By Walt Gasson
People sometimes ask me why I’m such an advocate for the small businesses – the family-owned fly shops, outfitters and other businesses – that make fly fishing happen in America. I don’t make any excuses for that advocacy, but I try not to get real preachy about it either. I usually just tell them a story, and there’s no better story out there than the one from Royal Treatment Fly Fishing in West Linn, Ore.
Royal Treatment opened for business in October 2010 with the goal of offering a place for fly fishers to gather, share stories, expand their knowledge and see the latest the industry has to offer. The owner, Joel La Follette, put a sign on the door that says, “Welcome Home.” It may well have been the ultimate truth in advertising. There’s always fresh coffee. Joel’s step-mom Sally bakes cookies every week so there are always fresh homemade cookies on Saturday. You’re not just a customer here—you’re a friend. This is a shop that feels like home.
The gear is first rate, stocked with the best from Simms, Patagonia, Bauer Fly Reels, Nautilus Reels, Winston, Scott and Sage rods, Burkheimer, G.Loomis, Abel, Hatch, Fishpond, Rio, SA, Airflo and more. Not to mention a large selection of high-quality flies and fly tying materials. Naturally, you can get lots of those products someplace else. But the staff at Royal Treatment know the products they sell. They have both the training and the experience to match the product with the customer’s needs. Try getting that from Amazon.
And speaking of first rate, let’s talk about the guide staff. At Royal Treatment, the guides are independent business people. They know how to take care of their guests. Each is a personal friend of Joel’s and someone he fishes with frequently. Brian Silvey, Marty and Mia Sheppard, Corey Koff, Rob Crandall, Gil Muhleman, Jeff Helfrich and the legendary Dean Finnerty are consummate professionals. Each is skilled in putting their guests on fish, but perhaps more importantly, helping those clients grow as fly anglers. There’s no stronger team of guides anywhere than those at Royal Treatment.
Finally, no discussion of this business would be complete without some consideration of the Tyer’s Table. Joel hosts free fly tying demonstrations on most Saturdays. This is a community of friends who love fishing and tying flies. You may note that this is on the same day as the homemade cookies. An accident? I think not.
Neither is it an accident that Joel and Royal Treatment are shoulder-to-shoulder with the local TU chapters in their annual Christmas for Coho event. Christmas for Coho is a nonprofit project that recycles Christmas trees by placing them in Oregon wetlands to provide habitat for juvenile salmon and other wildlife.
All in all, that’s the beauty of a shop like Royal Treatment—and for that matter the genius of Joel La Follette. It’s not just a place to buy gear—it’s a community center for fly anglers in this part of Oregon and beyond. It’s a place where the stories and the myths and the legends of fly fishing and conservation live. It’s home. That’s why we’re proud to have Joel Lafollette and Royal Treatment Fly Fishing as TU Business members.
Royal Treatment Fly Fishing
Joel La Follette
West Linn, OR 97068