In the midst of a world that has been stripped of normality, we have grown familiar to weekly changes in protocol and the reasoning of what is right and wrong. One thing that has been held true throughout the last 5 months is social distancing; not only in line at your local stores, but in your local waters.
After a long 3 months of lockdown people have had a lot of time to think about their passions and hobbies. Now, as we work our way through the opening of the 4 stages, people are really distancing themselves from their home and turning to the river for some well needed therapy.
Most who have experienced fly fishing will say that there is something special about driving beyond the reach of cell towers, immersing yourself into the water and methodically casting a line through the air in hopes that your line will soon come tight with a fish on the other end.
Not only is it a special feeling for some but an actual therapeutic experience for others. Idaho has numerous programs for groups or individuals to join. Reel Recovery is a group that conducts retreats for men that are living with all types of cancer. Wooly Buggers is specialized for kids 8-16 teaching youth about fish, the fisheries and the techniques of fly fishing. Women Fly Fishers of Idaho is geared for women anglers of all skill levels and those who would like to learn or increase their knowledge about fly fishing… just to name a few.
Throughout my years of being involved in the industry I have learned two major things. We can not grow new rivers to fish and we can not stop the growth of the popularity of fly fishing. The number of fly fishermen and women are growing exponentially year after year and that only means one thing; busier rivers. So what do we do next? The only thing we can do is what our two local fly shops (Three Rivers Ranch & Idaho Angler) have already done; embrace the change, become more involved in the proper growth of the industry, and spend the time to teach individuals the proper etiquette of fly fishing itself.
For years I would get mad when my favorite fishing hole was taken or when someone would slide in and start fishing right next to me. I’ve witnessed two grown men almost duel it out on the banks of a popular river over who was allowed to fish that river. But is any of that really necessary? We live in IDAHO! We have more than 107,000 miles of river, that’s 3,000 more miles than any other state! We have over 2,000 lakes that are named and a thousand more that remain unnamed. We can’t forget to mention Idaho’s vast wilderness, if we add up all the acreage of wilderness both with roads and roadless we are second to only Alaska.
As my Grandpa Dean has ingrained into my brain I hope to do so in yours. “One can spend every weekend of their entire life exploring every inch of what Idaho has to offer and never need to cross the border into another state.” So with a fly rod in one hand and a map in the other, please step outside and enjoy all that Idaho has to offer… the right way, Fly Fishing Distancing!
Owner of Fishing With Feathers