Since we have had a few threads bashing fly shops lately, I thought we should start one about your favorite fly shop. While I realize that there are myriad of problems in many retail outlets, there are a few that truly stand out as being top notch in customer service, knowledge and expertise, and excel at making the shop a place you want to visit over and over again.
My local shop, Jimmy's All Season Angler in Idaho Falls, ID is one such shop. From the first time I walked in the doors over a decade ago to today, they are the best at what they do and every time I walk in the door I feel like Norm on Cheers as there is a chorus as employees say my name "Kelly!"
They have rod-building and fly tying classes for beginners as well as fly tying demos from November through March every year which are free to the public and they bring in some very well-known fly tiers: Bob Jacklin, Mike Lawson, Buck Goodrich, Bruce Staples, and the Harrops. Bruce Staples even works in the shop.
They have a great selection of all things fly fishing and tying as well as the expertise to go along with it. They are up to date with current fishing reports and can recommend where to go, what to use and how to use it. Their prices are competitive with the online stores and there are no shipping charges.
I have frequented shops such as Henry's Fork Anglers and Trout Hunter in Island Park, ID and felt the same welcome as at Jimmy's. I also visit the numerous shops in West Yellowstone, MT such as Bob Jacklin's, Blue Ribbon and Bud Lilly's and get the same welcome there. So I know that we can't put all of the shops into a cookie-cutter mold as each is different. Its too bad there are many out there who don't get it, but most of the shops in this area really understand who butters their bread as well as supplies the "bread". I'm glad to know the people and the shops that I frequent. They are good friends and feel like family.
Share with us the good experiences that you have had with your fly shops. This is a positive thread, so if you haven't had a positive experience, then utilize one of the other threads or create your own. Let's make this a shout out thread to give kudos to those that do it right.
Location: White City (tad north of Medford) Oar-E-Gone
Re: Favorite Fly Shop
Hamilton Montana .... there has to be one on every block down the main street. Otherwise an easy call: flyfishusa up in Welches, Oregon. When you call and the guy knows your voice on the phone ... you've spent too much money there?
I don't know Jimmie's but I concur that the Island Park and West Yellowstone shops, Jacklin's and Mathews particularly are all first rate and helpful. I will add the 3 shops in Craig, MT...between the three you can buy anything trout you may ever need and be treated with respect and familiarity. One of them, Headhunters, sells Yeti Coolers and to demonstrate their ice holding ability, has one set up with cold drinks on the side porch; Fat Tire anyone? Saturday evening grilling is open to the public no charge except there is a basket inviting donations to "Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing". They have a made in Helena "Adipose" skiff painted in PHWFF camo logo and, if you are a vet, you can borrow it for the day for free. Like rods? Between these three shops you can cross shop Orvis, Sage, Loomis, Rajeff, Winston, Hardy, Scott...and there is no sales tax in Montana.
The Driftless Angler in Viroqua, Wisconsin is the gold standard in my book. Mat and his wife know the entire region like the back of their hands and are more than willing to offer up-to-minute advice on which streams are running clear and what's hatching and where. Not to mention, they're always well-stocked on the local favorite patterns.
Best of all, there is no evidence to be found of flyshop snobbery. When I was a clueless newbie, I was treated with the same (or better!) respect as a 50-year veteran.
The Fly Shop - Redding, California. It is well stocked, and has a good staff. It has the most organized guide service based out of a shop that I have seen.
Fly Fishing Specialties - Citrus Heights, California. This place holds a space in my heart since I used to work there. This is a fly tier's shop. It has the largest fly tying selection in California. An owner and some of the employees are designers for major tying companies like Montana Fly Company, Umpqua Feather Merchants, and Pacific Fly Group.
I have 2 that I enjoy going to. In Anchorage I go to Mossy's. Mike is always helpful and he knows the area well. I also like 3 Rivers up in Ard's neighborhood. We usually spend Saturday mornings there for the weekly "Tie & Lie". (Hmm, 3 Rivers owner is also a Mike... Maybe I just like shops owned by Mikes)