5 Good Reasons to Hire a Fishing Guide
By Debbie Shipman, Tumbling Trout Shop Manager
1. Professional guides know the water. They work, live, fish, hunt and play in the area.
Unlike most of us who spend our days off work avoiding anything work-related, fishing guides fish when they are not working. Of course, part of that is because they love to fish and it’s nice to not have to worry about rigging up gear or tying on flies for anyone other than themselves. The other part is that their livelihood depends upon them being able to find fish when conditions aren’t perfect, which is frequently the case. In the summertime, the weather may be lovely, water flowing just right, the fish feeding. The thing that makes such a day imperfect is the fact that everyone and their dog has the decided to fish the same stretch of water. Pro guides fish their days off so they can familiarize themselves with whole stretches of river, not just the popular spots that everyone knows about. They also learn other fishing water in the area and often have access to private water. Guides know where to fish in winter and spring because they understand where the water will be iced over, and where it won’t be. They see where the river is blown out by high water flows and they know the deep pockets where fish hang out when the water is low. When your guide meets up with you the morning of your trip, she’s bringing with her the knowledge from countless hours over weeks and days spent scouting and fishing.
2. Pro guides know the bugs.
Besides knowing where to find fish, a local guide knows what fish feed on during the different seasons and at different times throughout the day. Most flies imitate insects in various stages of life, and your guide already has their own shortlist of flies that are likely to catch fish on that water on a particular day. You can often get fly suggestions and fishing reports online from local fly shops, like Tumbling Trout Outfitters and Fly Shop, but if you hire a guide to take you fishing, you might get lucky and find out about a secret weapon fly pattern. Most of the guides I’ve met have an off-the-wall fly that catches fish for no reason any human could explain, yet it delivers for the guide over and over. Maybe it’s luck, but you’ll never know if you don’t go.
3. Fishing with a guide can help you improve your techniques.
There’s always something new to learn when it comes to catching more and bigger fish. It’s possible that while you’ve been diligently applying yourself to learning to “match the hatch” or training your eyes to see fish, your casting form has become a bit sloppy. Maybe your cast is perfect, but your ability to get the fish into the net is lacking. Perhaps you lose far too many flies because your knots don’t hold. Or, maybe you need to learn about fish handling techniques and conservation best practices. A fishing guide can help you with those skills and more.
4. Guides provide the equipment you need to get on the water.
Whether you’re completely new to fishing or simply don’t want to travel with your gear, your guide outfitter has everything you need to fish. Your guide will contact you before your trip to determine what equipment you and your fishing party will need. They may ask about sizes for waders and boots and find out if anyone has their own rods or other equipment they plan to use.
5. A professionally-guided trip can make the joy of fishing accessible to most anyone.
A good outfitter and guide service will do their best to accommodate fitness or other limitations that make fishing challenging for some people. For example, at Tumbling Trout we have access to both public and private water that is close to parking for clients with mobility issues. Some of our guests have better eyesight or health behind them, but they continue to have great fishing days because we have guides who will happily set them up in a lawn chair, rig their fly rods and net their fish. We have guides who will be patient with your kids past when your own patience has expired. In short, fishing is fun and anyone who wants to fish should be able to do so. Most outfitters will do their best to pair you with a guide (or guides) that can help you get the most out of a day on the water no matter what your challenges.
One bit of advice about hiring a fishing guide: book your trip sooner rather than later. Guide schedules fill up fast, so it’s a good idea to book that spring break, long weekend or summer vacation trip as early as possible. South Park, Colorado is a premier fishing destination with miles of gold medal water on the South Platte River, beautiful reservoirs and crystal-clear streams. We’d love to help you find some fish. Book your guide today.