I have grown to really dislike most of the Fly Shops I have visited. Many of them won't talk to you unless you are wearing the best of Columbia or won't talk anything but Bone fish etc and we live in Alberta. They are snobotoriums for the most part. Funnily enough the best one I have found is part of a Canadian 'Big Box" store where the pro actually knows his stuff and doesn't mind chatting about any kind of fly fishing. I have watched him help women out when they buy equipment for either themselves or their Husbands and he does not break their banks. I support this shop as much as I can, the rest I buy online, but there are a half dozen shops I will not visit anymore.
Each smallest act of kindness - even just words of hope when they are needed, the remembrance of a birthday, a compliment that engenders a smile - reverberates across great distances and spans of time, affecting lives unknown to the one whose generous spirit was the source of this good echo, because kindness is passed on and grows each time it's passed, until a simple courtesy becomes an act of selfless courage years later and far away.
I have two shops within a 3 mile radius of me. One I've been to once the other is my home away from home! There's a reason for this it's called customer service and just being a good human being! Easy decision ! Rather go to someone I respect and pay more than be treated like " hey I know more than you , shut up and shop"!
"I was born to fish" Lee Wulff
"There's more B.S. in fly fishing then there is in a Kansas feedlot." Lefty Kreh
" It ain't over till it's over." Yogi Berra
"Your not old,you've simply acquired a patina." Swirlchaser
The fly shop near me, Stone River Outfitters, I fell in love with the minute I walked through the door. The guy who was working there did not sit there breathing over my shoulder, but said "if you need help finding anything don't be afraid to ask." And when I did need help something he would stop what he was doing and happily bring me to it. I couldn't find soft hen hackle. "Oh yes, I have that in an odd place, here they are....feel free to check through them all since the coloration is different." Couldn't find the Bucktails. "Yup, right over here on this back wall." This had to be the best experience in a store of any kind in a long time. I have been in stores where you couldn't get anyone to even blink at you even when you had a fist full of cash you WANTED to spend (hello Sears, I am looking at you ), and in stores where they just wouldn't leave you alone no matter what. The guy at Stone River made an instant repeat customer out of me on the first day.
I have one fly shop within a 60 mile radius and is the only shop that carries any kind of fly tackle(quality) and can offer a sensible conversation about it. That shop has received all my business for the last two years. Online advice and internet purchases are the only source for what I want. My fly shop is a dedicated Sage / Hardy dealer and so the exposure to Abel, Winston, Scott and others is not available. I envy those of you that have a variety of outlets throughout the USA (not to mention the fishery that you enjoy). My opportunity to get that exposure is to travel to the L.L.Beans and Kittery Trading Post outlets when I am in the US. I recently bought a rod from an "Oregon Fly Shop" that has been mentioned here lately and had an issue that went un-resolved. I was not 100% satisfied,: but have moved on. Buying online has not been the best way to buy gear for me. I should mention that a "discount outlet" has moved in here from another province but offers nothing like the gear I look for. Try to buy and Abel reel or a Winston rod at the Walmart or Canadian Tire outlet. Glad to see a fellow Canadian on the forum...Kerry
I've plugged them before, but Stillwater Outfitters in Sunriver, Oregon, has outstanding customer service (in addition to no tax, free shipping, and free lines with the reels they sell).
I purchased a demo Abel Creek over the phone from them shortly before Christmas. The reel had had been used in some advertising and was already lined. I got a great deal on it. However, there was a mix-up in shipping and it went to San Jose (a number got transposed on the zip code) rather than here. What did they do? Sent me a brand new Abel Creek with the line of my choice and their sincere apologies. Great shop.
Location: White City (tad north of Medford) Oar-E-Gone
Re: Gorge Fly Shop
I'm scratching my head here if this is 'the' Gorge Fly shop that I know; on the Columbia River for a lack of a better 'here's where its at.'
This shop has a heck of a positive following, even in the UK. Yes, you 'read me right,' the UK. One of the few that will take the time to actually walk to the Post Office and send off a package. (Flyfishusa is another, I'm (yes me) the next biggest shipper to the UK)
There's an Orvis affiliated shop on Cape Cod.
The first couple of times visiting there I definitely got the "your type ain't welcome here" vibe. It was as if I was invisible. Didn't plan on returning
Then one day we were driving by when an ad came on the radio that they were having a tent sale, so we pulled in.
.... they sure noticed me that day.
A guy followed me around the whole time to make sure that I didn't steal anything
I agree that some shops have a "snobbish" vibe, but if anyone is ever in Idaho Falls because you're fishing the South Fork or North (Henry's) Fork of the Snake River, Jimmy's All Seasons Angler is about as good as it gets. Never heard anyone complain about them, even though they're the only real fly shop in town. There are several shops in Island Park and the surrounding area that vary quite a bit, though.