Learn To Fly Fish Program

The GGACC's Learn to Fly Fish Program (LTFF) is offered to GGACC Club members who have already learned to make basic casts with a fly rod and want to put their new casting ability to good use on the water. The goal of the LTFF program is to teach fly fishing knowledge and skills to beginners so they can better enjoy our great sport.

Through a combination of classroom teaching, in-the-pond casting instruction, and mentored or guided fishing outings (called "fish-outs"), the comprehensive 3 year LTFF program helps its students learn both how to fly fish and where to go in Northern California and beyond. It is one of the most popular programs offered by the GGACC.

NOTE: The LTFF program and its fish-outs are not intended for the club's more experienced fly fishers, or other members in general. The Club's Rendezvous (Rondy) Program is designed for membership at large. "Rondies" are not mentored and are therefore generally designed for experienced fly fishers.

The LTFF's mentored program is three years long for most of its students. The first two years (Level 1 and Level 2) are focused on teaching fly fishing fundamentals and target trout as the primary species. The third year (Level 3) explores trout as well as other species, including shad, bass, stripers, surf perch, and steelhead.

LTFF students can expect to make many new friends and hopefully some life-long fishing buddies. A key element of the program is the opportunity to engage with other students and club members in all activities.

The LTFF program is open only to GGACC members who have paid club dues for each year of their participation in the program. You can join the club and pay annual club dues online at the Club's website: www.ggacc.org. Dues paid in December cover the following calendar year for new or current members.

The LTFF program runs on an annual basis. Prospective students for each year's classes must sign-up, beginning in December of the prior year, for the first posted February Class Day for the Level 1 or Level 2 classes on the club Events calendar at ggacc.org. Enrollment is on a "first to register" basis. Students from the previous year's Level 1 or Level 2 classes will have registration priority, and will receive an advance email alert for signing up for the coming year's Level 2 or Level 3 classes.

Entering participants in the LTFF program should be able to make both a roll cast and an overhead cast with a single-hand fly rod to a distance of 25-40 feet. All students should be able to demonstrate these minimum casting skills prior to formal entry into the program. We have learned through experience that it is important to require this level of casting proficiency for entry into the program. Fish-outs can cost the student several hundred dollars, and it's not only frustrating, but a poor return on investment to be struggling with casting fundamentals on the river or lake, when you can hone your casting skills for free at our fabulous GGACC casting ponds.

Students should have (or will purchase after the classroom sessions) their own fly rod (preferably a 9' long 5 weight) with fly reel and a matching floating fly line (i.e., a WF5F line); breathable chest waders; wading boots; and a wading staff. Outfitted with this minimum equipment, they receive specialized casting instruction in the ponds during Level 1 and 2 classes (when club rods are also available) and can participate in the LTFF program's fish-outs offered for their class.

Those coming into the program with previous fly fishing experience may petition the Program Director (see contact info below) for written approval to skip the Level 1 class and register for the Level 2 class instead. This approval will be based on a verbal or written explanation of the applicant's prior experience, which at a minimum should include the ability to successfully fish small streams on their own, including the ability to select their own flies, tie up their own two-fly nymphing and dry-dropper rigs, and wade safely. Having fly fished only with guides is not considered sufficient experience to qualify for Level 2.

LTFF students are strongly encouraged to attend the Club's monthly Free Casting Lessons at the GGACC's ponds, and the Skills Building Program lectures (also free). These lessons and lectures are usually offered on the 2nd Saturday of every month.

Level 1 and 2 students must be enrolled in their respective "class day" events before signing up for any of that class's scheduled fish-outs. A release form must be signed to participate in fish-outs. Not all students can be guaranteed a spot in each fish-out since the number of openings is limited. An online wait list option is offered whenever the event limit is reached. The Program maintains a strict "no refund" policy, however if a registrant finds they need to cancel they can work with the Program Leader to find potential replacements from the waitlist on a best-effort basis.

The fees charged for the classes and fish-outs are the minimum necessary to cover the LTFF program's costs. The Program is managed with volunteers, including the Program Leader

The annual LTFF fee due at registration into the Program is as follows:

Level 1 $100/year

Level 2 $125/year

Level 3 $125/year

Pending weather, water conditions, availability, and participation, the generally planned fish-out destinations for each level in the Program are shown below. These may change year-to-year and Level 1 and some destinations will be open to two, or all three levels.

Level 1 Beginner Fish-outs: Upper McCloud, North Fork Yuba River, Yosemite

Level 2 Fish-outs: Luk Lake (primarily for bass), Lower Sacramento River, Truckee River, NF Stanislaus River, Hat Creek

Level 3 Intermediate Fish-outs: Pyramid Lake (Nevada), Lower Sac (for shad), Pacifica Surf (for surf perch), Missouri River (Montana), SF Bay or O'Neil Forebay (for striped bass), Upper Sac & McCloud Rivers, and Trinity River (for steelhead)

Students will pay a fee when registering for each fish-out to cover expenses. These fees will vary from $100 to several hundred dollars based on the particular destination. Fees generally cover guide costs (if applicable), supplied flies, and lodging and food expenses. In some cases the students will arrange their own lodging and food at their own expense. Fish-outs are primarily held on weekends, usually including at least either Friday or Monday or both.

The GGACC Learn To Fly Fish program is very popular, and is usually over-subscribed. We have expanded enrollment in recent years, but seek to balance the quality of instruction and the experience with availability to as many as possible. As such, expectations are that if you are one of the fortunate to gain entry into the program, you will readily engage in all classroom and on-the-ponds instruction, as well as as many of the fish-outs as available. If a student finds that they are unable to participate as expected, we will ask that they step aside and allow a wait-listed student to replace them.

For any questions about the LTFF program, please contact the Program Director

Bruce Greenwood 650-387-5302 brucegre@pacbell.net

Upcoming events

    • 22 Sep 2021
    • 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
    • Zoom call



    QUESTIONS: CONTACT BRUCE GREENWOOD   brucegre@pacbell.net

    This LTFF Striper Clinic will be held at the Angler's Lodge at 7:00pm on Thurs., Sept. 8, 2021 is for LTFF Level 3/4 who want to pursue Striped Bass with a fly rod around the San Francisco Bay, in the O'Neill Forebay at San Luis Reservoir, or elsewhere. 

    Due to current Covid restrictions, this event is open ONLY to current LTFF Level 3/4 students.

    Attendance at this clinic is required for all 2021 LTFF Level 3/4 students hoping to register for the LTFF Level 3/4 O'Neill Forebay Striper Fish-out on Saturday, October 2nd, 2021 (for which you must supply your own personal watercraft such as a float tube, pontoon boat, kayak, pram, etc. & PFD's are mandatory)), since this clinic is being offered in lieu of any fish-out pre-meeting.  

    Our presenter Bill Scharninghausen, a long-time Northern California angler and guide, has conducted striped bass clinics in past years for the California Fly Shop, the GGACC, and many other fly fishing clubs. He has a wealth of striper fly fishing experience gained at O'Neill, San Luis, and the Delta as well as around our immediate coastal and bay areas.

    Whether out on open-bodies of water or casting from the shore of our tidal waters, striper fly fishing can be challenging, and at times a little risky, so Bill’s presentation can make all the difference in preparing you to enjoy this experience safely and still catch more fish.

    Contact:  Bruce Greenwood (brucegre@pacbell.net)

    • 02 Oct 2021
    • 7:00 AM - 6:30 PM
    • San Luis Reservoir State Recreation Area off CA-152
    • 0
    Join waitlist

    This 2021 LTFF Level 3/4 fish-out for Striped Bass on O'Neill Forebay is scheduled for 7:00AM -- 5:00PM on Saturday, October  2. The O'Neill Forebay is in the San Luis Reservoir State Recreation Area (SRA) on CA Hwy 152 just over Pacheco Pass.

    The limited spots in this fish-out date on Oct. 2 is reserved for 2021 registered "Learn to Fly Fish" (LTFF) Level 3/4 Students ONLY -- unless specifically announced otherwise by the LTFF Program Director Bruce Greenwood.  

    Registration will be limited to 5 students.   Anyone registering for this O'Neill Striper fish-out should attend the Striper Clinic on Wednesday evening, September 8, 2021, in the Anglers Lodge that will serve as the pre-meeting for these fish-outs

    Registered students should also attend (1) Shooting Head Clinic by Steve Morikawa on June 19th, and (2) Float Tube Safety Clinic by Jeff Hogan on August 7th.  Please register for these LTFF-only events on the GGACC events calendar.

    LTFF Level 3/4 students should consider these three clinics as skills building classes for their class curriculum.

    Students must bring their own (or rented or borrowed) personal watercraft for this fish-out.  There are not any local rental shops that we know of out there.  

    Located in the Central Valley, this body of water can be exposed to strong winds, in which case it will be closed to all watercraft and this fish-out could be cut short or cancelled on short notice (there is little point in fly fishing from the shore in high winds).  If it has to be cancelled beforehand for weather reasons, all registrations fees will be refunded. 

    The entrance to this Forebay (which is just below the dam since it happens to also be an Afterbay) is on the north side of Hwy CA-152E when driving east from Gilroy over the Pacheco Pass (before you get to Los Banos). Although the one-day fish-out will officially end at 5:00pm, you also have the option of staying until almost sunset that evening (when the action can be very productive if the wind cooperates) and fishing with others in the group or independently. But all watercraft must be off the water at sunset or face a fine from the park rangers.

    This is a wonderful Striped Bass fishery, with a great many fish in the "schoolie" size of 13" to 16" making high numbers of landed fish possible.  Even though the fish in this O'Neill Forebay and the main reservoir are a land-locked sub-species of Striped Bass, this reservoir also holds the record for the largest Striped Bass caught in California.

    Bill Scharninghausen will mentor this LTFF fish-out.  As an extremely experienced Northern California angler, Bill also mentors our Surf outing each year.  

    Meet spot:  We will meet up with Bill at 7:00am just inside the Forebay park entrance (off to the right) where all watercraft, waders, boots, and fins will be inspected by a park ranger for invasive species (be sure that ALL gear is clean and totally DRY!  Any damp gear will be cause for rejecting your boating permit.)  Those expecting to fish for two days or leaving the SRA for any reasons will need to have their gear bundled and tagged by the ranger at the end of the first day or before driving out of the gate. 

    Safety:  Use of your own personal watercraft will be required for this fish-out, and wearing a PFD will be mandatory. Personal watercraft can be float tubes or Watermasters (either of these work best), pontoon boats, or kayaks. The Forebay can be quite windy so a good anchor may be helpful if you need to stay put while changing flies or rigging.  Under no circumstances however should you try to rely on your anchor to hold your position more than momentarily.  Seek refuge on the shore, not at anchor, in any marginal wind. 

    Gear required:  A float tube or pontoon boat; chest waders; at least one wading belt; a PFD (to be worn at all times on this water); a 7-9wt fly rod; fast sinking shooting heads such as Type 6 or T-14 (Bill prefers to use an integrated shooting head of 250-300 grains on a 7wt rod); 15-20# nylon tippet; clousers or other striper flies; stripping fingers, stripping glove, or stretchy tape for this purpose; forceps or pliers; nippers; your own lunch and drinks; sunglasses; and finally, rain and sun protection for on the water, including a hat with straps or a buff to secure a billed hat. You don't need a lot of gear or flies, so keep it simple.

    Camping / Lodging:  There are options for both camping in the rec area itself and staying in local motels.  For more info about the rec area, especially the two campgrounds on O'Neill Forebay (San Luis Creek Campground which is reservable, and Medeiros Primitive Campground which is on a first-come basis only and not as convenient) and also about the warning light system controlling watercraft access on the forebay, go to:  https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=558  

    Students shall make their own arrangements for staying overnight Friday, Saturday, and/or Sunday nights. To make a reservation for San Luis Creek Campground, go to:  https://www.reservecalifornia.com/CaliforniaWebHome/Facilities/AdvanceSearch.aspx 

    Note:  We discovered that you can no longer choose your camp site online. If that is the case again this year, the camp host at the San Luis Creek Campground (or at the SRA gate) may be assigning camp sites upon your arrival. 

    There is at least three motel options (including a couple Motel 6's) no more than 4 miles east of the SRA but before Los Banos (near the I-5/ CA-152 interchange), but many more options in Gustine and further east in Los Banos.  Google for "Hotels near San Luis Reservoir State Recreation Area". 

    The registration fee for this fish-out is $175.00, which includes a few sample flies, but does NOT include any gratuity, meals, the rec area access fee / daily boating permit, camping fee, or other lodging cost.  

    For more information, contact:

    Bruce Greenwood   650-387-5302   brucegre@pacbell.net

    • 19 Nov 2021
    • 22 Nov 2021
    • 2 sessions
    • Luk Lake, Corning, CA.
    • 9


    These fish-outs are open to ALL 2021 "Learn to Fly Fish" registered students ONLY, unless otherwise announced.  

    Friday-Saturday, November 19/20 and Sunday-Monday November 21/22, are the fishing days for two separate  fish-outs being offered initially to a different 10 students each day from the 2021 Class in the GGACC's "Learn to Fly Fish" (LTFF) program. The Friday-Saturday fish-out will be for Group 1; while the Sunday-Monday. fish-out will be for Group 2.  Eligible students may sign up for either one of these two groups when the online registration is first opened, but not for both initially until later advised the fish-out leader via email to the whole class that this is acceptable in the event that not all the openings are initially filled.

    Arrival and Departure Times:   Group 1 students should arrive at the lake house after 4pm on Thursday, November 18th and leave the lake around noon on Saturday, November 20th (but must be moved out of the lake house before 11am). Group 2 students should NOT be arriving at the lake house before 4pm on Saturday, November 20th (to allow the housekeeping service time to clean the house and change sheets and towels) and must be out of the house by 11am on Monday and off the lake by noon Monday

    General Info:  We will be fishing for trout on this private, stillwater outing.  We will have the lake and nearby lodge to ourselves, with 5 boats for the 10 students in each group.  Willy George will be joining us for coaching and instruction.

    Luk Lake (it's pronounced "luck", possibly because it's so close to the Rolling Hills Casino?) is a small private lake located off Interstate I-5 just a couple miles south of the little town of Corning.  Corning is about 45 minutes (50 miles) south of Redding.  This lake is a very good fishery for largemouth "black" bass, rainbow trout, and the occasional scrappy sunfish or bluegill (we've caught both "panfish" there).   Our focus for this still water outing will be for trout.

    Upon arrival:  We have booked the lake and rented the 5 small rowboats for all day Friday-Sunday, and Monday morning until noon, and we have rented the guest house for up to 10 students to sleep there on Thurs. & Fri. nights (Group 1) and on Sat. & Sun. nights (Group 2).  Group 1 students can arrive anytime Thursday evening after 4pm -- and, after claiming a bed in the house and checking in (with the fish-out leader, you may fish that evening if you choose to. The same goes for Group 2 on Saturday. 

    Boats:  This lake can ONLY be fished from a small boat (rowboat, pontoon boat, kayak, or electric-powered skiff) or from a float tube since there is virtually no shoreline access due to the heavy tule growth around the lake.   Unless you bring your own permissible watercraft, students will be expected to fish from the rented rowboats. There will be two students per boat, who will be responsible for rowing and safely managing it while fishing through-out the day. 

    Instruction and Safety:  Mentors (including Willy George) will be on hand to provide instruction and help as needed.  There will be a brief safety and orientation talk before launching the boats.  All fishing on this lake is strictly "catch-and-release" only, with barbless hooks required.  So remember to pinch your barbs on ALL flies you use (doubly important when fishing together in small boats) and be kind to the fish.  Trout should always be revived before releasing, this is especially important in this warm water.  Bass and panfish are much hardier and can usually be dropped or lightly tossed back into the lake. 

    Must wear a PFD:  Rowboats (~12' prams) will be provided with oars, anchors, and (hopefully) life preserver seat cushions to sit on. However, it is strongly advised that you bring your own wearable personal floatation device (PFD) to wear in case you can't borrow one of the GGACC's (6) PFDs.

    Note:  Wearing a PFD is now mandatory while fishing from any watercraft NOT operated by professional guides on any GGACC club outings, and is always recommended to be worn on any small craft, especially in float tubes, pontoon boats, or other inflatable crafts.

    Personal Gear:  There is no shore or wade fishing possible at this lake and we will NOT be wearing waders when fishing from these prams, but you should bring water sandals, old tennis shoes, or similar footwear to allow you to step into the water when launching or beaching your boat.  Also, be sure to bring sun protection (including brimmed hat or visor, sun lotion, and buff / sun gloves if you use them), polarized sunglasses, rain jacket, and other clothing appropriate to the possible weather (it is likely to be very cool in the early morning and cool off in the evening no matter what the day's high temp is).  We have not had any issues with mosquitos in past years, but come prepared.  And bring a headlamp to fish in the late evening.  

    Fishing Gear:  Briefly, the suggested fishing gear includes a 5-8wt rod and reel, with a floating line to use for dries, or for indicator nymphing for trout, bass, or sunfish.  If you want to retrieve Wooly Buggers, little clousers, or any other streamers, then an intermediate line (1-1.5 ips sink rate) may be helpful.  (A 9' leader with added fluoro tippet and bead-head flies should get you deep enough if you count long enough.)   For fishing dries to any rising trout or even for stripping Wooly Buggers and other small streamers, bring 9' long tapered leaders in 3X or 4X, with tippet spools from 3X-5X in either mono, fluoro, or both. You may have to indicator nymph to reach trout during the day, in which case small indicators (especially those with "tell-tales", i.e., little flags) are useful, in addition to size BB or heavier split-shot to get down deep enough. You'll need a liquid floatant to dress your bass flies and any dries you might try.  And of course, bring nippers and forceps.  A landing net is useful for landing trout or small panfish to keep them from being accidentally dropped in the boat and for helping to revive them before releasing . You do need a valid Calif. fishing license so if you haven't bought one yet, now is the time. 

    Flies:  In addition to receiving an emailed lengthy fly list suggested by The Fly Shop, all registrants will be provided with at least a dozen flies at the lake. But you should still have some of your own flies along in the event you may want to try something different than all the rest of the folks, and in case you lose the supplied ones -- there is no nearby source for flies or other fly fishing gear. (The Fly Shop near Redding is 45 minutes north of the lake.)

    Pre-fishout meeting:  We will have a pre-fishout meeting where you will receive  directions to the lake, gate combination, rules for driving on the property's dirt road (15mph to keep dust down!) and for using the house, more gear and fly suggestions, etc.  When driving into the property, be sure to leave the gate exactly as you found it -- whether unlocked, locked, or made to look as though locked. Gate lock combination is in the info packet.  It is almost a 3 mile drive from that first and only gate to the house. The house will be set-back on your right under some trees just past what used to be a small green shack close to the road on the right side and at a fork in the dirt road. The left fork takes you to the house you can see right in front of you. The right fork is the 1/3 mi. drive down to the lake's boat ramp. Students are encouraged to carpool if feasible to limit the number of vehicles parked down at the lake.

    Group Meals:  All students will be expected to either help cook for and/or clean-up after the happy hour and group dinner at the house on the second night of each fish-out.  There will be sandwiches provided for the first day's lunch down at the lake (or groceries to make your own.) The fish-out leader and his assistant will do all the grocery shopping for these group dinners, lunches, and breakfast.  There will be some beer and wine provided but you are not restricted from bringing beverages to share.     

    Fee:  The registration fee for this fish-out is $425, which includes the costs for the lake access fee, boat rental, the group breakfast, lunch and dinner (on 2nd day only for each group), and rental of the guest house for your two-night stay.  There will be coffee, cereals, and maybe other quick breakfast items supplied each morning.  The first night's dinner for each group will be on you, whether you choose to eat before your arrival there, cook in at the house, or join those heading to the nearby casino for the all-you-can-eat buffet or possibly into town for fast food/pizza. Since people will be departing at different times, there will be no lunch offered on your second day before you head home. 

    Lake House:  The guest house has beds with sheets, blankets, and pillows for 10 people in 5 bedrooms (hopefully making it easy enough to segregate men and women as needed), but only two bathrooms (so no morning showers!). Depending on how many ladies or couples sign up, the two smaller downstair bedrooms may be reserved by the fish-out leader for specific people, otherwise beds are on a first-to-claim basis (just drop your bag on it).  In the event that the mix of bedrooms and genders does not allow for the needed privacy, the students will have priority to stay in the house in the order in which they have signed up.  Unless there are extra beds remaining, the mentors and any others will camp outside the house, stay in their vehicles, or get a room at their cost at the nearby casino or one of the cheaper motel options in town.

    Limited Registration:  This fish-out is limited to the first 10 students to sign-up for each group (due to expected maximum number of boats), after which an online waiting list will be created for possible replacements for any registrants who may later learn that they can't make it.  But in line with the LTFF policy, there will be no refund possible if there is no one on the waitlist willing to take your spot or if you can't find your own replacement.  

    For further info,   Bruce Greenwood  brucegre@pacbell.net

    Cost: $425.00 

Questions? Please direct your inquiries to the appropriate mail box:

General Information:


Rondy Program:


Our Mailing Address:  Golden Gate Angling and Casting Club  ·  P.O. Box 591476  ·  San Francisco, CA 94159

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software