Our Founder, Lisa Genovese, sat down with Aaron Feltham, General Manager of Bow River Troutfitters. This super-niche retail store in Calgary, Alberta, is an all-in fly-fishing store. They have plenty of retail in store and online, they provide instructions to all levels of fly fishers, and they’re an in-store and online outfitter who also offer guided tours for sport fishing. They run guided trips throughout the Bow River in Alberta, often in mountain streams in the Southwest part of the province. They even do a little bit of hosted travel in Mexico, Belize and other Central American countries!
Curious to learn how fly fishing can create ecological advocates and a sense of peace and calm for all? Read on!
There has been a long-standing belief that fly fishing is both challenging and only for elite fishermen with plenty of money to spend. But once you step foot into Bow River Troutfitters and speak with Aaron or his staff, you quickly understand this is a misconception, not reality. Aaron shared, “There’s a […] thought that it’s really hard and really expensive and really elite. It’s not! I mean, in Alberta especially, you buy a license then you go fish. Whether you do that with thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment, or hundreds of dollars, or tens of dollars – it doesn’t really matter.”
The beautiful thing about fishing is its ability to clear your mind, bring you a sense of peace and calm, and get you outside enjoying the great outdoors. Aaron got into fishing when he was younger because him and his friend felt it would be better to enjoy time on the water, instead of on the couch. Fishing is an accessible sport that is great for any age group and any financial status. This immersion into the great outdoors not only benefits those that fish, it can directly benefit their environment too.
“You know you start paying attention to some of the bugs flying around because that’s what the fish are eating and those are key indicators of healthy water. Whether it’s the individual’s life being better or just more advocates for the outdoors and stream or river quality awareness.”
Beyond breaking down misconceptions and turning sportsmen into ecological advocates, Bow River Troutfitters gives value to their clients the old-fashioned way. A brick and mortar store provides an experience, unlike the one online. Online shopping, while valuable in many regards, loses out on personalization. When you order a fly, a new line, or rod online from a company like Amazon, you’re not getting feedback on how these purchases will impact your own fishing experience, based on your preferences or skill level. Aaron and his highly-trained, specialist staff can give you advice and personality unattainable online.
Aaron laughs, “No question is a stupid question, and we’ve probably had it at one point or another as well.” Creating an open community for both his staff and his customers is a priority for Aaron. This also helps to deconstruct the stereotype that fly fishing is only for an elite class of people. He has everyone from high school teenagers to a retiree fly fishing expert employed at Bow River Troutfitters, which provides greater value to his customers who fish at all different levels of expertise. This one-on-one advice can’t be found online. And his customers certainly agree.
Watch the full interview below: