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)

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

General Information:

club.ggacc@gmail.com

Rondy Program:

rondy.ggacc@gmail.com

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

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