WYOMING IS FULL OF VARIOUS WATERSHEDS THAT ATTRACT THOUSANDS OF LOCAL AND DISTANT TRAVELERS EVERY YEAR. Wyoming’s four different seasons bring different fish behavior that can often times be tough to fully comprehend, even for the most skilled fisherman. With the recent increase in popularity, fly fishing is seeing another “wave” since the famous Robert Redford film “A River Runs Through It” came out in 1992.
It is amazing to see the flow of new cultures carry on within our sport. With this growing popularity comes the demand for more professional fly fishing guides. The ‘Cowboy State” has a growing number of fishing guides that rely on these rivers and the fish to produce a livelihood. Not just a day for the wealthy, but a day for any angler who wants to gain more perspective on fish habitat or brush up their casting skills. This is a great way to better understand the river you are intending on exploring. Guides offer not only a safe mode of transportation to/from the river, but also play an integral part in connecting you with the fish in a special way.
What does a guide do?
Full time guides are passionate individuals who have given up the normal life in exchange for life on the water. They must prepare and have all the necessary tools in order to achieve long term success. Many things go into a day of guided fishing. To start, the pre-trip boat/truck power wash to make sure your client isn’t sitting in a muddy boat the next day. A few things then follow that night… shuttle arrangements, fly/gear selection, lunch preparation & hourly water flow data analysis – just a few vital actions practiced on a routine basis. The next morning it’s gassing up, grabbing coffee and meeting your clients.
Whether your trip is a walk/wade trip or a drift boat float trip there are plenty of variables that go into your day on the water. A walk/wade trip requires one to be intimately involved with your surroundings while breaking down the water, piece by piece. Drift boat floats are less physically demanding and offer a way to cover vast stretches of water and try a few more techniques. You witness the river constantly change right before your eyes, all while your guide puts you in prime position to catch what you came here for – Mr. Trout. Both trips are unique and are a great way to better understand the special piece of water your guide is showing you.
What can a guide teach me?
A day with a guide will not only educate you on the local environment in which the water & fish lie, but also inform the angler of threats to the resource, unique characteristics of the watershed, knowledge on proper fish handling and how to appreciate the most out of a fishing trip. These fish are the “business partners” of the local entrepreneurs, and it better serves guides/outfitters to illustrate the least detrimental methods of catching & releasing of wild western trout. The best way outfitters can ensure a successful future generation of fish is to promote a healthy interaction between angler and fish.
Many new anglers are unaware of many “no-no’s” within our sport. A good guide can “read” the angler and identify the area of needed improvement and then communicate with the angler on the best approach to “mend” the problem. Guides come patient and fresh, others come crusty and old. The key is finding the one who is still fresh, yet has enough years on the water to have respect by most/all colleagues in his field.
What does a “guide” look like?
A good guide will typically have a dusty truck, cracked windshield and some aspect of his wading boots busted. He is at work an hour before he meets you and at work for an additional hour after he drops you off. If you are lucky and really “click” with a guide, you will be subject to following him around the ends of the earth and fishing any watershed he says you should. You will refer to him as a brother and book him multiple times a season. Both of you will appreciate each other and create a unique friendship that this industry seems to be built off of. At some point, you will see a glimpse of his sickness …but only that.
Hiring a local guide creates job security for the folks that eat, sleep & breathe the body of water they work. Guides & outfitters have a unique perspective of the resource that neither the state game & fish nor recreation anglers witness. They are on the water most and see vast numbers of fish, additionally their feeding habits and location within the watershed. With proper selection, you will find a hard working, fishy friend who you will always find an excuse to venture back on the water with. If you hire one – be honest, open and drop any sort of ego. You will get the most out of your fishing trip and have a memorable experience by doing these simple things.
Ryan Hudson lives in Daniel, Wyoming and is Owner/Operator of the Wyoming Fishing Company LLC alongside his black lab Ichabod who is the first mate.