There are two types of fly shops out there, destination and local. Oak Orchard Fly Shop defiantly falls into the latter category. Of course this was not always the case.
When it was originally founded in 1992 on the banks of, you guessed it, Oak Orchard Creek, it was a destination shop servicing anglers taking advantage of the migratory trout and salmon fishery in the adjacent creek. The original owner, Gerry Senecal, ran the shop out of his living room. It was purchased in 1993 by Rick and Jerry Kustich who ran it out of Gerry’s living room for another year before being kicked out and moving just down the street.
Business became tenuous for Rick and Jerry during the off-season, so in 1998 they again decided to move the shop to a more populated area: Williamsville, in western New York. Goodbye destination shop status, hello local shop!
Eventually they tired of the fly shop business and sold it to Paul Wachter in 2003. The shop moved again to its current location at 5977 Main Street, Williamsville, NY, and there it has flourished since 2007.
Even though Oak Orchard no longer likes to be called a “destination shop,” don’t worry, it’s still a full service fly shop with everything you need to fish this great destination. Steelhead, bass, musky, carp, trout, salmon, panfish, if it swims in the local waters, shop manager Nick Pionessa knows how to catch it. He keeps the shop well stocked to meet the needs of any locals and outsiders fishing in the area.
They are a no frills shop and except for necessities, you will not find a lot of clothing and other useless trappings. They are well stocked with equipment from T&T, Scott and Echo, Bauer, Galvan, Nautilus, Peerless and Ross, Chota, Patagonia, William Joseph, Fishpond, Scientific Anglers, Airflo, RIO, and others. And if you’re looking for a two-handed rod, Spey fishing is one of the shop’s specialties. Nick has made it his mission to use only local tiers to supply flies for the shop and has sought out the best. In addition, the shop stocks quality tools and materials for tying a wide range of flies, including supplies for tube flies.
The in-shop staff is rounded out by Jules McCann, Dick Mitchell, and Alex Palombo. Jules and Dick have been around long enough to have achieved the title of old sages, between the two of them they have untold decades of experience. And while Alex is on the younger side, he has an unmatched passion for the sport and is a skilled angler. Guiding services are handled by head guide Vince Tobia and his staff.
The shop has a homey feel to it; you can walk in sit down in an over- stuffed chair and review their collection of DVDs, grab a copy of The Drake and do some reading, or just bullshit about fishing. The shop also hosts activities during the off-season, including fly-tying seminars given by local experts as well as tiers from as far away as Montana. There are also movie nights periodically after closing time. And in the late summer Nick holds spey casting practice sessions.
For more information, see oakorchardflyshop.com.