After discovering this passion, he opened his fly fishing store on May 6, 2011. The 10th anniversary is fast approaching.
“Economically it seemed like a crazy idea, but we survived 10 years,” said Doug. “That’s more than a lot if you consider.”
He runs the fly fishing shop with his wife, Roxanne. The two started a guide service in 2007 before deciding to open the store on a whim. In addition to running the shop, the two started teaching fly fishing several years ago. The two of them are extremely grateful that they can do something they love with their lives.
“It’s our passion to teach,” said Roxanne.
According to Doug, the two chose to start teaching because they love fly fishing, and when you like something, you want to share it with others. The classes have also helped increase consumers for their niche store.
These classes started only for women because, according to Doug, women are the fastest growing women in the fly fishing population. But they quickly grew to include blended courses.
“I asked a few women to come see me and ask me, ‘Why don’t you teach men how to fly fish? … My husband wants to learn to fly fish,'” recalls Roxanne. After that, Roxanne and Doug started their co-ed classes. These women brought their husbands and came back for years in a row just for fun.
Classes last one day. After learning the basics of fly fishing, the students are taken fishing for a few hours.
Doug makes the ties for the store himself (Elizabeth Vierkant)
In addition to teaching, Doug enjoys the challenge of fly fishing the most. For this reason, his favorite places for fly fishing are rivers, even though the company is in the heart of Lakeland in Otter Tail County. He says rivers are constantly changing. This creates a new challenge that he loves. Since he discovered his passion, he has traveled all over the country.
“The only regret I have is that I wish I had started earlier,” said Doug. Reflecting on his 20 years of fly fishing, he advises anyone interested to learn how to take a course. He thinks that if he had done it in his early days, it would have saved him a lot of money in the long run.
Roxanne and Doug have found it amusing to watch their store grow over the past 10 years. According to them, there are only half a dozen specialty fly fishing shops in Minnesota, which makes them a rarity. Tying flies is specifically the store’s niche. Roxanne believes ties are one of the few things left in the world that people want to see before they buy.
“If an accountant looked at (the store) they’d say, ‘Do something else,’” Doug said. “But that’s not always what you do things for.” He and Roxanne do what they do because it’s their passion.
Front 20 Outfitters Fly Shop and Guide Service is at 138 W Main St. in Perham. On May 8, they will celebrate their 10th anniversary at the boutique. Their next fishing lessons will take place on April 20, 21, 27 and 28 as well as May 4, 5, 12 and 19. The cost to attend is $ 75. If you have any questions or would like to register for a course, call 218-640-3163.