Federation of Fish Dogs

fishing, fish dog, fly fishing

Streamside mischief on the fly.

Like many anglers, I take my dogs fishing with me. The older one knows the drill pretty well: stay on the bank, don’t swim in the holes until I’m done, and don’t help with the release. The younger one is still learning, and he occasionally wades out into holes and tries to grab a hooked fish. All in all, they’re pretty good dogs, friendly and non-threatening to anyone I happen to meet on the river.

One hot summer day proved a bit of a challenge. I ran into a fellow from out of town; he had all the latest gear and must’ve been sweltering in those brand-new waders. I, on the other hand, with my tee shirt and shorts, was not quite so fashionable. He glanced up from tying his fly and immediately let me have it. “Hey buddy, I’m fishing here. Keep those dogs the hell away from me.” I backed off and stood on the bank while pondering my options. I was done fishing, on my way back to the truck, and had to get past him while staying below the high-water mark.

Again he opened up, “You aren’t even s’posed to have dogs on the river, are ya?” I could’ve been polite and told him that I’d wait until he was done and then we’d slink behind him, but by this point he’d pissed me off. “Actually,” I said, “these are FFD dogs; one is a CFD and the other is a FDIT.”

He paused, then asked, “What the hell is an FFD?” I’d piqued his curiosity. “FFD is the Federation of Fish Dogs, a national organization of dog trainers and anglers that train dogs to be excellent fishing companions.” I’m not sure how I came up with that on the fly, but it wasn’t enough to convince the fellow. “You’re full of crap,” he replied. “I’ve never heard of any group like that.”

“It’s relatively new,” I explained. “They formed about five years ago to promote proper fishing etiquette in dogs. Our motto is No dog left behind in the truck. We spend hours training so they won’t be a nuisance on the water. When they’re fully certified, they don’t chase cows or deer or splash through holes—they wait on the bank while you fish and are always steady at the release.”

"Amazed that the thing took the dry I did my best to keep composure. My companion's eyes went wide. 'Sonofabitch!' he blurted."


Like many anglers, I take my dogs fishing with me. The older one knows the drill pretty well: stay on the bank, don’t swim in the holes until I’m done, and don’t help with the release. The younger one is still learning, and he occasionally wades out into holes and tries to grab a hooked fish. All in all, they’re pretty good dogs, friendly and non-threatening to anyone I happen to meet on the river.

One hot summer day proved a bit of a challenge. I ran into a fellow from out of town; he had all the latest gear and must’ve been sweltering in those brand-new waders. I, on the other hand, with my tee shirt and shorts, was not quite so fashionable. He glanced up from tying his fly and immediately let me have it. “Hey buddy, I’m fishing here. Keep those dogs the hell away from me.” I backed off and stood on the bank while pondering my options. I was done fishing, on my way back to the truck, and had to get past him while staying below the high-water mark.

Again he opened up, “You aren’t even s’posed to have dogs on the river, are ya?” I could’ve been polite and told him that I’d wait until he was done and then we’d slink behind him, but by this point he’d pissed me off. “Actually,” I said, “these are FFD dogs; one is a CFD and the other is a FDIT.”

He paused, then asked, “What the hell is an FFD?” I’d piqued his curiosity. “FFD is the Federation of Fish Dogs, a national organization of dog trainers and anglers that train dogs to be excellent fishing companions.” I’m not sure how I came up with that on the fly, but it wasn’t enough to convince the fellow. “You’re full of crap,” he replied. “I’ve never heard of any group like that.”

“It’s relatively new,” I explained. “They formed about five years ago to promote proper fishing etiquette in dogs. Our motto is No dog left behind in the truck. We spend hours training so they won’t be a nuisance on the water. When they’re fully certified, they don’t chase cows or deer or splash through holes—they wait on the bank while you fish and are always steady at the release.”

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