Wether you’re an advanced fly fisherman or a novice trying to hone your casting skills, when you plan on traveling to a new fishing destination it is always best to find a local fly fishing guide. After all, if you are unfamiliar with the local streams, rivers and lakes – you’ll need someone to show you the best spots to land those monster trout. Also, for the novices who need help with their casting technique and knot tying skills a guide can serve as an excellent fly fishing instructor.
How do you find a qualified guide? The first place to look would be the local fly shops. Call each one and ask them if they offer any guide services and if not, ask them if they can recommend anyone in the area. If you can’t find a guide through a fly shop, then you can search online or in the local yellow pages. When calling various guides, ask for their day rates and how many hours of fishing that rate will include.
Find out how far of a drive it is to the lake, river or stream that you will be fishing in. Also, ask the guide if you have a choice of fishing locations. If you are a beginner and the guide offers you a choice between a stream and a lake, it is sometimes better to choose the lake since you will probably have more open space to practice your casting skills.
Many guides will even offer to pick you up at your hotel and chauffeur you right to the water’s edge. Some will also include bagged lunches, snacks and drinks. Of course the more amenities that a guide offers the more money he is likely to charge for his services.
You’ll want to ask the guide over the phone what type and size flies that you should have with you in your fly box. Any guide worth their salt should know exactly which flies are hatching during that particular time of year. Try and get at least three or four different recommendations and buy at least two or three of each type of fly. If you don’t have you own rod, reel or equipment you can ask the guide if he knows where you can rent everything that you will need. Some guides that are associated with local fly shops can even bring you rental gear on the day that you fish. Of course, in most cases there is an additional charge for rental equipment.
Once the big day arrives, remember to take full advantage of your guide’s knowledge. After all, you are paying for a service and you should get your money’s worth. A courteous guide won’t always be fishing right beside you; he’ll be more concerned with helping you catch fish. Guides typically charge between $200 and $400 for a day of fishing. Prices can vary due to the amount of hours that you fish and the number of people in your group. It is customary to tip the guide at the end of the day; typically 15% gratuity is standard.
The most important thing to remember is to have fun! Sometimes new fly fisherman get frustrated when their line gets snagged in the trees and they haven’t caught any fish. If you find yourself having these feelings, take a deep breath and look around you. In most cases, the scenery you’ll enjoy will be breathtaking and the feel of the water against your waders is like no other feeling. So, keep putting your fly on the water and it won’t be long before you’re yelling “fish on!”