So Much Water Volume 1 Issue 3 Summer 2015 - Page 39

Orvis—originally called the C. F. Orvis Company--was founded in 1856 by Charles F. Orvis. A craftsman and mechanical engineer by trade, and avid outdoorsman by hobby, Charles got his start in the fly fishing business by making fly rods for his friends. Soon his rods were in high demand and his hobby became a business. By 1861, Orvis was manufacturing fly rods at its Manchester facility. By the 1870’s, Charles’ daughter Mary Orvis Marbury had taken over the fly end of the business. In 1892 she published a fly pattern book called Favorite Flies and Their Histories, establishing Orvis as the country’s leading authority on fly patterns. Now a retail giant, Orvis is to Manchester what L. L. Bean is to the town of Freeport, Maine.

The American Museum of Fly Fishing is home to over 1,400 fly rods dating back as far as the early nineteenth-century. Some of the rods were owned by people such as Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Glenn Miller, Bing Crosby, Ernest Hemingway, Winslow Homer, Herbert Hoover, Dwight Eisenhower, and Daniel Webster. There are roughly 1,200 reels on display as well. Add to these 20,000 flies—including some tied by Theodore Gordon and Lee Wulff—and this represents one of the finest collections of fly fishing tackle in the world.

The Mettawee River just outside Manchester is considered one of the finest wild trout streams in the state. The Walloomsac River just south of town is a solid stocked fishery. The West Branch of the Batten Kill just west of town is a worth exploring as well. Manchester is also located near the Green Mountain National Forest which contains miles of small wild trout streams.

Photo by Diana Mallard

Photo by Diana Mallard