Orvis Launches Fly Fishing Reports Web Site

June 2, 2009 By: Marshall Cutchin

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.”