You Belong Here: Elitism, Fly Fishing and a vision for a better future.

A discussion of how elitism impacts fly fishing and how the community is creating a better future.

11/30/20232 min read

It seems like every day we see a response on our social media about how fly fishing is an elitist sport. To many people in the fly fishing community this may seem like a misconception, and in many cases it is, but the thought is still prevalent within many angling communities. As someone who has been fly fishing my entire life, and has grown up around guides, I’ve even experienced it. For many that haven’t grown up in the community, they think twice about the elitism they face when trying to start learning the sport. Elitism does exist in fly fishing, but it does not have to define the sport. Many have experienced the community’s unrivaled willingness to collaborate and share knowledge. By amplifying this positive culture, we can change the stereotype of fly fishing as elitist.

It’s important to talk about this issue, as bringing it to the forefront of discussion can encourage change. However, to the new angler looking to enjoy their first day on the water, this hyper-awareness of elitism can actually become an unintended point of friction. We may be telling beginners that they have something to be afraid of— that they should be timid about learning and asking questions. The message that should be propagated above all else is simple: you belong.

As a community, we have the power to promote our message of inclusion and education. We believe that Oregon’s fishing community is overwhelmingly positive. There are countless stories of anglers sharing flies on a river bank, or a fly shop employee spending extra time to give advice to a new angler. In fact, many fly guides will tell you that they have more fun helping someone catch their first fish than they do fishing themselves. This is the attitude that we should amplify— the attitude that will overcome elitism in our sport.

While we will be the first to admit that the sport isn’t perfect, having discussions about the future of fly fishing can help encourage a brighter future for the sport. To us, it is more than a sport and at home in Oregon, we are aligning our mission with a vision for a better future. As a first step, Basalt to Breakers is committed to providing free educational resources via our social media outlets. We produce an educational podcast that’s available on YouTube and Spotify and we regularly post short form instructional content on Instagram. For any fishing or challenge inquiries, please email us at If there’s a specific topic you’d like us to cover in a video, let us know and we will do our best!