Thursday, February 28, 2013

Potomac Fly Rodders

When I found out I was heading to D.C. one of the first things I asked TRCP's governor affairs associate, Brandon, to help me with, besides arranging meeting with staff members of Representative Walden, DeFazio and Senator Merkley and Wayen was to make a connection with the Tidal Potomac Fly Rodders.  I'm excited to help out at their next casting clinic, March 3rd, at the boathouse at Fletcher's Cove. Come Join Us.

Dan Davala founded the Tidal Potomac Fly Rodders in 2009 to draw attention to the incredible fly fishing opportunities they have right in D.C. on the tidal, Potomac River, and to create and educate a community of anglers that look after this resource and share it with others.

Here is Dan's story on how the TPFR's got started.

It occurred to me that such a club was necessary because so few people seemed to realize what a treasure they had in their own backyard.  After taking a job in 2008 as the Fishing Manager at the Orvis Store in Arlington, VA, it didn’t take me long to realize several common trends.  Most of my customers “weren’t fishing as much as they’d like” due primarily to busy schedules.  When they were getting out, they were often driving many hours just to fish, and usually on small, pressured trout streams.  And perhaps most disturbingly, I had customers who hadn’t fished at all since they moved to the D.C. area for work, which in some cases was many years prior.
The solution seemed obvious and necessary to me - teach people how to fish their home water, encourage them to fish more often by fishing local, and set a precedent of sharing the information learned with others rather than keeping it to themselves. We also had no representation of the Federation of Fly Fishers anywhere nearby, and I am a big advocate of the FFF’s Certified Casting Instructor program and education efforts, so I saw a great opportunity to connect the area fly fishing community with this organization. 

 Add the fact that the Potomac was listed by several conservation groups as one of the most threatened rivers in America around the same time frame, the need was more pressing then ever.  So in April of 2009, Tidal Potomac Fly Rodders was born.

It really is just a matter of perspective.  One can see the Potomac as a large, intimidating, polluted river flowing through a big city.  Or, one can choose to see it for what it is; a wild, tidal river with no dams from the fall/tide line all the way to the mouth.  A river with annual migrations of anadromous fish that are improving rather than declining, a wide range of resident species to target year ‘round, and exotic non-native species that are here to stay for better or worse.  And a river with miles and miles of open, public shoreline with nearly unlimited access.

Urban Lines - Fish Where You Are from The Fly Fishing Film Tour on Vimeo.

Tidal Potomac Fly Rodders now boasts and on-line membership of nearly 1000 fly anglers, most living in the immediate D.C. area.  Our forum is vibrant and active, with members sharing knowledge, experience, trip reports, and future plans with one another all week long.  We offer monthly BEER TIEs where as many as 100 members gather at an area bar to share stories and tying tactics while making new friends over a pint or two.  And at least as often, we gather club members on the banks of our river and teach or improve upon the casting techniques necessary to fish this river more effectively, including the use of two-handed rods. 

 We continue to grow our volunteer and instructor pool each year so we can continue and improve on this good work.  And, in connecting people to this resource in a tangible way, we are better able to connect our membership with other great conservation groups in the area such as TRCP and others.  There is no profit in TPFR whatsoever, but there is incalculable value to the many incredible relationships formed as a result.  This is really at the core of what the club is all about.