I recently had the pleasure of visiting Royal Treatment Fly Fishing in West Linn, OR. Upon walking in the door I was greeted by owner, Joel La Follette, who waved me in, put his hand on my shoulder, and said, “Hi Sarah, make yourself comfortable at the fly table, Rob [Crandall] is tying winter steelhead flies. Also, you must have some cake!”
Now this is my kind of fly shop!
I first met Joel in 2007 when I took some casting classes before a fishing trip to the North Umpqua, and I feel pretty safe saying that he is the reason I was lucky enough to hook a fish. Joel has been “changing the world, one angler at a time” in Oregon for years and it comes as no surprise that he would eventually open his own shop, close to his home in West Linn, and it would become a special part of the community. The Royal Treatment is Joel’s signature fly and indicative of what you can expect when you set foot in this haunt.
Casually, I made my way to the fly table, past racks of neatly hanged swanky fishing products, past the tempting display table of rods stopping to pause at the 101 Green Butt Skunks (homage to Dan Callaghan, good friend and creator of the fly) on display now at the shop—this alone was a treat to see and worth the trip. Joel also has one of the best selections of flies and tying materials in the area. An eleven-year-old, self-taught fly tier named Tyler (who occasionally ties for the shop) showed me his latest miraculous achievement, which was nothing short of stunning.
The shop bustled with activity and as I sat down at the fly table, I quickly learned the reason we were indulging in cake (instead of the traditional Saturday assortment of Sally’s cookies). It was in honor of Joel’s 55th birthday. That would explain the new Whaler with balloons outside, a gift from his wife Kellie, who was also in the shop chatting with friends and customers. Joel assured me the Whaler would be put to good use for coastal salmon this year. In the meantime, we were tying intruders for winter steelhead, which are in the Sandy and Clackamas Rivers a few miles away.
As customers visit the store, Joel greets each one of them by name. They shake hands, tell stories, and talk to Nick and Josh, who help keep the place running smoothly.
“The best part of owning my own fly shop is the customers and friendships I’ve made,” Joel says. “I make it a point to say hello to every person who comes in my door.”
Royal Treatment is a place where, not only do you find quality fishing products and an extremely knowledgeable and experienced staff; you have a fresh experience, learn to tie three new flies, and by the time you leave, you’ve met six new people you will probably run into on the water. It even says “Welcome Home” on the door and that’s exactly how it feels. So, the next time you need to take a casting class or clinic, tie some flies, book a fishing trip or just have a cookie and talk shop, make your way to Royal Treatment for your own experience.
For more information, see royaltreatmentflyfishing.com.
[Sarah Lonigro works at the Wild Salmon Center in Portland, Oregon. She also runs the website takekidsflyfishing.com.]