Orvis endorsement?

Upton O

Blind hog fisherman
Wow! Where do I start? I won't.

Derek, Leland, you are SO much smarter than I...

I guess the question I have is "Are you asking about company endorsements in general or specifically Orvis endorsements?". The reason I ask is Cabela's, L.L. Bean and Bass Pro Shops also offer their "endorsements" to certain outfitters and equipment. Could you please clarify your question?


Skunk Happens
"Definitions of Orvis-Endorsed Operations

Lodges: An Orvis-Endorsed Fly-Fishing Lodge is researched, vetted, and selected by experts who bring their vast expertise in fly fishing and travel
to choosing the finest lodges worldwide on your behalf; saving you the work, time, and energy you’d spend to find a lodge on your own.

Guides: Guides may be independent or part of a guide service that provides several guides. Each guide has a high level of expertise on a specific
watershed and is committed to superior customer service and satisfaction.

Outfitters: Outfitters offer guides based out of Orvis fly shops, where you can get expert advice and gear appropriate for the local waters.

Expeditions: Expeditions provide guides, hospitality on trips into some of the most remote and unspoiled wilderness areas of North America, and the highest-quality accommodations a “camp” can offer. The locations may be rustic but the service is “five-star.”"

I usually don't respond to these threads due to only fly fishing for three years and not having anything vested in these discussions, but... Orvis as a company has never treated me wrong and always strives to provide stellar customer service whatever the circumstance. As an example, they couldn't send me 3 flies ($4.50) and gave me 20% off anything and then no shipping on my next order. 90% of my gear is Orvis and in my three years into this obsession, nothing has let me down, and if there was the slightest problem they replaced it quick.

I have had the pleasure of fishing with an endorsed guide up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and not only was he very knowledgeable on fly fishing and his local habitat but he also made sure we had the best experience possible similar to the "Orvis Experience" concerning customer care and their products. I think that being an Orvis endorsed guide means you want to associate your name with what I would regard as highly qualified staff, product and company in general.

On a side note, Leland is one of the most friendly, knowledgeable, wise and helpful people I have ever met concerning fly-fishing. I have been to several stores over the Pacific NW and others back in my native waters of Michigan and no-one beats his customer service and patience. And on top of that I, in my humble small opinion, consider him an authority for Sea Run Cutthroat fishing and he has always answered my questions with honest and helpful information.
"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...


AKA Joe Willauer
Wow! Where do I start? I won't.

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.

Derek Young

Emerging Rivers Guide Services
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,



Nude to the board
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.



Skunk Happens
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.


Active Member
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.



Active Member

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.


Not to be confused with freestoneangler
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!


Active Member

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.
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.