To Fish With or Without a Guide
I was reading Kevin Frank’s great post from Feather Chucker the other day about fishing with
his buddy Lance who is a professional fly fishing guide in North Carolina. It got me to thinking about guide fishing
in general. My closest encounter with a fly fishing guide has been on the
Internet and the owner of our local fly shop below our tailrace. I have often
thought about using a guide when I am fishing the Caney Fork in Cartridge Tennessee. It is really a pressured tailrace with
bank, wading fisherman, canoe, and kayak fishermen on the water daily. There is a number of guides who frequent the area and stay quick busy throughout the
year. I know I would probably land more trout and learn a lot more about this
tailrace if I had a guide. So to convince me I need a little
guidance in unfamiliar streams and tailraces, I have listed a few advantages of fishing with a guide.
Become familiar with the hatch stages where I am fishing and what
patterns work best during a particular time of day and month.
Learn to read the water, as to where the different species of trout
Since most of the feeding by trout is down under, learn to fish the
nymph pattern better
Learn how to use the streamer more effectively in fast water versus slow water
Recognize hot spots and never forget where they are on a particular
stream you might be fishing
And last—realize that a guided fishing trip for me is not all about
landing a lot of trout, but more of a learning experience—in other words, think
of the outing as a day spent in an outdoor classroom.
Feel free to list your own advantages
tough choice, even when ive been in new areas ive opted to just get out there and explore. ive come up on both sides sometimes catching fish and feeling rewarded and have take a skunk a few times as well. more info is never a bad thing and professional local insight goes long way. i just feel like the internet has access to a lot of info to get me started.ReplyDelete
Yes, you have hit on a lot of the reasons why hiring a guide can help you in your education of the river. My main reason for hiring a guide would be if I can't wade a river because of conditions or geographics. I have a guided trip planned for drifting down the Green River out of Flaming Gorge in March. I have waded this river several times, but now want to fish other areas that I can't get to by foot. = ) And I'm sure that I will learn a lot more about this fishery from the experience of someone that fishes it daily...ReplyDelete
A guide can teach you more about a river in 6 hours then you could learn on your own in 6 days.ReplyDelete
They're wonderful assets when you pick the right one.
I have fished the Caney Fork for a couple of years and have landed trout there, but most are the hatchy brats in the 9" range. The best rainbow I have landed there was a 12" bow a year ago. As I stated in the post it is a pressured tailrace and the only fishermen to land quality trout are those who are in the know and those who live in the area. At some point I will probably get a guide to give me some pointers about the area. Thanks for the comment
If I make a guide trip it will be in a boat. The Caney, I mentioned in the post has places that are only accessible by boat and that is where most of the quality trout "browns" are taken. I will probably make the trip this summer, before my wife and I go to Montana. Thanks for the comment
I agree it would be money well spent. One guide trip to the Caney is all I need to learn the area better. Thanks for the comment
there is nothing better than figuring out a fishery on your own, but i do like to hire guides as often as i can. You can learn so much from them that can be applied to not just the fishery their guiding you on, but other fisheries as well.ReplyDelete
I don't do it often, mostly to fish places that I can't get to on foot. On the other hand, if you've got a good guide, it will be the most enjoyable experience you've ever had. Most guides are lunatics...my kind of people.
When I guide I try to explain the answers to questions that people never think to ask themselves. I think trying to put people on fish can be stressful if numbers is all they want. Its nice to get someone who understands that sometimes its more important to think about why those fish aren't hitting.
Bill, thanks for the blog shout out. I have always struggled with hiring a guide or going solo. I have to say on a techincal river like the South Holston a guide is crucial. Unless you go with someone that's familiar with the bugs and water you can go from having an epic day to a horrible experience of casting at fish rising as far as the eyes can see.ReplyDelete
Hi, Bill. I am going to jump on Blake's bandwagon here. I have never used a "Paid Guide" in my life. Mainly because I chose not to go to the expense. More gear and goodies for me that way. Plus, along with so many of the other things that make fly fishing so interesting (Fly Tying, Rod Building, Entomology, etc) I get my pleasures from figuring out the mystery of the fish and the water myself.ReplyDelete
I have pretty much learned the local tailrace near my house, but the Caney is 4 hours away, and I only get to fish it a couple of times a year. The place has browns, brook, and rainbow. The browns are the main reason for the guide. Thanks for the comment
The drift boat would be the guide trip for me on the Caney. Most all the big browns are taken on the Caney from a boat. Thanks for the comment
As stated in my post, I would be interested in learning the area well enough to be successful on future trips on my own. Thanks for the comment
The South Holston is very similar to the Caney Fork, "pressured" and some places can only be reached by boat. I can land stocker trout wading on the Caney but I feel I need to become a lot more familiar with the tailrace if I am going to land quality brown trout that is why I think I would need the guide. Thanks for the comment
I like to hire guides to learn new water. I fish a lot in Michigan and have hired guides several times. Now when I go up there, I already know plenty of good places to fish because those guides showed them to me.ReplyDelete
I agree with you about the expense, and that has been the main factor in holding me back on using a guide; but the one guide trip on the Caney for me would save many trips of experimenting. I am now getting into the latter years of my fishing and time plays a big factor here for me. I would love to land one nice mounting brown before I hang up the fly rod. Thanks for the comment
I am always willing to learn more about fishing for trout. I would definately use a guide especially in areas that I am unfamiliar with.ReplyDelete
That is exactly my thinking when it comes to fishing new areas--use a guide to get you started and then take it on your own from there. Thanks for the comment
Using a guide in unfamiliar waters seems to be the consciences here, I agree. Thanks for the comment
As a beginner I would think that a guide would be invaluable to locating and catching fish in unfamiliar waters. But a more seasoned person may be able to figure it out without one. To me, it would seem that experience level and confidence in the ability to find and catch fish anywhere would play a big role in the decision to hire a guide.ReplyDelete
Time would also play a big role in the decision. The more time available for fishing the less necessary a guide becomes. If you only have one day, hire a guide or you probably won't find any fish. If you have a month, you probably have less of a need for one and can learn just as much by talking to the locals.
You are listed some very good points concerning fishing guides. My wife and I will be making a trip to Montana in August and will be there for 3 days. We will fish two half days and we will be using a guide on both trips. This would be a case of really needing some support.
You know I've never fished with a guide..probably why I don't catch a lot of fish!ReplyDelete
Many people tell me that guides have a lot of experience and you will learn more about fishing in a day than you could discover in years of learning on your own. Apparently they have a vast knowledge of proven tactics.ReplyDelete
Then again I am sure you do too...
One more thing, they can show you fishing spots and honey holes that you didn't know about! lol
I have got a lot good suggestions with post of guides, and found that using a guide can be very benefitcial. Thanks for the comment
Having those honey holes to fish on a later trip is worth the guide service. Thanks for the comment
I have friends who guide and we sometimes fish together. Never any dought that they no more about any given strech of water and I always end up learning something by default. As far as hiring a guide, I never have, sure I wont know a new river or stream at all and I can easily overlook opportunities but finding my own oppertunities is a big part of what Fly Fishing is to me. Nothing beats casting to or drifting a sport that you just know has to have a fish in it and end up being right. Not nearly as good as having someone point that spot out to me. But that's just me.ReplyDelete
I pride myself in finding and landing trout in an area I am familiar with; but when it comes to unfamiliar waters I could use a guide. Thanks for the comment
My husband and I have hired a guide on just two occasions--one while fly-fishing for bonefish and tarpon in Grand Cayman and another fly-fishing for large trout in the trophy waters of Boone Fork Creek. The guides made all the difference in both of those situations. Read about both trips at http://hikingtotheheights.blogspot.com/2012/07/fly-fishing-for-tarpon-in-grand-cayman.html?m=1 and http://hikingtotheheights.blogspot.com/2012/06/fly-fishing-in-boone-fork-creek-for.html?m=1. However, we do most of our fly-fishing without a guide in local East Tennessee waters. I do have a guided float trip on the South Holston planned this spring with my 82-year old father who taught me to fly-fish. That's the only way we will be able to fish certain parts of that river.ReplyDelete
I will use a guide next time I go to the Caney Fork. That was an awesome trip you guys made to the Cayman. What part of East Tennesse do you guys fish? Is it near the Caney Fork? Thanks for the comment