Teaching on tools for local trout

Fly Fishing 101 class aims to send students away river-ready

Posted: Friday, March 19, 2010

Tony Soltys gets a kick out of hearing stories from his students about how they've been putting instruction from his Fly Fishing 101 class to work.

Photo Courtesy Of Tony Soltys
Photo Courtesy Of Tony Soltys

"One guy, back in February, went out fishing already at the salt chuck - which is admirable, really - and he didn't catch anything," Soltys said. "But the excitement was there. And that's good to see."

Soltys said that's why he's been teaching the class for 14 years.

"If we can get people fly casting, there's so much they can get out of it," he said.

The workshop, made possible in part by the Community Schools, covers everything from how to tie flies that work in Juneau's rivers to how to cast for them, and when.

The final classes on basic fly fishing instruction will be held March 29 and 31, from 7-9 p.m. in the Thunder Mountain High School gym. There will be a separate Fly Casting 101 class held on April 12 and 14.

Soltys said the course has evolved into a hands-on interactive exploration of the basics of fly fishing. His goal is to give students the tools to leave the classroom and head straight for the river.

Students begin with learning how to tie a "secret" fly that Soltys said will "fish" when nothing else is working.

"We go over one fly pattern that was shown to me by an old-timer here that out-fished everything I was using," Soltys said. "I'm convinced 90 percent of the time, you'll be doing as well as you would anywhere (by fishing this fly)."

They'll also learn to cast a fly rod and present their newly tied fly to a fish in a way that mimics the real thing. Soltys also touches on how to time local salmon and dolly varden runs and will evaluate students' existing gear, if requested.

The class is designed for beginners but all are welcome.

"We get folks of all ages," Soltys said. "They (younger students) take to it like a duck to water. Then we have some older folks who just want to see what they've been missing. We get the whole spectrum."

Soltys said there's still room in the class and those interested should contact him at 789-9159 or at tsoltys@aol.com. Cost for the class is $21.

"It's a fun class. It's meant to be fun and it is."

• Do you have Outdoors news? Contact Outdoors editor AbbyLowell at 523-2271 or abby.lowell@juneauempire.com.

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