So we are roughly halfway through the season. I’ve put somewhere around 60 trips and over 100 days riverside. I really won’t know the actual numbers until I do taxes. I have been in that sweet guide grind for a bit now. 4-6 days a week, familiar faces, lots of new ones, and a few trips on the new guide waters in Idaho.
I’ve been live streaming, tying, chasin trout, and chatting fish, rivers, and all the things and stuff that come along with this gig. This blog is just kind of a list of thoughts I’ve had over the past few weeks. Lots of time to contemplate when driving and rowing all the time.
First thing…live streams and the places I say I’m fishing aren’t secrets. I’m purposely saying where I’m at because people want to know where they can float and wade safely and without being on private property. They also want to know because so many times anglers just dont know where to go and what to look for. It seems selfish to keep that stuff to myself. Every angler has the right to enjoy the public access and lands we have. They belong to no one…they are for everyone. Now anglers should always have respect and fish ethically but I cant make anglers that visit these places do that. I can educate anglers but at the end of the day its about what kind of angler you are or want to be.
Let’s talk about the spawning fish I found yesterday that could be steelhead. So I live streamed some fish I found near three bridges on the upper yak. At first I fished for them because i just saw a fish. But when I saw the pairs of them I pulled my fly out and watched.
First off spawning fish are amazing to watch. And everyone knows you shouldn’t fish them. In my younger days I didnt know any better and I did fish them. But education and developing into a better angler changed that. I was contacted by an individual who told me people went in to that area and may or may not have been targeting those fish.
That’s illegal first, if they are steelhead, which they potentially are spawning this late. So enforcement should always be called in those situations. Always. Whether it’s a guide or not. I call in at least a dozen illegal activities happening on this river a year. Some of them have even been people I would consider friends.
Second. I cant change that kind of angler. The kind of angler that knows and watches for those spawners and targets them is gonna do that no matter what. A ticket is the only thing that’s gonna work in that situation and a poacher is gonna a poach even after the ticket in most cases.
So…be ethical. Be respectful, and when someone like myself goes out of thier way to help others dont bastardized it by being a dick angler.
Moving on, social media. So I’ve gotten some shit this year for my posts and my tell all approach. But when I get those comments I remind myself that I am really busy with trips so I’m doing something right. I’ve gotten to a point where I’m just gonna leave it at that. It works for my business model and has kept me in 100-150 Yakima trips for 5 seasons now.
People. I meet a lot of people. Lots on trips, riverside, and the always curious fellow camper or angler that wanders into my camp with questions. I love watching it. They keep looking over, seeing the rig, the tent, the boat, all the stickers, the beard, and they slowly work their way over and usually ask one of three things.
You a guide?
Hows the fishing?
That’s a cool boat/tent thingy.
It’s great. Dont feel like you’re going to bother me. If I don’t want to be around people you wouldn’t find me. I still know a few secret spots I keep to myself. But part of this gig is people and I cannot tell you how many clients I get from just being riverside everyday. That face to face with people is still the best way to do business and I do business on the river. So many times a person I helped, or gave advice, or handed some flies, or just ran into has turned into a client. Too many guides miss out on those kinds of clients because they arent out fishing.
Those people are usually two types. Very experienced, and not at all. The expeirmced guys book less but I run into more frequently. They fish a lot, know thier stuff, and always like to hear a good story and share a few. The others are the newbies, typically just trying to figure it out, maybe haven’t even been in a shop yet because they are intimidated. Which sucks…if you’re local shops are intimidating or not helping then find new ones. It’s still to common in this industry especially to female and younger anglers.
The newbies are great, they are sponges, they take flies readily, and they listen intently. I usually hear of thier success later at camp or they find me on social media. I never go out of my way for those encounters. They just happen. They tend to turn into clients at some point. It’s one of my favorites ways to meet fellow anglers. Just be riverside.
The stuff and things. I have a lot of stuff and things to share, and I’m constantly learning and incorporating more. What the hell am I gonna do with it all. My kids arent as interested yet and may never be. I fish on my own and it’s just fishing to me. I can figure out the puzzle and find success with trout and most other species around. So what would I do, just keep getting better and better myself? For what? I’m not competitive at least not with people, only trout. I am not in this for followers or to be famous, to be the best caster or guide or trouty person, I’m not in this for anything but the pure act of fishing. But I gotta make a living. I’m not the guide who is an ambassador to a bunch of companies, my gear is worn, tattered, and well used. My boat is old. And it shows. Even my own body and how I present myself doesnt always mesh with your typical guide. This is about the experience, the life, and making money at it is part of it. The trick is to love what you do and make it fun for clients but also yourself. I’m all about sharing that experience, it does something to you. Of all the ways to enjoy the natural world, fly fishing just has something more to it. That’s what it’s all about.
I am constantly reminded by clients, anglers, and people I meet that I have a unique approach and do things unlike many others. I dont know how to do it any other way. Guiding to me is what I do, I never had some standard to work off of really. And over the years my ways of doing things has evolved into more my own thing than I ever realized it would be. With the St. Joe added to the roster and getting a whole new slew of clients and anglers as well as a totally different type of guiding experience for me the fact of that uniqueness has become more apparent to me.
I’m gonna keep doing me I guess. Seems to work and now that we are really in the peak of it and July is over half booked…I’m gonna keep on ramblin doen the road and the rivers anglers. See ya riverside.