Orvis Casting Course

Posted by MNAngler On August - 3 - 2012

When I was in Bend, OR for my family reunion last fall, I heard there was an Orvis store in town. While I’m not a fly fisherman, I was hoping I could get an idea of where a bass fisherman could wet a line. Besides, I can’t resist a fishing store.

Mrs. MNAngler and my daughter came in to town with us and, of course, weren’t interested in fishing stuff, so they went their merry way and MNAngler, Jr. and I went to Orvis.

A few minutes after arriving at the store, Mrs. MNAngler called me. She said I should come down to the river because there was a casting course and thought I might be interested. I figured the class would be going on for a while, so I would check it out later.

When I got down there, no one was around. I figured I had missed it.

It wasn’t until we met up later that Mrs. MNAngler pointed out that it wasn’t a “course” as in a class, but a “course” as in a golf course. Orvis had set up a Casting Course that tested your casting skills in a wide open space. They even had a big ole’ sign outside the front door of the store that I missed because I walked in from the other side of the door.

Just like a golf course, the course had 18 holes with challenges at different skill levels. Each had a “par” of casts in which to complete the challenge. The store had map that doubled as scorecards so you can keep track of your score and compete against your fellow anglers.

Being a fly fishing area, the course was geared more toward fly fishermen, but many of the holes could still be used by anglers that used spinning or casting gear.

What was even more brilliant is that the course blended in with the environment beautifully. I had walked by the casting target below thinking it was just a sculpture. If I was paying less attention to the scenery, I would have noticed the sign for the hole explaining what it was for.


The course was built by Hutch Hutchinson, Orvis Southwest Regional Business Manager in 2008 just before the grand opening of the Bend, OR store. For the full story, read the article at Fly Rod + Reel online. They even used the course for a National fly casting competition. It looks like it went only two years, but it could be resurrected in the future.

I love the idea of a course to test anglers’ casting skills. I can always practice in my backyard, but a course like this can really test some specific skills that my backyard doesn’t have the terrain for. I love even more that it is it’s part of a public space and not cordoned off on its own.

I didn’t get a chance to get back to the area with a rod and reel to test my skills. It would have been fun to see what I could score with a spinning rod.

I wish there was something like this close to home. With fishing so ingrained in the Minnesota culture, we should have something like this in the Twin Cities.

For more information on the Orvis Casting Course in Bend, OR, visit their web site, or download their Casting Course Guide.

One Response to “Orvis Casting Course”

  1. MSPbass says:

    That’s WAY cool!

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