Dave Stanley brings lifetime of experience to two area businesses
Dave Stanleys 40-plus years of fly fishing has spanned four continents and includes a bit of Hollywood nostalgia a trout stream ran through his family farm in his native Virginia.His love for fishing budded and blossomed there, as he honed his fly fishing skills on the farm or in the Virginia mountains with his father.The 47-year-old owner of the Reno Fly Shop and Truckee River Outfitters & Fly Shop combined that fishing knowledge with a business degree from the University of Richmond and has turned a devoted hobby into a successful living.But first he had to fall in love with the Tahoe area.When I got out of college, I moved to Reno for a year, Stanley said. Or so he thought. I was in the horse business and never left, he laughs.Stanley moved to Nevada in his early 20s and got his start working with horses, but he was more fascinated with the fish species. He worked a five-year stint with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries from the end of high school through college and even had aspirations to be a fishery biologist before realizing opportunities in that job market would be slim.
A few years later, Stanley found a way to incorporate his love for fly fishing into a business idea. He opened the Reno Fly Shop, located on Moana Lane in Reno, and it has prospered for over two decades as a year-round fly fishing guide and equipment service.The Reno shops success would inevitably lead to expansion. In 1998, Stanley began leasing a May to September seasonal space from Daves Skis & Boards on Donner Pass Road in Truckee. There, Truckee River Outfitters has established its niche in the community by offering a variety of services for fly fishing enthusiasts: A guide & outfitting business, a world travel business, teaching classes to improve fly fishing technique, and of course the retail aspect, which also allows customers to rent fly rods and waders.Through two locations, the shops guide fly fishing excursions in an expansive region, including as far south as the East Walker River, to Eagle Lake near Susanville, and north of Reno to Pyramid Lake in the winter months.We have the only fly fishing guide license in Pyramid, Stanley says confidently.But he couldnt do it without a team effort. With six to 10 guides that work part-time and a couple full-time guides, Stanley can cover a lot of ground in the Sierra Nevada and beyond.The world travel options are available through the Reno Fly Shop, and Stanley said most people desire a warm-up trip in the winter.The Caribbean is popular because in January, February and March, people want to get out of the snow and wear short pants in warm water, he said. On such a trip, fishermen wade in the flats for saltwater fish, one of Stanleys favorite ways to fly fish.Although a fair share of veterans will take a guided trip, Stanley said tourists or second-home owners are usually the ones that want to experience something new with the help of a guide.A lot of those people just want to do all of the different activities that are available (in Tahoe), he said. Theyve never paddled a kayak, theyve probably never ridden a bike on the Tahoe Rim Trail, and theyve probably never been fly fishing.An employee at Truckee River Outfitters, Josh Bigelsen is one person that deals with customers all the time, whether seasoned veterans or first-timers. The former San Diego native escaped city life three years ago and settled into Truckee. Im a big fly fisherman, so I needed to live somewhere I could fly fish a lot, he said, as he sat behind the counter on Monday afternoon.He once hung out at Truckee River outfitters so much, Stanley offered him a job two years ago, and the situation was ideal for Bigelsen. Bigelsen thinks his fly fishing skills have improved simply by hanging around the shop.We got a couple gurus that work up here Dave Stanley and Andy Burk, Bigelsen said. I knew how to fish, but theyve all taught me how to catch fish.Tim Haddon, a guide and shop worker at Truckee River Outfitters, said, Theres nobody that works here that really isnt into fishing. Bigelsen added that Truckee River Outfitters prides itself on informing customers about where the prime spots are and what flies the fish are biting, so that customers keep coming back.
Stanley added that matching flies to the natural conditions is important, but the sport is also about taking risks and being unconventional. (Matching is) kind of the game, he said. But its not unlike spinner fishing or whatever. It isnt that they wont eat other things. If you look through those fly bins in the store, theres all kinds of weird-colored flies (to choose from).Explaining why he loves a sport that has taken him to North America, South America, Europe and Australia, Stanley cites the travel as a major perk, but its still that peaceful feeling he got on the waters of his Virginia farm that draws him to fly fishing.I like standing in that river, he said. You can forget about everything else thats going on just relax and enjoy yourself.Visit http://www.renoflyshop.com for more information.