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.

The casting qualifier skills can be found at the end of this program description. All new registrants will be asked to successfully demonstrate per this qualifier at one of two events scheduled in January.

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


LTFF Casting Pre-Requisite Qualifier

  • General standards for every task:
    • 5 attempts allowed
    • Loops can be any size
    • Leader must land relatively straight
    • No limit on the number of false casts
    • Only a few "tailing loops" are allowed (i.e., end of fly line crossing bottom leg of loop)
    • Only a few "ticks" are allowed (tick = fly touching water before hitting target)
  • Station #1 - Accuracy
    • Hit target rings at 20', 30', and 40'
    • 5 attempts per target allowed
    • No need to strip in the fly after an attempt
  • Station #2 - Roll Cast
    • Make a roll cast with fly landing near a 30' target (this is not an accuracy task)
  • Station #3 - Change of Direction
    • Make a 30 degree change of direction cast with at least 1 false cast
    • Change direction once to the left and once to the right
    • Fly must land near a 30' target (this is not an accuracy task)
  • Station #4 - Line Management & Slipping Line
    • Demonstrate use of the line hand when slipping line from 30' to 40' while false casting several times
    • Fly must begin near the 30' target and land near the 40' target (this is not an accuracy task)

Upcoming events

    • 22 Jan 2022
    • 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
    • GGACC Casting Ponds (east pond)

    This is a coaching session for those new Level 1 LTFF students who are working to complete the casting skills qualifier on Saturday, February 12th.

    This is specifically for students who have successfully registered on December 8th, 2021 for the LTFF Level 1 program and were notified as such.   

    You may have found on January 8th  that you need a bit more coaching and practice to complete all 4 tasks in the qualifier.   We will have GGACC casting instructors to help you with these tasks in preparation for the second (and final) opportunity on Saturday, February 12th.

    Please register so we can properly plan for the sessions.

    Questions:   Bruce Greenwood  LTFF program lead   brucegre@pacbell.net

    • 12 Feb 2022
    • 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM
    • GG Casting ponds --Docks 3 and 4 (West End)
    • 0
    Join waitlist

    This "Shooting Head and Sinking Line Casting Seminar" to be held on Saturday, February 12, 2022, from 1-4pm following the 2nd Saturday Free Casting Lesson session from 9:30AM to Noon.   This seminar is primarily for those registered Level 3 and 4 students in the club's "Learn to Fly Fish" Program (LTFF) who are planning to attend the LTFF Level 3 and 4 Pyramid Lake, Shad, Surf, or Striper fish-outs in 2022 where these casting skills are often required.   

    THIS EVENT IS NOW OPEN FOR REGISTRATION TO ALL GGACC CLUB MEMBERS (please remember to pay your club dues for 2022!)   You are welcome to register and attend this event even if you are not a current student in the Learn To Fly Fish program.   

    Please read below as all registrants need to bring their own gear.

    You may be interested to learn that many important elements of shooting head systems were developed on our casting ponds by our own GGACC members. 

    Willy George will lead this seminar with support from our GGACC casting instructor crew.   Topics will include:

    -       A review of where and why these rigs are used

    -       A discussion of the various types of shooting head, sinking line, and sink tips etc. available, including the pro’s/con’s of each and their fishing application

    -       Demonstration, instruction, and on-the water practice of techniques necessary to effectively cast and manage these rigs, including retrieval techniques for various fishing and target species

    Note:  this clinic is for SINGLE HANDED RODS ONLY (safety issues prohibit casting two handed rods with these rigs on the GGACC ponds)

    All registered attendees must bring a single handed fly rod/reel (6-8 wt recommended)

    as well as at least one of the following shooting head or sinking line systems:

    • A shooting head and a running line

      Shooting heads come in various weights, often one or two weights heavier than your rod weight and also various sink rates according to the type of fishing you are doing

    • A fully integrated sinking line

      Full sinking lines should match your rod weight and the sink rate of the line should be determined by the type of fishing you are doing

    • A floating line with a sink tip

      Sink tip lines are a compromise and are not as effective as the above two systems

    • Each of the above systems needs a simple, level (not tapered) leader, for example 6 to 8 feet of 12 - 15 pound nylon leader material and a yarn fly

    Don't forget your hats and eyewear for safety reasons.  Even though only yarn flies are allowed for this practice, some of those heavy sink heads and tips can cause harm.   You will not fully benefit from the seminar without having at least one of these line types and the appropriate matching rod/reel.

    To that end, a zoom call will be held with Willy George in mid-January where registered participants can obtain a “gear pre-briefing” and ask questions so you can purchase the appropriate items for this February 12th casting seminar.   Details for this call will be provided to registered participants, along with a short pre-study document.

    There is no fee for this clinic to be hosted by Willy George and his volunteer casting instructors, but all participants must be registered to participate in this event .

    For more info, contact Bruce Greenwood  brucegre@pacbell.net 

    or Willy George, busygeorges@aol.com

    • 12 Feb 2022
    • 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM
    • GGACC Casting Ponds (east pond)

    This is the SECOND of two LTFF Casting Qualifier events is being held on the GGACC East pond on Saturday afternoon, February 12, 2022, from 1-4pm.   This event follows the GGACC 2nd Saturday Free Casting Lessons from 9:30-Noon on January 8th.

    This casting qualifier is open specifically to newly registered LTFF Level 1 students for the 2022 program.   Registration for 2022 Level 1 opens at noon on December 8th 2021.   You should have successfully registered for the program (not on the waitlist) and have received a specific email confirmation from Bruce Greenwood.   

    Your next step to finalizing your spot in the Level 1 class for 2022 is to successfully demonstrate your casting skills as detailed at the end of the LTFF program description found here: https://www.ggacc.org/Learn-to-Fly-Fish

    This is the second of two opportunities to demonstrate your casting skills.  If you are unable to qualify on January 8th, this is a second opportunity available to you to complete the casting qualification necessary for entrance to Level 1 of the LTFF program.

    It is strongly recommended that you DO NOT skip the January session and take advantage of having two opportunities to qualify.

    This session will begin promptly at 1pm  led by Steve Morikawa and Jeff Hogan- two of our FFI certified GGACC casting instructors.    

    While this may feel a bit like college entrance exams, our goal is your success in our Learn To Fly Fish program.  The LTFF curriculum will emphasize continued casting skill development, but we will also spend time on the many other skills required to be a self-sufficient fly angler.  It is in your best interest, as well as your fellow students, for everyone in the class to possess a base level of casting skills so you can get the most out of your fishing experiences in LTFF.   If you are not quite there yet with your casting skills, the best thing you can do is to focus on instruction and practice (and practice) so you can fully benefit from the LTFF program.

    To that end, should you realize you need more work on your casting before entering LTFF, we want to help you with our free “second Saturday of the month” casting program throughout the year.  GGACC also has a number of certified casting instructors who offer private lessons if you are interested. 

    Finally, if you find that you need to invest more time on casting and go for LTFF for 2023, we are happy to help you get out and fish (as well as practice casting) with great guides on our Northern California fisheries.   Feel free to ask for help and recommendations!

    While we know this necessary step can be a bit trying, we are there to help you and want you to enjoy your fly fishing experiences!

    Contacts for this event:   Bruce Greenwood, LTFF Program Lead   brucegre@pacbell.net


    • 02 Apr 2022
    • 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
    • GGACC Lodge

    This is a placeholder event for classroom training for Level 1  Learn To Fly Fish

    We will be using the lodge for classroom training from 7AM to 5pm

    We will also be using the GGACC ponds for casting lessons.   The east pond, as well as the east half of the center pond will be reserved for casting instruction.

    Bruce Greenwood  brucegre@pacbell.net

    • 30 Apr 2022
    • 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
    • GGACC Lodge

    This is a placeholder event for classroom training for Level 1  Learn To Fly Fish

    We will be using the lodge for classroom training from 7AM to 5pm

    We will also be using the GGACC ponds for casting lessons.   The east pond, as well as the east half of the center pond will be reserved for casting instruction.

    Bruce Greenwood  brucegre@pacbell.net

    • 01 May 2022
    • 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
    • GGACC Lodge

    This is a placeholder event for classroom training for Level 2  Learn To Fly Fish

    We will be using the lodge for classroom training from 7AM to 5pm

    We will also be using the GGACC ponds for casting lessons.   The east pond, as well as the east half of the center pond will be reserved for casting instruction.

    Bruce Greenwood  brucegre@pacbell.net

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

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