The below topic is offered to help clients better prepare for a guided trip. The information does not just pertain to flyfishing, but to any type of guided outdoor activity.
Hiring a guide is an investment, and with a bit of research, it could prove to be well worth your time. Asking shops and other area businesses about who they recommend is one avenue to take. Another is to ask other guides. In addition, we hope that this helps in selecting a guide for your next escape.
What to look for in a guide:
- Professionalism: In every aspect of the day, guiding is a professional occupation. Your guide should want to give you the best day of the season.
- Communication: He or she should always talk to you about your expectations. An open and honest assessment of the possibilities should be given.
- Qualifications: Ask your potential guide about their experience in the area in which you are interested. For example: How long have they been licensed? Are they fulltime or part-time? Have they traveled elsewhere?
- Gear: Gear that is used by clients should be of good quality and in serviceable condition. Gear should not be the focus of the day. Remember, trips are about the experience, not the gear.
- Teaching ability: Letting a guide fish through you is one of the quickest ways to learn a new technique. A guide should be proficient at a number of technical skills, casts, knots, and be able to demonstrate and explain them in a simple format.
- Attitude: Guides should treat their clients respectfully, whether that client is holding a fly rod for the first time or not.
- References: Asking for one or two references is a fast and easy way to find out more about your potential guide. References should be easily obtained. Ask these clients about their experiences.
What clients should know:
- Communicate: Talk with your guide about what you would like to experience. With a little work before a trip, your guide can better prepare for your day. Most guides love to share their knowledge and improve their ability to teach.
- Abilities: Being honest about your abilities will help a guide choose the right water for you. For example, if you have don’t have a lot of experience and would like to improve your skills, your guide can choose appropriate water for your abilities.
- Casting: Practice, practice, practice. Simply put, the better your cast, the more productive your day.
- Ask questions: Remember, you are with a person who has spent countless hours learning what they know. Pick their brains. Make the most of your day with them and reap as much knowledge as you can.
- Surprises: Notify your guide if you have a medical issue that might require attention (e.g. allergies to beestings, diabetes, etc.) Also, if you have to be off the water at a certain time, tell them this before your departure.
- Lunch/Alcohol: Most guides have an alcohol policy in place. Ask them about it and please respect their decision. Also, if you would rather concentrate on fishing fully and just have a quick lunch, some guides will honor that request.
- Book early: If your goal is to fish a certain hatch or do a trip at a certain time of year, reserving your date well ahead of time will save frustration. Most weekends and holidays fill first, while weekday trips see less traffic.
- Reality: Flyfishing is a great, sometimes frustrating endeavor. In this day and age, too many people want instant success. Flyfishing is not conducive to that attitude or expectation. That being said, using a guide to learn techniques or knowledge will help. Dedicating oneself to learning the skills and gaining the experience can only be obtained by time. Whether that means hiring a guide or living in the back of a pickup for a season, only you can decide. Our goal as a guide service is to provide you with a memorable day on the water.
“The best guides recognize their true role as teachers, not menservants.” Yvon Chouinard