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To Be or Not To Be......Guided

To Be or Not To Be......Guided


   I was in my mid forties when I first hired a guide. I was camping in Rocky Mountain National Park, just outside the town of Estes Park. Recently in the Park, the Green Back Trout, declared extinct in the 1930s, had been rediscovered and their recovery in the high altitude streams in the Park, was described as being pretty good. So good, in fact that this ancient cutthroat was removed from the endangered list, and moved to the threatened list.  This meant we could fish for them if we could find them. After four days, I still hadn't found them. On my last day in the Park, I went to town and hired a guide for a half day. He hiked me up the side of a mountain, and I caught a Green Back . The trout was gorgeous of course, and at the time, I wanted to stay there forever and chase these beautiful Cutts..  Barbless hooks and catch and release were the rules of the time. 

    I was taught a good lesson....hire your guide on the first day, Stupid.
That was 30 years ago. I've hired a few guides since then, not many; but a few.  It's expensive, although if you're fishing with a buddy, the costs are halved...still, during the height of the season in Montana or Idaho, hiring a guide will cost over $600 for a day. But many if not most of the anglers have traveled a fair distance in order to get there....they want to catch big trout and a guide will usually put them on the right water at the right time. Plus, the guides share the methods of success so the angler can spend the rest of his/her vacation using flies and tactics that they know will least some of the time.
     My initial reluctance to hire a guide I think, stemmed from me not wanting to be referred to as a "sport". Growing up in Western Maine, I heard the term a lot and didn't particularly like it. "Sport", seemed to have a certain ring to it that invited ridicule. If one was fishing with friends and he happened to fall in the brook, he could expect to hear, "Way to go Sport".....or maybe a, "You okay there Sport?" Anyway it bugged me and probably kept me from being smart enough to hire a guide earlier in life. I seldom hear that term any more; it being replaced with a reference to client or party,... but not sport.
I doubt I will fish any new areas fishing always takes place on familiar water during this stage of my life. Chances are I won't hire another guide either. But, I wish I had hired more. They know stuff and are willing to share it with their least most of it.
Next article Mahogany Duns and Grizzly


sal - January 24, 2021

Another great blog. I look forward to reading them.

herman - January 20, 2021

Great memories with good friends in beautiful places and sometimes big trouts

Dale - January 20, 2021

Great stuff, John — write your memoirs! (Or are you already doing that?)

Mark A. York - January 20, 2021

The only reason to hire a guide most places is they have to have a license and emergency training and most importantly a boat. I had a Montana Guide’s license for two years. I was endorsed by an outfitter and had a raft and a two drift boats myself in preparation for clients that never came. Too many guides in town. The advantage to going out with one is they row the boat, you fish. That’s the gig. In the tropics a guide is crucial. My hires have been in SW Florida and Belize. No other way to go there.

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