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the buzz on the fly-fishing biz



Sage and RIO to Sell Direct/New Products for 2016/ Confronting the Elephants in the Room/Fair Flies/ Thinking Outside the Box/The State of the Trout... And More. June 2015 AnglingTrade.com


With three floating tapers and three sinking tapers, the line choices are simple, but your possibilities are limitless. Frequency lines are meant to be used wherever you are. Day after day. Fish after fish. Cast after Cast. Season after season.




the buzz on the flyfishing biz





36 E l e p h a n t H u n t i n g

8 E d i to r ’ s C o l u m n

Editor Kirk Deeter kirk@anglingtrade.com

Managing Editor Tim Romano tim@anglingtrade.com

Art Director Tara Brouwer tara@shovelcreative.com shovelcreative.com

It’s time to get serious about that big creature in the room. Five discussion topics that this industry must get more serious about. By Kirk Deeter

Continuum. Ten years of covering the fly industry. Aloha, Mr. Hand. By Kirk Deeter

Editor-at-Large Geoff Mueller

Copy Editors

44 Fa i r T r a d e

10 C u r r e n t s The latest people, product and issues

news from the North American fly-fishing industry, including the hottest new products for 2016.

34 S tat e o f AFFTA By AFFTA chairman Tucker Ladd

It matters for certain products, like coffee, chocolates, and spices. But how much does the “fair trade” notion factor into flies and fly fishing?

64 O u t s i d e t h e B ox

By Morgan Lyle

50 I n t e r n at i o n a l F ly Tac k l e De a l e r t r a d e s h ow s c h e d u l e o f events and seminars 54 B ULIS ON WHY TH E C L E AN WAT E R AC T IS C RU C IAL FOR FLY FISHING

A new column by someone who interfaces with the most successful fly shops throughout America, with special focus on the outside-the-box ideas that

56 S tat e o f t h e T r o u t

66 B ac k c a s t Stand up for experimentation. It’s the key to our future. By Geoff Mueller

Contributing Editors Tom Bie Walt Gasson Ben Romans Steven B. Schweitzer Photos unless noted by Tim Romano Angling Trade is published four times a year by Angling Trade, LLC. Author and photographic submissions should be sent electronically to editor@anglingtrade.com. Angling Trade is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts and/ or photo submissions. We ask that contributors send formal queries in advance of submissions. For editorial guidelines and calendar, please contact the editor via E-mail. Printed in the U.S.A. Advertising Contact: Tim Romano Telephone: 303-495-3967 Fax: 303-495-2454 tim@anglingtrade.com Mail Address: PO Box 17487 Boulder, CO 80308 Street Address: 3055 24th Street Boulder, CO 80304 AnglingTrade.com

AnglingTrade.com | June 2015

Trout Unlimited has just released the most complete, comprehensive assessment on the status of native trout species in the continental United States. Here’s what you need to know, and why you should care. By Kirk Deeter

make them successful. By Walt Gasson

Mabon Childs, Sarah Deeter


The AFFTA Fisheries Fund supports fisheries conservation projects to protect wildlife, habitat and access, and also fosters educational initiatives to grow new anglers. Let’s move the sport and industry of fishing forward...together. To date, the Fisheries Fund has supported the following projects: • The Freshwater Trust’s efforts to restore steelhead & salmon habitat in the Big Sandy River Basin, Oregon • Trout Unlimited’s 5 Rivers Program that grows new university and college aged-anglers • Utah Stream Access Coalition’s fight for public access to Utah fisheries • Montana Trout Unlimited’s advocacy work regarding a proposed mine near the iconic Smith River fishery • Alaska Conservation Foundation’s work to permanently end threats of drilling and mineral extraction in the famed Bristol Bay, Alaska

For more information or to donate, visit: www.affta.org

Rise to the top of the fly fishing world...

The AFFTA Dealer Summit October 12-15, 2015 Bozeman, Montana

“Hands down the best business seminar I’ve ever been to. We’ll be back.” — Steve Schmidt, Western Rivers Flyfisher

“We received knowledge we can implement tomorrow!” — Steve McLaughlin, Front Range Anglers

Join AFFTA in Bozeman, Montana for educational hands-on seminars and roundtable discussions to benefit your business including marketing, advertising, merchandising and some of the best fishing in the West during the most beautiful and productive seasons of the year.

“I have so many good ideas from the Dealer Summit, I don’t know what to act on first!”

— David Leinweber, Angler’s Covey

For more information and to register visit: www.affta.org

More and less. More line speed Less false casting More feel Less weight More efficient Less fatigue More accuracy More effective More fish

And well, a lot more...

The all new, uncompromising saltwater series from Scott.

Scott Fly Rod Company

| 2 3 5 5 A i r P a r k W a y, M o n t r o s e , C o l o r a d o 8 1 4 0 1 | 9 7 0 - 2 4 9 - 3 1 8 0 | s c o t t f l y r o d . c o m


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“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” - T. S. Eliot

AnglingTrade.com | June 2015

One of the first things I ever wrote in the fly-fishing realm was a book I did with my wife’s cousins called Castwork, which was a collection of essays (and great black and white photographs) on guides and landscapes in the West. The book is now out of print, though it is remembered in some very small angling circles with the same sort of nostalgic reverence held for a good frat house band—kinda like the “Otis Day and the Knights” of fly-fishing literature.


In it, Missouri River guide Pete Cardinal said: “The best fishermen in the world are the ones you have never heard of. There is another level to this whole sport that goes way beyond what most people can imagine. There are a lot of people who get really wrapped up in the fly-fishing industry, trying to get good enough to be known as an ‘expert.’ There are some who take it a bit further, and eventually try to make a buck or two off it, like guides or outfitters.

“But then there are people out here who go to the final stage. They’re so good they can teach themselves. They’re so confident, they don’t care if other people think they’re experts. And they care so much about the river and preserving what’s here, that they don’t think about exploiting it for money.” I didn’t realize at the time just how far that book would lead me from my home waters on Michigan’s Baldwin River. Simms picked up photos from cousin Liz Steketee and made an ad campaign… I got picked up by Field & Stream magazine… Charlie Meyers, Tim Romano, and I started Angling Trade… and now I edit TROUT magazine too. I’ve seen some amazing places in this world. Caught some wild fish. Made a little money. I don’t know about being an expert, but I did walk down the aisle on an airplane once and saw a man reading a book I wrote, which was pretty cool. Trust me, I’ve also seen more than my fair share of “sausage making” on the industry side. You take the bad with the good, I guess. Throughout it all, Pete’s quote has really stuck with me. I’m at a point in my life now where I’m into numbers. I got to thinking about some the other day. Like 10. We’re heading toward our 10th year with Angling Trade. As this is a quarterly publication, we have made 32 issues. Not long after we print number 36—which will be the 2016 “Show Issue”—I will turn 50. All of which got me thinking about another number we use in journalism… 30. The -30- means the end of the story.

And as such, next year’s show issue— Summer 2016—will be my last as editor of Angling Trade. That’s one more year from now. Four more issues. At which point, I will hand the editorial reins over to someone else. That’s not to say I will quit entirely. I might still be co-publisher. I might still write stories and columns. We’ll see. It isn’t that I’ve grown weary of covering the industry. I don’t think I’ve done all I can, or even want to do. But I do feel like I’ve given the industry nearly 10 years of good effort at a time of incredible change and turbulence. I thank all who helped along the way, especially my family and my business partner. I’m just ready to start exploring other angles on the writing side. I don’t feel like fighting certain battles anymore (though I do now feel like I can say what I really think for a few more issues, so some of you might want to tighten your chin straps.) There are simply other things I’d rather do. There are also some places I still want to visit, and fish I’d like to chase, but I’d really like to get the home river in shape and chase brown trout there. I guess I am feeling like I’ve arrived at a place on my fly-fishing continuum where I’m ready to be a little more “anonymous.” Ever since I first heard Pete speak those words, back when this was all starting for me, I’ve always known—or at least hoped—that I’d end up here. Kirk Deeter Editor

AnglingTrade.com | June 2015



CURRENTS GEAR: AT Previews the Hot New Products for 2016, Now Making Their Trade Show Debuts...

rack ID’ing. Stripping guides feature SiC rings in full titanium frames and Recoil nickel titanium snake guides. Finally, Flor grade cork grips are turned to Scott’s modified wells shape in a saltwater-appropriate length and diameter. Available July 20, 2015. Pack Smarter

(MRSP $109.95$129.95) large arbor targets a range of fly-fishing applications, with trout and bass-sized incarnations all the way up to hardworking 9/10- and 11/12-weight options. redington.com Beers—and Gear—Within Reach

AnglingTrade.com | June 2015

Prime Meridian


Fishing in the salt can be a blur. Bones, poons, permit, and GTs materialize from the green. Flies are pitched into the air, propelled by line-speed generating double-hauls, then airmailed toward targets. Drop a fly on a dime, and get there quick. That’s the goal. Scott’s new Meridian (MRSP: $865) masters the drill, using ramped-up recovery speed rather than stiffness to efficiently transfer energy. That translates to a finesse tool that feels right and fishes great with the specific line it’s rated for. No need to pile on grain-weight to infuse life in a rebar-like pole. Instead, Meridians sing with classic WF tapers and longer-bellied saltwater fly lines. ReAct technology, the same found in Scott’s award-winning Radian series, makes Meridians both lightweight and versatile across a range of distances—from in-close to Hail Mary. Clean cosmetics start with reel seats milled from aircraft-grade aluminum in non-reflective flat black, and with line-weight engravings for easy boat

Umpqua’s new Zero Sweep™ line of hip, chest, back, and integrated packs prove the company is wholly invested in its target audience: fly fishers who value on-the-water functionality. Details, details, details include internal, die-cut Hypalon attachment tabs that position retractors in ready locations above intuitive nipper stations. “Blind” hemostat sheaths guide partially opened instruments to snag-free clip-points. And custom Zero Sweep™ buckles clip underneath flat web loops leaving clean edges that won’t catch lines. The Ledges 500 is a series standout, featuring a suspended back panel/frame for allday comfort, support, ventilation and easy rotation—from back to front, and back again. umpqua.com

Boat disorganization is an epidemic spanning rivers from Tennessee’s South Holston to Utah’s Green and beyond. Enter Fishpond’s new Drifty Caddy designed to keep tippets, nippers, and fly boxes in check, as well as cold drinks within arm’s reach. The Drifty clings to boat sides and coolers via gunwale hooks. Or strap it to the frame of a raft. Additional features include a molded zip-down fly bench with replaceable foam; a large zippered main compartment for fly boxes; a frosty beverage holder; and a slash pocket perfect for pliers/hemos. fishpondusa.com Storm Series Downriver Bag

Giant Performance. Digestible Price-Point. Redington’s new Behemoth reel combines the stopping power of a premium carbon-fiber drag system with the clean aesthetics of an unmachinable, die-cast construction design. This reliable, value-priced

Utah-based CHUMS, best known for eyewear retainers that keep expensive shades from drowning in

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Eastern Washington Photo: Motofish



Just like you wouldn’t pull out your driver when you need your 7 iron, the MOD is optimized for the distances and scenarios most often encountered by the trout angler. Thoughtfully crafted with contemporary line designs, fly patterns, and angling styles in mind, the MOD is a modern interpretation of a moderate action specific for trout fisheries. Designed between the deep loading CIRCA and fast action ONE, the MOD excels at measured distances to the short game, delivering delicate presentations with pin-point accuracy. sagefl yfish.com




the drink, adds accessory cases to the lineup with its sleek Storm Series Downriver Bag (MRSP: $59.99). The dunk-resistant companion can be worn on the hip or over the shoulder. Features include a waterproof main pocket with roll top closure for fishing essentials. While the easyaccess front pocket has a bomber YKK zipper and drain holes to dump excess water. chums.com Vacuum-Strength for Rods En Route

AnglingTrade.com | June 2015

Magnetic- and suction-rod racks are popular hood ornaments these days for several reasons. They’re stowable, which means not having to permanently affix them to car and truck tops. They hold several rigged rods. And the best ones are so solid they won’t fly off, while throttling your vehicle across dirt roads and short stretches of open highway. Vac-Rac rod racks combine those convenience elements with the peace of mind of superior holding force. And for vehicles with hoods and roofs that aren’t steel, its VacRac Quad has two suction cups per base, doubling gripping power. vac-rac.com


MOD Squad

Sage’s new MOD trout-rod series has a moderate action taper, while

proprietary Konnetic Technology® ensures cutting-edge qualities. According to the brand, the rod family excels at “measured distances all the way to the short game and delivers delicate presentations with pinpoint accuracy.” Designed to gel with contemporary fly lines, fly patterns, and angling styles, MOD rods are available in a jade-colored blank, and 2- through 6-weight (MRSP: $850). sageflyfish.com Customized Maps Keep Customers in the Hunt

Wilderness Adventures Press produces custom river and lake maps for shops. The full-color, tri-fold, 11”x17” beauties include boat ramps, access points, river miles, roads, rapids, denoted public lands, GPS coordinates, water descriptions, hatch charts, recommended flies, and no shortage of rivers. So far there are more than 120 maps, representing 21 fishy states. Options include fly shop logos and phone, address, and website info at no extra cost. (MRSP: $9.95. First order is 25 maps per river.) anglersbooksupply.com Mini Missioners Introduced two years ago, Stone Creek’s TS2 Mini Reels were such a hit the company combined them with two different mini rods. New Mini Rod/Reel Combos (MSRP: $249)

include a sized-down fly rod, miniature fly reel with line, leader and backing, and a carry tube. Available in two sizes, a 5-foot 3-wt, or 6-foot 4-wt, the “moderately fast-action” rods are great for kids as well as adult anglers targeting small rivers and streams. dealers.stonecreekltd.com. Tacky Tube

Tacky Fly Fishing’s new Tacky Tube is a redesign of the simple fly patch, one you might stick to your drift boat to air out sidelined flies. Where in the past, exposed bugs were sometimes snagged and lost, this design allows you to back flies into silicone slots, while protecting them from a stray branch or being flattened by the sole of your boot. The tube is open on both ends to enable drying, holds 12 to 20 flies (depending on size), and is held shut via two powerful neodymium magnets. The magnets, located on the tube walls, are so strong they also work as a catchall. Just bite off your tippet, drop a bug into the tube, and it will not fall out. Smart, simple, effective. tackyflyfishing.com

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The Keeper

Tenkara USA’s Keeper is a 3-in-1 innovation “aimed at providing a minimalist solution to the angler who only wants to carry a small tenkara rod and a line holder with line, tippet, and flies.” The spool shaped device grips a floating line via a zipper-like edge, while a flat edge on the opposite side holds

leaders. Store a couple of flies in the center and conveniently stow the Keeper—ready to go—in a pocket or hip-pack. tenkarausa.com Anti-Slip for Anglers on the Go

Hillsound Equipment’s FreeSteps6 is designed to bolster traction with an independent stud system that tackles everything from slimy river bottoms to steep banks, muddy slopes, and icy trails. Using a stainless steel chain and spike system, features include a thermo-plastic harness that slips over and tightly secures to wading boots, plus easy on and off convenience for getting in and out of boats. hillsound.com Heritage (Un)Limited

New from Scientific Anglers, the Heritage Limited line (MRSP: $49) celebrates the company’s 70th anniversary in retro style. Featuring throwback aircel packaging, limitededition lines come in the original mint green color from SA’s first year of fly-line production. Its taper was revived from hand-drawn spring creek schematics, which makes it great for glass geeks, dry flies, cane rods, and

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small streams. Available in weightforward 3 to 6 options, with a single front loop. scientificanglers.com Pants Fit for a Legend Chotas new Clouser Signature South Fork waders (MRSP: $279.95) include DUCS Suspenders for adjustability from chest- to waist-high and removal without losing your vest, chest pack, or rain jacket. Repositioned seams run up the back of the legs, reducing seam wear. Threeply breathable uppers with five-ply reinforced seat and knees fight abrasion where it counts. And a

redesigned front packet with waterresistant zipper and an additional inside flip-out pocket adds more storage. chotaoutdoorgear.com

pressure. The new Quest Trail Water

Wares from Where You’re From

America. Available via Orvis. More at

Filter makes safe drinking water in about 15 seconds and is suitable for most outdoor sources in North thegrayl.com. Guide’s Choice Shades

Smith’s new Guide’s Choice sunglasses (MRSP $209-$249) RepYourWater is a Colorado-based company born of conservation inclinations. Its unique clothing and headwear collections incorporate fish designs with regional flare, while the company gives 10 percent of website sales, and at least 1 percent for items sold through retailers, to conservation partners such as Trout Unlimited and the Bonefish and Tarpon Trust. New RepYourWater performance longsleeved shirts use a soft, tri-blend, quick-dry fabric and are made in the USA. repyourwater.com Taste the River

are constructed from bio-based, lightweight-durable Evolve frame materials and include premium optic options such as Techlite glass and proprietary ChromaPop polarized lenses. Additional features include large facial coverage and wide temples to reduce glare, stainless steel spring hinges, hydrophilic megol nose and temple pads for a locked-in fit, and a detachable sunglass leash. RX compatible. smithoptics.com Hyper Realism

Grayl’s award-winning technology filters nasty toxins from suspect water without any pumping, waiting (gravity filters), sucking, or squeezing. Simply fill the outer cup and then press the

In 2010, Swedish angler and

stainless steel inner

entrepreneur Claes Johansson

cup into the outer with steady downward

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p: Tim Romano

Once upon a hell of a time. Our 50 years of innovation has helped us perfect what really matters — amplifying the thrill of human experience. Our ChromaPop™ lenses are the most advanced polarized lenses in the world, shown here in the Dockside. See true color and razor sharp definition, wherever the river takes you.

The experience is everything.™


created a business in his basement

Glare-Cutting Trifecta

dedicated to tying hyper-realistic patterns. Under the J:son flies banner, the company entered the US market last year and promptly

The Powerflex Plus family includes two-packs of Powerflex Plus knotless, tapered leaders in various lengths and 50-yard Powerflex Plus tippets from 0X to 7X. rioproducts.com Exalted Vaults

won “Best New Freshwater Pattern” at IFTD. The J:son Match’n Catch system is distributed in the US by Angler Sport Group and features dry flies with natural-shaped wings that contain air which, together with an extended floating foam body, makes them unsinkable. J:son nymphs are soft and flexible, with lifelike silhouettes and legs, backs, tails and antennas made from non-toxic silicon. anglersportgroup.com

Costa Del Mar adds three new styles to its stacked lineup of performance fishing shades. The Rooster (MRSP: $169) has a large-fit frame with side shields that block incoming glare and anti-fog vents. The laidback Loreto ($199), on the other hand, is a hybrid sport/metal with a medium-fit aviator frame with Monel® integral metal hinges and durable nylon arms. While Pawleys ($199) take their name and signature vibe from Pawley’s Island, South Carolina. They feature largefit frames in retro tortoise, white, matte black, or teakwood/gunmetal colorways. Kenny Chesney on guitar, not included. costadelmar.com VHT Nylon Tech RIO’s new Powerflex Plus Leaders and Tippets use VHT Nylon Technology that modifies the nylon copolymer formulation, resulting in “a monofilament that is radically stronger, without sacrificing flexibility or knot strength.” That means breaking strengths up to 20 percent more than standard nylon. For example, the 5X (.006”) diameter leader and tippet material has a tensile strength of 6 pounds compared to the typical 4.5- to 5-pound strength of regular 5X material, according to the company.

According to the Titan Rod Vault team, its product “locks both function and fashion to your roof.” Function in the form of several rods harbored safely while in transit. And fashion considering rooftop Titans deliver an aesthetic that screams anglers on the storm. Titan Rod Vaults (MRSP: $499) are constructed from aluminum for weather- and rustproof performance, and come in a sleek, sturdy, aerodynamic design for quiet travel. They house three fully rigged sticks and include all parts for easy installation. titanrodvault.com Industrial-Strength You Can Stick on Anything MacGyver was big on duct tape—and the feathered mullet—but as far as we know, he never had the pleasure of using TearAid®. These

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Introducing the new Boron III Plus Series. Serious rods for serious anglers for serious fish. Two freshwater models for big trout. A full spectrum of saltwater rods for every possible scenario, and three extra powerful Jungle rods designed specifically for Peacock bass and Dorado. Boron III Plus rods are lightweight, smooth casting and feature our all new shooting guides. They’ll handle big flies, the wind, sinking lines, lines with oversized heads and of course, big, big, big fish. Get your upper hand on one today. winstonrods.com



see-through repair patches are made from a puncture- and rip-resistant elastomer (aka rubber) combined with an aggressive adhesive that bonds to almost all surfaces. The indomitable strips are also flexible, airtight, and watertight and protect against saltwater, UV rays, and extreme temperatures. In short, Tear-Aid is a kit-bag ally perfect for patching gashes in everything from rafts to waders, tents, tarps, and more. MacGyver would approve. tear-aid.com

spells rust. Zerust is an FDAapproved anti-corrosive that fights trapped moisture by emitting an invisible, odorless, non-toxic vapor, which is extruded directly into the plastic. According to the company, the tech is an added bonus-in-a-box that comes at no additional charge. MSRP is $39.99 for the 10-inch fly box. flambeauoutdoors.com

Product weight is 33 pounds, and weight capacity is 250 pounds. creekcompany.com Castable Art

Stand-up Performance Fall River Flyrods produces custom bamboo and graphite sticks in

Rust-Free Flies

Midway, Utah. Rodmaker Jason Zicha and his wife, Julie, have been running the brand for five years and during that time have been busy in the OEM market (building two rod lines for Allen Fly Fishing). But Jason’s passion lies in bamboo, with 50 to 60 man-hours invested in each stick. “We import our cork for

Flambeau’s Fly Locker boxes have ample storage for meaty tarpon, musky, and pike bugs. And now thanks to the addition of Zerust protection, stashing wet flies—and forgetting about them—no longer

Creek Company is launching its Kingfisher Inflatable Fishing Standup Paddleboard, which includes multiple chambers and integrated pontoon rails, createing a superstable, super-rigid ride. At 10’ x 41” x 6”, the extra-wide Kingfisher rolls up into its own backpack.

the handles directly from a supplier in Portugal and we hand-turn the grips and ferrules in-house,” Zicha says. Available models span four proprietary tapers. And each rod is designed with specific waters in mind. Actions range from classic to the more progressive, modern-fast South Fork (MRSP $950-$1,400). fallriverrods.com Bear Necessities

At home in Montana’s Bitterroot Valley, Big Sky Inflatables has been producing its expedition-ready Water

Books & DVDs

Affordable impulse items for anglers of all types & budgets

Fly Fishing Board Game

Master personal watercrafts since 2006. And its Grizzly and Kodiak models continue to gain praise from

see video on website

anglers demanding the portability,

Gam e: $3 9.99

performance, and convenience of back-packable, frameless designs that assemble (and disassemble) in less than 10 minutes. From

Metolius River

SRP: $9.95

navigating B.C.’s Skeena system

Your Cost $4.98

to multiday stillwater sessions, the 8’10’ Kodiak (MRSP: $1,595)

a 50% discount

excels with a pointed bow and stern for enhanced efficiency through

Your shop’s logo here

the water and a large “footprint” for bolstered stability and cargo capacity. bigskyinflatables.com

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Headwaters to Candle Creek

DVD: $24.99

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Proven Sales in shops

ANGLER’S BOOK SUPPLY 800.260.3869 Featuring the very best books, dvds, calendars & gifts that fly-fishing has to offer.


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perSonal watercraft for the covert. www.outcastboats.com • 800-966-0976


Maxxon Outfitters

Outfitters also sources essential gear from the UK, Canada, Korea

People News

and China. Critical to the company’s early success, Maxxon Outfitters simply looked at what the other manufacturers weren’t doing and The Maxxon Outfitters line of fly-fishing essentials is a crafted retail business solution for the

embraced it as the foundation for their business platform. • First and foremost, nothing in

independent brick and mortar

this line is “off the rack” from an

fly shop, seeking a high-margin

offshore resource. This line has

competitive advantage. The presentation is focused on the lower end of the MSRP spectrum, volume price points that competitive manufacturers have abandoned and most independent dealers have given away to larger retailers. The Evergoing Products Group, parent to Maxxon Outfitters, has been an original equipment manufacturer for the fishing, boating and hunting industries for more than 30 years and currently supplies

Former TEDx Speaker Heads Brand Marketing at Sage

been primarily designed by the Maxxon Outfitters national team of sales representatives. They understand what their dealers need in best-selling product category and price points, and the complete program is designed to their experienced retail specifications. • There is no “Add to Cart” feature on the Maxxon Outfitters website. All consumer inquiries are referred to and in support of the nearest authorized retailer.

private label products for a number

• To the dealer advantage, all items

of leading sporting good and mass

are in stock and shipped the same

merchandising chains. While holding

or next business day. There are

an enduring relationship with one

free freight and drop-shipment

of the world’s pre-eminent rod

programs available to the Maxxon

and reel manufacturers, Maxxon

Outfitter dealer.

Sage Manufacturing’s marketing team continues to grow with the addition of new brand manager, Catie Webster. Webster joins Sage from boutique backpack maker Mystery Ranch and will direct all marketing communications activities for the Washington-based brand. “Sage’s deep heritage and positioning as a technology leader in fly fishing provide a unique platform for storytelling that pays respect to the brand’s legacy and looks ahead to the future of the sport,” says Webster. “Sage holds a special place in my own history on the water, and I’m excited for the chance to share the brand’s stories with the passionate fly-fishing community.” Before joining Mystery Ranch, Webster served as an account executive at Metzger Associates. She also worked as an environmental coordinator for Patagonia, is a former TEDx speaker, and has contributed to Elephant Journal. “Catie has a very solid background with companies known for their

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strong branding and immersion in the culture of passionate participants,” says Far Bank Enterprises VP of marketing, Tag Kleiner. Patagonia Taps Award-Winning HR Leader

In May, Patagonia Inc. hired veteran

and develop our team, while

HR professional Dean Carter as

remaining true to the values of

its VP of Human Resources and

environmental and social activism,”

Shared Services.

Marcario says. “I’m looking forward

In his most recent role with Sears Holdings, Inc., Carter supported more than 220,000 employees in

to partnering with him to support and grow our organization and the people who push us to embody our

the United States and Asia and

mission every day.”

partnered directly with more than

Carter has a BS in speech/

30 business unit presidents. At Patagonia, Carter will report to CEO Rose Marcario and be charged with developing initiatives to support Patagonia’s nearly 2,000 employees worldwide.

organizational communication from the University of Texas at Austin and is a Workforce Science Fellow of Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago. In 2013 Carter was selected as one of the Top 10

“Dean will elevate our game in our

Breakaway HR Leaders by the Global

objective to expand our influence

HR Summit.

Industry News Extreme Weather Sends Active Americans Inside

According to the Outdoor Foundation’s 2015 Outdoor Recreation Participation Topline Report, outdoor participation dropped .8 percent since 2013 and, by a small margin, reached the lowest levels since the report began in 2006. Researchers cite “extreme weather and an unusually cold winter” as likely contributors to the decline. The good news is, nearly half of all Americans, 48.4 percent, participated in at least one outdoor activity in 2014. This equates to 141.4 million participants, who went on a collective 11.8 billion outdoor outings. Paddle sports were a bright spot in the report. Stand up paddling, for instance, continued to be the top growing outdoor activity, increasing participation by 38 percent from 2013 to 2014. “With a dip in participation numbers, it is more critical than ever that we expand our nationwide efforts to reconnect Americans to the outdoors,” said Christine Fanning, executive

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director of Outdoor Foundation. “The Outdoor Foundation will continue empowering youth and young adults to lead the outdoor movement, ensuring a generation of outdoor enthusiasts and communities of healthy, active Americans.” The Outdoor Recreation Participation Topline Report provides a snapshot of American participation in outdoor activities, with a focus on youth and young adults. The full report will be released this summer. More at: outdoorfoundation.org. Angler’s Workshop Acquired LurePartsOnline.com, the sister company of Cast Industries, a lure manufacturing facility, purchased Washington-based Angler’s Workshop this spring.

one-stop-shop for all tackle building enthusiasts,” Stevens adds.

Ron Stevens, CEO of LurePartsOnline.com, says that “the addition of rod-building supplies and fly-tying materials is a natural extension of our current lure building components business.” LurePartsOnline.com will integrate Angler’s Workshop’s massive selection of rod-building components, in addition to a full line of fly-tying materials, into its current catalog. “Our goal is to become a

Angler’s Workshop manager and founder Jon Britt says, “this is exciting news for our customers as well. The new ownership is committed to expanding the business by adding new products and features, while maintaining the personal service Angler’s Workshop is known for.” LurePartsOnline.com is relocating the company to its headquarters in Springfield, IL, where Angler’s Workshop will reopen this summer. Senate Approves Key Trade Legislation The U.S. Senate recently passed trade preference legislation and a customs-and-enforcement bill that the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) says will benefit manufacturers of outdoor goods and apparel. “The Senate’s action is an important step forward in providing much needed import tariff relief for outdoor products,” said Alex Boian, OIA’s Senior Director of Government Affairs. “I applaud Senator Cantwell [D-WA], Senator Ayotte [R-NH], Senator Roberts [R-KS], and Senator Portman [R-OH] for their leadership in helping to lower costs for outdoor companies, thereby supporting a healthy outdoor recreation economy.” The trade preference legislation will create a new tariff classification for “recreational performance outerwear”—technical and specialized apparel—within the U.S. Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS). Currently, recreational performance outerwear is classified under the same HTS codes as ready-made,

mass-market apparel and is subjected to disproportionately high tariffs. The Athletic Footwear Initiative, on the other hand, will expand the definition of athletic footwear to include certain outdoor performance footwear and help lower the duty on those products from 37.5 percent to 20 percent. Finally, the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act—a provision of the customs-and-enforcement bill— will provide for a clear, transparent, and predictable miscellaneous tariff bill (MTB) process. MTBs eliminate import duties on products that have no competition from U.S. manufacturers. To date, 20 MTBs related to the outdoor industry have resulted in more than $30 million of saving for outdoor companies. These provisions are rooted in the outdoor industry’s balanced trade standard and will allow outdoor companies to lower costs for consumers, get more people outdoors, fuel innovation, and create more U.S. jobs.

Event News Introducing OR’s New Open Air Demo Site

Outdoor Retailer will host its Open Air Demo (OAD) on August 4 at Pineview Reservoir’s Cemetery Point,

in Huntsville, UT. Organizers say the prime spot has excellent beach access for its premier exhibition and hands-on demo event. “Having the location for the Open Air Demo (OAD) designated this early in our show cycle gives retailers

and media the opportunity to plan their show travel with enough time to include the demo in their plans,” said Marisa Nicholson, VP and Outdoor Retailer Show Director.

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“The Pineview Reservoir’s Cemetery Point location is ideal for all the activities we have planned both in and out of the water. This picturesque location will result in a superior demo experience and will allow buyers and media to get hands-on with this season’s cutting-edge summer gear and product.” The 2015 OAD experience includes perusing and using the newest gear from 140 of the outdoor industry’s leading brands. Expect a first look at the latest in apparel, camping, fly fishing, hiking, hydration, paddlesports, SUP, travel, and trailrunning-focused products. Media and retailers can test running shoes and gear on outdoor running trails, experience fly fishing, and get in the water to demo kayaks and SUPs. Qualified attendees can pick up show badges at the Salt Palace Convention Center, and shuttles will run from the convention center to the demo all day. Parking at the OAD will be limited, so plan to take shuttles that will leave from the Salt Palace.

Environment News

and CEO of Trout Unlimited, and a proponent of the bill. “We recognize the need for energy security and for our nation to diversify its energy portfolio. This bill will allow the country to tap new energy resources, while enhancing the fish and game habitat that is vital to our sporting heritage.” All four senators have supported previous versions of the bill, recognizing the importance of protecting and restoring important habitat for fish and game. In addition to royalties earmarked for habitat improvement efforts, other proceeds will go to state and county governments that in recent years have been strong advocates for the legislation. “This bill is also good for rural communities, thanks to royalties that go directly to local governments,” Wood said. “Many local economies depend on fishing and hunting activity, and this bill ensures the habitat sportsmen and women need for their pastimes to remain healthy.” AFFTA Speaks; Headwater Streams Benefit

AnglingTrade.com | June 2015

Renewable Energy Proceeds for Habitat Preservation


Republican Sens. Dean Heller of Nevada and Jim Risch of Idaho, and Democratic Sens. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico and Jon Tester of Montana recently introduced bipartisan bill “S. 1407”— directing wind and solar energy royalties toward habitat improvement efforts. “It’s important to sportsmen and women that we protect our public lands habitat, because it translates to great fishing and hunting,” said Chris Wood, president

American Fly Fishing Trade Association (AFFTA) president Ben Bulis recently traveled to Washington, D.C., where he spoke on behalf of an industry that relies on pristine waterways and healthy fish habitat to survive. His testimony at the Clean Water Act hearing included a plea for thoughtful rulemaking that supports small streams and headwater spawning grounds for fish. Here’s a snippet:

“I am here to express our support for the Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to restore protections for our nation’s headwater streams and wetlands under the Clean Water Act. Simply put, the draft clean water rule is well crafted and appropriate, it should be allowed to move through the federal rulemaking process with support of Congress,” Bulis said to the committee. “Here’s why. The small waters to which this important draft rule applies are the lifeblood for many of our country’s prized fisheries. The health of these headwaters sets the tone and benefits for all waters downstream, supporting and creating the backbone of our nation’s marine resources. They flow into rivers, streams and lakes that provide the foundation of our industry, thus eventually concluding the voyage in our oceans—our industry’s viability depends on intact watersheds, cold, clean rivers and streams and healthy, fishable habitat. “If we fail to protect our headwater streams and wetlands, we may destroy the $200 billion annual economy of the hunting and fishing industry, as well as put 1.5 million people out of work,” Bulis noted. “Of those 1.5 million jobs… many are located in rural areas with limited economic opportunities and few other employment options...” BTT Teams with ARC Fishing ARC Fishing recently joined the Bonefish and Tarpon Trust (BTT) as its newest corporate sponsor. “We’re thrilled that a new company like ARC Fishing recognizes the value of BTT’s work for the flats fishery and has such a strong desire to contribute and help us make a difference,” said

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BTT Director of Operations, Dr. Aaron Adams. “Collaborations like these give the flats fishery a brighter future.” ARC Fishing is an emerging fly line, tippet, and leader materials manufacturer. Its philosophy embodies simplicity without sacrificing performance. As part of its “bronze level” sponsorship, ARC Fishing has donated fly lines and materials for use at BTT fundraising events and other special opportunities. “ARC Fishing is excited to partner with Bonefish and Tarpon Trust in their continued efforts to conserve and protect habitat and fish species,” said company co-founder Dayne Glass. “BTT is on the leading edge of these types of initiatives and it is with great pleasure that we are able to support them to ensure these habitats are protected for future generations of anglers.”


Sage and RIO Will Sell Direct the company thinks this could open more avenues to grow the sport, and better serve the fly consumer. Does that really, truly, shock anyone at all? C’mon. Many dealers we spoke with felt that Far Bank Enterprises, parent company for Sage, Redington, and RIO Products basically telegraphed that this was going to happen when it set Redington on the direct-to-consumer path a few years ago… the proverbial toe in the water, or perhaps, the shot across the bow. Other iconic fly brands like Orvis, and Patagonia, and more recently, Simms Fishing Products, play the consumer sales channels. Direct sales are part of the game now… especially in a paradigm where the Internet factors so forcefully. Face it: You’d be silly to manufacture anything and avoid the E-commerce channel in this day and age, whether you owe something to the many specialty retailers who have been carrying your brands for decades or not.

AnglingTrade.com | June 2015

Thing is, Sage is a somewhat different animal. Sage was the “specialty products for specialty dealers” brand. And RIO Products, the fly line company Far Bank acquired in 2005, was once legendary for protecting dealer turf.


Thus, while Sage and RIO might not want the distinction, those companies might be the magic dominoes. And the question that results when those dominoes fall is whether or not the specialty dealer can stay relevant, and viable, and profitable in years to come. For the record, Far Bank insists it is still behind the specialty dealer. In fact,

“Today’s consumer expects a relationship with the brand,” said Tag Kleiner, Far Bank’s VP of marketing. “This isn’t a direct sales (program) as much as it is a customer experience initiative.” We asked Kleiner, point-blank, “What’s to protect the dealer from having someone come in and wiggle the new rod, get the sales spiel, make some test casts (at the expense of the local shop) and then feign cold feet, only to order the product online to save a few bucks (like state sales tax)?” Tag is a straight shooter. He said there’s going to be no pricing incentive for buying on the Sage site. The site is going to offer options (a la what Simms did) that direct consumers back to local shops, then offer the alternative of a direct purchase. (By the way, a consumer can already circumvent the sales tax in many cases by ordering online from another out-of-state shop. Scummy, perhaps, but viable.) And the extra points Sage (or RIO) earns on a direct sale? Much of that will be plowed back into things like R&D and marketing efforts that grow demand, and hopefully drive more consumers to shops to test rods in the first place.

dealers and professionals. It is difficult to rationalize this move or paint that pig’s lips to disguise the motive. It is one more step on a slippery slope, bad for dealers, and bad for the sport. “It is an understandable, profit-driven decision and it is unrealistic to expect any manufacturer to consider the welfare of their dealers before their own. At the same time, it would be equally unrealistic for any manufacturer to think that those dealers wouldn’t expect lower demand for items that are going to be sold elsewhere and respond by reducing inventory and enthusiasm.” David Leinweber, owner of Angler’s Covey in Colorado Springs said: “If I have to lose a sale, I’d rather lose it to a manufacturer than to another fly shop. The bigger issue is the number of distributors in total. It’s a matter of deciding who can really represent a brand, and supporting those who can.” The limited consumer research AT has been able to do thus far safely suggests that consumers are still going to stop by the shop before spending $800-plus on a fly rod. But we also know that dealers are going to have to up the game by way of expertise and insight.

Some retailers we spoke with are skeptical.

“What we all really need to do is take a deep breath and see how this thing evolves,” Kleiner said.

Mike Michalak, owner of The Fly Shop in Redding, California, is disappointed, but he acknowledges that this is a sign of the times. He noted: “The Sage and Rio products are targeted for a more sophisticated audience and they are brands that have been built by

He’s right. This is the start of the discussion, not the end. It would be unwise to make any assumptions at this point, no matter where you sit. AT is going to stay on the story, and we’ll call it like we see it. Just like we always have.


AFFTA and the Fisheries Fund Moving the Fly-Fishing Industry Forward Written by Jim Klug


AnglingTrade.com | June 2015

The American Fly Fishing Trade Association’s Fisheries Fund is a unique opportunity for our industry, our members, and everyone whose vocation or avocation is fishing, to give back. To protect what we hold most dear. The Fisheries Fund is a long-time goal of AFFTA, and after many years of planning, we are ecstatic to see the Fund become a reality.


Officially launched in 2014, the Fisheries Fund was created to move the fly-fishing industry forward through the deeprooted conservation ethos that has always been a part of this community’s DNA. The Fund has already awarded over $25,000.00 to groups and projects focused on conservation, education and access; three things that the sport and the business of fishing truly depend on. We are proud to recognize and financially support groups like The Freshwater Trust, who is working hard in the Northwest to restore steelhead and salmon habitat, and the Alaska Conservation Foundation, focused on permanently ending the threat of drilling and mineral extraction in the waters of Bristol Bay, Alaska. Originally funded by revenues generated from the International Fly Tackle Dealer Show, the Fisheries

Fund recently earned its IRS 510 (c) 3 designation and began accepting private donations to award as grants to deserving groups, projects and organizations that apply. Even more exciting, as the framework of the Fisheries Fund continues to evolve and expand, the Fund will have opportunities to not only award conservation efforts to local and national organizations, but we will also have the chance to promote and coordinate Fisheries Fund-branded campaigns, raising awareness of the fly-fishing industry in a bold and very visible way. As these opportunities arise, the Fisheries Fund will be invited to apply for grants to expand the community’s conservation work in national fish policy issues and take on additional leadership roles in national-level conservation campaigns that will highlight our sport, the fly fishing lifestyle and the business of fly-fishing. These are, indeed, exciting times.

“A charter captain cleans oil off his boat after the BP Oil spill” Image courtesy - AFFTA

With saltwater a particularly growing and popular segment of our industry, and with the five-year anniversary of the British Petroleum Deepwater Horizon oil spill fresh in the nation’s mind, I am proud to announce that in the coming months and years the Fisheries Fund will engage the fly-fishing community and the nation in a “Restore the Gulf” campaign to raise awareness for projects and conservation needs that will help restore the Gulf of Mexico to the condition it was in before the spill.

wide-ranging media strategy that will work as an educational tool for the broader fishing community and an outreach tool for state- and federallevel RESTORE Council members that are responsible for sponsoring projects that will protect and restore the Gulf’s marine ecosystems. In addition, the Fisheries Fund staff and committee will engage fly-fishing community leaders to work with appropriate state agencies to ensure that restoration projects that receive funding from BP’s 14-billion dollar Clean Water Act civil and criminal penalties will benefit anglers and the resources we target.

As the Restore the Gulf campaign ramps up, the Fisheries Fund will execute a

The American Fly Fishing Trade Association and the fly-fishing

community as a whole have always been the leaders in fishery-related access and restoration issues. What this family has started, others have often times followed. The Fisheries Fund is the perfect vehicle to continue defining and shaping our leadership of the

sportsmen’s ethos. With community grants and Fisheries Fund-branded campaigns, the fly-fishing community has the best means to use conservation and responsible stewardship as the tool to move not only fly-fishing forward, but the fishing community as whole.






Fly Fishing is NOT part of the show IT IS THE SHOW!



State of AFFTA

Written by Tucker Ladd

AnglingTrade.com | June 2015

business in 2005, and now a decade later, I sit as the first retailer to hold the position of Chairman of the Board of Directors of the American Fly Fishing Trade Association. That said, I would be the first to admit that AFFTA has been instrumental in my growth as a businessman and specialty retailer. From the annual trade show, to educational seminars, to member benefits and general networking, AFFTA has been a key ingredient in my collective success within the flyfishing industry.


There is no doubt that as it relates to the fly fishing industry, I am a relative newcomer. While fly fishing has always been a distinct passion in my life, it has also been a driving

force of my personal career. I started in the industry as a fly-fishing guide in Vail, CO, transitioned into the shop as my sales skills outperformed my guiding abilities, purchased my

While I will always greatly value and cherish my roll as chairman, I believe that more importantly it is a testament to how AFFTA has evolved over the course of the last decade. Let’s face it, the business of fly fishing is ever changing, and in order to be relevant to our industry AFFTA has to keep pace. AFFTA’s mission has long been “To Promote the Sustained Growth of the Fly Fishing Industry.” While our mission has not changed in recent years, our perception of how to accomplish this goal has. Today we recognize that the survival of our industry and sport relies on more than just manufacturing goods. We are a service industry, and our livelihood rests in the hands of every one of us who makes a living through fly fishing. As such, we as an industry organization need to cater and offer

value to everyone of us who touches a customer, new or old. It is in this regard that I know the culture of AFFTA has evolved for the better, and it is why I am so proud to be a part of, and lead this organization into the future. Truth be told, AFFTA has come a long way since its inception, and I believe that the last five years have brought about a tremendous amount of change in our culture and what we see as our role to the industry as a whole. Our current Board of Directors is the most diverse and representative that it has been in years. Every segment of our industry is represented, helping ensure that all the voices of the business of fly fishing are heard. Additionally, AFFTA is offering a tremendous amount of value to every segment of our membership, from insurance for guides and outfitters, to the creation of the annual Dealer Summit, to the establishment of the Fisheries Fund. AFFTA also plays a large roll in government issues that pose any risk to our industry. Across the board AFFTA is offering unique and meaningful value to our members and industry, and I for one am excited to see the momentum and drive we are currently exhibiting. In the end, don’t look at AFFTA for what we have been in the past. Take note of what we are doing now and into the future to accomplish our mission. But most importantly, participate. Give AFFTA the opportunity to demonstrate the value we add to all of our members, whether you’re a guide, fly shop owner, manufacturer, writer, blogger, lodge, etc. AFFTA is only going to be as strong as the members we serve, and we are asking our industry to help us be the best we can be. For more information on AFFTA, the IFTD show, Dealer Summit, or the Fisheries Fund please visit www.affta.org.


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Elephant Hunting Written by Kirk Deeter

AnglingTrade.com | June 2015

“Elephant in the room” is an English metaphorical idiom for an obvious truth that is either being ignored, or is going unaddressed.


We have plenty of those in the fly-fishing world. It’s time to talk about them in ways that go beyond lip service. I’ll start. What follows is purely opinion editorial. Your responses are welcome and appreciated. These are, in my opinion, the five most pressing issues

that challenge the long-term business viability of fly fishing in America.

Access. The thing that makes America the envy of every angler in the world is public access. Here, you don’t have to make a dream trip to a lodge to experience

some of the best fly fishing. That is also, by the way, the reason that the U.S. is the largest fly-fishing market in the world. Stream access is under threat in places like Utah, now New Mexico,

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FEATURE and even Montana. But there are two

free trip…)? Because they are serving

organizations like Trout Unlimited,

other issues that demand attention as

the interests of the larger audience.

Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, and TRCP.

well: 1) the initiative by lawmakers to divest of America’s public lands; and 2) the “pay-to-play” model that drives a good part of this industry.

That’s not part of the TU mission, and TU has plenty to do by way of fixing

and it connected the dots between conservation issues and business sustainability. Members of the group will reconvene at the ICAST/IFTD

damaged waterways and protecting

should be realistic. We’re never

others. Guaranteeing places to hunt

going to “open” stream access in

and fish is expressly outlined in the

places like Colorado, because there

mission of the Theodore Roosevelt

is no way to compensate landowners

Conservation Partnership. AFFTA

for what is now legally theirs. Accept

should be fully engaged on access.

One area that most conservation

that, and focus on battles we can win.

Its efforts on the conservation side

organizations now agree poses

are admirable and appreciated,

some of the most substantial threats

but ultimately a drop in the bucket

to fish habitat is climate change.

compared to what it could do if it

The fly world revolves on an axis

went all-in on access.

of trout. Trout are coldwater fish.

tooth and nail (harder than we are fighting now, with more money) to protect access that exists, and counter efforts to redefine laws related to stream access. We are facing access battles every day. Utah is now at the forefront. Thank goodness for USAC. New Mexico is trending in the wrong direction. And it seems like every few months there’s another


trade show, and one hopes, the end result will be more collaboration and synergies on issues related specifically to fish habitat.

Warming rivers become bass and carp rivers, and trout lose habitat.

Habitat equals opportunity.

Moreover, other events that impact

Opportunity equals sales. Some get

fish habitat—both freshwater and

it, and some don’t. In fact, there is no aspect of the fly-fishing world where the 80-20 rule is more apparent than in conservation. A handful of

saltwater—like catastrophic hurricanes and other storms, wildfires, flooding, and so forth, are being exacerbated by the effects of climate change.

Montana billionaire who wants to walk

companies do the majority of the

back stream access. I’m sorry, but

heavy lifting, while a number of other

if your mantra—your life legacy—is

major brands (that will for now remain

to fight a stream access case to the

nameless) don’t do much at all. It

Supreme Court in a way that seeks to

is shameful for any business that

limit public access to rivers and limit

depends on natural resources as the

paradigm is taking gas & oil clients

quality fishing opportunities to the few

foundation for its customer base to

to catch stocked triploid fish on an

instead of the many… you’re a dick.

use its products, to not plow anything

unhealthy river… please, sell your

back into natural resources.

fly shop and get out of the way of

Moreover, DIY angling should be

AnglingTrade.com | June 2015

into the access issue with much force.

It was the first event of its kind,

What should happen: The industry

Having said that, we should fight


Trout Unlimited is not going to wade

If you are a card-carrying member of the Flat Earth Society, and doubt 99 percent of the world’s scientific community… if your business

those who can and should advocate

encouraged and embraced—here,

The worm may be turning. In April,

and outside the country. The

a small gathering of top executives

surest way for the Bahamas to kill

from the fly industry convened for the

its bonefish economy, for example,

“Otter Creek Summit” in Colorado.

would be to limit DIY opportunities so

Spearheaded by John LeCoq of

that a few guides benefit (and many

Fishpond and Travis Campbell

related service industries suffer). Did

of Far Bank, the event included

Moreover, the American Sportfishing

you ever wonder why the large media

top execs from Patagonia, Costa,

Association and the American Fly

brands rarely do stories on a specific

Orvis, Simms, and others, as well as

lodge (but the blogger will take the

government and non-government

for keener focus on reversing climate change. That’s the major environmental issue that will dictate whether your great grandchildren will be fly fishing or not.

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Some people live to work. Others work to live. But you, through luck or by design, remain focused on toiling in the halls of commerce only enough to maintain a formidable supply of flies. Or at least this is your plan some day. While they check email, you check hatch tables. While they hold a death grip on the throttle of their career, you have your hand wrapped around the cork grip of a St. Croix fly rod – casting. WWW.STCROIXRODS.COM

FEATURE Fishing Trade Association must have a meeting of the minds on certain conservation issues. Because, while they might be joined at the hip in a trade show venue, the organizations are often philosophically at odds on certain conservation matters. I support AFFTA. Direct Sales by

I’m sorry, but if your mantra—your life legacy—is to fight a stream access case to the Supreme Court in a way that seeks to limit public access to rivers and limit quality fishing opportunities to the few instead of the many… you’re a dick.

Manufacturers. This is an interesting topic, because the retailer community seems to be completely split on the matter, and few see middle ground. Angling Trade recently polled readers on the subject, asking simply: Direct sales by manufacturers… what do you really think? Here’s how the answers broke out, by percentage: • I think it’s awful, and feel like I’m a customer and competitor at the same time. 42% • Fact of life… doesn’t bother me in the least. 31% • Some brands are big enough that I just accept it, but I don’t work with those I don’t have to. 21% I almost hate to write this, but I think I must (it’s like the talk from the Dutch uncle): If you aren’t operating right now under the assumption that 99 percent of your manufacturer sources will also be selling the same products you

AnglingTrade.com | June 2015

are selling for them, in some form or


fashion, within the next three to five years, you are completely nuts.

other businesses, the proprietary

whole must support to survive, and

distribution protections afforded to

our independent dealer (whom we

fly dealers, and the points fly dealers

are competing against) isn’t wired to

earn, are pretty remarkable. Is that a

address like we can…”

house of cards? You decide. But it doesn’t take too much deep thought to assume that a manufacturer is going to be interested in 80 points with no brick and mortar investment, which is what Internet sales can offer. The good news is that you’re not selling printer cartridges. People want to shake fly rods and talk fishing before major purchases, and the best fly shops, as we have said before, are as much about selling the community and the experience of fly fishing as they are selling products. Those who do that best will endure. Those who sell fly gear as commodities will continue to perish. The interesting question is what the manufacturers will do with the extra income derived through direct sales. The smart play would be to reinvest that in the “community” and its

Did anyone say access, or conservation? Guides and Guide Standards.

I am the one who said that “the sun rises and sets in the fly-fishing industry where guides say it does.” My involvement with this industry started with books on fly-fishing guides. I was a guide myself. Guides remain my closest friends and confidants in this business. They are my best sources for stories. They are the most powerful consumer conduit. They have the keenest insights on the resources. In short, fishing guides are the gatekeepers and the shepherds of the flock. There is nobody in this business more important, or more powerful, than the dialed-in flyfishing guide.

ambassadors. Or perhaps a really

And there’s nobody who can damage

Direct sales by manufacturers is a

smart manufacturer will stand up and

this sport faster, nor more severely,

fact of life. The loaded question is

say, “Okay, we’re going to earmark

than an inept fly-fishing guide. Keep

how much retailers let that bother

X percentage of direct sales income

‘em wet? How fish get handled? Fly

them, or not. When you look at

toward causes that this industry as a

guides are the models. Inspire youth

to be involved? A good guide can communicate with a teenage boy or girl in ways that mom or dad cannot. Influence the political discussion? The guide holds power over the politician when they are in a drift boat together. The other day, I was dropping my new boat in the river, swerving the trailer as I backed down the ramp. A local guide came racing down the ramp, inches away from my truck. And when I finally had my trailer in the water, he asked, loud enough for my wife and 14-year-old son to hear, “First time ever with the boat?�

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Something Different


FEATURE “Yes it is, actually,” I admitted. We

somebody go make a video! That

percent) in making the magazine.

went our separate ways.

seems to be the answer to a lot of

Sometimes it’s best to stand out of

our issues these days. When we’re

the way.

I could rip that guide a new one right here, and pretty much ensure he doesn’t work on that river anymore. Instead, we’ll make it a teaching moment. The number one thing guides need to accept and understand is that it’s okay for newbies to flail. It’s okay for someone to drop a boat in the water the wrong way. It’s okay for an out-

make a video. I will say that I read the whole hubbub about the lack of women in the Fly Fishing Film Tour lineup

The deeper issue, of course, for retailers is product. Another AT poll simply asked: Fly Fishing Products for Women— Not Enough, Too Many, or Just

this year. I think there should be


more diversity, of course. But I also

• I still think there’s much room for

looked at the crowd when F3T came

more, and we’ve barely tapped

to my town and I saw more women,

casts during a blanket hatch. It’s

and people of color, and fathers

okay for people to wear their sling

and mothers and sons and

pack backward, and so on,

daughters at the F3T event than I

and so forth.

have ever seen at any TU banquet

women customers are waders and

or meeting, or trade show, or

clothing. Solve those things, and

consumer show, or fly shop event,

nothing else matters. 24%

that you’re an expert at backing a trailer down a ramp. It’s no big deal that you can cast 80 feet into a headwind. You are in the people business. And if there are no

or “conclave” (what a dumb name for an event that aspires for inclusivity). F3T does more to broaden the demographic than any

the potential of this demographic. We’re behind the times. 55% • The most important things for my

• I think the mix of products for women anglers has gotten much better, and I am starting to see

newbies… there is no need for you.

company or event in fly fishing,

profit as a result. I like where things are. 11%

This industry needs guide standards.

and I’m happy to debate that with anyone. I would like to see

Not company endorsements, truck stickers, and first aid cards. More than that. A fly guide should be every bit the pro that a PGA golf pro is. There’s an onus and a responsibility that come with being

more diversity in the content, but I hope like heck that the answer is not objectifying women anglers with a lineup of 10 movies “about women.”

a guide—a front-line ambassador for

“By women” is a better answer.

the sport.

With TROUT magazine, we face the

And in turn, the industry needs to do a helluva lot more for legitimate,

same challenges; we’re trying to appeal to a broader demographic,

• I think the potential is limited, and I don’t see the value of spending much more time or effort developing women-targeted fly-fishing products—rods, reels, waders, or clothing. 11% My father, who has been in the PR/communications business for 50 years taught me long ago that

and women members/readers are

sometimes the best answer is simply,

seriously under-represented. I

“I don’t know.” When it comes to

decided, as editor, that the worst

the diversity challenges facing fly

thing I could do was write about

fishing, I don’t know the best path

that. Instead, I enlisted women

forward. But I do think it’s not going

We need more women in the sport!

authors, editors and photographers

to be figured out by middle-aged

We need more ethnicity! Quick…

to play a more active role (50

white guys.

professional fly-fishing guides than AnglingTrade.com | June 2015

easy answer is to get someone to

of-towner to flog the river with poor

Don’t ridicule them. It’s no big deal


confronted with a challenge, the

give them 50 percent off on rods and waders. Diversity.


The Fair Trade Factor How much can and will social conscience influence angler consumers?

AnglingTrade.com | June 2015

Written by Morgan Lyle


Would your customers buy flies made overseas if they thought the people who made them were being exploited? Let’s hope not. On the other hand, would customers seek out flies made overseas if they thought the tiers’ employment was a ticket out of poverty and crime? An Oregon man is hoping so.

Jeff Coffey’s new company, Fair Flies, hopes to capitalize on the same ethos that leads consumers to choose things like ethically sourced coffee: the promise that people in the developing world who make the products are well paid and work in good conditions. “Our suppliers are committed to bettering the lives of the people they

employ, be that with young people who need direction and purpose to stay out of crime, widows who need help providing for their children, victims of human trafficking who need to be rehabilitated, or simply parents whose children are at risk of being sold into slavery,” says the Fair Flies website.

Fair Flies sees to it that tiers are paid about $300 a week, at an average of 45 to 60 cents per fly, Coffey says. That’s relatively good money; the World Bank lists Kenya’s gross national income per capita at $2,780 per year. (In the United States, it’s $53,750.) Coffey introduced Fair Flies with an article in Flyfishing and Tying Journal, in which he contended that some existing fly wholesalers’ workers are “treated poorly” in “sweatshop conditions.” He expected a negative reaction from the industry. Instead, “the response has been incredibly positive,” he said. “I really anticipated some pushback somewhere. But the Rainy’s rep even called me and said, ‘good job.’”

“At each factory, we get a generation of workers,” he said. “We’ll hire new employees, but our core workforce will age along with the factory, and then as the economy in that area or country progresses, were going have fewer people entering that same trade. Parents want their kids to have a better life; they’re able to provide that better life by working a good solid career for 20 or 30 years.” Fair Trade is a tiny operation compared to the established brands—20 people working in two companies near Nairobi, Kenya. Naturally, Coffey hopes to grow the business. Still, he considers the initial effort to be significant. “We’re working with people that need a way to make a living,” Coffey told Angling Trade. “They’re dying, literally, to make a living. And we’re passionate about flies. I’ve got 20 people right now that we’re making a difference for, and that’s OK.”

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Despite the marvels of modern automation, flies must still be made by hand, one at a time. The American and European retail fly industry figured out decades ago that outsourcing fly production to Asia and Africa would lead to much higher profit margins. First-world fly-tiers are simply too expensive. Umpqua Feather Merchants led the way with its factory in Thailand, and other major brands soon followed

continued on next page...


FEATURE suit. England’s Fulling Mill keeps its operation in Kenya, tying for the European market. Today, retail sales of flies are an $82 million-a-year business, according to the American Fly Fishing Trade Association (accounting for more sales at small and medium retailers than rods, reels, lines, waders or other fly-fishing gear.) No one wants to buy a flimsy, illproportioned fly made from poorquality materials. By and large, the industry seems to have established good controls, and there’s little discourse among fly-fishers about poor quality flies from the major brands. Overseas tiers—almost all women—have become highly skilled. Zach Matthews reported in Fly Rod & Reel in 2011 that Umpqua considered a woman at one of its facilities in Sri Lanka to be “the world expert on the Copper John,” the company’s topselling nymph. The late Dick Talleur, who managed an overseas fly factory for part of his career, wrote in Fly Tyer about the tiers he supervised: “All the women used the single-handed whip-finish to boost their output. They were so fast, you couldn’t follow their hands.”

AnglingTrade.com | June 2015

But while the quality of the product isn’t often a concern, working conditions sometimes are. There has long been an undercurrent of suspicion among some fly consumers that overseas fly-tiers are exploited.


Though he credits the best-known brands with doing the right thing in terms of pay and working conditions, Coffey said sweatshops do exist. He didn’t name names, but said the mere fact that some companies sell flies for less than a dollar apiece—sometimes much less—proves the people who make the flies aren’t being paid a living wage.

He’s not the only one who thinks so. “Any fly for 99 cents, I would tend to say, yes, it’s likely that it came from an exploited workforce,” said Daniel Eisenmenger, director of systems development for Umpqua. “Not only that, they’re also very likely using very cheap materials, and they’re probably also avoiding things like excise tax and maybe even import duties. The 99-cent and cheaper flies, that’s an extreme. I would tend to agree with the gentleman from Fair Flies.” Angling Trade reached out to several companies in the discount fly space.

One declined to comment and the rest did not respond. Umpqua, Eisenmenger said, takes its tiers’ welfare seriously. “In every one of our factories, every facility is air conditioned,” he said—both to keep the workplace comfortable and to avoid having to use fans, which are problematic for a business built on feathers. “Our factories have always paid people at least the minimum wage; traditionally it’s more than that. And we have incentive programs

continued on next page...


The Caddis Fly Angling Shop


Eugene, Oregon YEARS IN BUSINESS: This is our 40th year. WHERE TO FISH NEARBY: Home rivers are McKenzie and Willamette but we can fish the North Umpqua Fly water and be at work by noon. BEST TIME OF YEAR TO VISIT: Fishing is year round but peak trout is FebruaryJuly. Summer Steelhead July-November. Winter Steelhead January-April. OUR GUIDES: Concentrate on instruction, fish with killer gear and they fish on their days off. OUR SHOP EMPLOYEES: They are the best and can give you expert advice on gear, techniques and stuff to do for any fly fishing destination in the world. SMALLEST TROUT EVER CAUGHT BY A CLIENT: Was eaten by a Bull Trout Visit our operation on the South Island OUT OF SEASON: in New Zealand Cedar Lodge. Work on providing the best fly tying material selection available worldwide. FAVORITE NAUTILUS REEL: FWX 5/6 does is all in the trout class from 4-6.The N V G-8/9 is Steelhead perfection. WHAT DO YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT NAUTILUS REELS?: Light weight, sealed drags, always at the forefront of reel engineering. AND ONE TIME: We were fishing in the Bahamas and my daughter caught her first Bonefish on fly (age 10) son (8) a shark, mom countless bonefish and my biggest Permit. Awesome fishing Day! LOCATION:


FEATURE where people can make considerably more than that.” Umpqua’s manufacturing company, Thai-A-Fly, and its employees contribute to a social welfare fund that covers their health care, he said. They get paid time off for government-designated holidays, as well as paid personal and vacation days, though fewer than the typical American worker. Thai-A-Fly also enjoys low employee turnover, Eisenmenger said. It has employees who joined the company when it was founded in the mid-1980s. “At each factory, we get a generation of workers,” he said. “We’ll hire new employees, but our core workforce will age along with the factory, and then as the economy in that area or

Archival quality. Limited ads. Iconic voices; stunning images. Conservation, adventure and travel. Tablet and collectible paper editions. Get The Flyfish Journal in your shop today Retail and adver tising: questions@thefly fishjournal.com or call 360.752.5559 www.thefly fishjournal.com

country progresses, we’re going to have fewer people entering that same trade. Parents want their kids to have a better life; they’re able to provide that better life by working a good solid career for 20 or 30 years.” Along with appealing to fly-buyers’ altruism, Fair Flies takes another unconventional tack: subscriptions. Fair Flies customers can order as few as a dozen trout flies twice a year for $25 each time, or as many as two dozen each month for $45. Flies can also be purchased individually. Coffey has been a fly-fishing and whitewater rafting guide and been involved with a software start-up. When he set out to build a whole-familyoriented guiding and outfitting service, “I was faced with the dilemma of who’s my fly supplier going to be,” he said. Meanwhile, Coffey’s Bend friend and fishing buddy, Keith Wright, was president of a consultancy called Thrive Global that specialized in doing business in Africa. Wright and his family had lived in Nairobi, and he knew the lay of the land. Coffey became more interested in working closely with fly suppliers in a supportive way. Last year, he acquired his domain name and the permits he would need to ship feathers and other fly components overseas, and in November left the outfitting service to go full-time with Fair Flies. He said he’s not out to hurt other fly suppliers, or even to abolish fly sweatshops. He wants to give customers a chance to do something positive with their purchasing power. “We know the sweatshops exist, and they’re in business for a reason,” he said. “Our flies are changing people’s lives.”

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R E C OMM IFTD t r a EdND e sEhDoRwE ADING schedule

International Fly Tackle Dealer trade show schedule of events and seminars Monday, July 13 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Halls open for set up

AnglingTrade.com | June 2015

10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. IFTD New Product Showcase Drop Off Tuesday, July 14


9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Presented by FLW Big Toho Marina on Lake Toho

ICAST On the Water

7:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. 2015 Bass & Birdies Classic Presented by ICAST and Florida Sportsman Shingle Creek Golf Club, Orlando

Sponsored by Fishing Tackle Retailer Big Toho Marina on Lake Toho 8:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. Opening Night Concert with Easton Corbin

6:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. ICAST Cup – Industry Bass Fishing

8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Registration Open Halls open for set up IFTD New Product Showcase


Drop Off

County Convention Center



Presented by World Fishing Network and ICAST Valencia Room, 4th Floor, Orange


Wednesday, July 15

1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Business Development Seminar –

7:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Room 209A, OCCC

Registration Open

What You Don’t Know is Hurting Your Bottom Line!

7:30 a.m. – 8:45 a.m.

Presented by Rob Southwick,

State of the Industry Breakfast –

president, Southwick Associates,

Valencia Room, OCCC

and Nancy Bacon, Business

This is a ticketed event.

Development director, Southwick Associates, Fernandina Beach,

9:00 am – 5:00 p.m.


New Product Showcase Open to Buyers and Media Only

2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Business Development Seminar –

9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Room 209A, OCCC

Exhibition Open

Advertising Basics, Budgeting and Media Buying

10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Presented by Bill Kendy, Kendy

Business Development Seminar –

Consulting, Lansing, Michigan

Room 209A, OCCC Standing Up for Saltwater

3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Recreational Fishing

Business Development Seminar–

Presented by Russell Dunn, national

Room 209A, OCCC

policy advisor for Recreational

Taking a Hard Look at Retail

Fisheries, NOAA Fisheries; and

Inventory Control

Clifford Hutt, Ph.D., Research

Presented by Tom Shay, president,

associate, NOAA Fisheries

Profits Plus Solutions, St. Petersburg, Florida

11:00 a.m. – Noon Business Development Seminar –

3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Room 209A, OCCC

New Product Showcase

The “Mysterious” Tackle Buying

Open to ALL Exhibitors and



Presented by the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation, Alexandria, Virginia; and the American Fly Fishing Trade Association, Bozeman, Montana

continued on next page...

IFTD t r a d e s h o w s c h e d u l e

3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Social Hour in Exhibitors’ Booths

Exhibition Open

Business Development Seminar –

6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Chairman’s Industry Awards Reception – Valencia Room, OCCCOpen to all badged trade show attendees Thursday, July 16

New Product Showcase - Open to buyers and media only

Room 209A, OCCC What Your Account Isn’t Telling You Presented by Tom Shay, president, Profits Plus Solutions, St.

9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Business Development Seminar – Room 209A, OCCC The Federal Manufacturers Excise Tax on Sportfishing Gear

Petersburg, Florida 11:00 a.m. – Noon Business Development Seminar – Room 209A, OCCC Why People Buy

8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Presented by Arianda Hicks,

Presented by Bill Kendy, Kendy

Registration Open

Deloitte Tax, LLP, Houston, Texas

Consulting, Lansing, Michigan


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1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Presented by Frank Hugelmeyer,

Friday, July 17

Business Development Seminar–

former CEO of Outdoor Industry

Room 209A, OCCC

Association, Boulder, Colorado

8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

A Google Business View Overview Presented by Dwayne Martin, a certified Google Business View photographer and President of Light Trails Photography, LLC 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Business Development Seminar – Room 209A, OCCC Changing Times

Business Development Seminar – Room 209A, OCCC Dealing with Challenging Customers

Registration Open 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Exhibition Open

Presented by Bill Kendy, Kendy

Noon – 2:00 p.m.

Consulting, Lansing, Michigan

New Product Showcase Closes Social Hour in Exhibitors’ Booths

5:00 p.m. IFTD New Product Showcase

3:00 p.m.


Exhibition Closes

AnglingTrade.com | June 2015

Attracting Consumers in Rapidly

3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.



Clean Water Act Important to Fly Fishing’s Bottom Line Written by Ben Bulis

On May 27, 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers announced they were restoring protections of small headwaters streams across America under new rulemaking for the Clean Water Act. In the early 2000’s, these regulations were lifted, which left 60 percent of our small streams, wetlands and waterways at risk for pollution and left many fisheries in peril. Additionally, thousands of American’s water supplies were put at risk for contamination.

AnglingTrade.com | June 2015

AFFTA’s mission is to promote the sustained growth of the fly-fishing industry. That equates to protecting and cultivating our member’s businesses and bottom lines. Without clean water, our business simply does not exist.


As AFFTA’s president, I recently traveled to Washington, D.C. to testify on behalf of AFFTA’s membership and the industry as a whole. My testimony in front of the Senate Small Business Committee focused on how vital the new rulemaking under the Clean Water Act is for the financial success of the fishing industry. “Given that fishing in America supports 828,000 jobs, results in nearly

$50 billion annually in retail sales, and has an economic impact of nearly $115 billion every year, it stands to reason that the health of our nation’s waters is vital to the continued success of our industry and to the health of America’s economy,” I stated during my testimony. Senate Small Business Committee ranking-member Senator Jeanne Shaheen commented after my testimony that, “The outdoor industry is a very big economic contributor to the entire country. And, so, making sure that we have clean water that benefits everyone is very important.” AFFTA’s participation in the Senate Small Business Committee hearing is a potent example of the critical

advocacy work done on behalf of fisheries and the businesses they support. AFFTA’s leadership as the trade organization for the fly-fishing industry provides opportunities for each member to have a voice regarding important issues such as the Clean Water Act. These issues weigh heavily on the financial success of the industry and AFFTA is committed to being the voice for fly fishing. The Clean Water Rule provides protections to wetlands and small streams that ensure continued growth of the fly-fishing industry. Beyond clean drinking water and healthy fish spawning grounds, it provides Americans with jobs and our economy a needed boost from fishing and recreational activities on all of our nation’s waterways.


THANK YOU IFTD Exhibitors!

The board and staff of the American Fly Fishing Trade Association wishes to thank all of the exhibitors to the 2015 International Fly Tackle Dealer Show! We greatly appreciate your dedication to the fly-fishing industry.

Nautilus Reels

Diamondback Rod Co.

Nervous Waters Fly Fishing

Douglas Outdoors

Northern Sport Fishing Products

Drake Magazine

Olympic Peninsula Skagit Tactics


Orvis Company Inc.

Enrico Puglisi, Ltd.

Outcast Sporting Gear

Estrada Art, LLC.

Pacific Fly Group

Ewing Feather Birds


Fincognito, Inc.

PEAK Fishing

Finn LLC.

Perseus Distribution/Skyhorse Publishing

Fishing Solutions

Pig Farm Ink


Pioneer Technology NZ Ltd.



Flood Tide Co.

Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, Inc.

Flow Tek, Inc.

R.L. Winston Rod Company

Fly Fishing the Run

Rajeff Sports LLC

Flymen Fishing Company


G. Loomis

Renzetti Group

Galvan Fly Reels, Inc.


General Cigar Co, Inc.

RIO Products

Getsome Products


Global Rescue

Sage Fly Fishing


Scientific Anglers, LLC

H Turrall & Co Ltd.

Scott Fly Rod Company

Haggerty Lures

Shu-Fly Custom Rods & Reels

Hammerhead Industries, Inc./Gear-

Simms Fishing Products


Souplefly, LLC

Hardy/Pure Fishing

Stackpole Books

Hatch Outdoors Inc.

Striker Brands

Hell’s Bay Boatworks

SwitchSUP, LLC

Hog Island Boat Works

Tacky Fly Fishing

Howler Brothers

Tenkara USA

International Federation of Fly Fishers

Thomas & Thomas

Florida Council

Tibor Reel Corporation

Jim Teeny, Inc.

Titan Rod Vault

KarmaZen Footwear

Trout Unlimited

Kast Gear

True Recreation LLC

Korkers Products, LLC

TrueFlies LLC

Larva Lace


Light Trails Photography

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service


Umpqua Feather Merchants

Lumishore USA LLC

Vedavoo Gear

Maven Fly LLC

Western Rise

Maxxon Outfitters


Measure Net by JTA Products

Wolff Indiana, LLC

Morris Sporting Group

Yellow Dog Fly Fishing Adventures

AnglingTrade.com | June 2015

3-Tand Abel Reels/Ross Reels AFFTA Allen Fly Fishing Angler Sport Group Angler’s Book Supply Aqua Flies Aquaz USA, Inc. ARC Fishing Avalon – CUBA Bahama Out Islands Promotion Board Bissell Insurance Agency Black Knight Industries, Inc. BlackStrap Industries, Inc. Boy Scouts of American National Council Bozeman Fly Fishing Brook Fishing Equipment Carbonpro Cascade Crest Tools Casting for Recovery Cheeky Fishing China Yangzhou Guo Tai Co., Ltd. Clutch Tactical Fly Rods Colorado Original Outdoor Products Correntoso Reels Cortland Line Company Creek Company Desiccare, Inc. DeYoung Studio




TU Releases

“State of the Trout” Report Written by Kirk Deeter

Trout Unlimited has just released its “State of the Trout” report, which is one of the most thorough and comprehensive assessments of the status of native trout species in the continental United States ever produced. It’s not a pretty picture, but it isn’t a tale of woe either. Native trout are facing some serious threats. But efforts to protect, reconnect and restore their habitat is effective. And native trout species are key indicators of the health of our coldwater resources. The full report is 80 pages long, and can be viewed at www.tu.org/ stateofthetrout. An abridged version of the report is in the current issue of

AnglingTrade.com | June 2015

TROUT magazine.


Here’s what everyone in this troutbased industry should know: Of 28 native trout species and subspecies originally found in the United States, three are extinct and six are listed as threatened

FEATURE or endangered. Excluding the

brook trout are native to the East

extinct trout, 52 percent (13 of 25)

but have been widely introduced

occupy less than 25 percent of their

into western streams where they

historical habitat and are at high risk

often overpopulate and compete

from at least one major threat. All

with native trout for resources. The

native trout face some level of risk.

second problem is the invasion of

Most trout have multiple threats,

native trout waters by warmwater

including water diversion, non-native

fishes. As streams and riparian areas

species, energy development, and

are degraded, stream temperatures

climate change. The most serious

rise, which facilitates invasion by

threats are non-native species and

species such as smallmouth bass,

climate change

carp and northern pike into trout


habitat. The third issue is aquatic

All native trout in the United States

plant invaders such as yellow iris

have experienced a significant

or purple loosestrife, and invading

reduction in their historical range.

mollusks such as New Zealand mud

The beginning of their decline dates

snails and quagga mussels. Another

back to the industrial revolution of the 1800s when our growing nation looked to its waterways to support manufacturing, power, agriculture and the transportation of raw materials. The industrial revolution changed the lives of people and altered the landscapes of the United States, and in so doing it also changed the trajectory of

invasive species. This includes

invasive species, Didymo, a diatom that forms nuisance algal blooms that can smother stream beds, may actually be native to many river basins but often is considered to be a major aquatic invasive species problem. Aquatic invasive species can completely alter the ecology of trout streams.

Water Use Over 62 million acres of land was irrigated in the United States in 2010, accounting for about 38 percent of all freshwater withdrawals compared to 14 percent for public water supply. Thermoelectric power, used primarily east of the Mississippi River and in California and Texas, accounts for another 38 percent of total freshwater withdrawals. These three uses account for 90 percent of the freshwater (both surface and groundwater) used in the United States. The growing population in the United States continues to increase the demand for food, domestic water and energy while prolonged periods of drought due to climate change are contributing to water scarcities in some parts of the country. Fortunately improved water efficiencies in irrigation systems and power plants, as well as rising public awareness contributed to a 13 percent decrease in total freshwater withdrawals between 2005 and

the vast and diverse populations of

Climate change degrades native and

2010. While this trend is certainly

native trout that had evolved over

wild trout habitat and can facilitate

encouraging, the geographic

thousands of years in the nation’s

invasion by undesirable species.

distribution of water demand relative

clean, cold waters.

Most directly, as air temperatures

to supply is cause for concern.

increase, so do stream temperatures,

Much of the population growth

Non-native Species

facilitating invasion of trout waters by species more commonly

non-native species are threefold.

associated with warm water habitats.

First, is the introduction and

However, climate change may also

establishment of non-native trout

contribute to non-native species

species. This includes establishment

problems by accelerating erosion

of brown trout and other species

and sedimentation through larger

not native to North America but also

storm events. Degraded streams may

the widespread introduction of trout

be more suitable for the agents of

native to the U.S. from one part of

whirling disease, Didymo and other

the country to another. For instance,

aquatic invaders.

in the United States over the past decade has occurred in the West and particularly in the arid and semi-arid regions of the Southwest and Texas. Between 2010 and 2014 the population in the United States increased by 3.3 percent while in California it rose by 4.2 percent, Nevada by 5.1 percent, Arizona

continued on next page...

AnglingTrade.com | June 2015

For native trout, the problems of


FEATURE by 5.3 percent, and Texas by 7.2

any circumstances while other

of treated waste water back into

percent. The increasing demand for

places can support well-designed

streams can have detrimental effects

already strained water supplies may

projects. Of particular concern from

on the health of the aquatic system.

pit irrigation and municipal interests

a fisheries perspective are impacts

While more traditional drilling

against the needs of aquatic

to water quality and quantity, habitat fragmentation and the loss of

operations may not have the same

ecosystems. California accounts

riparian vegetation.

freshwater withdrawals in the United

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is

have the potential to increase

States and it is entering its fourth

a technique used in the extraction

the sediment load in surrounding

year of extreme drought conditions.

of fossil fuels. The fracking process

streams through the construction

Balancing human needs for

involves the injection of a high-

freshwater with the needs of natural

of well pads, roads and pipelines.

pressure fluid comprised of

systems is an increasingly difficult

chemicals and sand suspended

Proper siting of infrastructure in a

task for water managers.

in water into a wellbore in order

Energy Development

to create cracks in deep shale

For many years, the development

gas and oil to flow more freely. The

of domestic sources of oil and gas

process requires large amounts of

has been a high priority for the

water which may be taken from

trout over the life of the project.

United States. Between 2000 and

surface or groundwater resources.

Pipelines account for 90 percent

2011, gross withdrawals of natural gas in the lower 48 states increased by about 47 percent, reaching historic highs in every year after 2006. During that same period, oil withdrawals increased by 11 percent, with much of that growth occurring after 2007. Although the development has been primarily concentrated in the Great Plains, Wyoming, Colorado, the Gulf Coast and Mid-Atlantic states, some type of energy development projects are being pursued in nearly every part of

AnglingTrade.com | June 2015

formations that allow the natural

Typically, 2 to 8 million gallons of water is needed for each fracking event and a single well can be fractured several times. A single well pad may host multiple wells thus placing significant pressure on local and regional water supplies and

fracking, all development projects

manner that protects the riparian corridor and minimizes the number of stream crossings is essential for minimizing aquatic impacts and maintaining healthy populations of

of the total movement of crude oil and petroleum products across the United States. According to the American Petroleum Institute, between 2008 and 2013 the amount of crude oil delivered by pipeline

potentially altering the hydrologic

increased nearly 20 percent while the

regime of the surrounding

mileage for liquid pipelines rose 9.3

watershed, particularly during

percent for a total of 192,393 miles

periods of low flow.

in 2013. Pipelines that cross stream

Oil and gas development may degrade water quality through both chemical waste and increased

channels either above or below the surface or pipelines that run along next to a stream can damage

sedimentation. Although the

aquatic systems. The siting of new

chemical composition of the

pipelines should not only minimize

The first step in the responsible

fluid mixture used in fracking is

removal of the riparian vegetation

development of energy resources

typically proprietary information,

but should also take into account

is project siting. Some places

the wastewater from the process is

changing hydrologic conditions,

such as the Rocky Mountain Front

known to include high levels of total

particularly flood flows, due to

in Montana may be deemed too

dissolved solids, metals and other

important to fish, wildlife and water

climate change. Older pipelines

toxic additives. Accidental spills

resources to be developed under

of this liquid or direct discharge

the country.


risk of chemical contamination as

for about 10 percent of the total

continued on next page...


Trout Taxa

Pacific Coast

Central Valley and Sierra Nevada

Interior Basins


Great Lakes— Upper Mississippi


Non-native Species

Water Demand

Percent of Historical Habitat >50

Coastal Rainbow Trout


Bull Trout*


Dolly Varden

10 - 25

Columbia River Redband Trout*


Klamath Redband Trout


Sacramento Redband Trout


Eagle Lake Rainbow Trout


California Golden Trout


Little Kern Golden Trout


Kern River Rainbow Trout

15 E X T I N C T W I T H I N T H I S R E GI O N

Westslope Cutthroat Trout


Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout


Bull Trout*


Columbia River Redband Trout*


Lake Trout*

10 - 25

Lahontan Cutthroat Trout


Humboldt Cutthroat Trout


Bonneville Cutthroat Trout


Paiute Cutthroat Trout


Alvord Cutthroat Trout

Colorado Plateau— Southern Rockies


Coastal Cutthroat

Bull Trout*

Interior Columbia Basin—Northern Rockies

Climate Change


Colorado River Cutthroat Trout


Greenback Cutthroat Trout


Yellowfin Cutthroat Trout


Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout


Apache Trout


Gila Trout


Brook Trout*


Lake Trout*

10 - 25

Brook Trout*


Sunapee Trout/Blueback Char

<10 10 - 25

Lake Trout* Silver Trout


Brook Trout*



Brook Trout*



Brook Trout*


Risk factors are based upon professional judgment and data within TU’s Conservation Success Index, representing high (red), moderate (yellow) and low risk (green). * Spans multiple regions. The percentage of historical habitat currently occupied is based on the species’ rangewide extent. The actual percentage within a given region may be more or less than the rangewide value shown here. S U M M E R

2 0 1 5


AnglingTrade.com | June 2015




The threat status and percentage of historic ranges occupied by native trout species in the continental United States


FEATURE are increasingly at risk of failure as

temperatures resulting in long hot

Areas of the country experiencing

erosion from uncharacteristically high

summers and earlier snow melt,

earlier stream runoff and reduced

flood flows has removed protective

particularly in the West. Early runoff

mountain snowpack are also prime

cover from along the banks and the

and reduced spring and summer

candidates for increasing wildfires.

stream bed leaving the pipelines

snowpack leads to a decrease in

Although wildfire has always been a

more susceptible to damage and corrosion. Two such incidences have occurred recently on the nation’s iconic Yellowstone River: one spill of 69,000 gallons of crude oil occurred in July 2011 while another in January

air temperatures—a situation that is problematic for coldwaterdependent species such as trout. A recent study found that cutthroat trout may lose 58 percent of their

part of the landscape, the frequency and intensity of wildfires has increased dramatically over the past decade resulting in expansive fires that only cooler weather and rain are able to extinguish. Since the mid1980s there has been a 60 percent

currently occupied habitat by 2080

oil into the river in eastern Montana

due to increased water temperatures

and contaminated the drinking

that exceed their thermal tolerance.

water of downstream communities.

While these warmer water

However, these two spills pale in

temperatures may not be suitable

acres burned since wildfire statistics

comparison to the July 2010 spill on

for trout, they often create a

started being kept in 1960 occurred

desirable environment for unwanted

in 2006, 2007 and 2012.

dumped 840,000 gallons of crude oil into a tributary and closed 35 miles of the Kalamazoo River for a year.

species such as smallmouth bass or sunfish, enabling them to encroach further into the domain of the native species.

increase in the frequency of large wildfires in the northern Rockies and the three highest number of wildfire

Although native trout successfully evolved with wildfires, changes in watershed conditions and the isolation of populations have created

Climate Change

Rising air temperatures also

a situation in which the direct and

Global temperatures rose steadily

increase evaporative water losses,

indirect effects of wildfires can

during the 20th century and they continue to do so as we enter the 21st century with nine of the 10 warmest years on record having occurred since 2002. The rate and magnitude of this warming

further exacerbating drought conditions in arid climates such as the Southwest and California where the worst drought in decades continues to plague the region. Drought conditions are particularly problematic for populations of

be lethal. The increased severity of wildfires over the past decade in combination with degraded or otherwise altered watershed conditions can result in direct mortality on populations in the fire’s path—particularly if a barrier

period has resulted in a series of

native trout isolated in small streams

environmental trends with significant

behind barriers that prevent them

implications for native trout.

from accessing larger drainages

These changes not only directly

as warming and drying conditions

impact coldwater habitats and the

intensify over the summer. Long-term

may still not survive the aftermath

persistent droughts have profound

when heavy precipitation events on

implications on water supplies that

scorched soils can result in rapid

are already stretched to their limit

runoff and scouring debris flows.

populations they support, but they AnglingTrade.com | June 2015

are more susceptible to increasing

2015 spilled 42,000 gallons of crude

the Kalamazoo River in Michigan that


summer base flows when streams

also have the potential to exacerbate other stressors.

prevents the fish from moving as the fire progresses. For those fish that survive the heat of the fire, they

in many places and may not be able

The most obvious impact of these

to support increasing demand even

warming trends is increasing air

under normal climatic conditions.

continued on next page...

FEATURE As with wildfire, floods are one of the

hydrologic regime and the timing

3. Work to rebuild large,

natural processes that have shaped

of spawning. Depending on the

interconnected populations of

the American landscape. However,

local circumstances, this shift could

native trout, which would facilitate

many of the floods experienced

favor one species over another

restoration of life history diversity

today are increasingly uncharacteristic

and potentially provide another

and create populations that are

of historical conditions due to the

opportunity for non-native species to

resilient to climate change. This

intensity of the storm event as

outcompete native trout.

approach not only offers some

well as changes to the watershed and drainage network that have diminished the ability of the

If future generations of Americans are

conserve entire communities of rare

hydrologic system to absorb flood

to continue to reap the recreational

aquatic species.

flows. These are typically associated

and economic benefits of abundant

with either extremely heavy

trout populations, we must chart a

4. Become smarter and more

precipitation events or mid-winter

new path forward. As described in

rain-on-snow events, when warm rains

Restoration should occur at large

this report, we have the knowledge

rapidly melt a snow pack. Between

scales, accommodate local climate

and tools to deal successfully with

1958 and 2007, the Northeast has

change impacts and must be

current and emerging threats and to

experienced a 67 percent increase in

monitored and sustained over time.

restore robust populations of native

the amount of precipitation that falls

trout. The question is not whether we

in the heaviest 1 percent of all rainfall

can restore native trout but whether

eventsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;in other words, significantly more of the regionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s annual rainfall comes in major downpours. Channelization, which often occurs in the aftermath of a flood, and

is dedicated to helping society make the necessary changes to implement the following steps.

the separation of a river from its floodplain further exacerbate the

protect remaining high-quality

downstream impacts of a flood event.

habitats, reconnect fragmented

Scouring of the stream channel and

stream systems and restore degraded

the potential for debris such as road

mainstream and valley bottom

culverts to enter the stream course

areas. This will not only help restore

may also have detrimental effects on

fish populations but also improve

aquatic habitat.

the storage and delivery of water

events are more typically associated AnglingTrade.com | June 2015

we choose to do so. Trout Unlimited

1. Work at watershed scales to

In the West, the increased flooding


protection from climate extremes

What We Must Do

supplies during times of drought and flood.

but also provides opportunities to

effective in our restoration efforts.

5. Control the introduction and spread of non-native plant and animal species and minimize or eliminate trout hatchery stocking programs in the vicinity of native trout populations. 6. Become more efficient in our use of energy resources and the water that is required and make sure that energy development is located away from high-value fishery resources. 7. Conserve water resources and more efficiently use the water that our cities, farms and factories require so that we can build more sustainable communities. 8. Increase angler participation in

with an increase in the number

2. Train volunteer leaders and the

of rain-on-snow events occurring

next generation of conservation

at mid-elevations in mid-winter.

stewards so that our work to protect,

These changes in the timing and

reconnect, and restore wild and

*Reprinted with permission from

magnitude of spring floods may

native trout populations will persist

Trout Unlimited. See the full report

result in a mismatch between the

over time.

at www.tu.org/stateofthetrout.

habitat restoration, monitoring and policies that affect fishery resources.

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they could. They have to be willing to work together and they have to be willing to be pragmatic, but

Written by Walt Gasson

they can do amazing things. The I grew up on that river in a one-

examples are legion, and they’re not

stoplight town in a vast sea of

restricted to Wyoming. I’ll use the

public land that offered me as

recent decision to extend protection

much freedom as a ten-year-old

under the Clean Water Act to

boy in 1964 as it did a ten-year-old

headwaters streams as an example.

Shoshone boy in 1864. I could walk out my back door and walk or ride

AnglingTrade.com | June 2015

Everyone has an ideological container—a world view, a paradigm, a way of looking at the environment in which he or she lives. You’ve got one. I do, too. They are the product of our life experiences—all the experiences, good and bad. The way we view the world is shaped by our experiences in that world, starting at birth—maybe even before. The way we see the world doesn’t reflect the world so much as it reflects who we are and how we live in it.


By way of introduction, you probably ought to know a little bit more about me. I’m a westerner, a Wyoming guy who grew up fishing and hunting in some of the wildest country left on the planet. The Green River of western Wyoming is my home water. I do not remember my first time on the Green any more than I remember being born. In my life, the river has simply always been there. Like generations of our family before me, I grew up on this river—in the upper reaches of what Marc Reisner called the American Nile. The SeedskadeeAgie to the Shoshone people in the upper country, the Rio de San Buenaventura and later the Rio Verde to the Mexicans farther down its course, and to us the Green.

Working together, we just protected 60 percent of the stream miles in the

my horse to Colorado, Utah or Idaho

United States.

without having to ask permission

My attitude is one that was formed

from anyone. I could fish or hunt

out in the sagebrush sea of the

for days without seeing another

interior west, shaped in the ranks of

person, much less another hunter

professional wildlife managers and

or angler. And I knew from the time

finished in the greatest conservation

that I was in grade school exactly

organization in the world. I see the

what I wanted my life’s work to be. I

world—even the world of the 21st

wanted to work with fish and wildlife.

century—as being full of opportunity.

I graduated summa cum lucky from

I’ve been around plenty long enough

Green River High School in 1972

to have a lot of the sharp edges

and went on to hunt and fish my way

knocked off, but I refuse to give up

through an undistinguished career at

or give in on a legacy of wild lands

the only university that had to take

and wild critters that constitutes one

me—the University of Wyoming. I

of the miracles of conservation. I

was released from captivity in 1976.

have nine little grandchildren who

After an abortive attempt at graduate school, I went on to work

are being raised to be staunch defenders of that same legacy.

for the state fish and wildlife agency

But that’s just my POV. I’m sure

in my state for the next 31 years. I

you have one too, and mine is no

learned a lot about managing fish

more valid or representative of

and wildlife resources, but I learned a lot more about people. The most important thing I learned was that if you can engage people’s hearts and minds on an important issue that affects wildlife, you can do some pretty amazing things. Hunters and anglers, working as part of a team with the business community and

reality than yours. In coming issues, we’re going to talk about things that fall outside my parameters and maybe yours too. We’re going to be reminded that none of these “boxes” are always perfect, and that there are folks out there who are doing great things that may help us stretch our parameters a bit.

government, can accomplish far

Check it out next time. This could

more than most of them ever dream

get interesting.

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AnglingTrade.com | June 2015





From the curious case of the Moffitt system to the rebirth of retro glass, we’re also a community of constant tinkerers. But what has stayed the course is the fly shop’s role in shaping and championing on-thewater trends. And pushing that status quo is key to growth. At least according to fly shop owners like Dave McCoy, who operates Emerald Water Anglers in Seattle.

Snap-Ts and SUPs Advancing trends across a sport that knows no rules Written by Geoff Mueller Baseball, golf, and bowling all come with rules, scoring systems, and only one way to do any of them right. Similarly, add hockey sticks to your synchronized swimming routine and all hell breaks loose. There isn’t much room for experimentation.

AnglingTrade.com | June 2015

With fishing, thankfully, that’s not the case. As anglers—not necessarily athletes—representing various regions across the country, we might dribble bobbers one day, launch Lady Carolines to Atlantic salmon another, go for a southeast bass, crappie, and bluegill slam, or vacation to the Keys for migrating poons when the itch arises.


That makes fishing appealing, considering there are unlimited ways to pick it apart and make it personal. We are all fishers to some degree, but we all embrace different uniforms based on where we live, what species we target, whether we’re of the Bob Clouser or Maddie Brenneman generation and, perhaps most importantly, how we like to fish.

“If you’re waiting for that magic pill to land in your hand as opposed to seeking it, I think you’re in trouble,” McCoy says. “And I wouldn’t necessarily want to be relying on the industry to point it out because the industry as a whole can be a lagging trend.”

area lakes. It’s an offshoot that’s generating good buzz, he says. “In a place that’s so heavily invested in its steelhead, salmon and trout fishing, these other fisheries don’t often get the respect they deserve. We want to change that, and SUP is the perfect vehicle to introduce anglers to something fun.” Change is golden when it comes to expanding revenue sources, too. And another area where shops are seeing a shift, started on the coast with spey but is steadily gyrating toward other fisheries where wiggly two-handed rods are enjoyable to cast, and effective.

Instead, McCoy looks to the water for inspiration, and to other sports where cross-pollination potential runs high—skiing, biking, hiking, and anything involving oars. The paddle-sport industry is one riding a wave of dollars. Despite a small dip in general outdoor participation; the Outdoor Federation’s latest report says it’s been one of few meteoric segments in recent years. Stand-up paddling, or SUP, for instance, is the top growing outdoor activity in the country, seeing a 38-percent spike in participation from 2013 to 2014 alone.

In the Rockies, lightweight troutcentric spey rods are being used by sticks who want to swing a run rather than nymph the redds. And Grant Houx, at St. Peter’s fly shop in northern Colorado, has been pushing the trend by flying in twohanded guns like Simon Gawesworth and Dec Hogan. The experts teach inland spey casting to anglers who may have never set foot on the Hoh, Sandy, or Skeena, but might plan to one day. Meantime they can try their luck with trout, learn a valuable new skillset, and purchase specialty rods, reels, lines, and “swing” flies that work great on regional freestones and tailwaters.

That’s good news because SUP and fly fishing gel well. SUPs now come in fishing-equipped incarnations from companies like BOTE. And they’re great for exploring everything from sprawling stillwaters to brackish estuaries, all the while convincing wives we’re chiseling our abs while we’re at it. In Washington’s Puget Sound, McCoy is flexing SUP muscle by offering guided sea-run cutthroat fishing and warmwater pursuits for carp and bass in

With manufacturers producing spey options for anything that swims, and via new vehicles to access waters with species we hadn’t considered in the past, we’re fostering fresh perspectives. Shops advancing the how through in-river education, inhouse seminars, and local product demos, create more impetus to buy. And, in the process, more reasons to put down the remote, stash the Funyuns, and practice snap-Ts from an SUP.

JimmY Harris

TU BUsiness Are you? memBer. is a

Jimmy Harris Unicoi Outfitters Helen, GA

BUsiness: www.TU.org/TUe Become a TU Become e n d o rasTU e dendorsed B Us in es s : w ww. T U . o r g /T U e Become a TU Business member: www.tu.org/business

Profile for Angling Trade LLC

Anlging Trade Issue # 32  

2015 Summer "Show Issue"

Anlging Trade Issue # 32  

2015 Summer "Show Issue"


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