I'm sorry I missed this, but for what it's worth I took both the beginning and intermediate Orvis classes (my father grew up in Brooklyn, I grew up in LA - it's not like I knew anybody who knew anything about fishing) in Manchester, Vt.

I would definitely recommend the beginning class for anybody interested in trout fishing. You learn basic casting and rollcasting, gear, knots, and entomology and flies, and hooking, playing and landing fish. You get some time on the river, but not much. I really enhanced the experience by hiring one of the instructors for a few hours to take me out on the Battenkill on my own. I knew nothing about fly fishing and in fact, had never caught a fish in my life. I came with about $500 or so worth of gear.

I will admit though that it took me a few weekends fishing with a guide that summer before I was comfortable on a creek on my own.

I'm not sure if I'd recommend the intermediate class - by the time I took it, I might have been beyond it already. It's about a day working on casting including double hauling - which I had already learned. The second time was spent on a creek, not the Battenkill, and fishing - but it was nothing special.