Sage Advice for Old(er) Guides

A moment of chill on the Bow River

Congrats ! You have gotten far in a guiding career by working hard and being a good person to be around on a fishing trip.However chances are the reason why you are reading this Blog Post is because Mid Life may have hit you hard. Let face it,The past 20-30 years have been a blur and perhaps now you are starting to feel it…. in more ways than one.

Missouri River -MT

You’ve noticed you can no longer drink like you use to, late nights hanging out at the bar get you feeling really crappy the next day, rowing back up stream to do Merry go rounds up at the dam takes a little longer, you feel uncomfortable wearing Flat Brims,You call your clients Sir instead of Bro or Dude,after a windy day you are “hurtin” from back rowing a lot and finally the “Bobber Game” is getting really friggin old.You might feel stuck ! as it’s too late in life to go back to school and become a Doctor or a Lawyer.What to do ? Plough forward of course.Here is a few things that might help.

Spend some time with clients out of the Boat

Work Smarter

Rise -Missouri River MT

By now you (should) have an established clientele that respects you and your fish sense, use that to your advantage by getting them to fish how you would fish on a day off.I’m sure that’s not going down the middle of the river chasing bobbers and caching cookie cutter rainbows…No.Hopefully its throwing streamers and setting up for Dry Fly fish,targeting the “big Boys”.I find myself wanting to pick up clients either early or late, depending on what going on hatch wise.By doing so I’m either ahead or behind other boats, its an easy sell and it seems most clients are into that because most Fly-Fish via the same way you would.This also offers you ample opportunity to showcase your instructional skills by teaching your clients other methods (other than nymphing) on how to get the job done.

fishing streamers produces tanks- go for it

Embrace Aleve

works wonders and always under the Rower’s seat

Aleve works wonders, the mild anti inflammatory is great for soar joints and muscles.Embrace it ! You’re older clients that you have throwing streamers might be a tad sore, they will be in awe of your mid life sensitivity when you magically pull the bottle of Aleve out from your gear bag or from your under Rower’s Seat.If you are feeling a wee bit sore pop one yourself.

Hang with The Young Guns

Steely eyed Young Guns

New Guides bring a wealth of intel and enthusiasm to the table, they are up on all the latest tactics and flies. Hang out and buy a few beers for these up and coming guides and most importantly listen ! They are on it and like all things fly-fishing chances are you will learn some things to improve your game.Become their Mentor and share your knowledge, its rewarding and you are helping out the overall guide community because of it.

Fish “new” Rivers

looking for Risers -Alberta

Be a Fly-Fishing Guide Commando by getting off your home river and fishing other stuff.Why ? The change forces you to power up and bring that wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm that might be simmering on the back burner up the front burner and to the boiling point.If other rivers are not an option, then maybe scope out potential boat ramps that will change your floats up so you it feels fresh to you and perhaps Shock and Awe your clients with your crazy tactics and enthusiasm for change.

Bow River Commando Boat Ramp

Get out of Your Boat and go for a walk

Spend some time with clients out of the Boat

Its pretty easy to sit in a boat all day and go with the flow.But I find I get cramped up and need to get out and go for a walk.Rather than rowing your boat up an inside bend, get out and walk it up,It’s great exercise and gets your blood flowing.I also like to spend time out of the boat working runs, side channels or risers.This is a great opportunity to show off your intstuctional skills to your clients.As the fishing season gets closer to Bird Hunting Season these little walks gain more importance.

Go Fishing !

MT Small Stream Brown

Whether you are an older or younger guide go fishing on your days off. Why ? It keeps you enthused about the sport…period.


Hopefully these points help you get thru the remaining years of your guiding career.Enjoy the ride.