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Get The Most Out Of Your Next Guided Fly Fishing Trip

Published: 15th November 2019 | Author: Sean Platt

There are a lot of reasons for hiring a guide, maybe you’re a newbie to fly fishing or maybe you have tons of experience but limited time, or maybe you just hate tying your own knots – here’s how you get more out of your next guided fly fishing trip. Regardless of the reason, there are a few simple things, the doing of which can greatly increase what you take away for your next trip.

As a full time fly fishing guide in the Adirondacks, I have the opportunity to work with clients from a multitude of backgrounds and experience levels. In any given week I can take out clients ranging from those who have never even seen a fly, to those that have been all over the world in pursuit of fish. As a result, I have come up with three guidelines that will help you get the most out of your next trip.

guided fly fishing trip

Be Honest; about your ability

As a guide I have heard all sorts of bravado and confidence on the phone, only to get to the water and find that what a client thought was a 120 foot caster is really more like 25 feet. Conversely, I have taken out clients that greatly downplay their experience only to find that they are incredible anglers. Although the later is certainly preferable, the point I am trying to make is, just be honest to your guide, they are there to help…

Be honest about your abilities, your strengths, your weaknesses, what you need to work on. Also be honest about things like your wading ability and comfort in/on the water. The river that I primarily work on has some notoriously awful wading and on more than one occasion clients have assured me they were up to it, only to find that it was well beyond their capability. That said sometimes you don’t know until you go, but being a bit more honest initially will certainly be beneficial. It’s far better to head to a spot and find that you are more than comfortable versus wasting valuable time investigating a section of river only to realize it won’t work.

This applies equally for angling ability, your guide will choose water depending on your experience. For example, there are sections of water with more complex currents and more difficult casting that I would be more likely to take an expert than a beginner. Knowing this information going into the trip can be very beneficial not only for the guide, but also for you as a client to ensure you have the best experience possible.

Trout from a guided fly fishing trip

Have Questions on your Guided Fly Fishing Trip

Hiring a guide is a service, it’s not free and is typically not cheap. In order to get the most out of your trip be sure to have and ask lots of questions. Whenever I take out clients completely new to the sport I always encourage them to ask any questions they might have, this applies to experienced anglers also. One of the best things about fly fishing is the continuous learning process, I learn something new every day on the water and I routinely learn from my clients.

I can’t guarantee that you’ll catch fish but I can guarantee that you’ll learn something. Don’t get me wrong, I would love if every day we lost track of fish caught in the first hour, but those trips are few and far between. The reality is that your time with a guide is limited to a few hours and in order to make the most of it be sure to take advantage of their knowledge and ask lots and lots of questions.

Wading a tricky section of river

Listen To Your Guide

This last one seems fairly obvious but bears reminding. In most cases, those of us in the guiding community do it because we genuinely love teaching people how to fly fish and while there are certainly exceptions, more often than not your guide will have the most up to date information and best knowledge about the waters you are about to fish. Therefore be sure to listen to what your guide recommends.

You may have your heart set on a certain style of fishing, a certain river, or even a certain time, but expectation, especially in fly fishing, can lead to disappointment. Listen to your guide’s recommendation and know that what they are suggesting is intended to give you the best possible experience.

This applies on the water as well. Every river has its own peculiarities and in many cases, one of the best parts of hiring a guide is to be able to use their knowledge of these details. So if they recommend a pattern, fishing style or method of presentation – listen to them and be open.

In conjunction with the smaller details, guides can often see mistakes and or habits that might be hindering your efficiency on the water. I feel like these are the most valuable ‘take-aways’ from a guided fly fishing trip. Remember that your guide is trying to make you better, we are not trying to criticize or scold you, but rather elevate your angling ability. Small things like how your fly lands, or over mending can be the difference between success and failure.

Much like everything else in fly fishing, you should take this advice with a pinch of salt. But I am fairly confident that if on your next guided fly fishing trip you make an effort, to be honest, have questions and listen, you will make the most of your experience. Hope to see you on the water soon!

Trout from a guided fly fishing trip
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