Thinking about hiring a guide this summer for the fly fishing trip of a lifetime? Fishing guides are not cheap and most people cannot afford to hire them all the time. Making the most of your trip will require you telling the guide what it is you want out of your trip. Here are a few tidbits to ensure you have a fun filled day with all of your expectations met.
Be Honest With Your Guide/Outfitter
The best way to ensure you will be fishing an area that your skills are capable of is to be honest about your ability. Sure, pretty much all anglers like to exaggerate how great they are, but now is not a good time for that. Even though your ego wants to tell the outfitter that you are capable of casting 80ft. all day, if you hit the river and can only cast 20’—you might be in trouble. If you are totally honest with your guide, they will take you to an area where you can catch fish from 20 feet away. But since you decided to stroke that ego, you can’t reach the skittish picky trout that can only be caught with 50-60′ casts. You would be surprised how often exaggerated ability has made what would have been a joyful fish filled day, into a frustrating nightmare not only for the angler, but also for the guide.
Tell the Guide What You Expect From The Trip
Every guide has a different way of doing things. Some fishing guides will try to micromanage every aspect of your fishing, while others will give you a lot more freedom and only chime in when they see a problem. A lot of anglers expect to be talked to almost non stop on the river, while others basically hired a guide to be rowed around the river and be left alone. When I first started guiding I was probably a little too intense. I assumed that the goal of everyone I guided was to catch a ton of fish. I was like a drill sergeant barking orders. After a while I learned that most people just want a chill experience. Catching a ton of fish is nice, but a low pressure float down the river with a minimum amount of orders being yelled is what they expect.
Do you want nonstop instruction or a casual day on the water?
Basically if you have expectations, you need to tell your guide! e.g: We’re out here to learn as much as possible and become the best anglers we can be. Or: “We are here on our honeymoon, we don’t care how many fish we catch—we just want to be on the water”. There’s obviously a very big difference in the way I would guide these 2 different groups of people.
Hunting for Lunkers or Looking for Big Numbers of Fish?
This is something you really do need to communicate to your guide. If you came out to the Western US in search of giant trout, you should tell your guide that. You will also need to express to the guide that “a couple large fish would make you very happy”vs “We want to catch as many fish as possible”. Most guides will assume that catching you the most fish is important to keeping you entertained. People have short attention spans, so the more action we can give you, the happier we as fishing guides figure you’ll be. A majority of the time the best way to catch the largest possible trout, is not how you catch large numbers. So If you are happy with catching a few big ones….that’s great, just make sure your guide knows..