Leland Sonoma Fly Fishing Ranch

I’d been curious about a fly fishing ranch run by Leland Fly Fishing Outfitters for a while, and today I finally made my way up Highway 121 near Sonoma to check it out. Pulling off the busy highway, you hit the gravel parking lot and are automatically transported to a slower, more relaxed time and place. I walked past the bunk house and office toward the fly shop which looks like an old midwest airplane hangar that could fit exactly one single prop. Right on cue as I walked past the door to the deck that looked out over the casting pond, a red biplane was making its final approach to the neighboring Sonoma airport.
It ended up being a fitting welcome. The reason I was standing alone at 10 am at the edge of this bass and trout filled pond is that due to a flood of state permit requirements (one of which involves the neighboring airport), guests and classes are not allowed on the pond. Politics and bureaucracies aside, the set up epitomizes rustic, beautiful, fly fishing-chic. On the deck, chairs made out of wine barrels sit in a half-circle around a fire ring. Behind the exposed deck is a covered area with two picnic tables and a large rolling door leading inside. In the shop itself, two cats called the pool table home and one of the dogs was a pushover. A little scratch behind the ear and he was putty. The other dog, Diesel I think, was busy protecting the perimeter the way only an energetic puppy can. So yeah, it doesn’t feel at all like a business that serves customers world-wide. It feels like a guide shack run by dudes fresh out of college.
I talked with Keith Westra for a while about spots around California before he logged on to be the man behind the Live Chat feature on the website. Leland outgrew its San Francisco store and has moved to this ranch location with most of its inventory (including a ton of Sage, Loop and Simms products) at a warehouse in Fremont for its online customers. The shop at the Ranch carries the essentials including the newest line of Loop rods and beautiful boards of salmon and steelhead flies.

http://www.flyfishingoutfitters.com/sonoma-fly-fishing-center

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Camelia Cook says:

    Sadly, the Leland Fly Fishing Ranch built their property without any commercial permits for their endeavor – compromising the public’s safety near active runways. They didn’t get a trout stocking permit from Dept. of Fish and Game either. Their latest issue is a log fence they built on the back of their property effecting aircraft operations at the Sonoma Valley Airport. The County of Sonoma sued them in 2011 and fined them over $50k for their egregious acts. Too bad, because the ranch is quite beautiful, but the owners seemingly not so much. A new business shouldn’t threaten an old established business…. especially when they were denied permits based solely on keeping pilots, passengers and Lelands patrons safe!

  2. Kyle says:

    A few complaints and things you and your readers should know and the Leland Ranch-

    “The reason I was standing alone at 10 am at the edge of this bass and trout filled pond is that due to a flood of state permit requirements (one of which involves the neighboring airport), guests and classes are not allowed on the pond.

    The FLOOD of permits you mention are actually just normal operating permits that any legal business is required to obtain before building any structure or POND. Josh Leland Frazier built his fly fishing ranch without the proper permits and knowingly defied the county permit process.

    Guests and classes should never be allowed on the back half of his property as it lies in the path of incoming and out going aircraft. To me that seems like negligence of safety. What do you think?

    Mr. Frazier originally intended to have an events center and “school” on his property which is explicitly non-compliant use for land adjacent to an airport. Now he has erected a solid log fence at the end of the runway and refuses to remove it despite the blatant safety risk it poses.

    “Automatically transported to a slower, more relaxed time and place”
    If you really wanted to have this feeling you should have visited the 65 year old airport that is home to a number of rare pre-war and WWII aircraft. That’s what I call being transported to a slower, more relaxed time and place. That’s a time when people respected their neighbors.

    “It feels like a guide shack run by dudes fresh out of college.”

    This statement is accurate. They clearly don’t know what they are doing.

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