MAMMOTH LAKES – Mammoth Mountain Resort communications director Joani Saari admits that the ski resort targets Southern Californians.
Saari says that skiers from Northern California have too many Sierra resorts to consider before thinking about Mammoth. But that’s not the case with fishing. The Eastern Sierra is considered among the top fishing grounds in the U.S.
So when the ski resort decided it was time to expand its summer fare to fishing, Saari says The Orvis Company, founded in 1856 and one of the nation’s premier fly-fishing manufacturers, was an easy fit.
The Mammoth shop, Wilderness Outfitters , opened on June 30 of this year.
“It was a fire drill,” said Harry Blackburn, a guide for Wilderness Outfitters who helped set up the store. “Usually, you need to have all your orders in like a year in advance, but we had only from October.”
Mammoth is one of only nine Orvis locations, the first in California, to offer Orvis-only product, a 2 1/2-day fly-fishing school and Orvis-sponsored guides.
“It’s been a good combination,” Eric Rangel of Wilderness says of pairing up the ski resort and the fly company. “We’re still getting things in.”
Classes at Mammoth are taught on casting pools and in classrooms. Anglers will learn casting techniques knots, gear and tackle, entomology, fly selection, how to read water and how to play, land, and safely release a fish. Orvis gear is available for use before and after classes.
The shop, on the west side of town, is a renovated cabin that is a historical landmark. When the resort finishes the completion of a shopping area across from the cabin, it will move to its permanent headquarters.