Free fly fishing classes from Orvis

Get expert help with the challenges facing new anglers, for free.
orvis free fly fishing classes
Free classes are available in over 40 states.

Fly fishing isn't a sport that is generous with its rewards to novices. To a beginner, the gear is confusing and catching fish can difficult or even seem impossible at times. Knots, tangles and the bird's nests of monofilament that it seems only beginners have the knack to create can push a new angler to unspeakable acts where nets are tossed into forests and rods are kicked into rivers. Often, the key to avoiding such calamities is having an instructor to help navigate the choppiness of the waters faced by new fly fishermen and women. Typically, this instructor is a fly fishing guide but time with a guide -- despite being a savvy investment -- isn't cheap and ponying up the cash required to spend a day with one isn't an easy sell to a new angler that isn't already hooked by the sport. For those looking to learn to fly fish and do so with a modicum of grace, Orvis' free fly fishing classes may be the perfect find.

This is the sixth year in a row that Orvis is offering its free fly fishing classes, having introduced over 50,000 people to the sport since it started the program in 2010. Classes are being offered at most Orvis store locations across the country throughout the months of May and June.

Included in Orvis' free offerings are Fly Fishing 101 and Fly Fishing 201. Some locations will also offer Fly Fishing 301 to anglers that have completed the other two classes.

Fly Fishing 101, according to Orvis, "concentrates on the two aspects that intimidate newcomers to the sport -- knots and casting." The lesson includes two hours of casting instruction and an hour spent learning how to rig up your rod.

The second level course, Fly Fishing 201, moves to the water to give anglers the chance to cast to, catch and play fish. What type of water will vary from location to location, with freshly stocked trout rivers, private streams and or/bass and bluegill ponds being likely examples.

As an added bonus, anglers that complete both courses will walk away with a free Trout Unlimited membership. Not only is that worth $35, being a Trout Unlimited member is likely the best thing you'll do for trout all year, and now you get to do it for free.

Most Orvis store locations are offering both the 101 and 201 courses. Check with and your local store for class schedules and to RSVP to attend.


Putting the cost of trying fly fishing in perspective: I point out to my friends that if they try skiing or snowboarding, here in So Cal it costs $95 for a 4-hour group lesson and lift ticket, and another $35 for equipment rental.