Our Signature Course is designed for intermediate anglers who are passionate about fly fishing and eager to take their skills to the next level. We have a remarkable team of instructors for this course—some of the most talented in the industry—and their approach to teaching is interactive, in-depth and inspiring.
During the mornings of the first three days, we will cover essential topics in a classroom setting: Leaders and tippets, fishing knots, fisheries biology, insects, the importance of a good presentation, fly lines, rise forms, approaching the water and different water types, selecting a fly, what to carry with you, and so much more. On-water topics include basic fish photography, aquatic insects, observation, wading a river, boat fishing, etiquette, reading the water, various techniques for dry fly, nymph and streamer fishing and knowing the various types of casts.
The Signature Course places a huge emphasis on the proper mechanics of casting, as this is the foundation of good angling. After four days, students will understand how to self-correct casting mistakes, how to avoid throwing wind knots or tailing loops, and how to throw a beautiful line consistently and accurately in all conditions. There is no question that you will emerge from the Signature Course a better and more independent angler.
Elk Creek Ranch is located just north of Island Park, Idaho, on a tranquil 500-acre property with its own private lake. Students are welcome to practice their new techniques on the water any day after class. The ranch is positioned near some of the best rivers in the West, from the legendary Henry’s Fork and South Fork of the Snake, to the Teton, Madison, Gallatin and the many catchments of Yellowstone National Park. Elk Creek Ranch is steeped in angling history, having served as a venue for other fly fishing schools in the past, including the famous Mel Krieger School along with Andre Puyans’ School. The lodge and its nine guest cabins have been remodeled over the years, but each retains an authentic and rustic feel that honors its historic beginnings. Our students really enjoy this aspect of the accommodations and many of the instructors fondly recall teaching here 30+ years ago.
Each cabin has spectacular views and offers quick access to the lake. Most of the lectures and casting lessons will take place on the property in the main lodge and on the central lawn. Guests of Elk Creek Ranch enjoy three meals each day, starting with a hearty breakfast, followed by a delicious lunch, and ending with a family-style dinner back at the lodge in the evening. Dinner features a rotating menu that includes prime rib, baked salmon, turkey with stuffing, BBQ pork loin, grilled beef tenderloin, and more — all of which is offered with home-cooked sides and a salad.
Elk Creek Ranch is located in Island Park, Idaho. There are a number of airports (listed below) to fly in and out of that offer car rental services. We recommend renting a car so that you have the flexibility to stay in the area longer in order to enjoy the local sights and experiences such as Yellowstone National Park, additional guided fishing, and DIY fishing opportunities. Airport shuttles can be arranged for an additional fee.
Airport Options / Distances (and Drive Times) to Island Park, Idaho
Yellowstone Airport in West Yellowstone, MT (WYS) / 30.5 miles (33 minutes)
Idaho Falls Regional Airport (IDA) / 80 miles (1 hour, 15 minutes)
Jackson Hole Airport (JAC) / 108 miles (2 hours, 15 minutes)
Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport (BZN) / 118 miles (2 hours, 15 minutes)
Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) / 294 miles (4 hours, 7 minutes)
Elk Creek Ranch - Island Park, Idaho
July 8 - 13, 2023
5 nights / 4 days is $5,195.00 per person (based on double occupancy)
Limited to 12 students
WHAT’S INCLUDED: Five (5) nights of lodging, four (4) full days of professional instruction, four (4) evening presentations by some of the most well-known names in fly fishing, all meals, house wine and beer.
WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED: Transportation to and from Elk Creek Ranch, additional nights at Elk Creek Ranch, additional guided fishing trips, liquor, fishing equipment, fishing licenses, gratuities for lodge staff.
Are there any additional costs that I should know about?
No. The rate includes lodging, all meals, wine and beer, and all instruction. We do recommend bringing some cash ($100) to tip the lodge staff at the end of your stay. There will be an opportunity to purchase books and art directly from the instructors if you wish--cash only.
I already know how to cast. Do you think I’ll really gain much from casting instruction?
There’s no question that everyone can improve their casting stroke with professional instruction. We can assure you that the Academy’s instructors are incredibly accomplished fly casters, and they have a lifetime of experience teaching in a clear and understandable manner that will benefit anglers of all skill levels. Experienced casters will refine their technique, and gain a thorough understanding of the mechanics and principles of high-level fly casting.
I’m a beginning angler. Is this the right class for me?
The Anglers Academy is designed for folks that have already been introduced to fly fishing and are curious and eager to learn more. This school does delve into advanced topics and will skip over some basics. We do encourage the course to students of all levels, but we’ll likely offer a 101-type course for true beginners in the future.
How much fishing will I do?
We’ll be on the water everyday, covering a wide range of topics. Students will do some fishing with the instructors, but those short fishing sessions will be focused on the lessons and techniques of the day rather than on catching fish. If you’re hungry for more fishing, we recommend staying additional days in the surrounding area in order to explore some of the best public fishing accesses available to a wide variety of rivers and lakes.
Do you recommend staying additional days in the area to fish on my own or with guides?
Absolutely! There are incredible wade fishing opportunities in the immediate area and some excellent fly shops that offer guiding services. Rivers that we recommend fishing in August include the upper sections of the Henry’s Fork, Madison River, Gallatin River, Slough Creek, Lamar River and the Yellowstone River in the Park. There are also some excellent stillwaters to consider fishing that will likely have good hatches for dry fly and sight fishing such as Hebgen Lake, Quake Lake and Henry’s Lake. Rivers to float with guides include the Henry’s Fork, Madison, Teton and the South Fork of the Snake.
How is the fishing in the area at that time of year?
July and August is an excellent time of year to fish and explore the Greater Yellowstone region. There are good hatches on certain river sections in the mornings and evenings, and plenty of hopper and terrestrial action in the afternoons.
How much time will be spent indoors vs. outdoors?
The first three mornings include 2.5 hours of presentations on various topics in the conference room at the ranch. Otherwise, the group will be outside everyday from 10:30 AM until the end of the day. On the final day, the group will spend the entire day on the water, using all of the new skills acquired throughout the week.
Will I have the chance to meet and spend time with the instructors and presenters on staff?
Yes! Everyone listed above will be present at varying times over the course of the four days. Most of the staff have written books, tied famous fly patterns, work as artists and photographers and all will be available to meet and chat with students. Books, flies and artwork will be available for purchase with the opportunity to have the work signed just for you!
Is this school available for everyone?
This course is for people from all walks of life that love to fly fish.
Island Park, Idaho, United States