When people think about fly fishing locations, they usually think of places like Montana, Idaho, Montana, Washington, etc. Since 2011, though, the list has grown to include an unlikely newcomer, Yemen. The fly-fishing spotlight has been on Yemen ever since the production of the British film Salmon Fishing in Yemen. The film is about helping a sheik realize his dream of bringing the sport of fly fishing to the Yemen desert.
The movie is based on the book of the same, though the screenplay strays significantly from the book. After its premiere at the Toronto Film Festival, the production made a pretty penny raking in over $30 million in revenue.
So, does Yemen truly have fly fishing? That’s the question I want to answer. According to Yemen’s Board of Tourism, the answer is “no.”
Soon after the movie’s release, SLATE magazine published an article titled, “There’s No Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, Warns Yemen’s Board of Tourism.”
The article quoted a Yemen Tourism spokesman who said, “There’s been a real surge in visitors to our website since the film. There’s been thousands of visits to our website.”
“One negative is that salmon fishing isn’t actually that popular in Yemen, but there are excellent sea fishing opportunities in the country.”
Tourism officials in Yemen aren’t ones to let an opportunity slip away. When the movie made its rounds, cinemas treated moviegoers to a 30-second pre-show advert promoting tourism in Yemen. It is noteworthy that the show experienced its greatest success in the U.K. and the United States because both nations have warned their citizens against travel to Yemen.
So, if you’re looking for a tried-and-trusted fly-fishing vacation, I recommend sticking with proven locations like the Blackfoot River in Montana or the Snake River in Idaho. Leave the Yemenise fishing to the cinemas.