Orvis Launches Fly Fishing Reports Web Site

The past several years have produced many Web-based efforts to provide real-time reports for local fly fishing. It is, in a sense, a holy grail for traveling anglers, destination fly shops and booking agents, because so much of fly fishing depends on current conditions. But local information is ever-changing — especially when you throw in meta data like hatches, fly patterns, and water flows — and the model for paying for constant updating just doesn’t exist yet. That’s why a company like Orvis may have a better chance than most of getting it right.
Yesterday Orvis’s Tom Rosenbauer gave us an exclusive peek at their new “Fly Fishing Reports and Conditions” mini-site, which goes public today. Rosenbauer described the challenge of doing map-based fishing reports: “The problem everyone seems to run into is that volunteer writers either lose interest after a while or aren’t always as careful of what they report as they should be. We’ve selected the authors carefully and require them to update their reports at least once a week. Plus we’ve tried to pack in most of what a fly fisher needs: not just pattern and gear recommendations, but USGS streamflow data for trout streams, tide charts for saltwater, current weather and a localized Google Maps interface.”
Most of the reporting is done by Orvis-endorsed lodges, outfitters, guides or fly shop employees, but with many locations yet to appear, I’m guessing that was a matter of convenience. In the end, all that matters is that the reports aren’t overly optimistic but instead focus on day-to-day conditions. (We can get optimism by visiting the local fly shop in person and reading the semi-daily scribblings on the chalkboard.) So when I read the report for the Clark Fork in Montana and see something like the following, I’m hopeful: “The Clark Fork is blown out and will remain unfishable for 3 or 4 weeks. Some of the smaller tributaries like Fish Creek, St.Regis River and the Thompson river might be fishable by the weekend.”

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  • Bill Ruorke

    Already done very well by FFC (Fly Fishing Community). I checked out the site and it looks awfully similar.
    Orvis needs to realize they can’t compete with a network like FFC because their own Orvis network isn’t big enough.

  • Marshall,

    I own and run the Fly Fishing Community site and when I read this article I felt I had to respond.
    Fly Fishing Community does an excellent job with reporting and has a much larger guide and shop network than Orvis does. Every report is attached to a specific body of water that has every piece of metadata you mentioned and then some.

    We don’t have a web based effort… we have almost 10,000 fly anglers interacting and sharing every day… they share reports too.

    What Orvis has put together is simply a less robust application that we have with a fraction of the features and related content.

    If you would take the time to review the reports we have you’d see that we have realistic, honest reports like the one you mentioned about the Clark Fork.

    Yesterday our members logged 8 new reports and since we went live with reports two years ago we have over 1,300 reports. What’s more realistic about FFC is that it’s not just the “pros” who report. It’s everyone. That is much more important if you ask me. You get VERY realistic information on Fly Fishing Community.

    You can read the reports here: http://www.flyfishingcommunity.com/mvc/view/view_waters.cfm?page_indicator_a=reports

  • Iso

    I see a bunch of reports from guides that are pretty optimististic on your site as well. And just choosing the two rivers I’d be interested in reading (the Farmington and the Ausable) show reports from only 2 different sources and they are definately not updated weekly.