Meandering Angler: Fishing with Shakespeare

‘A man may fish with the worm that hath eat of a king, and eat of the fish that hath fed of that worm’ ― William Shakespeare, ‘Hamlet.’|

“A man may fish with the worm that hath eat of a king, and eat of the fish that hath fed of that worm” ― William Shakespeare, “Hamlet.”

Ah, but thou need not rough it (or use worms) in pursuit of fish. Call Rachel Andras and get thee to Ashland for a pleasant time on the water followed by an evening or two of fine food, wine and Shakespeare.

Five hours from Sonoma there is a great opportunity to learn to fly-fish (improve your fly-fishing skills) while also enjoying fantastic theater at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) in Ashland.

Rachel Andras, who, with her guide/husband Jim, formerly taught fly-fishing here in Sonoma Valley at the Leland Fly-Fishing Ranch, operate Andras Outfitters in Talent, Oregon, just north of Ashland. Jim guides on the Rogue River and other nearby streams, and Rachel teaches fly-fishing, casting and related skills at scheduled workshops and in private lessons.

You can arrange for private lessons with her on a mutually agreeable schedule. In addition she is offering a special Group Fly-fishing Clinic Friday, April 29, to Sunday, May 1, between 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. each day. It will include an introduction to fly-fishing, gear selection, fly selection and entomology, knots and casting. All gear and tools will be provided. The price for the three sessions is $50.

Of course, you can spend the rest of the day fishing nearby, or enjoy all that Ashland has to offer, including the world-famous Shakespeare Festival.

It is a great way to enjoy live theater in a beautiful and intimate setting. And it’s not all Shakespeare. In fact, OSF’s first show, which will be open during Rachel’s late April clinic, is the musical “Once On This Island.”

In May, June and beyond the festival kicks into high gear and you can see a different play every night. In any case, Rachel can book accommodations for you in Ashland.

In June, Rachel offers an “On-the-water” fly-fishing experience on the Rogue River Friday, June 3, from 10 a.m. to noon. The class include fly casting and fly presentation, reading the water, wading safely, roll casting and the best way to catch and release. The cost is $125. Students should bring their own waders and need at least a one-day Oregon fishing license.

The same weekend, OSF offers “The Tempest” by William Shakespeare, as well as several other plays, scheduled so that it is possible to see a different offering each night.

Of course, you can also make arrangements for other dates, including a guided fishing day with Jim, and/or private lessons with Rachel, and still stay in Ashland and see as many plays as you can fit in.

Later this springs, Rachel will also be announcing her kids and family clinic schedules. Her kids camp is a great way to introduce your children or grandchildren to fly-fishing.

For more information call Rachel at 530-227-4837, or go to

For information and tickets for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, go too

Rachel can recommend and book accommodations for you. Dottie and I usually stay at the Plaza Inn and Suites, within easy walking distance to the OSF theaters and to the best of Ashland’s many fine restaurants.

Quite a bit further and focused entirely on fly-fishing is the four-day Western Rivers Women’s Trout Camp, June 11 to June 16, in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. This school, offered by World Cast Anglers is for women serious about becoming accomplished as an angler, rower and teacher. The cost is $2995 all inclusive. The camp fills up quickly. to get more information call 800-654-0676 or email

World Cast Anglers offers a variety of other classes including its Western Rivers Trout Camp, open to all levels of angers from beginners to experts. It is a four-day, five-night event, and blends actual fishing on rivers near Jackson Hole with classroom learning.

The town of Jackson is a delightful place to spend your evenings and free time, which means the trip doesn’t have to be all about fishing. You can also combine it as part of a road trip from Sonoma (about 16 hours) that includes stops in nearby Yellowstone Park.

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