The First Cast Fly Shop Specialty Fly Fishing Classes / Instruction
The First Cast Fly Fishing Shop Specialty Fly Fishing Classes cover a wide range of techniques and topics to make you a better angler.
Classes are scheduled through out the year or you can book an individual class with one of our Specialty Team Members.
The First Cast Fly Shop is here to help make you a better fly angler.
See below for a list of our many Specialty Fly Fishing Lesson options.
Though there are currently no certification requirements for guides in Ontario, we are CPR / First Aid Certified and fully Insured.
References available upon request.
Call now to book your day on the river!
To read testimonials from our customers and clients, click here.
The greatest compliment anyone could give us is the referral of a friend, family, or business associate. We sincerely appreciate your referrals. We help you to create memories that will last for life!
Learn to Fly Fish ( LTFF ).....$149.99/Person
We offer the most comprehensive Learn To Fly Fish Courses / Lessons available in Ontario!
In addition to our one-on-one sessions and afternoon or evening sessions as the season allows, Rick’s session dates will be pre-established and we will fill the classes to a maximum of 4 people.
These sessions will be approximately 5-6 hours in length and take the angler into a more detailed first-time “Fly Fishing” experience as it will include an in-class indoor session as well as the outdoor hand’s on aspect on the Grand River. Please contact here us for specific details.
Single Handed Fly Casting 101.....$79.99/Person **
** Minimum of two Students.
** $149.99 for a single person.
This Program is 4 hours in duration.
We will cover:
- Pick-up & lay down cast;
- Shooting line with hauling:
- Advance roll casts.
Night Fishing with Brian Primeau……$149.99/Person
Brian is truly one of the best all round guides in our region.
He has become renowned for his “Night-time Guiding ” for Big Grand River Browns where catches like this are the norm.
Call now to reserve your window as the time frame is short when consistent Grand River Browns like that in the above and following pictures will come out to feed !!
Here is his article on the art of Night-Time Fly Fishing for Brown Trout:
Night Fishing – Your New Horizon (by Brian Primeau)
“If the man who fishes hard-fished public waters and prefers to fish with flies wants to number his lifetime catch of trophy sized fish on a tally sheet instead of on one hand, he should consider night fishing.” Quote from Jim Bashline’s book “The Final Frontier – Night Fishing for Trout” 1987.
When you look at the number of books written about the sport of fly-fishing there are relatively few which discuss night fishing. It surprises me that more people have not taken to off-hours fly-fishing especially since the large fish on heavily fished waters often become nocturnal. It is my hope to encourage some of you to add this new dimension to your fishing and at the same time open your eyes to a way of pursuing quality fishing while escaping the crowds.
Between guiding and fishing in 2003 – 2005 I spent an average of 5 days per week on the Grand River. Those who know me would agree that I am probably the first person on the river in the morning and often the last person off the river. This is not because I am there all day but rather that I choose to fish the less popular hours. During the 2003 season I learned more than any other year I have fished and I still learn more every year! Those who chose to fish beside me on occasion were well rewarded for their efforts as well.
Lets start off with the rewards for fishing in the dark:
The average size fish is bigger.
You can fish all the best spots without crowds.
You will learn new techniques.
You will become more familiar with your equipment.
The average size fish is bigger than during the daytime.
My average fish caught during the nighttime was 17 inches in 2003, 19 inches in 2004 and 21 inches in 2005 and all my biggest fish were caught at night. It seems to me that the smaller fish have not developed the habit of night feeding. Older fish are under much pressure and I guess, not unlike Pavlov’s dogs, older fish have learned that when they eat in the daytime they get hurt. On the times that fish have fed at night they haven’t felt the sting of our metal. It probably takes a few years for them to come to this conclusion, but they do nonetheless.
You can fish the most popular holes of any river or stream.
A few years ago during the second week of June, I went by myself to the Beaverkill River at Roscoe NY. The Beaverkill is a famous river and June is a popular month. What I found was that I really never saw other fisher folk on the river until sometime between 8 Am and 9:30. I got up at 4:30 to 5Am and was on any hole by 6 at the latest and had the whole place to myself. I would leave by 10 or 11Am and eat breakfast, mill around Roscoe or the countryside for a few hours and then sleep until 5 or 6 in the evening. By the time I got back to the river after my nap all the folks who had gotten there at 8 or 9Am were leaving – again I had the place to myself and evenings in June are long. The same rule held true on the Big Horn River in Montana.
You will learn new techniques.
It is seldom necessary to cast 30 or even twenty feet at night. As a matter of fact most of the fish I catch at night are taken within the first 10 feet of the shore, and often the fish are tight to the banks. The challenge is in placing yourself within range so that you can: a) use what little ambient light is available to find rising fish, and b) get close to the fish without stepping on them or scaring other fish in the area. This requires an entirely different approach because you can seldom see fish that are more than one or two rod lengths away.
You will become more familiar with your equipment. Things like casting and finding your forceps take on a new dimension during the witching hours.
One night as I was heading to a favorite spot I met a fellow who was parked where I usually park. As I got my things ready I said hello and asked him if he was finishing or just starting to fish. He stated that he was just getting there and wanted to get an hour in before he lost light. I said, “you’re fishing should only be getting good in an hour.” I asked which hole he was going to fish. As it turned out he was going to fish the same spot I wanted to fish. I told him to enjoy his hour of fishing but suggested that he stay another hour and sit on the bank and watch the current seam along the bank as the ambient light turned the ripples to silver. I gave him a few fly suggestions and told him that I would go further downstream and fish.
I started well downstream of the fellow and fished my way upstream and when I got to the hole that he was supposed to be fishing he was still sitting on the bank. I shouted “How’s it going?” and he shrugged. I had been there a few nights before and it seemed unusual that the fish weren’t up and that time in the evening. I waded through the frog water to a point behind where I though the fish would be and sure enough there they were. I summoned him over and pointed to the edge of the current seam. “Look there”
“I don’t see anything”
“OK, just relax, they are hard to see, all you will see is the tip of a tail…watch here”
“Hey, I saw one!”
“There he is again”
These fish were in three feet of water; there were no heads visible and no sound. They were taking sunken spinners right at the surface but only the tips of their tails belied their stealth, just like the Bonefish on the flats.
“Let me see your leader.” I turned my headlight on…. Try this.” I gave him a fly.
“No you take him, this is great!” He stated.
“I will have more fun if you take him.” I replied.
Well to make a long story a little shorter, he was not used to fishing at this late hour and had his leader wound up after a few false casts. I helped him untangle the leader. It reminded me of myself learning to cast a center pin reel at night.
He tried again but this time his leader looked more like a gill net. I offered my rod but he wouldn’t have it.
“I want to see you get that fish!” he whispered with spirit.
Since gill netting was not legal he put away his leader and observed as I complied.
“OK” and I cast and landed a 16-inch fish. Then another, and one huge fish raced up stream sulked then broke me off. “Did you see that, I couldn’t turn him?” I shouted in excitement. We both laughed like kids with a secret, nudging each other.
This is typical of the type of fishing that occurs after all have gone home and it is very similar in the early morning. During the height of summer you can see at 4:30Am and on the full moon you can see all night, sometimes you even have to watch your shadow on the water for fear of spooking fish.
To me this is exciting fishing. Even the act of casting is different in the twilight zone. Please don’t conclude that my new friend was not a good fisher or caster. Try false casting with your eyes closed; casting at night does take practice.
There is one last thing to bear in mind. If more of us are fishing at night, some poachers will have to find a new place to kill fish!
Some facts about night fishing: (2003) Average size fish – 17” Average number – 3 – 5
(2004)Average size fish – 19” Average number – 2 – 3
(2004)Average size fish – 21” Average number – 1 –3
Type of fly used – dries – spent caddis (black), the usual (yellow, white), Cahill emergers, spinners (Hendrickson, Cahill, Hex, BWO’s, Ants and the Kitchen Sink)
Equipment – 4wt rod 5X tippet
Water type – Slow pools and tails-outs, flat water, frog water, near-shore ledges.
Necessary tools – Head light, net, Bifocals, Wading staff, Midge/fly threader, and a net with a large hoop!
Cheers and have fun!
Occasionally Brian sneaks away for a few hours when he’s not guiding….Here are some of the results. He Knowns where they are …. This could be YOU !
Czech Nymphing with Arron Varga.....$149.99/Person
Get hands on experience and instruction on czech nymphing with Arron Varga.
During the class he will review gear, flies, and tying your own czech leaders and finally end the class with detailed hands on instruction on the river.
Learn to Czech Nymph from a former Fly Fishing Team Canada member.
Arron has spent the last 10 years honing his czech nymphing skills competing in the Canadian Fly Fishing Championships and representing Canada at the Commonwealth and World’s Fly Fishing Championships. He has even trained with the czech’s learning the secrets directly from the czech masters themselves.
The course is 4 hours on the river where he will cover:
- nymphing rods..what makes a good one;
- nymphing leaders…materials, tippets and sighters;
- czech nymphs…design, size and weighting;
- finally hands on how to czech nymph.
See here for Session dates.
Contact the store for availability.
French and Euro Nymphing with Arron Varga.....$149.99/Person
Get hands on experience and instruction on French and Euro nymphing with Arron Varga.
During the class he will review gear, flies, and tying your own french leaders and finally end the class with detailed hands on instruction on the river.
Learn to French and Euro Nymph from a former Fly Fishing Team Canada member.
Arron has spent the last 10 years honing his Euro nymphing skills competing in the Canadian Fly Fishing Championships and representing Canada at the Commonwealth and World’s Fly Fishing Championships.
The course is 4 hours on the river where he will cover:
- Euro nymph rods..what makes a good one
- nymphing leaders…materials, tippets and sighters
- nymphs…design, size and weighting for euro nymphing
- finally hands on how to Euro nymphing where he will cover:
- The techniques that combine to make Euro nymphing – French, Czech, Polish, and Spanish
- Casting and handling long leaders 20+
*** It is recommended you take the czech nymphing course before the Euro nymphing course so that you have developed some of the basic skills for fishing with long rods and without strike indicators.
See here for Session dates.
Contact the store for availability.
Spey Casting Schools
We have a series of scheduled days from Beginner, to Intermediate and Advanced Sessions.
Please see here to visit the events section and select the most appropriate date to fit your skill set and schedule.
Spey and Single Hand Casting Lessons with Doug Swift
We are very pleased to have Doug Swift as one of our Team Members.
As a youngster, Doug lived and grew up along the banks of the Grand River near Fergus. Being able to step out the back door and head down to the river with a can full of dew worms and an old steel baitcaster rod and reel set the stage for a lifetime of “going fishing”.
The old steel baitcaster and the can of worms have evolved into a fly rod and a box of flies since then and for the last 25 years Doug has dedicated his angling days to flyfishing. As with all styles of fishing, there is a learning curve. Especially with knowing how to make a good cast.
That quest for casting knowledge led Doug to becoming a Certified Casting Instructor through the Federation of Fly Fishers. He now operates his own fly casting instruction business in Wasaga Beach. A river is still in the picture, but not the Grand. Now it’s the lower end of the Nottawasaga river that flows nearby, and it is one of the best Great Lakes steelhead rivers in the Georgian Bay, Lake Huron section of the Great Lakes.
In addition to the Nottawasaga, the area has some great streams and rivers that provide excellent fly fishing opportunities, so what better location to learn some new casting skills.
Doug offers casting instruction techniques from beginner to advanced levels, so whether you are just getting into
the sport or are a seasoned fly fisher wanting to tune up
your casting skills, he can make it happen.
Doug Swift is a member of the Federation of Fly Fishers and has been a Certified Casting Instructor through their internationally recognized fly casting program for the past seven years. He operates Swift fly casting instruction in Wasaga Beach, Ontario near the lower section of the Nottawasaga river. Since retiring 12 years ago he has focused on learning better fly casting techniques and passing his learned skills on to other fly fishers who recognize how much the “fun factor” of fly fishing is enhanced by better casting methods.
The value of knowing how to perform and present a good cast cannot be under estimated in the fly fishing world. Coming to the realization that good casting form is the prelude to successful fly fishing spurred Doug on through his journey to be a better caster and subsequently to a FFF instructor designation.
The learning curve continues as he continues his efforts to be recognized at the FFF advanced certification level of a Master Certified Instructor.
Contact us for details or first visit Doug’s website here for more details.
Corporate guiding/instruction quoted on an individual basis as additional guides and service are required. The event is tailored to your group requirements.
* Taxes, gratuities and license fees (if required) extra. All prices are in Canadian funds.