On the banks of the Little Cannon River, you likely see Kyle Woods on any given day.
Walking up and down the shore line, he’s trying to find pockets that may have brown trout, smallmouth bass or walleye.
Routinely Woods will quickly bring the tip of his pole up, whipping his line straight out just before it hits the opposite bank, as the fly gently hits the top of a water and moves with the current downstream.
When Woods isn’t working on his roll or bow and arrow cast he’s teaching classes Sunday nights from 3-6 p.m., at Tilion Brewing Company. During class, Woods teaches a specific fly tie, providing all of the materials and guidance a beginner or avid fisherman could need.
Woods started teaching the fly tying course early this summer. Woods was formerly a chef at Artisan Plaza and decided he needed to find a way to combine his passion into a business.
Woods started out like many do as a bait fisherman, watching a bobber move slightly up and down on Lake Simley. Occasionally you’d get a bluegill or two, Woods said.
In 2013, Woods was introduced to fly fishing by the former Director of Housekeeping at the Hilton Garden Inn while working there as a cook. They’d often go fishing together before work, after work, and during lunch breaks. Even still, Woods fishes with his former colleague.
As a self-described introvert, Woods has found fly fishing to be an effective way to decompress from stressful situations in life. Moments of solitude on the river, casting away, bring positive energy into Woods’ life.
“If the world shuts down, all I would need is some hooks. … It’s incredible what you can come up with with just a little creativity and a hook,” Woods said.
Fly fishing may appear daunting in nature to the typical fisherman, but Woods reflects on his upbringing bobber fishing on Lake Simley. Woods explains that looking at the color line on the fly rod as a bobber makes the process much less complicated.
“If you trained a child, who had never fished before, and put a fly on a bobber on a spinning reel, and then gave them a fly rod, they probably wouldn’t know the difference,” Woods said.
Starting off with basic casts in an open field or park, with a piece of wool or a cotton ball tied to the end, is a great way to start for those interested in fly fishing. Add a bucket to land the piece of wool or cotton ball, focusing on casting the line straight through with back-and-forth movements will put a fly fisher in training on the right path.
Being in the driftless area is a tremendous benefit for people in Goodhue County, Woods said. People looking for an easier place to fish like the Little Cannon and Root rivers don’t need to travel far. Those looking for more of a challenge can head to the Miesville Ravine.
After completing the fly tie, Woods will bring participants to the Little Cannon River to try out their latest creation.
Being able to use your creation almost immediately is a motivating factor for fishermen, Woods said. Also, it’s just fun.
“I’ve always liked to do arts and crafts,” Woods said. “Being able to tie flies, then go out and fish it, and be able to catch something is [great].”
In addition to teaching his Sunday night classes, Woods launched a Youtube channel called Kyle Woods Outdoors, where he shows his latest catches and more.
Woods also regularly posts on the Facebook group he created, Cannon Falls Fly Tying Club.