Tucked away in the park’s western end, just across from the Bison Paddock, are three serene pools and a rustic mountain-style lodge, home to the Golden Gate Angling and Casting Club. Generations of San Franciscans have learned to fly-fish here, and people come from around the world to participate in tournaments and other events. The pools are open to anyone who would like to practice their casting technique, free of charge, and members are often happy to provide tips. A free public casting clinic is offered the second Saturday of every month. Beginners are welcome, and rods are provided to those who don’t have their own.
Both the ponds and the wood-and-stone lodge were built by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in 1938. The lodge, open to the public whenever a member is present, has a library of books and tapes on fishing, as well as club memorabilia and photographs, and the building itself is worth a visit for its charming handcrafted details. Visit in spring to see the rhododendron garden in all its blooming glory.
The Golden Gate Angling and Casting Club, organized in 1933, was an offshoot of the San Francisco Fly Casting Club, which dates back to 1894. Originally situated at Stow Lake, the club moved to its present location upon completion of the facilities in 1939. The club offers a variety of classes in addition to its free clinics, many open to the general public. Membership is open to anyone who has an interesting in fly-fishing, regardless of where they live – the club boasts members from all over the world.
The Angler’s Lodge and fly-casting ponds are on John F. Kennedy Drive, across from the Bison Paddock.