As we close out 2019, we mark the end of a great twelve months here at Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures. When we ring in the New Year – and in fact a new decade – we will be celebrating 20 years in business.
Twenty years feels like a big deal, and we are grateful for all of our customers and the loyalty and trust that you all have placed in Yellow Dog over the years. This is especially significant when you consider that nearly half of all small businesses never make it five years, and only 20% make it twenty years. Our 20th anniversary wouldn’t be possible without our most important asset — our loyal customers.
Before we finish off 2019 and move on to exciting things in 2020, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on the highlights of 2019 at Yellow Dog.
In early 2019 – after months of hard work and grinding – we launched the re-designed Yellow Dog website. The new site is home to over 1,500 pages and tons of amazing information for the adventurous angler. With our in-depth destination listings, Backstage Pass blog, and our Travel News and Updates, the new site is a fantastic source for reliable and honest information.
Fall of 2019 saw the tragedy of Hurricane Dorian strike the Bahamas. The fly fishing community responded in full. In addition to raising over $400K for Hurricane Dorian relief through the Double Haul for Dorian Campaign, the Yellow Dog Community and Conservation Fund (YDCCF) hit the million-dollar mark for total funds raised in its short three-year lifespan. The YDCCF works to enhance communities, build partnerships, and support conservation in places where great fishing is found.
To help anglers learn more about finding great fishing, in September we launched our NEW Waypoints podcasts. Hosted by Yellow Dog’s Jim Klug, the podcasts feature some of the most accomplished, interesting, and legitimate people from throughout the world of fishing and adventure travel. If you consider yourself a traveling angler, then this is the program you’ll want to follow.
For Jim Klug and many of us here at Yellow Dog, Belize holds a special place in our hearts. For most of 2019 the Belizean permit were happy and abundant, and it sure seemed like anglers at El Pescador, Turneffe Flats, Turneffe Island Resort, Garbutt's Fishing Lodge, and Belize Permit Club recorded higher-than-average numbers of permit for the entire year. Yet even with the success of this year, things in Belize could get better…
A gillnet ban is currently working its way through the Belizean government. Thanks to YDCCF and many other dedicated individuals and organizations, a comprehensive ban on illegal gillnets along with a system to compensate and re-train displaced legal gillnet fisherman may become law in 2020. To date, YDCCF has facilitated and donated close to $400,000 for this effort.
Closer to our home office in Montana, we had another winter of higher-than-average snowfall, which then served up higher-than-average summer streamflows on most of Montana’s rivers. Our hatches were prolific and trout grew accordingly, with several rivers recording some of the best summer-time fishing in recent memory.
Travel to Cuba appeared in the headlines often in 2019, and things have indeed become more complicated and confusing. That said, travel to Cuba is still 100% legal…as long as you book with an agent that is doing it right! At Yellow Dog, we have jumped through all of the hoops and done the upfront legwork to ensure our customers are legal and protected for all current and future trips to Cuba.
Since we first started the company 20 years ago, we have stayed true to the philosophy of only selling what we know. And this includes dozens of new destinations that we’ve added to the line-up in 2019 and 2020. In Australia we added over ten destinations, including a remote live-aboard trip for Giant Trevally and Blue Bastards. We increased our lodges and guides in New Zealand. We added three new destinations in Mexico, expanded our options for Golden Dorado and for trout in Chile and Argentina, and a fantastic small Seychellois atoll for Indo-Pacific permit. In Kamchatka we operate on all the major rivers, we have added tarpon and jungle trips in Costa Rica, and increased our Bahamian offerings. Plus, we grew our day trip options throughout the western and southern United States and Mexico and Belize.
Each year we publish our Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures Catalog and Travel Guide. Our upcoming 2020 edition is the largest yet, featuring 140-pages of destinations, articles, photos and more. With pieces and features on tides and weather, tips on being a more sustainable angler, articles dedicated to our 20th anniversary, descriptions and photos on all of our destinations, and lots more, our travel guide is a great way to learn and explore.
Finally, in 2019 we expanded our staff and now have a team of over thirty dedicated employees that work at Yellow Dog headquarters. Everyone on the team is here and available to make sure that wherever your fishing plans for 2020 may take you, you can be certain we will work hard to make your next trip great.
With a New Year comes new opportunities for trips to fish new places or to return to old favorites. But before we get too deep into 2020, we are thankful for the opportunity you—our loyal customers and friends—have provided us to be able to send you to fly fish the world.