It’s simple. The best way to become an exceptional angler is to buy the gear you need and head for the river. Not for an hour, mind you, or a day, or a week. Not for a month, even. But for years, and then decades.
Most of us — at least those of us who are passionate about our fishing — want to improve our skills by spending more time on the water. A lot more time on the water. We hope to throw ourselves into fly fishing with the passion of Albert Einstein searching for E=MC2 or Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel … after which we will emerge, having traveled a path filled with tangles and pitfalls, as the angler we have the potential to be. And we'll have done it on our own, which is a marvelous thing indeed.
Honestly, there’s no better way to learn than through observation, through trial and error, and by coaxing an important lesson from every single mistake we make on the water. It’s how I've tried to do it. It’s how most of the great anglers I’ve run across over the years have done it. All it takes is an unlimited supply of time and patience.
Sadly, though, despite all the advantages of modern life — and they are many — it’s rare to have unlimited free time. For those of us unable to spend a hundred or more days on the water each year (read: almost all of us), it’s learn where you can, when you can, and hope for the best.
Which is why great teachers make such a huge difference, and that’s true whether those teachers are guides, casting instructors, angling friends, or well-meaning strangers. A fly fisher can grow as much during a day spent with a great teacher as he or she can during a year spent plying the water; experimenting, failing and succeeding.
If only there were a school of trout where people who love the outdoors could visit for a week; where they could talk to, hang out with, and learn from, the finest fly fishing instructors in the world.
Well, here’s a little good news. As of 2018 there is indeed a School of Trout where, for roughly the price of a stay at a typical Alaskan lodge, you can spend a week on one of the finest rivers in America with some of the world's most renowned fly anglers and instructors.
The School of Trout is the brainchild of fly fishing writer and former guide Todd Tanner, whose essays, conservation stories, and how-to articles frequently grace the virtual pages of Hatch Magazine. Tanner will bring together fly fishing icons like Tom Rosenbauer, Bob White, Kirk Deeter, Tim Romano, Hilary Hutcheson, John Juracek and Craig Mathews this October at Trouthunter on the Henry’s Fork. Together, they’ll host a dozen students who want to learn as much as they possibly can from some of America’s finest fly fishers. (Who, as luck would have it, also happen to be an incredibly fine group of people to spend a week with).
The School of Trout is by invitation only. Prospective students are invited to look over the school’s website and then send in an application. If you know someone who would like to spend a week learning lessons from, and honing their skills with, some of the most respected, knowledgable anglers in the world, then be sure to have them visit SchoolOfTrout.com.
It's also very much worth mentioning that Hatch Magazine has helped sponsor a partial School of Trout scholarship for one lucky angler. Details are on the website.
Hatch Magazine is proud to endorse the new School of Trout.