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When your passion becomes more than a hobby - fishing guide makes it a career

·3 min read

When you can turn a passion into a career, you are going to enjoy going to work every day.

For Ron Piotrowski, his life long interest in fly fishing has become his career as retail sales person, teacher, and guide.

Ron knows pretty much every fishing spot in the province and has probably fished most of them.

Fly fishing differs from typical hook and worm with a sinker type angling. It uses carefully tied 'flies' that are made to look like insects or larva – the favourite food of trout and similar species of fish.

The lure is cast onto the water and designed to either float like a bug on the surface or sink and look like some other kind of insect.

Tying the flies is an art form that takes knowledge and patience.

Ron started fly fishing as a kid when his grandfather taught him how to cast and showed him how the flies work.

“Everything was self taught,” Ron said of learning the nuances of the sport. “I wanted to become a better caster and I went to the Orvis School of Fly Fishing school in Michigan. I was there for five days and completed their fly fishing school. You had to put a fly through a ring at 50 feet.”

The Orvis school teaches the sport with an intensive course that details everything you need to know and includes active instruction.

Ron opened his retail store, the Fly Life Company, three years ago and sells all fly fishing equipment and he also teaches the sport. He has customers from around the world who buy from his store on-line.

“At Fly Life, I do things differently,” he explained of how he runs the store and advises people. “You don't have to be a traditional fly fisherman to catch fish. You don't have to follow the rules. Fly fishing isn't as complicated as everyone thinks it is.”

On the local scene, Ron recommends the pond at the Tottenham Conservation Area and routinely takes some of his young students there.

“We've got the best fishing spot right here,” he said of the pond. “I teach all the newbies and all the kids there. That's where I take them. It's open and there's lots of fish in there. I teach them the basics there. You can book time if you want to learn how to fly fish. You can book four hours if you just want to go out and catch a brook trout or a steelhead. Then you can book six hours which is pretty much most of the day. Those people just want to go out and fish and catch a lot.”

Ron has fished all over the province and knows the good spots, although he admits fly fishermen don't like to share their favourite hidden spots with others to avoid a good place being overrun with new anglers.

He teaches people the sport and also acts at a guide. If you're not in the immediate area or want to do fishing at remote location, he has a network of guides in his team that can assist you no matter where you are in the province.

His store has all the equipment you need for fly fishing, and Ron is there to give advice.

“It's all about having fun,” he said. “I'm here to help.”

The Fly Life Company is located on Keenansville Road just west of Tottenham.

You can visit on-line at www. Flylifecompany.com.

Brian Lockhart, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, New Tecumseth Times

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