Holden fly shop and learning center opens

For years, Don Corey has hosted regular fly tying and rod-building sessions at his Holden home. Friends and members of the club he belongs to — the Penobscot Fly Fishers — showed up, greeted Corey’s wife, Diane, and tromped down into the basement, where they’d spend a couple of hours learning new skills and … well … poking fun at each other.

And while that space worked well enough, Corey always longed for a better, larger facility.

Don Corey (l) chats with Sam Kenney

Now he’s got it: On Saturday, he welcomed many of those same basement-visitors, as well as the general public, to the new “storefront” of Annika Rod and Fly. To be more accurate, the Annika Rod and Fly Learning Center is actually a “garagefront,” filling one bay of Corey’s spacious Holden garage.

The other bay — Corey calls it “the annex,” — is separated from the learning center by a wall. Eventually, Corey’s wife may actually get to park her car in there. Eventually.

“It might be the best little fly shop in Holden,” Corey said on Saturday, during an open house marking Annika Rod and Fly’s official move out of the basement. “It’s also the only little fly shop in Holden.”

The company name, “Annika,” is a combination of the names of Don and Diane’s two adult daughters: Anna and Erika.

Mike Curtis at the vise

Full disclosure: Corey’s full-time job is at the Bangor Daily News. I’ve known him for a long time. At one time, back in the 1980s, we even played volleyball on the same team for several enjoyable seasons.

All that history aside, I’m happy for the man. He has been a driving force in the greater Bangor fly fishing community for years, has and helped teach dozens of folks (including me, though he might not admit it) how to tie flies. In short, he’s just a great ambassador for the sport.

At his Holden world headquarters (my description, not his … but you’ve gotta think big), Corey has outfitted a facility that is perfect for what he has in mind.

The racks that hold the assorted merchandise are on wheels. When Annika Rod and Fly is a fly shop, those displays take center stage. When Corey changes the room into a “learning center,” those racks can be pushed to the side, making room for long community tables or rod-building stations.

Avid anglers check out the shop.

Among the first pieces of business for Corey and his Annika “Pro Staff,” are fly tying classes that will start in January. Rod-building sessions will also be staged early next year.

Full-service, one-stop shopping, it’s not … not yet. Those looking to put their hands on harder-to-find items may have to special order them.

As far as I’m concerned, that’s not a problem at all. In fact, it’s a good thing: It just means you’ll have an excuse to visit the shop more often.

You can find Corey’s shop at 36 Kingsbury Road. Winter hours are 5-8 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturdays. Other times can be set up by appointment. To find out more, go to annikarodandfly.com.


John Holyoke

About John Holyoke

John Holyoke has been enjoying himself in Maine's great outdoors since he was a kid. Today, he's the Outdoors editor for the BDN, a job that allows him to meet up with Maine outdoors enthusiasts in their natural habitat. The stories he gathers provide fodder for his columns, and this blog.