We met Jordan Oelrich a few years back on an awesome lake in the Kamloops area of British Columbia. He was an enthusiastic young and extremely knowledgable guide. We had a killer few days on the water learning everything you could imagine about Stillwater fishing. Recently Jordan launched an online platform to help teach young anglers more about the sport of fly fishing. The courses are held on Zoom and are held over a 5 week period. We had a chance to sit down with Jordan to learn more about the program, and what viewers can expect to learn!
Tell us about Fly Fish University
Fly Fish University is an online fly fishing school I began designing when the COVID pandemic began. I knew that, like many others, my guiding company was going to take a hit of some sort. I wanted to create something new, something that would allow me to reach a greater scope and ultimately teach more people in the sport of fly fishing. I didn’t know what it was going to look like at first, but I knew I wanted to create something special for people.
After conducting a multitude of surveys and asking everyone I knew what they wanted to learn more about fly fishing, I started to see a lot of patterns in people’s answers. I started drafting our first program called Fly Fishing Fundamentals Deep Dive. This is a 5-week training that starts on August 27th, and features 5 weeks of live, weekly lessons designed to teach people to not just learn, but master 5 key areas in their fly fishing game (equipment, casting stroke, fly selection, trout behaviour and understanding how to read water).
What is the advantage of running the lessons on Zoom?
When we learn something new, 24 hours later we have forgotten (on average) 70 percent of the content. The amazing thing with a platform like Zoom is that I can give a live slideshow or video presentation, answer questions throughout the presentation, and then give people a recording which they can return to as many times as they’d like. We learn so well through repetition, and being able to add that aspect when teaching is what makes platforms like Zoom a great one to have access to.
Tell us a little about your background, and why you are so knowledgable about fly fishing in general.
I began in the fly fishing industry at 17 years old as a fly shop employee. I was still finishing high school, and while all my friends were off to college and university, I was making a fairly low income but becoming wealthy in my fly fishing knowledge and expertise. Anybody I could learn from, in person or through books, DVD’s, or seminars, I would absorb the information like a sponge. An average year I would spend between 180 and 220 days on the water, the rest were spent doing whatever I could to fund my next trip. I would sleep in my vehicle if it meant being able to make longer trips. Complete obsession.
I started guiding as an assistant for the shop fishing primarily still waters in British Columbia’s interior, followed by a few years of lodge guiding on moving water. When I found out I was going to be a dad, I started my own guiding company (Interior Fly Fishing Co.) in Kamloops, BC. I’ve been fortunate to fish some amazing destinations in the world, from flats fishing in Central America to Bristol Bay in Alaska. Fly fishing has made my life so amazing, and what makes me happiest is sharing what I can with others who are interested in the sport.
What can someone expect to learn from the course?
Fly Fishing Fundamentals Deep Dive will teach absolutely anybody how to have a rock solid foundation of fly fishing skills in 5 weeks. I believe that if you can understand and master five key areas, you can be incredibly successful in fly fishing on a routine basis (not just when fishing is good/easy). The first of these areas is your equipment. I’ve taught and fished with so many people who had many pieces of the puzzle in the right place, but their equipment was seriously holding them back.
The second is your casting stroke. Understanding what some common faults, myths, and mistakes are, as well as a simplistic approach to creating a reliable casting stroke, are absolutely imperative. I have some metaphors and mental images that act as reminders for me when I’m in a high pressure situation. It’s easy to have a great casting stroke when there is not a 28″ rainbow cruising the shoal in front of you, or a bus of a brown trout sipping emergers within your reach. Training both the brain and body will create a casting stroke that is reliable under any situation or circumstance.
The third is fly selection and basic entomology. Reaching into your fly box and knowing what you’re tying on, but not knowing exactly why you’re tying it on, is just a step above going in with a blindfold on. The fourth and fifth revolve around understanding trout behavior, and being able to read the water. More importantly, being able to read water quickly and be able to make an educated decision.
This course teaches all of the above, with the final two lessons focusing on Stillwater tactics, followed by moving water tactics. I wanted this to be the course I wish I could’ve given to myself when I started, and to the people, I would row down the river that couldn’t cast their $1,500 setup more than 12 feet. I truly want this to be able to transform people’s fly fishing abilities and allow them a greater sense of confidence on the water.
Who is the course made for?
This course is designed for beginner and intermediate anglers. Though it would seem like it’s targeted strictly towards people that are entry-level, I have met a lot of people with years of experience that still struggled from not having a solid foundational skillset. Having a lot of years experience doing something incorrectly does not put you at a great advantage over someone who’s just starting. In short, this course is for anybody that is eager to expand their fly fishing knowledge and skillset.
If someone signs up and doesn’t enjoy the first course, are they able to get their money back?
Absolutely. If you get to the end of the first lesson and decide this just simply isn’t for you, I am happy to offer a 110% refund. That isn’t a typo or a gimmick, when I was drafting the outline and content for this course, I really developed a belief that this program will be worth a lot to people. We also offer a 3x payment plan, which allows people instant access at $99. Enrolments close on Sunday, August 23 at midnight PST, and will likely be closed until we run this program again next year.
If you are interested in learning more about this course, click here!