There’s a great deal to be said for doing one thing and doing it with excellence. My friend Todd Tanner and the folks at School of Trout do that with fly fishing. Boy howdy, do they ever. They bring together the planet’s finest and most iconic fly fishers to share their experiences, their knowledge, their passion, and their accumulated wisdom with their students.
It’s a really simple goal. If you attend one of their classes, they want you to walk away feeling confident that you have the necessary skills to succeed on any trout stream you might fish.
They cover it all: trout behavior, equipment and gear, insects, knots, casting, line control and manipulation, reading the water, wading and stalking, choosing your fly, playing and landing your fish, releasing your catch. You’ll learn about dry flies, nymphs and streamers; about fly rods and reels; about lines, leaders & tippets; about when and how to take photos … and when it makes more sense to simply look around and smile. Ultimately, you’ll discover how to become a fly fisher, and you’ll do so under the tutelage of the world’s finest instructors.
The School of Trout is not for everyone. There are plenty of fly fishers who are happy to spend $600 per day on a guide, and to sit in a drift boat and chuck nymphs under a bobber until the cows come home. That’s not what they teach here. They believe there’s far more to fly fishing, and they prefer students who are engaged and curious and excited about their time on the water; who are enthralled by the prospect of immersing themselves in the natural world, and who are eager to learn and grow.
That’s why their instructors aren’t just expert fly fishermen. They’re also writers and photographers and artists and teachers and naturalists. They’ll give you the tools to succeed at the same time they help you open your eyes to an incredible new world. Their lineup reads like an all-star team of fly angling: Tom Rosenbauer, Craig Mathews, Kirk Deeter, Bob White, Tim Romano, Hilary Hutcheson, John Juracek, Jeff Currier, Steve McFarland and Pat McCabe. This is like learning to play baseball from the 1998 Yankees – a team that’s greater than the sum of its parts.
But the key here is Todd Tanner. If this was your high school instead of your trout school, he’d be the principal – the cool one, the one you liked. He’s the one who makes it happen. Todd’s love affair with trout started more than 50 years ago on the stream that ran by his home. He spent years guiding anglers on the Henry’s Fork, the Madison, the Yellowstone and other western rivers before becoming the fly fishing columnist for Sporting Classics. He’s published in pretty much every forum in the hunting and fishing world, plus many beyond that. In his role as president of Conservation Hawks, he’s been instrumental in organizing hunters, anglers and the outdoor industry on the issue of climate change.
Please join me on Friday July 16 on Instagram Live at 2 PM MDT @troutunlimited when I talk with Todd Tanner @schooloftroutusa about fish, fishing and more!