Just about the time I moved back to Delaware, fly rod in hand, White Clay Creek Outfitters abruptly closed its doors. I naturally, and perhaps correctly, assumed it another casualty of economic distress.
The news of a small fly shop closing is barely news at all these days. Some of the famed shops of fly fishing lure have sadly succumbed to internet sales, a down economy and the David & Goliath realities of competing with so called “big box” stores. Fly shops located in a random town near some random water seem most at risk, but WCCO was located on some of the states best fly fishing creeks, and had a core clientele. Perhaps it was other than monetary, but whatever the cause for the abrupt closing-up-shop, it left a significant hole in the fabric of the local fly fishing community. And that community covers significant ground, considering WCCO was just over 100 miles from my home, and the only fly shop in the state. The only closer fly shop is one I have yet to visit, 75 miles away and across the border in Maryland.
As Delaware’s sole fly shop went dark, Ken Prager, custom rod builder, continued to regularly updated the White Clay Creek blog, and I continued to read the tips, fishing reports, and creek conditions. A banner appeared on the site promising “something new” coming soon. At first I suspected an online retail store, thinking perhaps the brick & mortar operation with it’s overhead had sunk the ship, but it’s a known fact that an online retail transaction doesn’t include talking fishing and free coffee. Things looked pretty bleak.
As it turns out, all is not lost.
Prager recently posted great news – the opening of a new shop.
“You may have noticed that the page headers of the site now say: Delaware Flyfishing – Something New coming soon. Stay tuned to the blog for update on plans for the new shop location.”
The location is still unclear, but White Clay Creek will see a brand new fly shop by the end of the year. Prager is aiming for Thanksgiving for an opening weekend. I’ll be sure to show up, spend a few bucks, and thanks them for persisting in an endangered industry.