The person who says, “I don’t want more people to fly fish because they’ll only take up space in the river” strikes me the same way as the person who shows up early for church, then insists on sitting at the end of the pew, making everyone else squeeze by.

To all of these folks, I say, “Slide your sanctimonious keisters over, and make room for others!”

If ever you or someone you know wanted to learn to fly fish but didn’t know where to start… or didn’t want to cough up money for lessons… well, the Orvis Company is rendering that excuse obsolete. Last year, Orvis launched it’s popular “Fly Fishing 101” program to great effect. Over 5,000 students took a free fly fishing class at an Orvis retail store or dealer shop. I’m on record saying I think that’s the best thing to happen to this sport in years.

Based on the success of last year’s program, Orvis is expanding its efforts in 2011. Never before has there been such an organized effort at so many locations across the U.S. to bring new entrants to the sport of fly fishing. The event this year will kick off in May 2011. The company’s goal is to put over 10,000 students through classes in Orvis retail stores and dealers.

I say bully for them. And I encourage all of you “never-evers” (the vast majority of people who took Fly Fishing 101 last year had never fly fished) to consider yourself cordially invited. I hope some of you serious anglers will create your own fishing buddy by sending a friend to class.

You can check out details and course dates/availability by clicking here.

And here are some more details from the Orvis press release:

_New for 2011:

They have expanded the number of dates for 2011 and moved the classes to run weekends May-July.

Orvis and Trout Unlimited are still joining forces in 2011 as event partners for 101 events. Additionally, the Federation of Fly Fishers (FFF) is coming on board as a partner to offer additional instructor volunteers for this year’s events.

They have added Fly Fishing 201 classes for 2011, for people who have already attended a Fly Fishing 101 class (or have some casting experience). These classes are held on the water and involve more fishing time and more one-to-one instruction under actual fishing conditions. A minimal charge may apply for some of these courses.

Event Dates:

– Fly Fishing 101
May 21, May 22, May 28, May 29, June 11, June 12, June 18, June 19, July 2, July 3, July 9, July 10.

– Fly Fishing 201
June 4, June 5, June 25, June 26, July 16, July 17.

The 101 course will consist of two parts – 1 hour of casting instruction and 1 hour of rigging. Most participants came with little to no knowledge of fly fishing so keeping the focus on building a rod outfit was the best place to start.

201 class itineraries will vary by location. However, the main thrust of the 201 course is getting those interested in taking the next step in fly fishing on the water at a local location where they have a great chance at catching their first fish. Private water, local bass/bluegill ponds, a recently stocked river or creek will be used.

Special Offers

Once instruction is completed, each group attendee will receive a $25 coupon off any purchase of $50 or more good toward Orvis gear on that day only. Additionally, each group attendee will receive a certificate for a FREE Trout Unlimited membership and a free membership to the Federation of Fly Fishers- a $70 value. The total free package value including the instruction is valued at over $100._