"Fly Fishing Center" Opening in Sonoma: New Trend?

Category:
Fly Fishing
fishing
fly fishing retailer
leland outfitters
Underground Entertainment
Added Date:
Thursday, 28 May, 2009
Summary
When Orvis fired up their sporting-clays style casting course in Bend - and with the "shopping as a carnival" approach of the big box stores (Bass Pro Shops, Cabelas, etc) seemingly conquering the outdoor gear world - I wondered if theme-park style retailing wasn't the future of outdoor industry.
 
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When Orvis fired up their sporting-clays style casting course in Bend - and with the "shopping as a carnival" approach of the big box stores (Bass Pro Shops, Cabelas, etc) seemingly conquering the outdoor gear world - I wondered if theme-park style retailing wasn't the future of outdoor industry.

After all, REI stores feature climbing walls, Bass Pro Shops features huge fish tanks, and we've already mentioned Orvis' "sporting clays" style casting course.
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Soon, we'll have another fly fishing industry entrant into the fray: San Francisco's Leland Outfitters - already a very active online marketer - is opening a "fly fishing ranch" in Sonoma, complete with retail store, casting ponds, mini-stream, and a few other goodies [ed: The article isn't clear, but the ranch appears the ranch is a pay-to-play site, which we could have guessed, but didn't
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sonomanews.com > News > Sports

Lots of work remains to be done on the rest of the ranch, but Leland staffer and local resident Eddie Schoenbin gave me a tour this week. It will be a real fly-fishers' dream spot when completed, including casting ponds (with trout in them), a little stream in between the ponds, a meeting and seminar space and other amenities. No specific date has been set yet for the shop opening, but watch this newspaper for an official announcement. By the way, the ranch is not open for visitors, and there's lots of work going on, so it is best to wait until they announce the opening before heading out there.

It appears to be a gutsy move in a tough economy (though it's likely all this was planned long before the economy did a startling imitation of platform diving into a glass of water). And lest we forget, a major fraction of the fly fishing world's revenues are spent in large, metropolitan areas.

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Orvis rolled out its Bend retail store and casting course with a pretty serious media party (the Underground was invited, but had to attend a class that weekend, which suggests responsible behavior is hugely overrated), yet it's probably too soon to get a clear sense of the casting course's usage and effect on the retail side of the equation.

So what do the Undergrounders think? Will fly shops soon require an "attraction" to remain viable in competitive metropolitan markets - and in the face of competition from lavish big box retailers? Are you more likely to buy from Leland's retail shop in Sonoma because of the amenities (casting pond, etc).

Undergrounders, the floor is yours.
 
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Destinations
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Nestled in the north end of the Sacramento Valley, Shasta County and its three Cities - Redding, Anderson, and Shasta Lake - are 545 miles north of Los Angeles; 162 miles north of ... moreSacramento; 433 miles south of Portland, Oregon; and 592 miles south of Seattle, Washington.

In 2004, as an effort to increase tourism in the area, the Sundial Bridge, designed by world-renowned architectural designer Santiago Calatrava, was completed. The Sundial Bridge casts its gnomon shadow upon a dial to the north of the bridge accurately once a year during the Summer Solstice. With the objective of providing pedestrian access to the north and south of Turtle Bay Exploration Park, the Sundial Bridge has not only lived up to its purpose but has also become an icon for the City of Redding in the present day.

Redding is one of the best places to launch for Trophy Rainbow Trout & Trophy Steelhead Fishing in Northern California. A number of great rivers are within an easy drive and local guides can on any given day help you figure out where the fishing is great.

The Klamath river, Sacaramento river, Trinity River and the Feather river are all being frequented by local guides and fly fisher.
Fishing Waters
The Sacramento River is the principal river of Northern California in the United States, and is the largest river in California. Rising in the Klamath Mountains, near Mount Shasta ... more(in Siskiyou county), the river flows south for 445 miles, through the northern section (Sacramento Valley) of the Central Valley, before reaching the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta and San Francisco Bay. It forms a common delta with the San Joaquin River before entering Suisun Bay, the northern arm of San Francisco Bay. The river drains about 27,500 square miles, with an average annual runoff of 22 million acre-feet, in 19 California counties, mostly within a region bounded by the Coast Ranges and Sierra Nevada known as the Sacramento Valley, but also extending as far as the volcanic plateaus of Northeastern California.
Trips
$
275
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$
615
/ Boat
Capacity:
1 - 4 anglers
Days:
Daily
Duration:
4 hours - 1 day
Fishing Waters:
The Merced River originates in the Southeastern corner of Yosemite National Park. Its headwaters begin at 7900 feet at the Clarke Range. It flows over Nevada and Vernal Falls, and ... morelastly, Illilouette Creek before she flows through the main Yosemite Valley. Then the Merced, picks up water from Tenaya, Yosemite, Bridalveil, and Pigeon Creeks near the end of the valley, and meeting up the water from Cascade Creek before the river flows through the Merced River Canyon and then outside the park. Its South and North Forks join it a few miles outside the park.

The Lower Merced is another river that can be drifted, water flow permitting, or walk & waded January through May.
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300
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$
400
/ Angler
Capacity:
1 - 2 anglers
Days:
Daily
Duration:
4 hours - 1 day
Enjoy a day fishing the Truckee River near Sierraville, California. With our extensive experience fishing the Truckee River, we have the vast knowledge needed to help you catch fish ... moreand have fun doing it. We specialize in guided trips for fishermen of all types from first-time anglers, to experts.
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465
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Capacity:
1 - 2 anglers
Days:
Daily
Duration:
4 hours - 8 hours
If you have ever driven over the Lower Sacramento River or even fished it, you know that due to its shear size and abundance of water, this makes it extremely intimidating. That's ... morewhy having a knowledgable Lower Sacramento River Fly Fishing Guide is so important. A great guide will not only put you on the fish, but will also show you the fishy spots accessable by land, the put ins and pull outs for boats, as well as the bug life, the flies to use and when you go on your own, how to put all that t ogether to be successful. The Lower Sacramento River is a big tailwater fishery and California's biggest trout river, and its rainbows are just as big and powerful as the river they live in. If you want big fish and year-round fishing, this is the river for you. With more food than your local all you can eat buffets (2,500 insects per square foot of river), the average fish grows to a healthy and hard-fighting 16-18", and pigs pushing two feet are not out of the question, so bring some big guns. The fishing season is year-round, and water temperatures remain fairly constant too, as the river comes out of the bottom of Shasta Lake.

This river consists of long, indescribable, spring creek like stretches that are broken up by islands, deep pools, long riffles, gravel bars and undulating shelf’s, many of which are more pronounced during lower flows.

If having one of the best trout fisheries in the state isn’t enough, the Lower Sac also hosts some great runs of Steelhead and Chinook salmon too. It also hosts a variety of other fish, such as, shad, squawfish, stripers, largemouth and smallmouth bass, these populations of fish become higher the farther you get away from Shasta Lake. The highest flows are during the summer months, when snow melt is at its greatest, so a drift boat is highly recommended.

You can walk and wade during the higher flows if you so desire, but staying near the bank will be your safest bet. The best time to walk and wade the Lower Sac is going to be during fall, winter and early spring, there is very little snow melt, and the rain that falls goes to filling up the lake, so the river is low and great for walk and wading. This is the time to get out there and really learn the river's bottom and fish those slots that only come out in lower flows, either way “PLEASE WADE WITH CAUTION”. But due to the river’s size and the amount of private property along its banks, those that prefer to wade have two options. One is to fish from public parks and access points along the 16 miles or river between Redding and Anderson, or, from your boat, getting out at the riffles and fishy slots to make some casts.

Public access is fairly easy though on the Lower Sac, there are 6 boat launches, and many public parks and access points along the river that flows almost parallel with interstate 5.

-Brian
Outfitters
World class experiences in a world class location. We are passionate about guiding in Yosemite - fly fishing, hiking, majestic forests, and our surrounding waters! We explore and we ... morefly fish because the little voice that we hear, drives us into the most beautiful destination locations that the Sierra Nevada mountain range has to offer. Discover beautiful Yosemite National Park, it's hiking trails, it's fly fishing on the Merced, and the mighty Tuolumne rivers; or the seemingly endless Stanislaus river, and the stately Mokulmne river. We have a deep rooted love for Yosemite and it's surrounding areas, but this is only out done by sharing that passion for fly fishing and hiking with others, and watching our clients catch a sunset, a fish, a memory, and a passion for the outdoors!
17 comments
Sounds like a great addition to the neighborhood -- I'll have to go see if I can turn a little "wine into water"! I hope they researched the wind in Carneros -- it separates the men from the mice in a big way! Hey Philip, real fly shops sell beef jerky too. Luckily you'll find the best jerky on the planet right next door at Angelo's (gratuitous plug for my favorite lunch spot)!
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Philip: That kind of changes the equation, but I suppose it depends on how much play one gets for the amount paid. I didn't necessarily expect it to be free or (conversely) expensive, but the article should could have been clearer. In that respect, it reads like a real PR puff piece.
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That kind of changes the equation, but I suppose it depends on how much play one gets for the amount paid. Does anyone else remember the Trout Haven pond just outside of la Honda? Not much sport, but if you wanted to have an hour's fun with a kid and a cane pole, you could, for less than ten bucks. Often some nekkid hippies in the creek, too!
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Flyfishpapa: This facility will be a pay to play club for those willing to fork over a few hundred bucks.Thanks for the update. The article said nothing of that (I guess the "not open to visitors" bit was code for "pay up"). I'll add a note to my post.
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Initially I was excited to hear about a place that I could maybe take my 5 year old to teach how to fly fish without having to drive hours to a good stream. This facility will be a pay to play club for those willing to fork over a few hundred bucks. The opportunity to become a community resource, an alternative to video games and a place to teach the next generation to enjoy our passion was probably ... more not in their business plan. There will probably be banner for Nomads of the Seas hanging up in the club house.
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The SF shop is pretty good, although it galls me to pay the sales tax to the Marxist fools who run SF. Unfortunately it's only going to get worse in the near term. There seems to be no end to the sales taxes that Californians are willing pay.
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Real fly shops sell Copenhagen, candy bars, and Red Bull. They stopped selling rubbers because the guides never got a chance to use them. Harrumph. But hey, if this guy can get some people interested, and sell some gear, what's the harm? The SF shop is pretty good, although it galls me to pay the sales tax to the Marxist fools who run SF.
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Tom Chandler: It's been slowly contracting (or stagnant at best), and - if I recall correctly - the average age of fly fishers keeps going up. Yikes. That's a demographic nightmare for the industry. Oh, well, more room on the rivers for the old folks like us I guess. And on a side note, the film "Rivers of a Lost Coast" implies that back in the day fly fishing was just what everyone did regardless ... more of socio-demographics. It wasn't just a sport for the rich but for blue collar folks as well. Everyone had the fever back then, or so the film said. What's going on these days? What is fly fishing such a narrow niche?
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Tom Chandler: Are you suggesting Leland's employees should make every test-caster drink to excess, sleep it off in the bushes, then test-cast the fly rods while still hung over? No, but simply for liability and zoning reasons.
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MikeL: What is happening to the industry more generally? Is fly fishing expanding in popularity or contracting? It's been slowly contracting (or stagnant at best), and - if I recall correctly - the average age of fly fishers keeps going up.
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What is happening to the industry more generally? Is fly fishing expanding in popularity or contracting? I don't fish enough anymore to get a feel either way, but my sense is that it's not really expanding and might even be waning somewhat.
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It seems to me that the metropolitan fly shops make (or used to make) a lot of money on travel packages. A wealthy guy walks in and says “I want to take a group of clients to (Chile, Alaska, Christmas Island, etc.). Here' my corporate credit card. Set us up with whatever we need.” (I've actually been in a Bay Area shop and witnessed this.) I suppose if they can convince some of these same customers ... more to visit the Sonoma property and then juice them up on complimentary wine they might make some additional sales. With SF sales tax now at 9.5%, they have to do something to compete with the online shops that sell the exact same products but don't charge sales tax and offer free shipping. On a side note, when I heard about this project last year I was given the impression that it was going to be a pay-to-play property with bass and trout ponds; something similar to the “Private Waters” properties owned by The Fly Shop.
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Fly shops may need something of an “attraction” to remain competitive with the big guys. It's a pretty nifty move, I think…sort of going beyond some of the more mundane, so to speak, tactics of competing with the discounters (i.e., better customer service, narrower product focus and all the rest) I wish them luck. And yes, I am more likely to buy from a shop because of the amenities. But…that's ... more never the only reason. There seems to be some Retail Price Protection in the fly-fishing industry. It appears that Sage and Simms and Orvis are priced the same (for the most part) no matter where you buy them. That helps and so might a casting pond… Leland seems rather progressive, which is a good thing. They have the discount web presence in Red Truck Fly Fishing, too – You know, business plans are always optimistic and it may be a good time to strike, to differentiate yourself from all the other guys.
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As for fly shops requiring an “attraction” to remain viable, this strikes me as the idea of creating “destination retail,” as in Bass Pro and Cabela's. (Build it big enough and stock it to the ceilings and they will come.) And I won't venture a prediction if it'll work out financially over the long run, but I certainly think the concept will go a long way to facilitating my purchase(s) of ... more fly fishing gear if I've already let my wife spend a fair sum on cases of wine.
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Theo Lance: Find it hard to believe a fly-shop can really support a staff of 12+ full timers and acquire a ranch by selling rods….Unless….they are marking everything up 100X I don't know about the trust fund angle (I've been accused of that, and it couldn't be farther from the truth), but I do know Leland was recently advertising for an online marketing position (fulltime), which puts them ahead ... more of 98.5 of the fly fishing industry. Cliff Graham: so why not also let $500+ fly rods get tried out in their true environment. Are you suggesting Leland's employees should make every test-caster drink to excess, sleep it off in the bushes, then test-cast the fly rods while still hung over?
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I think its mostly a great idea, but an expensive gamble to set up. Its like applying true test drive logic to trying out rods: we wouldn't buy a car they only let us drive in the parking lot, so why not also let $500+ fly rods get tried out in their true environment. And seeing dumb stocker trout come after hookless dries could easily induce impulse purchases of the "miracle rod that perfectly presented ... more the offering".
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Tought move in this economy, but I heard Leland is run on trust money anyways...just need to find a way to spend all that money. Find it hard to believe a fly-shop can really support a staff of 12+ full timers and acquire a ranch by selling rods....Unless....they are marking everything up 100X
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