Most every avid hunter and fisherman is aware that there are guides available that specialize in most every aspect of hunting and fishing and, in the world of fly fishing at least, there are also people who are dedicated instructors. But, why should you spend your hard earned dollars to hire one of these individuals? Well, the answer to that question is that an experienced fly fishing guide will have intimate knowledge of the area, the local streams, and the habits and preferences of the various fish species that inhabit those streams, as well as knowledge of local fly patterns and, last but not least, there is the matter of safety. Thus, whenever you are planning on fly fishing in an area with which you are not intimately familiar, you should consider hiring an experienced guide because doing so can very well make the difference between having a fantastic day on the stream and having a merely enjoyable one!
In fact, when heading off to unknown waters, it’s often a very good idea to seek out a local guide for at least one of the days you will be fishing, even if you are a seasoned angler. The reason for this is that most guides want you to have a successful day and thus, they can take you to places you might not find on your own with their local knowledge of the area. In fact, all of my favorite places to fish are so secluded and well hidden that I never see another fishermen in there and consequently, I always have good days fishing there. Also, having someone along who has an intimate knowledge of the particular stream you are fishing is a plus because it alleviates the stress we all experience when it comes time to make our way back downstream to the truck in the evening on a stream that we are not familiar with.
Thus, by hiring a guide that knows the creek, you can relax and let them worry about whether or not you are on the right trail (or whether or not you are even still on the trail at all!) and how far you still have to go to get back to the parking area. In addition, not only can a good fly fishing guide take you to local streams that see very little fishing pressure, by having intimate knowledge of such streams they are often on a first name basis with the fish in that steam and thus, they can teach how to recognize unproductive water and instead put you on fish quickly by teaching you how to recognize the prime lies and, they will often have their own “secrets” that you won’t find posted on Web forums.
Plus, if you’re a novice fly fishermen, a good fly fishing instructor can help you correct any casting problems you may have and, they should be able to teach you basic entomology and how to read water as well. Furthermore, they can also instruct you concerning which fly patterns are most favored by the local fish population and how to present them in the correct manner for that particular type of water.
Not only that, a good fly fishing guide can help keep you safe while on the stream because many rivers, streams, and creeks have their own danger areas and knowing where they are and how to deal with them is often something that can only come with intimate knowledge of a particular body of water. Thus, a guide can often prevent you from having a nasty fall that may end with broken gear or, even worse, a broken bone. So, when you’re speaking with a prospective guide with the intention of hiring him or her, be honest with them about your fly fishing experience. For instance, if you’ve only been out a few times, don’t tell them you are an expert who can wade fast water or cast like a pro in tight quarters because it will only make for a frustrating day for both of you. Also, be sure to ask your guide if they provide the necessary gear and if not, then what will you need to bring along? In addition, if they do supply appropriate gear, what, if anything, will you need to bring along in addition to it? Furthermore, you should ask them if they provide the flies you will need throughout the day and if so, is there an extra charge for that? Plus, what about lunch? Some guides will provide a lunch while others would prefer that you bring your own lunch because both diets and preferences differ widely. Also, if your guide does supply lunch, it is good idea to ask what type of lunch they provide because you might not like what’s on the menu. However, don’t judge a guide by whether or not they provide you with a gourmet meal because some guides are terrific on the water but just aren’t that great in the kitchen!
Last, reading stream reports and talking with other fly fishermen via social media about the waters and guides local to where you want to fish can be a very good way of learning which guides are recommended in the area. Also, be sure to find out whether your guide is trained in basic first aid and let them know of any special medical requirements or physical restrictions you might have such as problems with your knees, shoulders, or back. That way, with the two of you working together, you should have a great day on the stream!