A fly angler poised precariously on a large boulder casts into an eddy near Rock Island on the Columbia River earlier this week.

Columbia River collaboration

Two area fly-fishing aficionados are teaming up to make the Mighty Columbia River more accessible to local and visiting anglers.

Two area fly-fishing aficionados are teaming up to make the Mighty Columbia River more accessible to local and visiting anglers.

Trail’s Don Freschi, host of the World Fishing Network’s Sport Fishing on the Fly (SFOTF), and Castlegar’s Dwayne D’Andrea, owner/operator of Mountain Valley Sports Fishing and Tours, have joined forces to help promote the varied and exciting fly-angling opportunities available in the West Kootenay.

“We’ve hooked up,” said Freschi, with no pun intended. “He’s a good friend of mine and we’ve done a bunch of shows together, so what better way to promote the Columbia than through a guiding company.”

D’Andrea was born and raised in Castlegar and has guided on the Columbia since the early 90s.

His familiarity with the ebb and flow of the river and the trout that reside in it has garnered him attention from such iconic publications as Fly-Fisherman Magazine. He has also appeared on a variety of fly-fishing programs including New Fly Fisher, Sports Fishing BC, and of course Sports Fishing on the Fly.

“Dwayne was one of the original guides on the river, one of the first guys,” said Freschi. “But he’s been playing a little bit here and there, so I told him it’s time we take it up a notch.”

Freschi has eagerly climbed on board, joining D’Andrea as an assistant guide and will incorporate  guided trips and guided guests into his SFOTF series, now in its 20th season.

The two amiable and avid string throwers hope to attract fly fishers from all over the world and plan on taking advantage of all the Columbia has to offer, including the pike fishery near Robson, as well as the more traditional world-class rainbow and walleye fisheries.

“We’ve got people from New York now, Florida, everybody coming through,” said Freschi. “It’s a world-class fishery here and people don’t know it.”

There is likely no company better to promote and realize the potential of the Columbia River fishery than Mountain Valley Sports Fishing, and yet still provide an opportunity for locals to learn about the river and angling with a fly.

“The whole idea is to enlighten people on fly fishing,” added Freschi. “This could be like another Cody, Wyoming. Trail could be where people are walking around in their waders, going to local shops, picking stuff up, and hitting the water. We could probably have six or eight fly fishing companies or guiding companies running out of Trail; it’s a missed opportunity right now.”

SFOTF can be seen Saturdays on Check TV and Tuesdays on WFN. Check local listings for times. For more info on fly-fishing the Columbia or to book a trip contact www.kootenayflyfishing.com or go to www.sfotf.ca


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