Best Fly Shops in the world


Lots of good ideas here. I hope I can add something.

The concept of an intimate fly shop with a wood burning stove with a fresh pot of coffee on it and donuts and a Pepsi cooler (the old timey kind that the bottles slide around in and you pull them along by their necks) in a log cabin that smells like sage and cedar, but has broadband and a big tying table, is pretty darn cool. However, all the stuff wouldn't get me in your door or keep me coming back.

Reason being, I don't hang around in fly shops. I go in, get what I need and get out. I'd rather smell wild sage and mint walking to the creek. The point is, find out what your customers really want. Ask for feedback - even do a customer satisfaction survey. If that's what your customers want and it sells and you can make a profit at it, then go for it.

What I want from a fly shop is an honest, friendly staff that knows the water I'm going to fish - what bugs come off, when they come off and where they come off, i.e., "the blue winged olives have been coming off at about 10:00 am in the upper river, but there may be a PMD hatch mixed in. If there is, they seem to be going for the PMD's." So, I'm looking for a staff that has intimate knowledge of the river I'm fishing because they have fished it themselves. They've seigned the water and looked at the bugs and tied a variation on some pattern that works on that stream and gives me an edge. I'm looking for a staff that will help me out without pressuring me for a sale. I recently reorganized my fly boxes and took my midge box in for review. I said "what do I need?" and the answer was "nothing, you're in good shape." I'm looking for a staff that will take a few minutes to let me demo a rod that I'm thinking about buying - without a demo fee - even when I just drop in. I'm looking for a staff that has a network of sources and can talk bamboo tapers and fiberglass, if that's what I'm interested in. I've been considering purchasing a bamboo rod and have been doing a lot of research on the web. I went into "my" shop and asked for advise. They pointed me to a local rod maker named Homer Jennings who is doing great work. Order placed.

I'm also looking for a shop owner that will back up a warranty without giving me a hard time. At "my" shop, the owner has given me a new pair of waders off the shelf to replace a pair that I bought from him that leaked and he returned them to the manufacturer.

As a result, I've done a lot of business in "my" fly shop, Angler's Covey, over the past couple of years. (three rods, three reels, two spare spools, four lines, two vests, two pairs of waders, and lots of other stuff). It's been good for them, but it's been good for me, too. I'm definitely a better fly fisherman as a result of that relationship. I hope that's what your customers will say about your shop.

But hey, that's just me....


"There are none happy in the world but beings who enjoy freely a vast horizon."


Staff member
MacRowdy said:
Hello fellow wff members.

I want to thank all of you for providing me with much entertainment over the last three years. It has been a great pleasure. Come May 1st I will be in Idaho full time, getting my shop started.

Now, I have a favor to ask: :thumb:

I would like to know what you like best about your favorite shops.

If I am just repeating what you have already heard from others, please forgive me, as I purposely avoided reading others responses until after submitting mine.

When I visit a fly shop, which is fairly frequently, this is what I expect:

1) someone to greet me by name, and care that I've come in; it can't be successfully faked; customers are very perceptive

2) someone who asks if I've been fishing (or whatever) lately, and cares enough about my answer to ask follow-up questions

3) someone who will help me find what I'm looking for, not just point in the general direction, and then go back to bs’ing with a fellow worker

4) someone who will give me advise if I ask for it, and if they really don't know, be honest about it, and not just give me some bs answer

5) someone who won't cut me down for saying something stupid, but will sensitively explain what I'm obviously missing, if it's of some importance

Note that I haven't mentioned location, inventory, display, brands, hours, etc. Sure, one has to have a minimum level of all of these, or people will just go elsewhere to purchase what they need. But, in my opinion, it's the people skills that make the difference. Knowing I’ll likely be helped by someone who pays attention to items (1 - 5) that will cause me to drive toward one fly shop, as opposed to another.

Congratulations. It sounds like you're launching off in pursuit of a long-held dream, and I wish you every success.
i did enjoy reading everything above and want to expand one comment. give a 5% or more discount to any card carrying member of trout unlimited or fff. if i am in your area i will be there. mike w

Big K1

Large Member

The perfect fly shop would be the one that would hire me at $25.00 an hour with full benifits and 32 hrs. a week and a large supply of 2-handers. :thumb:
Good luck on the shop. Keep beer in the fridge!

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