Saturday, June 6, 2020


Greetings friends of ChiFly!

We are pleased to announce that we are cautiously reopening the retail shopping at ChiFly as of yesterday, June 5th. 

For the time being, we will have some modified realities to deal with, but we are thrilled to get back to doing what we do best!

We are limited to having a max of 4 customers in the shop at any one time, and have taken all kinds of measures to make your shopping experience as safe as possible.  All of our staff is wearing masks, there is plenty of hand sanitizer on hand, sneeze guards have been installed around the counters, and even or ventilation system has been modified to vent the air in the shop constantly.   Hopefully some day this will all seam like overkill, but we want you to know that we are trying to proceed with your and our safety in mind.

Face masks are required to be worn by everyone that enters, and due to the limited capacity, we ask for your patience and understanding should you need to wait to enter.

If you see a green sign on the door, knock and we will let you in.

If you see a pink sign on the door, that means we are at capacity and we will let you in as soon as we can.

We ask for your understanding as we figure out things and procedures one day at a time
If you prefer - CURBSIDE PICK UP is absolutely still available.  Just place an order on line, choose Curb Side Pick up as "shipping option" and we will contact you and arrange a time for you to pick up your order. 

Also, feel free to call and let us know if a specific time is available for you to visit, and we can do our best to accommodate.
So as we all begin our journey back to "normal" times eventually, we hope that all of these crazy events that we are living through right now fade into bad memories before too long. 

In the mean time, we hope that you and your families stay well, that you get out there and begin to enjoy some days on the water soon, and that you remember that we sincerely appreciate all of your support always - even more so now!

On behalf of Jon, Zeph, Lincoln, Bill, and Liam

Keeping our fingers crossed and looking forward to seeing you all soon!

Andy Kurkulis
Chicago Fly Fishing Outfitters Ltd.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Greetings friends of ChiFly!

Greetings friends of ChiFly!
3/23/2020  Week one of the Corona Era - and still standing.

Since we changed temporarily from a shopping destination to a Curbside Pick Up and E-Com Order survival mode last Monday, I just wanted to share some updates with our customers.

First of all -SINCERE THANKS for all of the orders this week - just wanted you know HOW MUCH your biz is appreciated - especially now - and thanks for people who helped us figure out how Curb Side Pick Up can work! 

For the next week and most likely longer - there will be 1 employee here handling all aspects of Super Sanitized Ecom orders and Super Sanitized Curb Side Pick Up Orders.  We are a "non essential" business and have closed retail shopping a week before it became the law - but will remain here to accomplish the above....

We will continue offering curb side pick ups from
10 am to 3pm Tuesday through Sunday unless we learn/hear otherwise. 

E-Com and EBay orders will continue to ship regardless

* We are exercising extreme precautions which exceed any and all CDC / govt guidelines and want you to understand that we doing our utmost to get you what you want in the safest way we can.

Fastest ways to get supplies
On Line Shopping    This appears to be the most pragmatic near term solution.  We will process and ship orders in a timely and ultra health conscious manner (Hands washed and or gloves worn before each order is picked, individualized items zapped with sanitizing UV device, shipping area frequently sanitized etc... - so much better than the grocery store or Costco you just visited.....) 

According to UPS and USPS  both plan to continue business as usual.  We get orders out same day if placed before 1 pm and shipping is fast.

Place an E-Com Order

Curb Side Pick Up
:    Just place an order online (choose curb side pick up option under "Shipping Option") and we will bring it out curb side same day or at a time we agree on over the phone.  One of us is still here each day and ready to help.  This might be an option while you are on your way to get groceries or gas etc.

Your order will be prepared in the same timely and ultra health conscious manner (Orders picked with gloves and or hands washed before every order is picked, packing  area frequently sanitized, individual products wanded with a UV Anti Virus Wand etc.

Important detail:

We will pop your pick up order into your opened trunk - or we will leave the sanitized package just outside our front door when you pull up and you can grab and go.  Kind of like Chipotle and others are doing it.  We are maintaining more distance than suggested - better safe right?

Start A Curb Side Pick-Up Order

Phone Orders:  We will be running minimum staff, so if necessary, leave a message and we'll get back and are happy to take orders over the phone.


Bored and/or need to take your mind off of things?

Fly tying: Get caught up in creativity and start tying flies to repair your worn out boxes.  When the time is right and an opportunity presents itself, you will need those flies on your next outing.  We are shipping supplies, vises, books and instructional DVD's and reordered this morning so more stuff coming from Wapsi and Hareline soon.  YouTube has a million tutorials as well.  

We will be fine and there will be normality in the not too distant future. Just repeat that a few times a day.......
ChiFly's 5 non health related short term goals:

1- Keep servicing clients beyond expectations
2- Stay in biz
3- Keep full time staff engaged / employed and paid
4- Reincorporate part time staff as soon as possible
5- Come out of this as quickly as doable and better than ever as a shop

Two health related goals

1- Avoid getting sick
2- Be no part of the spreading of this thing

To better days ahead - and may we all be here for each other for the duration!

Consider performing random acts of kindness - think of it a positive challenge as we all need extra kindness now.


Andy, Jon, Zeph, Bill, Lincoln and Liam

Important updates concerning Shop Operations in these crazy times

Important updates concerning Shop Operations in these crazy times 3/17/2020

After sanitizing counters, key pads, door handles, faucets and most every surface at the shop over the last two weeks, having washed our hands and applied enough sanitizer to sterilize an aircraft carrier, our staff appears healthy up to this point.  (Physically healthy, OCD not so much :) 

Social distancing and frequent hand washing has become the mantra nation wide, and we strongly encourage everyone to pay attention. 

For the next week, probably longer, our operations will change, but we will attempt to continue servicing our customer's needs in novel ways.

Our physical retail sales (in-store shopping) will be closed from Tuesday 3/17 through 3/24 (subject to change) to protect our staff and to do our part.  We remain "Open" but done a bit differently for a while:

I and staff will rotate and separate duties / minimize our chance at exposure. 

Three Ways to get your fly fishing supplies fast

Curb Side Pick Up:    Just place an order online and we will bring it out curb side same day or at a time of your choosing.  We are still here and ready to help.

Pick "In Store / Curbside Pick Up " shipping options (no shipping charged) , and make a note in "Comments" section of check out process as to when you would like to pick up your order.   We will call you and confirm arrangements to meet you curbside in front of the shop.  (Please provide a number that you will answer)  If shipping is somehow charged - we will manually refund.  Your order will be prepared in a timely and ultra health conscious manner (Orders picked with gloves, packing  area frequently sanitized, individual products wanded with a UV Anti Virus Wand (had no idea these existed but it is true) etc... - better than the grocery store or Costco you just visited.....)

Start A Curb Side Pick-Up Order

On Line Shopping:  We will process and ship orders in a timely and ultra health conscious manner (Orders picked with gloves, individualized items zapped with sanitizing UV device, shipping area frequently sanitized etc... - better than the grocery store or Costco you just visited.....) 

According to UPS and USPS as of today, there are plans to continue business as usual. 

Place an On Line Order

Phone Orders:  We are still pretty good at doing things the old fashioned way - over the phone.  We will be running minimum staff, so if necessary, leave a message and we'll get back and are happy to take orders over the phone.


This is not an easy decision, one which seemed unimaginable only recently.
Since we have been asked to do our part, it  it appears a necessary one.  The health of our staff, and of our community is our motivation. 

We have been in business for 19 years, and I am confident that we will be or many more.  Lets keep a safe distance from each other and keep washing those hands! 

Consider performing random acts of kindness - think of it a positive challenge as we all need extra kindness now.

We will be fine and there will be normality in the not too distant future. Until we see each other again, our warmest and most positive wishes!


Andy, Jon, Zeph, Bill, Lincoln and Liam

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Argentina Golden Dorado Trip at Pira Lodge

Just as things were getting uncomfortably cold around here in January, we embarked on a hosted trip and an adventure to the other side of the planet.   Argentina, where our January is their July, is one of my favorite fly fishing destinations.  Better known as a trout fisher's paradise,  I planned a return trip to chase the region's Golden Dorado;  a migratory apex predator that eats giant streamers and spends a fair amount of time airborne when hooked.  Lots of fun on a fly rod for sure!

With a group of long time friends and clients, we decided to explore a small piece the 3 million acre Provincial Park known as the Ibera Marsh and it's adjoining Corrientes River in far northeast corner of this massive country. Referred to as the Everglades of Argentina (only much much bigger) the Esteros del Ibera wetlands are mostly unexplored and wild.  Home to unimaginable varieties of birds, flowering pants, technicolor dragonflies,  to over 140 species of fish and to more reptiles and Capybara that one can count. The setting was worth the long trip by itself and made a spectacular background to the weeks fishing.  (FYI if you are a birder - put this on your list)

The Pira Lodge, where we stayed, is an absolutely wonderful upscale fly fishing lodge owned and operated by the Nervous Waters Group out of Argentina.  They have created a spectacularly comfortable home base in truly wild and remote part of the world.

The accommodations were comfortable and spacious.  The rooms all had comfortable double beds,  a/c, spacious bathrooms and everything one needs to relax.   The bar, great room and dining facilities were rustically elegant and made it easy for the group to spend quality time together, yet offered plenty of space to spread out and find solitude if desired.

The food was spectacular and obviously is a focal point of all Nervous Waters operations.  Do not plan on losing any weight down here!  Wonderful appetizers before lunch and dinner, paired wines and deserts to order.  They have wonderful chefs - not camp cooks.....   I guess if you are a vegetarian, you might struggle with the food a bit, but from my perspective, meat and lots side dishes is good living.

The guides are professionals with a knowledge and genuine understanding of the area and of the species found here.  Top notch, really friendly and interesting people as well!   The entire staff are first rate and really strive to provide their guests "A higher form of fishing".   This is the 3rd Nervous Waters Property which we will now act as booking agent for and a destination you should put on your bucket list.

 (Stephan Dombaj© FFNMEDIA photos)

It was easy to forget how remote of a location this place is when all of the comforts of home and then some were at your disposal.  A mere 150 yards out the back door of our rooms was the dock that housed 5 perfect flats skiffs equipped with 40 HP outboards. Normally associated with "flats fishing" the skiffs were a fantastic bonus here at Pira - and provided access to and comfortable fishing conditions at each day's fishing destination!

  (Stephan Dombaj© FFNMEDIA photos)

About the Fishing:

This area is not know for monster dorado.  If you are looking for the giant 20-40 lb and much larger fish, the Parana River, or Bolivian watersheds are a better bet.  This place is know for "smaller" quarry, if you consider 5-10 lb "small".  We experience dorados from the 2- 15 pound range, and can promise you that a 7-10 lb fish on a 6 or 7 wt is one that you will not forget any time soon.

For me, the appeal of fishing here is that you have access to 2 very distinct fisheries (marsh or open river), can use lighter tackle (6-8 wts), see a decent variety of species of fish, and generally encounter larger numbers of dorado.  I almost hesitate to talk about numbers of fish as the dorado are a migratory species, and a moody one at that, but the numbers tend to be higher here than other Dorado fisheries.  I have fished other ares/rivers where 1 to 4 fish a day is considered a great day.  Our experience here was unusually good and much more productive than I had experienced before (lucky timing). 
Fishing consists of two very different options on a daily basis:  Look for "bigger" fish in the Corrientes River or fish the maze of  marshes for more visual and targeted structure fishery.  A right turn from the dock put you on the way to the maze of channels and ponds that comprise the "marsh".  A left turn got you started towards the open Corrientes River.

The Corrientes River:

The fishing technique in the open 50-100" wide river was very similar to swinging for steelhead.  You basically cast 275-300 grain sinking lines with a 7 or 8 wt rod towards the opposite bank, and swung 5-7" streamers.   The guides "polled" their flats skiffs up and down deep banks and helped us cover water wher we often found groups of active fish.  Once located, we all became instantly addicted to "the tug" or less than subtle "strike".   The average fish jumped soon and often, and the teeth on these fish did grievous harm to flies and wire leaders!

 (bigger water sometimes meant bigger fish.  Mike, Andy and Jimmy Prybylo)

Ibera Marsh Fishing:

The marsh fishing usually consisted of throwing 6 and 7 wts with floating lines and slightly smaller streamers to structure and places that looked "fishy".  I can't tell you which I preferred as both were awesome!

 Strip sets were essential to hook the toothy fish, and 30-40 lb mono tipped with 30 to 40 wire did the trick.

  (Mike Froy and Andy with some nice swamp donks!)

Getting around in the marsh was half of the fun!  None of us could understand how the guides didn't get lost in the hundreds of very similar cuts, channels and narrow passages. You really appreciate the navigation skills of the guides when zipping around here

In addition to dorado, the group caught at least 7 or 8 other species of fish.  Unfortunately, the piranha (yes - the other really toothy fish) is also a migratory species and they were around in droves this particular week!  It was a task some days to keep them away from your flies - and we all went through hundreds of flies .    Our group caught Surubi Catfish, two types of Pira Pita, multiple species of the dreaded piranha.....

 Dennis with large Surbi Catfish
Pira Pita
One of the hundreds of piranhas
Golden Pira Pita
Fly destroying teeth

Sometimes, the stars and planets align perfectly and plans just work out better than expected.  This trip was one of those times!  Thanks to the staff , the chefs and guides (Jose, Fabian, Jose the younger and Francois ) of Pira Lodge for a wonderful week!

I'm finishing with a few random shots from our stay - enjoy!   If you have any interest is joining us next year or want to plan a trip on your own or with some friends, call me and I would be happy to assist!


Andy Kurkulis

Spectacular sunsets every evening

Fishing in a flower garden

Air time! Francois Botha photo from day 2

Always cocktail hour

Snacks before lunch

Before and after shot - short life expectancy for flies down here.....
Chip getting it done in the rain
On of the hundreds of blooms seen everywhere one looked
The evening bite
Capybara (Stephan Dombaj© FFNMEDIA photos)
Caymen (Stephan Dombaj© FFNMEDIA photos)
All photos taken the week of Jan 14, 2018 by Chicago Fly Fishing Outfitters or as credited