The Flyfishers’ Lodge logo
Bob Furu (left), Master of Gallatin
Lodge No. 6 of Montana, USA,
being made an Honorary Member
of the Flyfishers’ Lodge by Master
The founders of Flyfishers’ Lodge No. 9347
were surely inspired by the writings of Izaak
Walton when they decided to combine their
two passions – flyfishing and Freemasonry –
17 years ago, for there is undeniably a
common thread to the two subjects.
Indeed, it is interesting to ponder
whether Izaak himself might have been
involved in the earliest stirrings of
speculative Freemasonry in the late 1600s.
Those founding members realised that by
adding a further qualification for membership
of their new Lodge, that of having: “…an
active and participatory interest in flyfishing
and a recognition that there exists among
flyfishers a feeling of fraternity peculiarly
compatible with Freemasonry”, they might
create a Lodge unique in its appeal.
With the passage of time, their vision
has been realised. Meeting only three times
a year, in March, June and September,
members keenly look forward to each
joyous occasion and combine them with
opportunities to fish the glorious streams
A further inspiration was the founders’
decision to base the Lodge at Ashbourne
in the Derbyshire Dales, close to the banks
of the river Dove where Walton fished with
his good friend Charles Cotton.
As an unashamedly social Lodge,
Flyfishers’ has had to endure some ribbing
from those who do not regard it as a
“proper” working Lodge, despite our policy
to provide a very high standard of lecture.
However, by the time this goes to print we
shall have conducted our first initiation.
Three years ago one of our members read
of the great work being done by a group of
Freemasons in Hertfordshire. They styled
themselves the Masonic Trout & Salmon
Flyfishing Club, and in addition to getting
together to enjoy a day’s fishing now and
again, they had the inspired idea to
introduce disabled and disadvantaged
children to the joys of flyfishing.
Despite the problems which beset the
organisation of these events, they struck a
chord and soon several fishing days were
being held in the Southeast. We invited
their chairman to a meeting of Flyfishers
Lodge to talk about these events and soon
we were forming our own little committee
to organise the first Disabled Childrens’ Day
in Derbyshire. We have now held two such
days and it is difficult to judge who had more
out of them – the children or the Masons
who gave so freely of their time.
As an added bonus, one of the non-Masonic helpers, a well-known angling
instructor, was so impressed with the
work being done by the Lodge that he
asked about joining Flyfishers!
Meeting so infrequently, it is
understandable that we might want
to get together by the riverside, so we
have appointed a “Master of Fishing” whose
task it is to organise regular fishing trips,
culminating in the annual competition for
the Cornwallis Cup, presented by the Past
Pro Grand Master, MW Bro the Lord
Cornwallis, who was Master in 1995.
Our fishing forays have taken us the
length and breadth of the country and all
over the world, and wherever possible
we try to make contact with a local Lodge
and arrange to meet them.
This is how we came to be guests
of Gallatin Lodge No. 6 in Bozeman,
Montana, USA. Our party made quite a stir
locally, including as it did the Past Pro Grand
Master, and visitors came hundreds of miles
to the Lodge meeting, where we rather
stuck out in our dark suits and white shirts
amongst the blue jeans and cowboy boots!
The members took us fishing, sightseeing
in the Yellowstone National Park
and generally kept us entertained throughout
our stay with them. In return, we introduced
them to the pleasures of a festive board
organised at our hotel (something which
is not practiced in Montana, the standard
fare being a biscuit and a cup of coffee).
We made many firm friends as a result
of this trip and the Master of Bozeman
Lodge at the time, Bob Furu, is now an
Honorary Member of Flyfishers’ Lodge.
Several members have subsequently
returned to Montana for a holiday with their
families and we have reciprocated when our
American friends have visited the UK. This
year our destination is Cuba, where we will
be flyfishing on the flats for bonefish, tarpon
We like to think that we have created
something rather special in Derbyshire, a
Lodge where brethren are bound together
not only by the bonds of Freemasonry, but
also a common interest in the gentle art of
angling, described in the Compleat Angler
as “…a rest to the mind, a cheerer of spirits,
a diverter of sadness, a calmer of unquiet
thoughts, a moderator of passions and a
procurer of contentedness”.
David Marriott is secretary
of the Flyfishers’ Lodge