Fifteen years into my full time fly fishing guiding career I have had the pleasure to guide many people who have become regular clients, good friends and much better fly fishermen. I have guided a wide spectrum of wonderful individuals from grade school children to Korean War vets and complete rookies to professional anglers. There are many reasons to hire a fly fishing guide and they may not be focused on the obvious one – simply catching more fish.
1. Learn How To Fly Fish
One of the best reasons to hire a fly fishing guide is learning how to get started in the sport. Fly fishing can be an intimidating sport to get involved with initially. Casting, proper gear, knot tying, fly choice and hatch recognition are only a few of the things with which a novice must contend. Instructional learning taught on the water by a professional guide will speed up a rookie’s learning curve significantly. Most importantly, a guided trip focused on learning will make that first solo trip to the river less daunting and more enjoyable. A beginner should always let the guide know that learning is the main purpose of his/her guided trip.
2. Improving Skills
Even experienced fly fishermen should come away from every guided trip with more than a bunch of grip and grin fish photos. In my experience, there is no such thing as an “expert” fly fisherman. There is always something more to learn. I try to teach every client on every trip something that will improve their angling skills. Longer casts, how to read water, fish behavior or what bugs are hatching are all possibilities. Some clients just want to learn local water better so they can fish more effectively on their own. I can never guarantee catching a fish, but I can guarantee that my clients will be better fly fisherman at the end of the day.
3. Accessing Water
Many of my longtime clients fly fish with me as their guide because my raft and drift boat offer access to water they would have been unable to fish by themselves. Float trips allow clients to fly fish miles of inaccessible water in a single day. Another access issue that hiring a fly fishing guide addresses is private water. Most quality guide services will have arrangements with privately owned ranches such as Thousand Peaks Ranch. These properties feature trout that are larger than average in size and unpressured because the water is unavailable to the general public. Anglers who book these type of guide fly fishing trips can expect to have outstanding fishing and incredible scenery all to themselves.
4. Searching For New Species
Most serious trout junkies eventually find themselves longing for a Steelhead trip in British Columbia, a flats boat adventure in the Bahamas for bonefish, a jungle river in the Amazon for peacock bass or even Guatemala’s deep blue for sailfish. Such adventure angling trips are an inevitable arc in a fly fisherman’s path towards challenging themselves, casting to new fish and fly fishing in new ways. While a do-it-yourself trip may be possible for some exotic species that require travel, usually the best, and sometimes the only approach to ensure a good fishing experience is to hire a local guide. Try to seek out fly fishing guides who have associations with reputable lodges or established guide services.
5. Catch More Fish
I hesitate to list this reason, but the fact is that many people hire fly fishing guides because they do give the average fly fisherman a much better chance of landing more trout than they would on their own. A professional guide’s knowledge is almost always more complete than most anglers. Years of experience observing fish, learning the water and hatches and that uncanny sixth sense many of the best guides possess, usually results in more hookups and trophy photos.
Keep in mind that no fly fishing guide can guarantee good fishing or even any fish at all. Certain things are completely out of a guide’s control, including if the fish are simply not eating, poor weather or plain old bad luck. A good guide can often turn a slow day into a day with a few bends in the rod, but don’t expect more than a guide is capable of realistically producing.
If you are interested in learning how to fly fish or accessing some fantastic private water, book a guided fly fishing trip with Jans. Or stop into our store on Park Avenue and ask our fly fishing experts for advice on purchasing the best gear, booking a trip or what flies to use. All of Jans’ guides live and fish locally and are happy to share how to catch trout in the area’s fisheries.
Brody Henderson, Content Writer