What is the best fly shop in your state?
This is a very subjective question. But in a day and age when online reviews actually have an impact on the success or failure of a business, we have something close to objective data to work with. I’ve looked at a few review aggregations, and compiled a list of the top rated fly shop in all 50 states.
This doesn’t mean that the shops listed are, in fact, the best. More importantly, it isn’t a slight at other excellent fly shops that aren’t listed. Of course, there are some factors that propel the ratings of certain shops over others: being in a metropolitan area, offering guide services, and even catering to a demographic that is more willing to leave an online review. Still, these online reviews are a legitimate 21st century indicator of a place – and people – that anglers appreciate.
In part I, I list the first 25 states: Alabama – Missouri. Is your favorite fly shop on the list?
Alabama: Riverside Fly Shop – Bremen
“Great people! I’ve made the drive from Birmingham multiple times to shop here. Most memorable was buying my first fly outfit and getting some great casting instruction. Highly recommended.” – Brandon W.
Alaska: Mountain View Sports Fly Shop – Anchorage
“Great shop with a variety of materials, and equipment. The staff are really helpful, and knowledgeable too. I’d highly recommend them. They also have a rewards program, and fun, promotional activities.” – Phillip L.
Arizona: Dry Creek Outfitters – Tucson
“Absolutely best fly shop I’ve ever been to. Eric is extremely knowledgeable, helpful, and hands down the nicest person you’ll ever ask for advice he set up a great new box of flies for my day trip, helped me pick better tippet, and even gave casting and retrieve advice! I couldn’t ask for a better shop if there was one!” – Steven W.
Arkansas: McLelllan’s Fly Shop – Fayetteville
“Best fly fishing shop around! Michael (or any of his employees) is always friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful. Top quality brands of gear including fly rods, reels, waders, apparel, and a wide selection of fly tying supplies.” – Brett M.
California: Ted Fay Fly Shop – Dunsmuir
“This is the pulse of a mid century fly shop with modern supplies. You can talk to someone knowledgeable in the area and get great service.” – Joe H.
Colorado: The Denver Fly Shop – Denver
“Staff is very knowledgeable and helpful. They don’t try to sell you the most expensive equipment, but products that fit your needs. Highly recommend.” – Brad H.
Connecticut: The Compleat Angler – Darien
“My husband is an avid salmon fly fisherman and this has been my favorite shop to get him gear. Pat and company are super-helpful and knowledgeable, no pushy sales stuff here, and they have a great selection of everything a serious fly angler would want. The only place I’ll shop from here on out! Highly recommended!” – Amanda R.
Delaware: A Marblehead Flyfisher – Wilmington
“This place is great! Terry and Lee are super helpful and friendly. If you need a lead on a place to fish just ask. They are always happy to provide suggestions on what is working out on the water. The sale bin of rods is worth a trip alone. I’ve purchased line and they will gladly switch your old line out.” – Thomas M.
Florida: Ole Florida Fly Shop – Boca Raton
“I met Darren who owns and operates a wonderful fly shop. I can ask questions without judgement and customer service can’t be beat. Excellent variety of flies and fly tying parts. So glad to find a business that appreciates it’s customers.” – D Q.
Georgia: The Fish Hawk – Atlanta
“Love the fly tying night at Fish Hawk. Great conversation, free beer oh and Sweet Auburn BBQ….and you get to hone your craft at the same time! And if you need anything for fly fishing, you can buy it there!” – Holly S.
Hawaii: Nervous Waters Fly Fishing – Honolulu
“Lots packed into a tiny shop. Very helpful and knowledgeable! If you plan on fly fishing Hawaii you pretty much have to stop in here.” – John C.
Idaho: TRR Outfitters – Eagle
“Awesome staff here. They know they’re stuff and they’re super friendly. Great fly shop whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned vet.” – Connor J.
Illinois: Chicago Fly Fishing Outfitters – Chicago
“This place is top notch. I don’t know what more I could want in a fly shop. The staff was extremely knowledgeable and yet not snooty in the least. Selection was very good and their fly selection in particular was outstanding. Pricing was competitive in every way. If you like fly fishing you will not want to miss this shop!” – Matthew W.
Indiana: Flymasters of Indiana – Indianapolis
“Great group of guys that work there. Very helpful. They don’t mind answering questions and if they don’t have the answer, they will find it out. Some places I go that deal in a “male” majority hobby/sport, I feel like the CSR doesn’t know how to talk to me or I’m inconveniencing them by even being there. But not here, these guys are down to earth and don’t make me feel out of place. They have competitive pricing too.” – Della G.
Iowa: Fin & Feather, Inc. – Iowa City
“This store is an Outdoorsmans dream. It is good old fashion quality combined with great customer service. Take a break from some of the “Big Box” stores and shop locally!” – Tommy R.
Kansas: Ark River Anglers – Wichita
“Best fly shop in Kansas and probably several other states.” – Craig Y.
Kentucky: Orvis – Louisville
“Great store and super helpful to people who are novices. They do not attempt to oversell and their classes are the best. Experienced people are helpful to beginners especially fly tying. Make sure you get to know big John the manager and young John. Great people.” – Chuck C.
Louisiana: Marsh & Bayou Outfitters – New Orleans
“It’s hard to write a glowing review about a place you want to keep secret. But Ben did a great job setting us up for fly fishing while we were in town. The shop doesn’t have a lot but they have what you need and will get any items in to fill the gap. Service is good old southern charm. His guiding staff is top notch and mad the trip a success.” – Brian F.
Maine: Eldredge Bros. Fly Shop – York
“Stellar service, knowledgeable, friendly staff, and quality products. They don’t sell anything they don’t completely believe in, and give straight advice. The folks there truly know what they are talking about. It’s hard to find that kind of trustworthy reliable service anymore.” – Brigham P.
Maryland: Backwater Angler – Parkton
“Backwater Angler, to me, sets the bar when it comes to flyshops and outfitters. The experience and vast knowledge base coupled with the willingness to educate others is what sets this shop apart. Theo, the Riverkeeper, welcomes all. His extensive time on this river and surrounding areas makes him able to help make even the most seasoned fisherman a better angler. I learn something new every time I walk thru those doors.” – Sean E.
Massachusetts: Bear’s Den Fly Fishing Co. – Taunton
“Great store very nice people I never been to a place where they will go out of the way for you plus I never met more people with the knowledge these people know!! They also have some of the best prices in the country! I travel over 120 miles round trip to go there because I love these guys so much.” – Ron B.
Michigan: Schultz Outfitters – Ypsilanti
“Schultz’s is a destination and my many experiences are all enjoyable. The team there is amazing and beyond helpful. They don’t apply pressure to buy and more than willing to share ideas of where to fish as well as equipment info. etc. I find myself coming back often. A great destination.” – Daniel T.
Minnesota: Bob Mitchell’s Fly Shop – St. Paul
“The true fly shop experience. The owners were there Tying flies and Happy to talk fishing as long as we could. The owners were happy to give advice on technique, flies, and location. They even recommended a great place nearby for lunch and a beer. Thanks guys, keep doing it right.” – Patrick B.
Mississippi: Orvis – Ridgeland
“Came in to browse around, spoke with Rob at the fly tying station. He was very knowledgeable on local fly fishing hotspots and was very personable, great first time experience for someone who has never been to an Orvis store before. Great place to go if you need advice or quality gear!” – Derek G.
Missouri: T. Hargrove Fly Fishing – St. Louis
“This is as old school and authentic as a fly shop can possibly be. The knowledge alone available in a local fly shop like this is invaluable, and it’s free.” – Kevin C.
Looking for Montana – Wyoming? Check out Part II later this week!
Did your favorite fly shop not make the list? Let me know what it is and why in the comments below.