A well-known Kimberley fly fishing shop recently made the jump downstream to Cranbrook.
Kelly Laatsch and his wife Karin opened the St. Mary Angler Fly Shop on the strip, beside Pizza Hut, three weeks ago, after running the Kimberley shop for 11 years.
Laatsch said they both wanted to move the shop to a larger centre, so Cranbrook was the natural choice.
As you walk into the shop you’re greeted with walls of specialized equipment like rods, hooks and waders. There is also a large board that describes the fishing conditions in various streams in the area.
Laatsch said it’s important to him that fishermen know the best places to go.
“More than anything we’re a customer service shop,” he said. “For us it’s all about making sure anglers have a great fishing experience in our area. It’s not just about selling them equipment.”
Laatsch said they will even assemble equipment bought at another shop if it wasn’t assembled there. The new shop is also offering some new gear choices than those in the past.
“Our shop here is going to be a more diverse shop,” he said. “It will carry a broader range of product lines. We’ve changed some of our products as well.”
The shop is a full retail pro-shop and stocks everything needed for a fly fishing experience.
Laatsch himself said he’s been fly fishing for 45 years.
“I took it up when I was eight years old,” he said. “It’s part of my life. Fly fishing is really what I do for a living. I had a previous career, but it was getting in the way of fly fishing.”
The fly shop also does guiding tours.
“In the Spring and the Fall we guide on the upper Columbia, but in the summer months, we guide here,” he said, adding that about 80 per cent of the guests come from the U.S. and the rest from B.C., Alberta and abroad.
They have five full time guides during the fishing season.
Visit the website at www.stmaryangler.com.