Geoff Moore grew up in the Canadian bush where his father worked as a bush pilot transporting loggers, miners and sportsmen deep into the British Columbia wilderness known as the Cariboo-Chilcotin. He cast his first fly rod into a frozen lake when he was 5-years old and never looked back.
After winning the National Junior Motocross Championship and a career skiing downhill at 145-feet per second on the Canadian National Ice Racing Team, Moore returned to his native Williams Lake to fly and guide sportsmen into one of the largest wilderness areas left in North America. He recently slowed down long enough to offer this fly-fishing primer.
“I think the most important thing about getting started in fishing is curiosity and desire to try it,” says Moore. “Add a dose of patience and some willingness to be out in the elements in almost any weather and you will more than likely enjoy yourself. If you’re drawn to be active outdoors and enjoy nature you are halfway there.”
Moore insists that, unlike its reputation, fly-fishing doesn’t require a lot of investment to get started. Most local fly-fishing shops loan gear to aspiring anglers and they can set you up with the proper flies for the conditions. They also offer intro classes. Nor do you need to lay down big bucks for specialized outerwear as casting from the shoreline or riverbank is a great way to fish, and practice. “I would say dress to match the environment you’re in,” Moore advises, adding that you will have to pay for a permit or license in most North American districts.
Should you wish to jump in with your waders on, most guide services provide gear for their clients. There are also guiding services across the continent ranging from Maine lakes to Snake River day floats in Jackson, Wyoming to exclusive heli-assisted fishing at Nimmo Bay Resort in Canada’s Queen Charlotte Islands.
Like all the best recreation fly-fishing contains myriad nuances, such as knowing what fly to put on when, a decision that depends on everything from invertebrate hatch times to the strength of the breeze coming off the water. Flies aside, when you learn to lay your line down so the fish only notices your fly, you’ve made it as an amateur angler.
“One of the beautiful elements to learning how to fish is it is a timeless pursuit can’t start to early or too late in life,” Moore concludes, “I will however add a few words of caution… if you do indeed get hooked by the fishing bug like I did, it may open a lot of windows that you have yet to look through.”
Moore remains Exhibit A. “In my case as a youth in BC I naturally participated in the culture of fishing and hunting. From those roots I branched into becoming a hunting and fishing guide, a bush pilot and wildlife photographer…all because my Dad handed me a stick with a line and a hook in our backyard of BC.”
Step into your local fly-fishing shop and watch your own windows fly open.