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About Us


California Fly Shop is owned by Xavier and Karen Carbonnet, avid fly fishers and adventure travelers. Xavier has been a fisherman all of his life, and made his career as an art dealer. Karen has been in technology marketing for 30 years - mostly for startups. Together they set out to create a different kind of fly shop, a place where their many technology-oriented clients could feel at home.

Eschewing the small, wood framed shops one finds all over the west, they built a lofty shop with high ceilings full of natural light. Concrete floors resembling water are encircled by crisp white walls, enabling shoppers to focus on the products while dreaming of their next fishing adventure. An urban fly shop, we carry gear for all locations - from saltwater to freshwater and the waters in between.






Our approach to fly fishing is a little different: it’s not a club, there is nothing exclusive about it. It’s great for families looking to get off the grid, for couples looking for picturesque together time, and for the intrepid explorer, ready to venture out onto new waters.

We carry gear from Patagonia, Simms, Sage, Winston, Echo, Scott, Galvan and Hatch - and many others - to cover a wide range of preferences and budgets. Regardless of how much you spend, our gear is uniformly great and reliable. We are one of the few places you can trust to sell you an introductory kit you can fish with for decades - and that comes with a warranty. Fly fishing is easier to learn than you think, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. 


We love to travel and can help you prepare for any fishing expedition. We can talk you through technical clothing to stay warm in Alaska and cool in the Bahamas. Can’t decide if you need to bring the 5-weight or the 6-weight rod? Call us, we’ll help you figure it out. 

And boy, do we know flies. Most of our staff tie beautiful flies ranging from rattling clousers to colorful steelhead and all the bugs in between. If we don’t have your fly in stock, we will either order it for you, tie it, or suggest an equally good alternative. You can trust our flies not to unravel; we only stock the best quality. Want to tie your own? We also stock the highest quality materials and tools for tying your own flies. 

We run free educational clinics every month at our store in San Carlos and have started the San Francisco School of Fly Fishing to teach new people the sport. Our goal is to expand your perception of fly fishing and help you to be more successful on the water. Wherever you’re going, whatever your experience level, we’ll get you ready.

Let us be your local fly shop. We’ll treat you like family.