|While we know that everyone is getting tired of their inboxes being flooded with dozens of “Our Response to COVID-19 ….” emails, we did want to take a moment to update you on the status of Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures, our team members, and destination angling in general. And hey … since so many of us are now sitting at home staring at a screen all day, we thought you might forgive us for a somewhat lengthy update on what is happening in the fly fishing world as well as our list for some ideas on how fly fishing travel might be able to survive this situation!
There is no doubt that these are incredibly trying times for our small industry and for global travel in general. What we initially believed to be an overseas issue that would quickly pass has instead delivered chaos at home and effectively shut our country down. Things are likely to get worse for our industry in the weeks and months ahead, and we realize that the end results could be devastating. Our actions in the immediate future, however, can help.
Our goal here at Yellow Dog is to do whatever it takes to survive this situation, and we realize that this will not be easy. From the top-down, our business is cutting costs and making some very difficult and painful decisions in order to survive and outlast this upheaval – realizing that it may be some time before people can actually get back to traveling and fly fishing the world.
- First of all, we want to tell you how incredibly grateful we are for the support that so many of you have shown over the past few weeks. Thank you for being kind, decent and understanding as the response to COVID-19 has continued to develop. We did not create this situation, and obviously we have zero control over travel restrictions, flight cancellations, border closures, lodge cancellation policies, and quarantine regulations. Please know that while Yellow Dog is doing EVERYTHING WE POSSIBLY CAN for our clients to adjust trip dates, reschedule itineraries, re-book flights and more, there are certain things that we simply cannot control. When you call or email us looking for immediate solutions and answers, please remember that we are doing the very best we can during a very chaotic time!
- We are already hearing talk of $50 billion bailouts for the airline industry, and no doubt the cruise ship industry will be next in line. (They are happy to offer refunds and immediate credits, because they KNOW what’s coming!) It is unlikely, however, that the thousands of fishing guides, independent outfitters, destination lodges and booking agents who are literally being crushed by recent events will see any sort of financial relief or outside support. That means that our entire industry is going to suffer and suffer badly. Lodges and outfitters world-wide are going to experience major capital and payroll issues in the months ahead, and sadly, some will go away. If any of these operations are to stay in business and survive the economic hit, full refunds for canceled trips are simply not going to be possible. Think about your all-time favorite flats guide in Belize. The Montana guide that helped your child land their first fish on a fly. The friendly lodge hostess who brought you fresh coffee each morning during your recent lodge stay in the Bahamas. The bartender who helped you celebrate your fish of a lifetime in Alaska. ALL of these people are going to be impacted and hurt by the economic fallout from COVID-19. We will see lodges closing, guides laid off, and businesses ruined: a disaster created by a virus that few saw coming. Please keep these people in mind as we all work towards rescheduling the trips and itineraries that have been impacted.
- For those wondering what you can do to support Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures and the many lodges, guides, and outfitters in the world of fishing, there are a few simple and easy things that will help:Be proactive. Book your future trips now! There is no reason that anglers cannot be looking to schedule trips for the coming summer months. This is also a great time to secure dates for 2021 or even 2022. We all realize that this situation will pass and eventually the world will re-open! Just as your small, local retailers and restaurants are encouraging people to buy gift cards, future bookings and reservations will help our industry more than you know! (We’re also seeing lodges starting to guarantee refunds moving forward if COVID-19 prevents travel in the months ahead. This is something that is recent, but hopefully provides peace of mind for reservations and travel for the near future.) The reality is that many people are now attempting to roll dates over to next season, which of course means that future availability is going to get very tight, very quickly. Don’t wait to book future trips if you want to reserve the best guides, dates, tides, etc.Be kind. We already touched on this, but it’s important. As the world continues to lose its mind and stress levels stay high, everyone needs to remember that our Yellow Dog team and those that work in fly fishing are NICE PEOPLE. We truly want nothing more than to deliver positive solutions and great options whenever possible. When you call our offices, you are not being re-routed to some distant, indifferent call center in a far-off country, but instead are talking to and working with the same people who have always taken care of you!Be patient. Try to empathize with what the tourism, travel and lodge industry (like so many others) is going through. Refunds are often not going to be possible, especially when a family-owned lodge received payment to reserve a trip many months in advance. Those funds have already been used for operations, guide salaries, staff payroll and more. Future credits may be possible in some cases, but trip rescheduling and roll-overs also create the inability to book new business. It is a complicated cycle and one that threatens the very existence of the lodges and operations that so many of us love.
Many of you have worked with and booked with Yellow Dog for years. Some of our earliest clients (from our first days in business more than 20 years ago) are still booking with us on a regular basis. Many of you have become much more than clients, and we hope that you feel the same way. We want Yellow Dog to be here when we all emerge on the other side of this situation, and we’re doing everything possible to make that happen.
- We are committed to protecting our Yellow Dog staff and their families.
- We are committed to staying on top of this situation and learning all we can about possible solutions for moving forward.
- Above all, we are committed to taking care of our clients, customers and friends for the long term.
We may not have immediate solutions for every trip or itinerary that has been impacted, and we may not be able to guarantee that every lodge and outfitter can refund or fully credit canceled trips (many of them will not be able to). What we CAN guarantee is that we will do everything within our power to take care of you, communicate with you, and make things right moving forward. This will eventually pass, and soon we will all get back to fly fishing the world together.
Thank you for your support.