Fly fishing

Meandering Angler: Fishing with Shakespeare

“A man can fish with the worm that has eaten a king, and eat fish that has eaten on that worm” -William Shakespeare, “Hamlet”.

Ah, but you don’t have to be rough (or use worms) in pursuit of the fish. Call Rachel Andras and head to Ashland for a good time on the water followed by an evening or two of food, wine and Shakespeare.

Five hours from Sonoma, there’s a great opportunity to learn to fly fish (improve your fly fishing skills) while enjoying fantastic theater at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) in Ashland.

Rachel Andras, who with her guide/husband Jim previously taught fly fishing here in the Sonoma Valley at the Leland Fly-Fishing Ranch, operates Andras Outfitters in Talent, Oregon, just north of Ashland. Jim guides on the Rogue River and other nearby waterways, and Rachel teaches fly fishing, casting and related skills in scheduled workshops and private lessons.

You can arrange private lessons with her on a mutually agreeable schedule. In addition, it offers a special group fly fishing clinic from Friday, April 29 to Sunday, May 1, between 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. each day. It will include an introduction to fly fishing, gear selection, fly selection and entomology, knots and casting. All materials and tools will be provided. The price for all three sessions is $50.

Of course, you can spend the rest of the day fishing nearby or enjoying all that Ashland has to offer, including the famous Shakespeare Festival.

It’s a great way to enjoy live theater in a beautiful and intimate setting. And that’s not all Shakespeare. In fact, OSF’s first show, which will open during Rachel’s clinic in late April, is the musical “Once On This Island.”

In May, June and beyond, the festival kicks into high gear and you can see a different play every night. Either way, Rachel can book accommodation for you in Ashland.

In June, Rachel is offering an “on the water” fly fishing experience on the Rogue River on Friday, June 3, from 10 a.m. to noon. The course includes fly casting and fly presentation, reading the water, safe paddling, roller casting and the best way to catch and release. The cost is $125. Students must bring their own waders and need at least an Oregon day fishing license.

On the same weekend, OSF presents “The Tempest” by William Shakespeare, as well as several other plays, programmed in such a way that it is possible to see a different performance each evening.

Of course, you can also arrange for other dates, including a day of guided fishing with Jim and/or private lessons with Rachel, and stay in Ashland and see as many plays as you can.

Later this spring, Rachel will also announce her children’s and family clinic schedules. His kids camp is a great way to introduce your kids or grandkids to fly fishing.

For more information, call Rachel at 530-227-4837, or go to [email protected]

For more information and tickets to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, visit

Rachel can recommend and book accommodation. Dottie and I usually stay at the Plaza Inn and Suites, a short walk from OSF theaters and Ashland’s finest restaurants.

A little further afield and focused entirely on fly fishing is the four-day Western Rivers Women’s Trout Camp, June 11-16, in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. This school, offered by World Cast Anglers, is aimed at women wishing to fulfill themselves as anglers, rowers and teachers. The cost is $2995 all inclusive. The camp fills up quickly. for more information, call 800-654-0676 or email [email protected]

World Cast Anglers offers a variety of other courses, including its Western Rivers Trout Camp, open to all levels of anger, from beginners to experts. It’s a four-day, five-night event that combines real fishing on the rivers near Jackson Hole with classroom learning.

The town of Jackson is a lovely place to spend your evenings and free time, which means the trip doesn’t have to be limited to fishing. You can also combine it as part of a road trip from Sonoma (about 16 hours) that includes stops in nearby Yellowstone Park.