other guides had called "a slow day". I was 11 years old, and not quite sure what to say to her. I left the shop, and will NEVER be back. I felt like calling in a complaint to the city or something. If you are in Maupin, head to "Deshutes river fly shop" it wil be all you need.

So, Mac, now that im done with my rambling, i have a few coherent points i think i should make.

-Tieing flies at the shop will help you sell materials, lots of them. Always give the fly to the customer when you are finished.

-One interesting thing i saw while passing a fly shop in montana was a large letter board infront of a fly shop, the kind they have at churches and schools sometimes. It was sitting on the grass and said "Got Skwallas?" I thought that was pretty cool.

-Show customers new and interesting products, and let them try out a new rod on the lawn.

- A white board with river CFS, Temp, Bugs, and a Report would be money.

-Bull trout and chic, please god make it happen. That would be pimp.

-Have great people working for you, snotty fly shops leave a bad taste in my my mouth. Do not go down the road of Kauffmans

- Have some good trout fishporn, but dont forget bass, carp, panfish, pike, whatever

-Plugging other places in town is a great idea, and i think it will help buisness alot

-Food seems like a good idea, but hopefully u can afford it. Hungry fisherman can make short work of a dozen doughnuts and coffee. Its a great idea if you can keep up with supplies.

-If someone asks you if you sell worms, try not to laugh. I have been in a shop before when someone walked in and asked about worms and power bait. Instead ask if they want some flies to fish on spinning gear, maybe carry some of those bubbles you can fill with water and cast on a spinning rod.

-Tie some flies for your shop, a personal touch can be a good thing, maybe like a few of a local patterns or something

-Having burgers and dogs and other food will make it more than just a fly shop, it will be a meeting place for fisherman.

Good luck bro, sounds like it will be a killer place. Can't wait to get over there once it opens up.



New Member

I my opinion, you already have the #1 thing down for a successful shop, FRIENDLY ADVICE. You probably don't remember, but last spring on this site you gave me some great advice for fishing/sightseeing in your new "neck of the woods". Me and my family had the trip of a lifetime, I look forward to stopping by your shop one day and "repaying" you. :beer2:

The cool log home, hot cowgirl on mechanical bull trout, hunting dog, fat ass chairs, :beer1: fridge they'll all work too..........

Seriously, I live in W. Seattle and work downtown, I drive by alot of shops that are much more convienent, only to spend my time and money at Puget Sound Fly Co. Since I am a VERY novice flyfisher, Clark and Anil's help and information in every aspect of this sport, have been more valuable than anything else in the shop.

MAC, again good luck with the shop and I look forward to visiting that area soon.

If you have a mechanical bull trout out front with a hottie grinding the adipose you'll have the phattest shop in the frickin universe.

Also, whenever someone new comes in, grab your balls and run through the shop yelling that you sat in bubble gum. Money. :thumb:


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