The Orvis Company has announced the winners of the 2014 Endorsed Lodges, Outfitters and Guide Awards. There are eight categories; three for lodge operations, four for guiding operations and one lifetime achievement award. These awards are chosen based on survey feedback that Orvis solicits from their customers who patronize the operations.
“It is with great pride that we announce the 2014 award winners of the annual Orvis Endorsed Lodges, Outfitters and Guides,” explains David Perkins, Vice Chairman of Orvis. “These designees are selected based on the feedback from customers - the people who matter most to all of us here at Orvis. Each of these winners demonstrates the highest standards for customer service, professionalism, commitment to conservation and respect for our natural world. These are the factors that have earned them the prestigious designation of 2014 Orvis Endorsed Lodges, Outfitters and Guides.”
Wingshooting Lodge of the Year – Flying B Ranch, Kamiah, ID (www.flyingbranch.com)
Nestled in Lawyer’s Canyon in northern Idaho, the Flying B Ranch has a wide variety of species to hunt, terrain to explore and hunting styles to accommodate any sportsman. The 5,000-acre ranch and 14,000 square foot lodge are located just outside the small town of Kamiah, Idaho. The owners and operators of the Flying B Ranch have spent the last 25 years building a gundog program, refining habitat and maintaining a quality staff.
One guest recently said, “Every trip to the Flying B Ranch is exceptional. I've been bringing clients for many years and the guides, dogs, staff, and lodge are always first class and an experience of a lifetime for clients and myself. It is very hard to come by one great worker, or group who you feel loves their work. The crew we had made this place, and made me feel like I was family. I enjoyed talking and being around every one of them. Thank you to all."
Fly-Fishing Lodge of the Year – The Lodge at Palisades Creek, Irwin, ID (www.tlapc.com)
Located at the confluence of Palisades Creek and the South Fork of the Snake River, The Lodge at Palisades Creek is Orvis' only endorsed destination lodge on this prolific tailwater, which is arguably the finest dry-fly fishing river in all of North America.
Guests feel at home in quaintly rustic yet luxurious private cabins nestled along the meadow overlooking the South Fork. Prestigious Jackson Hole-inspired cuisine and a variety of imported wines and spirits ensure proper relaxation after a day on the water. Each member of the carefully crafted team of guides, each with an average of 10 years fishing on the South Fork, knows the river throughout its seasons. The fishing speaks for itself.
One guest commented, "I’ve had the pleasure of staying at the Lodge at Palisades Creek and fishing with their guides twice: once with another guy that is a hardcore fly fisher, and once with my wife who is learning the sport. Both trips were excellent, and the guides were top-notch. I must say that the lodge is probably the nicest place I’ve found to spend a few days fishing with my spouse. The accommodations are wonderful, the food outrageously good, the staff is great and the fishing is memorable. We’re looking forward to another trip."
Outfitter of the Year – Ugly Bug Fly Shop, Casper, WY (www.crazyrainbow.net)
Since 1983 The Ugly Bug has supplied fly anglers in Wyoming and around the country with the best in gear and advice. Anglers stop by often to check out new specials, talk shop, and learn of current conditions around Wyoming.
The full-service fly shop is joined by a strong team of guides with years of experience guiding the North Platte River, long recognized as a blue ribbon fishery. The shop’s favored beats include Grey Reef, Fremont Canyon and Miracle Mile. "I've been using the Ugly Bug for float trips for several years now,” said a recent customer. “EVERY single time I've fished with them has been a treasured memory. No exception!”
Guide Service of the Year – Freestone Outfitters, Denver, CO (www.flyfishfreestone.com)
Freestone Outfitters is dedicated to introducing the sport of fly fishing to new anglers, growing skill sets, and expanding the horizons of beginning, intermediate, and experienced anglers, all while fostering angling ethics and responsibility for the future of our watersheds and ecosystems.
A recent customer noted, "I wanted to treat my father to a great day of fly fishing. Fortunately for us, we hired Freestone Outfitters, and had a really great guide, Dave Lovell. Dave really worked hard to make sure my father had a great day, and he did! We caught a ton of fish, got some great instruction, and had a lot of fun doing it!"
Guide of the Year – Patrick Fulkrod, Bristol, VA (www.mountainsportsltd.com)
A Bristol local, Patrick has been fly fishing since he was 10 years old. His resume reads as a lineup of credentials and accomplishments, including national recognition as a 2012 Orvis-Endorsed Guide of the Year Finalist, a 2006 graduate of the Western Rivers Professional Guide School, Orvis-Endorsed Fly-Fishing Guide since 2007, and a ClackaCraft Pro Staff member.
For years customers have been raving about the services Patrick provides; his return clientele is a testament to his riverside manner. One of Patrick’s customers commented, “I have tried a number of guides, but Patrick is hands down the best. All guides know their water, but Patrick's attentiveness, pleasantness, and professionalism stand out. If you want a guide talking on his cell phone, go somewhere else. If you want a guide who will take a swim to make sure you land your fish, call Patrick.”
Orvis-Endorsed Guide Lifetime Achievement Award –Doug Gibson, Three Rivers Ranch, Warm River, Idaho (www.threeriversranch.com)
There are few people lucky enough to be born in great trout country. An even smaller, fortunate few are able to remain in that land for the rest of their lives. Doug Gibson is one of the few. Born in Newdale, Idaho, Gibson has been fishing for more than 56 years. Currently the head guide for Three Rivers Ranch in Warm River, he began his guiding career in 1972 and, as the saying goes, has not looked back since. He has received the Guide of the Year Award from Orvis in the past, a testament to his expertise, experience and knowledge on the water. As a true native of the area, he possesses a wealth of knowledge of Idaho’s flora, fauna and fisheries. A true gentleman, he is well respected by fellow guides and adored by clients who return, year after year, to fish under his guidance.
For over twenty years the Orvis Company has been recognizing excellence in sporting experiences through its Endorsed Lodges Outfitters and Guides program. Each endorsed operation has its own character, but all share the same high standards: great service, great fishing or wing shooting, and an experienced, professional staff. These standards of excellence are continually reviewed by the Orvis staff and evaluated by visiting guests in post-visit critiques sent directly to The Orvis Company. Orvis-Endorsed operations cater to sportsmen of every ability, from beginners to experts.