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“Parks Fly Fishing Terrible Experience”
Review of Parks' Fly Shop

Parks' Fly Shop
Ranked #1 of 2 Shopping in Gardiner
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Attraction details
Owner description: Parks' Fly Shop is a full-service fly shop and fly fishing outfitter that has been serving southwest Montana, the Yellowstone River, and Yellowstone National Park since 1953, under continuous Parks family ownership. We are a small "old-fashioned" shop focusing on our region-specific guide service, a large selection of area-specific fly patterns (around 45% designed and/or produced locally), and outfitting anglers for the Yellowstone region. In addition to our fly tackle, we stock conventional fishing gear, bear spray, binoculars and spotting scopes, apparel, and various other odds and ends. You may also be interested in the Gardiner Guesthouse, our affilated B&B, owned by Richard and Nancy Parks.Please check the How-To section of our website or contact us for plenty of free information on fishing the Yellowstone area that will help make your trip a success, whether you're fishing on your own for an afternoon or with our guides for a week.
Reading, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
206 reviews
120 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 67 helpful votes
“Parks Fly Fishing Terrible Experience”
Reviewed September 18, 2013

I am a 67 year old active retiree. My wife Cindy and I wanted to learn about fly fishing with the full intention of taking up this sport. When we signed up for a tour with the owner I told him I have bad knees and specifically asked if we needed to rent special equipment. He told us we could wear sneakers and never mentioned we would be taking a strenuous hike to the fishing site.
We arrived for our fishing trip and met Wally, our guide. He insisted we needed to rent wading boots, but they were half size to big for both of us. We took them any way. The hike to the stream was very strenuous and my legs were wobbling when we finally reached the stream. We still had to hike over a 1/3 mile in the stream with a strong current and very rocky bottom. I could not keep my balance and ended sitting on the bank while Wally led my wife to the fishing site. I sat alone for 2 hours when the returned.
When we signed up for the trip I expected to learn something about fly fishing and have a chance to catch a fish. I never got to make a cast, nor did I learn anything about fly fishing. This was an expensive waste of a day for me.

Visited August 2013
1 Thank Robert C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LongsforCutts, Owner at Parks' Fly Shop, responded to this review, September 19, 2013
This is the first time we have responded to a review in quite some time, but this one is so problematic and in our opinion misleading that we feel we must.

Before responding in detail to some of the issues raised in the review, we want to make readers aware of one thing in particular: the reviewer WAS NOT charged for his trip. Our guide charged only the single-person rate since the reviewer's wife was the only person who fished.

Now, to address the other issues:

---First, it is important to state categorically that I was not informed of any knee problems that would impact the reviewer's mobility when I took the booking. The first our guide learned of these issues was when the group began hiking and the reviewer's wife told our guide. We specifically ask about mobility issues and have a space to discuss them in our booking documentation, but I was told only that the reviewer was in his 60s and okay shape; we take numerous people in their 60s in okay shape to this area. Moreover, our guide described in detail where the group would be fishing, the hike to get there, and what the water would be like both before the group left the shop and when they started walking, and the reviewer never suggested this would be a problem.

I should note to any readers that the hike involved is less than 1.5 miles, half of which is on a heavily traveled trail, and that we take 30-40 anglers per year to this area, almost all beginners, ranging in age from 8-75. In the week this reviewer and his wife fished with us, we took five other beginner parties to the same location. In addition to Walter, both another guide on our staff (age 67) and I (age 70) guide at this location multiple times per season.

---Second, both Walter and our shop staff suggested the reviewer rent wading shoes because the fishing plans changed. I did indeed initially tell the reviewer he wouldn't need wading shoes. Most people do not need them when fishing the location I had in mind when taking the booking. Unfortunately, and as our staff explained, this location fished very poorly the day before the reviewer's trip, making a change of venue necessary. The spot where the group wound up going has slicker rocks and faster water but is a shorter distance off the road, making wading boots more important than walking shoes. Our staff explained this when the reviewer was trying on wading shoes. The reviewer saw the logic in this and agreed both to rent shoes and to changing fishing locations. In regards to the fit of the boots, compromises are indeed made in regards to fit since the boots are not available in half-sizes and are optimized for walking in the water rather than hiking, and as such they don't fit as well as we would like. I should note that over 75% of our beginner walk-trip clients choose to rent wading shoes.

---Third, when our guide saw the reviewer was having trouble (approximately 200 yards and less than five minutes from the parking lot) and again described the walk ahead, including the fact that the footing got rougher, he offered to take the reviewer elsewhere. The reviewer SPECIFICALLY stated he did not wish to do so, and that the only issue was that the group would need to go slowly. It does not seem reasonable to us for the reviewer to complain about the difficulty of the walk beyond this point, since he made the decision for the group to continue.

---Fourth, we wish to make clear that if we had been made aware of the extent to which the reviewer's knees make walking problematic, we would have either refused the booking or booked his party for a float trip. As various members of our staff stated at various times during the booking process and our guide stated during the trip, the water suitable for beginners that sits next to the road gets fished very hard all season and no longer produces fish with any regularity by early fall. This means walking is required. The spot I had in mind when I took the booking actually requires a longer walk (almost twice as long) than the spot where the reviewer's party wound up going. In addition, it has footing that is just as questionable on the streambanks, including rocks, logs, marshy areas, etc. There are no walk-in fisheries in the Yellowstone area that do not at times require anglers to climb over logs, negotiate uneven ground, climb down steep undercut streambanks, wade calf-deep water that can be swift at times, negotiate marshy terrain, bypass boulders, etc.

---Finally, if the reviewer and his wife were so upset with the trip, we wish this had brought it to our attention directly. In fact, this negative review came as quite a surprise, since Walter was tipped quite well by the reviewer's wife, who stated at the time that she had enjoyed fishing.

---If anyone reading this review or our response to it would like more information, I encourage you to contact me directly at the fly shop.

Richard Parks, Owner
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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46 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Grand Junction, Colorado
Level Contributor
197 reviews
38 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
“Excellent service and wonderful knowledge”
Reviewed August 6, 2013

Did a full day with Phil as my guide. It was slow because of silt form the rain. But we caught plenty and some nice large cutthroat trout. Phil is an easy going guide that knows his stuff well and knows every part of the river!

The shop itself carries some attitude, but has great flies and the staff is knowledgeable and will offer information to help you catch some decent fish.

Visited August 2013
1 Thank bbally
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
59 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
“Knowlegeable but astringent”
Reviewed July 28, 2013 via mobile

Visited this shop several times over 5 days and took an all-day float with their head guide and an associate. They know the area fishing, stock great flies and write excellent books (Parks' Yellowstone fishing guide, Wiese's fly pattern book that includes histories and design notes). Only downside: the owner and his head guide seem harsh and even bitter. Please understand, I'm recommending the shop, but be prepared for some "astringency," so to speak.

Visited July 2013
1 Thank BRsystems
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Asheville, North Carolina, United States
1 review
“Nobody knows better!!”
Reviewed July 23, 2013

I have been visiting Yellowstone National Park for the past 10 yrs and have been dealing with the knowledgeable folks at Park's Fly Shop for the whole time. They are the closest fly shop to the fabled Yellowstone waters. Everyone has always been more than friendly in every aspect of our visit whether it is recommending flies, a river to fish, or even the best place to grub and grab an adult beverage. Richard, Walter, Ben, and Wilson will help make your Yellowstone trip the one of a lifetime!!

Visited July 2013
Thank Joshua G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
1 review
“Great day on the Yellowstone!”
Reviewed July 8, 2013

I spent a full day on the Yellowstone river with Walter Wiese. The fishing was excellent. It was one of best days I have had fly fishing. Lots of bugs and lots of fish.

Walter is an excellent guide and has a really good handle on the local bugs. He ties some excellent patterns as well.

If you are in the area, Parks Fly Shop is worth a visit. Stop in for well tied flies and good information for fishing the Yellowstone as well as the rivers in the Park.

I will go back and definitely use Parks for another guided trip.

Visited July 2013
Thank Steve_Katsaros
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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