June 15, 2011


Top 5 College Fly fishing Towns

So, you want an education, but you vow to not give up your fly rod and trout passion to do so?  Understandable! For us fly fisherman, it’s in our blood.  For most it is a prerequisite when determining where to go to school.  Fly fishing for trout is a must!  So, that prompted the thought…..“Where are the best places in the North America to get a degree, but at the same time keep my fly fishing for trout habit alive and well”.

This was one of the harder lists we’ve put together because it is hard to know the intricate details of certain fisheries and the secret places that are close to college towns. That’s the thing about fly fishing, it’s not like football or even playing games at which both don’t need much effort to find what you’re looking for. The right river or lake can be incredibly difficult to find unless you’re a local. Regardless, we gave it a shot!

Well, here is the Frenzy top 5!

5.  Syracuse, New YorkRoot for the Orangemen, and attend one of the best colleges in NY, but a couple of short drives will have you in Trout Mecca.  Whether you are looking for big brown or rainbow trout in the Salmon River or trout looking for dry flies in smaller streams in the Catskill mountains you won’t have to drive very far to satisfy those urges!  Pulaski, New York is 30 minutes north for fly fishing on the Salmon River.  Roscoe, New York is the launching point for the fabled rivers of the Catskill Mountains.  The Beaverkill, known as the American birthplace of dry fly fishing, and Willowemoc flow through the town of Roscoe.  There are also plenty of local lakes to appease the still water desires.



4.  Calgary, Alberta CanadaWanna go to college and fish, eh? Well, right in Calgary is the University of Calgary or U of C (kinda sounds like UFC, so that’s cool) as locals call it.  What does it offer other than fly fishing Canada’s Bow River?  Quite a bit actually.  As a renowned research University it has numerous inventions under its belt, but let’s move on to the important stuff.  When you think of fly fishing for trout in Canada, the Bow River has to be one of the first places that comes to mind.  The Bow has one of the healthiest populations of Brown and Rainbow trout with the best growth rates.  That is just one of the reasons that people fly fishing Alberta.  If your appetite craves smaller streams the Crowsnest and Livingstone creeks have native bull trout and cutthroat trout.  Banff National Park is a short drive to the west if unbelievable scenery is a must as a backdrop.  Regardless, you can’t go wrong in this fly fishing paradise!



3.  Boulder, Colorado –  The home of the Buffaloes also proves to home to some of the best fly fishing the west has to offer.  The University of Colorado is a best of state University with lots of degrees and graduate programs, but it is the hallowed rivers of Colorado that really produce amazing results.  Just south of Boulder you can find an underestimated trout heaven in the South Platte.  It is on my bucket list for sure.  Head west and you have some of the most famous trout rivers in the US.  The Roaring Fork and the Frying Pan (they sound awesome just because of their names).  Sizable, beautiful trout inhabit these rivers.  And let’s be honest.  There are probably a million secret creeks, rivers, lakes, and ponds that the locals know about that make this place even more reason to become acquainted with.






2.  Rexburg, Idaho – Ok, am I bias on this one?  Absolutely!  But hear me out.  You might say what college exists there?  Brigham Young University Idaho is the 4 year institution that calls Rexburg home.  You don’t have to be LDS to go there and the former Harvard Business Dean is the school’s President.  This university is growing and has some great programs.  Now on to the Fishing!!!! This city truly is a trout mecca.  When you think of fly fishing Idaho, this is it. The Henry’s Fork of the Snake River will challenge the most seasoned angler.  The South Fork of the Snake River is one of the most consistent rivers in the state and both are only a 20 – 30 minute drive in either direction.  Drive 45 – 70 miles north and you have Island Park Idaho (The Ranch, Box Canyon, etc) and all that offers and Yellowstone National Park and all the unbelievable fishing in the famous Gibbon, Firehole, and Madison Rivers.  Want remote in the Park? Try Slough Creek, Bechler River, or any hikable lake in the Park.  Need lake fishing?  Try Henry’s Lake for monster Cutts, Hybrids, and Brookies.  Need smaller rivers or creeks?  Try bitch creek, Palisades creek, Teton River, or Falls River.  I could go on and name about 20 other unbelievable places, but I imagine you get the point.

AND #1 IS!!!  Drum Roll………

1.  Missoula, Montana – Rarrrr!!  You are now a Grizzly! Doesn’t that feel good!  University of Montana is actually pretty high tech with their school of technology.  They have advanced degrees for the bookworms, but the real attraction is their list of blue ribbon trout fisheries. There really is no clear line between religion and fly fishing in Montana, just asked Norman McLean.  Seriously, check these out! Within a short distance you have the Blackfoot River (think Brad Pitt floating down river), Clarkfork, Bitterroot, Flathead, Swan and the Missouri (MO).  Your belly should be completely full right now.  Those rivers offer challenges and rewards rarely matched anywhere else in North America.  Head west an over Lolo Pass and you can fly fish the Lochsa or Selway where scenery is unmatched.  Need lake fishing?  Rodgers Lake and Flathead are gems!

Education is important, but so is keeping our habit fed.  So keep that in mind when selecting the appropriate school of higher learning!

This is our list, but I’d love to hear from Frenzy Nation to see what other schools offer similar opportunities for education plus fly fishing for trout!


, , , , , ,

9 Responses to “”

  1. Jeff M Says:

    Well, I have to plug my own school here, and for good reason. Check out the University of Wyoming. Not only is the main campus located in Laramie, Wyoming (quick access to great alpine lakes and streams, larger lakes and rivers, and very close to Northern Colorado), there is also a campus in Casper, Wyoming called UW/Casper College Center (three words: North Platte River) and the UW Outreach School offers undergraduate and graduate degrees through regional centers all over the state. These regional centers include Jackson Hole, Cody, Powell, Riverton/Lander, Sheridan and others. All of these are close to some of the best fly fishing in Wyoming and in the country. Check out this link:

    You can basically live anywhere in Wyoming and go to UW. How sweet is that?


    Chubbs Reply:

    That is pretty sweet! Great argument. I’ve heard many great things about the North Platte! And all those places you named are unbelievable fly fishing destinations. Good stuff Jeff.


  2. Chubbs Says:

    The Bozeman Crowd is pissed about Missoula being #1. and they have a good argument. Bozeman does have some unbelievable fishing!


    Jarrod Reply:

    So yeah maybe the Bozeman crowd gets a little pissed, they are always jealous of Missoula anyway. No secret there. Sure, Bozeman does have some unbelievable fishing too, but who wants to be a msu bobcat??? Go Griz!!!


    Chubbs Reply:

    The Montana Passion is heating up! I love it!


  3. The River Damsel Says:

    Picky picky…anywhere in MT is ok with me! If I had been into fishing during my college years…I would have gone north on I15 instead of south!!! Now, in a few years…hopefully my son will make that good choice where I can visit him! : )


    Chubbs Reply:

    I agree. Anywhere in Montana is gonna be pretty sweet.


  4. Ed Maurer Says:

    Oh, well, since you limited your question to trout fishing I guess that means you can’t consider the real contenders–Miami, Tampa, Orlando and all the other college towns in Florida, the Fly Fishing Capital of the World.

    See, while trout season is closed Up North, or your asses are snowed in (might as well study), we are priviledged to fish every day of the year. We have no closed seasons for any fly fishing species (though some do have a non-harvest season that still allows us to catch them), our weather is typically always conducive to fly fishing and we don’t have to swaddle ourselves in whatever just to cast a line, or go outside for that matter.

    Nope, be safe and limit to question to trout fishing. No sense in letting CO, UT, MI, NY et al lose yet another contest.


    Chubbs Reply:

    Us little guys gotta win sometime!
    We will have a segment coming out soon on best saltwater US schools.
    Plus its hard to beat you guys with the ladies that attend your schools. :)


Leave a Reply