Is Fly Fishing Peaking During COVID-19?

Yeah, yeah, we know it’s probably already been said a thousand times that fly fishing and fishing in general “invented social distancing” or whatever, but it’s hard to deny the drastic increase in interest and spending fly fishing is experiencing right now. From the industry’s and new angler standpoints, this outbreak is being compared to (and exceeding) the flood of new entrants into the pastime after “A River Runs Through It” premiered in 1992. The current surge of increase in the sport has given the fly industry hope after many businesses and retailers felt the initial impact of the COVID outbreak earlier this year. More and more states are reporting record-breaking license sales and some retailers have seen increased business, for instance, according to Angling Trade, “David Leinweber of Angler’s Covey said he spent April wondering if he’d even have a business in the summer, but when he opened in May he sold 1,000 flies in a single day.”

Anglers everywhere are taking the opportunity of working from home and the excuse of social distancing to pick up a fly rod and learn themselves, and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome them into the fly fishing fold.

Kirk Deeter and the team at Angling Trade put together a series of fantastic op-eds on the subject, and those will serve as mile markers for our progression through this pandemic as a pastime and as an industry.

“The Long Cast: Have Faith in What Fly-Fishing Business Might Look Like on the Other Side of the COVID-19 Pandemic”

“How and Why (Some) Fly-Fishing Businesses Are Making Boatloads of Money Right Now…”

But the fly fishing industry isn’t the only group abuzz about our pastime, national news outlets and publications have taken to their studios and keyboards to expound upon why fly fishing is having a moment right now, with new pieces being released nearly monthly promoting angling as the perfect way to social distance in the outdoors.

The Today Show aired a full segment on “Why Fishing has Become the Hottest New Pandemic Sport” and the Washington Post has continued its months-long heralding of fly fishing in a piece titled “Casting About for a Pandemic Friendly Pastime: 8 Reasons to Consider Fly Fishing“. Watching fly fishing become a larger part of the public conversation has been fascinating from our perspective and we’re optimistic about what the rest of 2020 holds for our little corner of the outdoors industry.

Are you seeing more anglers (fly or otherwise) on your waters? Tell us about it in the comments!

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  1. Fly fishing is definitely growing in popularity here in the Carolinas (western NC mostly.) What I’m seeing is growth from both ends of the spectrum–longtime bass anglers (baitcaster crowd) who see the challege, beauty, adventure, and “no boat required” aspect of fly fishing, and ask to join in on one of our excursions. Then there are the total newbies to fishing–some are single women–who are wading into the sport if someone will just invite them. One never tires of hearing, “You mean a big trout will eat . . . that tiny fly?”

  2. We in the flyfishing world have practicing social distancing to keep from tangling with someone else’s line. This has been going on since fly fishing was started. Big trout eat small, tiny flies and bugs just like the little ones do.

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