Learn To Fly Fish Program

The GGACC's Learn to Fly Fish Program (LTFF) is offered to GGACC Club members who have already learned to make basic casts with a fly rod and want to put their new casting ability to good use on the water. The goal of the LTFF program is to teach fly fishing knowledge and skills to beginners so they can better enjoy our great sport.

Through a combination of classroom teaching, in-the-pond casting instruction, and mentored or guided fishing outings (called "fish-outs"), the comprehensive 3 year LTFF program helps its students learn both how to fly fish and where to go in Northern California and beyond. It is one of the most popular programs offered by the GGACC.

NOTE: The LTFF program and its fish-outs are not intended for the club's more experienced fly fishers, or other members in general. The Club's Rendezvous (Rondy) Program is designed for membership at large. "Rondies" are not mentored and are therefore generally designed for experienced fly fishers.

The LTFF's mentored program is three years long for most of its students. The first two years (Level 1 and Level 2) are focused on teaching fly fishing fundamentals and target trout as the primary species. The third year (Level 3) explores trout as well as other species, including shad, bass, stripers, surf perch, and steelhead.

LTFF students can expect to make many new friends and hopefully some life-long fishing buddies. A key element of the program is the opportunity to engage with other students and club members in all activities.

The LTFF program is open only to GGACC members who have paid club dues for each year of their participation in the program. You can join the club and pay annual club dues online at the Club's website: www.ggacc.org. Dues paid in December cover the following calendar year for new or current members.

The LTFF program runs on an annual basis. Prospective students for each year's classes must sign-up, beginning in December of the prior year, for the first posted February Class Day for the Level 1 or Level 2 classes on the club Events calendar at ggacc.org. Enrollment is on a "first to register" basis. Students from the previous year's Level 1 or Level 2 classes will have registration priority, and will receive an advance email alert for signing up for the coming year's Level 2 or Level 3 classes.

Entering participants in the LTFF program should be able to make both a roll cast and an overhead cast with a single-hand fly rod to a distance of 25-40 feet. All students should be able to demonstrate these minimum casting skills prior to formal entry into the program. We have learned through experience that it is important to require this level of casting proficiency for entry into the program. Fish-outs can cost the student several hundred dollars, and it's not only frustrating, but a poor return on investment to be struggling with casting fundamentals on the river or lake, when you can hone your casting skills for free at our fabulous GGACC casting ponds.

The casting qualifier skills can be found at the end of this program description. All new registrants will be asked to successfully demonstrate per this qualifier at one of two events scheduled in January.

Students should have (or will purchase after the classroom sessions) their own fly rod (preferably a 9' long 5 weight) with fly reel and a matching floating fly line (i.e., a WF5F line); breathable chest waders; wading boots; and a wading staff. Outfitted with this minimum equipment, they receive specialized casting instruction in the ponds during Level 1 and 2 classes (when club rods are also available) and can participate in the LTFF program's fish-outs offered for their class.

Those coming into the program with previous fly fishing experience may petition the Program Director (see contact info below) for written approval to skip the Level 1 class and register for the Level 2 class instead. This approval will be based on a verbal or written explanation of the applicant's prior experience, which at a minimum should include the ability to successfully fish small streams on their own, including the ability to select their own flies, tie up their own two-fly nymphing and dry-dropper rigs, and wade safely. Having fly fished only with guides is not considered sufficient experience to qualify for Level 2.

LTFF students are strongly encouraged to attend the Club's monthly Free Casting Lessons at the GGACC's ponds, and the Skills Building Program lectures (also free). These lessons and lectures are usually offered on the 2nd Saturday of every month.

Level 1 and 2 students must be enrolled in their respective "class day" events before signing up for any of that class's scheduled fish-outs. A release form must be signed to participate in fish-outs. Not all students can be guaranteed a spot in each fish-out since the number of openings is limited. An online wait list option is offered whenever the event limit is reached. The Program maintains a strict "no refund" policy, however if a registrant finds they need to cancel they can work with the Program Leader to find potential replacements from the waitlist on a best-effort basis.

The fees charged for the classes and fish-outs are the minimum necessary to cover the LTFF program's costs. The Program is managed with volunteers, including the Program Leader

The annual LTFF fee due at registration into the Program is as follows:

Level 1 $100/year

Level 2 $125/year

Level 3 $125/year

Pending weather, water conditions, availability, and participation, the generally planned fish-out destinations for each level in the Program are shown below. These may change year-to-year and Level 1 and some destinations will be open to two, or all three levels.

Level 1 Beginner Fish-outs: Upper McCloud, North Fork Yuba River, Yosemite

Level 2 Fish-outs: Luk Lake (primarily for bass), Lower Sacramento River, Truckee River, NF Stanislaus River, Hat Creek

Level 3 Intermediate Fish-outs: Pyramid Lake (Nevada), Lower Sac (for shad), Pacifica Surf (for surf perch), Missouri River (Montana), SF Bay or O'Neil Forebay (for striped bass), Upper Sac & McCloud Rivers, and Trinity River (for steelhead)

Students will pay a fee when registering for each fish-out to cover expenses. These fees will vary from $100 to several hundred dollars based on the particular destination. Fees generally cover guide costs (if applicable), supplied flies, and lodging and food expenses. In some cases the students will arrange their own lodging and food at their own expense. Fish-outs are primarily held on weekends, usually including at least either Friday or Monday or both.

The GGACC Learn To Fly Fish program is very popular, and is usually over-subscribed. We have expanded enrollment in recent years, but seek to balance the quality of instruction and the experience with availability to as many as possible. As such, expectations are that if you are one of the fortunate to gain entry into the program, you will readily engage in all classroom and on-the-ponds instruction, as well as as many of the fish-outs as available. If a student finds that they are unable to participate as expected, we will ask that they step aside and allow a wait-listed student to replace them.

For any questions about the LTFF program, please contact the Program Director

Bruce Greenwood 650-387-5302 brucegre@pacbell.net


LTFF Casting Pre-Requisite Qualifier

  • General standards for every task:
    • 5 attempts allowed
    • Loops can be any size
    • Leader must land relatively straight
    • No limit on the number of false casts
    • Only a few "tailing loops" are allowed (i.e., end of fly line crossing bottom leg of loop)
    • Only a few "ticks" are allowed (tick = fly touching water before hitting target)
  • Station #1 - Accuracy
    • Hit target rings at 20', 30', and 40'
    • 5 attempts per target allowed
    • No need to strip in the fly after an attempt
  • Station #2 - Roll Cast
    • Make a roll cast with fly landing near a 30' target (this is not an accuracy task)
  • Station #3 - Change of Direction
    • Make a 30 degree change of direction cast with at least 1 false cast
    • Change direction once to the left and once to the right
    • Fly must land near a 30' target (this is not an accuracy task)
  • Station #4 - Line Management & Slipping Line
    • Demonstrate use of the line hand when slipping line from 30' to 40' while false casting several times
    • Fly must begin near the 30' target and land near the 40' target (this is not an accuracy task)

Upcoming events

    • 04 Dec 2021
    • 7:00 AM - 6:30 PM
    • San Luis Reservoir State Recreation Area off CA-152
    • 0
    Join waitlist

    RESCHEDULED:   This 2021 LTFF Level 3/4 fish-out for Striped Bass on O'Neill Forebay has been scheduled to 7:00AM -- 5:00PM on Saturday, December 4.

    This is due to an algal bloom warning advisory which has been issued for the O’Neill Forebay.



    This 2021 LTFF Level 3/4 fish-out for Striped Bass on O'Neill Forebay is scheduled for 7:00AM -- 5:00PM on Saturday, October  2. The O'Neill Forebay is in the San Luis Reservoir State Recreation Area (SRA) on CA Hwy 152 just over Pacheco Pass.

    The limited spots in this fish-out date on Oct. 2 is reserved for 2021 registered "Learn to Fly Fish" (LTFF) Level 3/4 Students ONLY -- unless specifically announced otherwise by the LTFF Program Director Bruce Greenwood.  

    Registration will be limited to 5 students.   Anyone registering for this O'Neill Striper fish-out should attend the Striper Clinic on Wednesday evening, September 8, 2021, in the Anglers Lodge that will serve as the pre-meeting for these fish-outs

    Registered students should also attend (1) Shooting Head Clinic by Steve Morikawa on June 19th, and (2) Float Tube Safety Clinic by Jeff Hogan on August 7th.  Please register for these LTFF-only events on the GGACC events calendar.

    LTFF Level 3/4 students should consider these three clinics as skills building classes for their class curriculum.

    Students must bring their own (or rented or borrowed) personal watercraft for this fish-out.  There are not any local rental shops that we know of out there.  

    Located in the Central Valley, this body of water can be exposed to strong winds, in which case it will be closed to all watercraft and this fish-out could be cut short or cancelled on short notice (there is little point in fly fishing from the shore in high winds).  If it has to be cancelled beforehand for weather reasons, all registrations fees will be refunded. 

    The entrance to this Forebay (which is just below the dam since it happens to also be an Afterbay) is on the north side of Hwy CA-152E when driving east from Gilroy over the Pacheco Pass (before you get to Los Banos). Although the one-day fish-out will officially end at 5:00pm, you also have the option of staying until almost sunset that evening (when the action can be very productive if the wind cooperates) and fishing with others in the group or independently. But all watercraft must be off the water at sunset or face a fine from the park rangers.

    This is a wonderful Striped Bass fishery, with a great many fish in the "schoolie" size of 13" to 16" making high numbers of landed fish possible.  Even though the fish in this O'Neill Forebay and the main reservoir are a land-locked sub-species of Striped Bass, this reservoir also holds the record for the largest Striped Bass caught in California.

    Bill Scharninghausen will mentor this LTFF fish-out.  As an extremely experienced Northern California angler, Bill also mentors our Surf outing each year.  

    Meet spot:  We will meet up with Bill at 7:00am just inside the Forebay park entrance (off to the right) where all watercraft, waders, boots, and fins will be inspected by a park ranger for invasive species (be sure that ALL gear is clean and totally DRY!  Any damp gear will be cause for rejecting your boating permit.)  Those expecting to fish for two days or leaving the SRA for any reasons will need to have their gear bundled and tagged by the ranger at the end of the first day or before driving out of the gate. 

    Safety:  Use of your own personal watercraft will be required for this fish-out, and wearing a PFD will be mandatory. Personal watercraft can be float tubes or Watermasters (either of these work best), pontoon boats, or kayaks. The Forebay can be quite windy so a good anchor may be helpful if you need to stay put while changing flies or rigging.  Under no circumstances however should you try to rely on your anchor to hold your position more than momentarily.  Seek refuge on the shore, not at anchor, in any marginal wind. 

    Gear required:  A float tube or pontoon boat; chest waders; at least one wading belt; a PFD (to be worn at all times on this water); a 7-9wt fly rod; fast sinking shooting heads such as Type 6 or T-14 (Bill prefers to use an integrated shooting head of 250-300 grains on a 7wt rod); 15-20# nylon tippet; clousers or other striper flies; stripping fingers, stripping glove, or stretchy tape for this purpose; forceps or pliers; nippers; your own lunch and drinks; sunglasses; and finally, rain and sun protection for on the water, including a hat with straps or a buff to secure a billed hat. You don't need a lot of gear or flies, so keep it simple.

    Camping / Lodging:  There are options for both camping in the rec area itself and staying in local motels.  For more info about the rec area, especially the two campgrounds on O'Neill Forebay (San Luis Creek Campground which is reservable, and Medeiros Primitive Campground which is on a first-come basis only and not as convenient) and also about the warning light system controlling watercraft access on the forebay, go to:  https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=558  

    Students shall make their own arrangements for staying overnight Friday, Saturday, and/or Sunday nights. To make a reservation for San Luis Creek Campground, go to:  https://www.reservecalifornia.com/CaliforniaWebHome/Facilities/AdvanceSearch.aspx 

    Note:  We discovered that you can no longer choose your camp site online. If that is the case again this year, the camp host at the San Luis Creek Campground (or at the SRA gate) may be assigning camp sites upon your arrival. 

    There is at least three motel options (including a couple Motel 6's) no more than 4 miles east of the SRA but before Los Banos (near the I-5/ CA-152 interchange), but many more options in Gustine and further east in Los Banos.  Google for "Hotels near San Luis Reservoir State Recreation Area". 

    The registration fee for this fish-out is $175.00, which includes a few sample flies, but does NOT include any gratuity, meals, the rec area access fee / daily boating permit, camping fee, or other lodging cost.  

    For more information, contact:

    Bruce Greenwood   650-387-5302   brucegre@pacbell.net

    • 05 Mar 2022
    • 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
    • GGACC Lodge
    • 33

    This is your opportunity to register as a new entrant to the popular GGACC Learn To Fly Fish program.

    At 12pm Noon on Wednesday, December 8th this "event" will be open to registration.   

    Visit this event listing at GGACC.ORG and complete the registration process beginning at that time.  Registration will be enabled at 12 noon and open until the class is filled.   A wait list will also be available.

    You must be a GGACC in current standing (2022 annual membership fees paid in full) in order to register for the first year of this program.   In addition to being a current GGACC member, the $100 LTFF registration fee covers materials and program overhead.

    If you have a family membership, and wish to register more than one person in the program, please register each individually.  The LTFF program is open to members 18 years and older.

    For details on the Learn To Fly Fish program, please see the program description at GGACC.ORG, or here: 


    Note that all registrants will also need to successfully demonstrate basic casting skills in one of two qualifying sessions to be scheduled in January.    Details can be found in the program description.

    If you have more questions please contact the LTFF program leader:

    Bruce Greenwood   brucegre@pacbell.net

    • 09 Mar 2022
    • 9:00 AM
    • on line at GGACC.ORG

    This is the registration event for Levels 2, 3, and 4 of the Learn to Fly Fish Program for 2022.

    If you are registering for Level 1 (redo), and have not spoken directly with Bruce Greenwood, please contact him directly for registration.  brucegre@pacbell.net

    You should only be registering at this site if you participated in the Learn To Fly Fish program in 2021 and are renewing for 2022, or you have spoken directly to the program leader, Bruce Greenwood  (brucegre@pacbell.net).

    You must be a GGACC in current standing (2022 annual membership fees paid in full) in order to register for the first year of this program.   In addition to being a current GGACC member, the LTFF registration fee covers materials and program overhead.

    If you have a family membership, and wish to register more than one person in the program, please register each individually. 

    Select the appropriate registration type (Level 2, 3, 4) and complete your registration and payment through PayPal.

    You will need a registration code provided through the invitation email sent to you from Bruce Greenwood.

Questions? Please direct your inquiries to the appropriate mail box:

General Information:


Rondy Program:


Our Mailing Address:  Golden Gate Angling and Casting Club  ·  P.O. Box 591476  ·  San Francisco, CA 94159

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