Lund’s opened its doors to the people of River Falls, Wisconsin in 1873. A. W. Lund Co. sold wooden carriages. As the town grew, the Lund family’s operation grew. In 1881, they opened a general store on Main Street that focused on hardware. The Kinnickinnic River ran behind the store and sometime in the 1970s, word began to spread about the quality of trout fishing on The Kinni. The hardware store added a flyfishing department with the intention of pulling a few bucks out of the trout-seeking, tweed-wearing visitors from the Twin Cities. Eventually the hardware store closed its doors.
Brian Smolinky, the current owner of Lund’s, was an employee at the original store. Before working there he had never held a fly rod. By the time Lund’s closed, Smolinsky was an avid flyfisher and wanted to keep the name going. He moved into an old bank down the street and established Lund’s Fly Shop in 2011. He’s been there ever since.
Lund’s Fly Shop sits on the northern edge of the Driftless Area. “The Kinnickinnic and the Rush are our main trout streams in our area, but there are dozens of other smaller waters close by, including amazing brook trout creeks,” Smolinsky says. It’s still possible to find feeder creeks in this area that haven’t been fished in years.
While Lund’s primary focus is trout, the shop also emphasizes the variety of fishing available in the area. “Where else could you catch steelhead, smallmouth, muskie, and trout all in the same day?” A valid question, Brian. “The warmwater side of things is definitely our main point of growth. We have a smallmouth and muskie guide that works part time at the shop, so our selection of tying materials and gear for warmwater fishing is always getting bigger and better.”
The shop is small, but no space goes to waste. The walk-in safe leftover from the storefront’s banking days houses line-winding machines and a beer fridge. The shop’s most extensive feature is its tying selection, which covers a third of the store. Winters in Wisconsin can be long, and Lund’s makes sure to provide anglers with supplies for self-entertainment during the cold season. They also carry snowshoes to encourage customers to take advantage of the catch and release trout season that starts in January in Wisconsin.
Smolinksy runs an honest business. They carry high-end nippers, but will steer you towards the tub of cosmetic fingernail clippers. The reels they have in stock are all under $120. Lund’s isn’t looking for the upsell. Most importantly, the shop sports a great checkout selection of food, including Snickers.