Ive been in love with fishing since i could hold a flyrod in my hand at age 4 or 5. As a Junior in college, i have one last summer before i have to face the "realworld". So dreaming big, i wanted to get out west, or head up to alaska and work as a fishing guide for the summer. Only problem is, i have no idea how someone would even go about obtaining a job like that. Ive emailed and have gotten in touch with a few lodges, outfitters, ect. who have all told me that they dont have any spots for this season, but they'll let me know if anything comes up. My question is, what is the best way to go about finding a guide job for this summer? I'd do anything it takes to spend a summer learning, teaching, and enjoying all that flyfishing has to offer. Any advice helps
Thanks and Tight lines,
Im a junior in college as well. Im majoring in wildlife biology and have gotten to know the professors in my school quite well. I obviously dont know what youre majoring in or what your college youre attending but I would get in touch with the fisheries professor and see if they know anything. My fisheries professor here has actually posted some summer jobs online for us. Granted, its counting fish that are caught on commercial boats but still you never know what they will be able to tell you. Most of them know a lot of people.
You may want to contact Bigfly. He is a Truckee River guide in Northern California.
If you are thinking about Alaska, you may want to contact some of the lodges or outfitters.
As much as I know, there are really three clerical requirements that need to be done before getting an independent guide license. These requirements may vary from state to state. First, you need to setup your business license. Next you need to get insured. Lastly, you need to pay for your license.
If you are going to work for an outfitter, the process varies. For California, you need to get an employee guide license. As long as the outfitter has an outfitter license, is insured, and employs you, you can go through this process.
I could very well be wrong but i was under the assumption that one needed to have pretty good knowledge of the river, lake, etc and the feeding habit of the fish inhabiting them to be a guide there.
Is it something that could be picked up after a week or two of training?
Perhaps an actual guide will answer these questions...
What he said.
To spend 2 grand on a trip & realize your guide was on his first solo trip would kinda of tick me off. It takes a while to learn a river, you have to know where the fish are & how to catch them in various flows & weather conditions, along with boat handling, first aid, etc.I'm sure whatever state you plan to guide in has min. requirements & a field test so check in with their fisheries dept. for info.
I don't want to dampen your enthusiasm but I think it's a little more involved then going on a few floats with a guide & then going out on your own.
Ah, as a third junior in college i'm not looking forward to the real world either. I actually work for campus recreation at my university, and our outdoor adventures program is putting together a fly fishing clinic and trip, of which I'lll be guiding a couple of people at a trout park near me. I didn't know that rescource was available until a few weeks ago. Just keep searchign something may pop up.
Each state has very different qualifications for guiding and there are no generalizations that can be made about getting into a guide position. I grew up in Colorado where I started guiding in High School and guided through the summers of my college years. I have been in Montana for the past 20 years and continued my passion for sharing the waters of the West with folks from around the globe. Montana will be very limited in job offerings with the exception of a few lodges that hire new guides each season. The other limitation with many Montana based guide jobs is that most outfitters require you to have your own equipment, ie.. Boat, Truck and all the gear that goes along with the practice of guiding. To make that investment for one season is not really practical. There are a few outfits in Montana that don't operate on rivers that require a boat but they are few and far between. I think the cost associated with guiding in Montana would be very limiting for just one summer.
I grew up in Colorado and got my feet wet, no pun intended, guiding when I was a junior in High School. Colorado has a distinct advantage for those looking for summer employment as a guide over places such as Montana. Colorado has many great resort communities that have lots of guest and many of them are not serious anglers. My home town was Vail Colorado and we had two very large guide services that operated in the Valley. Both guide services were very busy and had lots of opportunities for guides to get out and make some money. Part of this is the volume of people who were staying at the resort looking for a western activity to participate in while on vacation. Concierges at the resorts set up the activities and most of the folks that we guided were not serious anglers and were just looking to learn about the sport and catch a couple of fish. We had some clients that had fished around the world and were very serious anglers but 90 percent of them were just looking to have a good experience and get aquatinted with the sport. These type of towns will offer you the best opportunity of getting a summer of work and a experience that you won't forget.
With that being said I would contact a few of the shops in resort towns. It has been a long time since I was back in Colorado but I am sure that things haven't changed that much in how they hire and who their guide demographics are. You fit the bill for what we used to have for our guide staff. We had a few long established guides but most of our staff were college students or retirees that were looking for a summer job. We held a two and a half week training program for the new guides each summer. The first ten days of the training were spent getting the guides trained and licensed so that they could run float trips. Colorado has some strict regulations on who can run a boat commercially and we had to get the guides certified so that they could do so. The training is a basic whitewater safety course that had us in boats all ten days getting to know the basics of whitewater rafting and how to handle a boat. The last week of the training was spent of how to guide flyfishing and it was a very extensive class. I know that most guides in Montana have not had the formal training that the guides in Colorado had before they take their first trip.
I would try and contact some of the shops in the Mountain towns of Colorado. Here are a couple of links to the shops that I know in the Vail Valley. All of them have changed hands from the outfitters that I knew growing up but it looks like most of them still offer guide training programs that can have jobs attached once the class is completed.
Gore Creek Fly Fisherman. This is to service that I started with but they were a small mom and pop place that sold to a big sporting goods group and I am not sure how different it has become since I was there 20 years ago. I have guide Jim Kanada who runs some of the stuff their and I am sure he could help steer you in the right direction. Home
These may be your best bets for a one year stint as a guide.
Some have mentioned that a rookie guide would be a huge disappointment for them if they were matched up with one. It really comes down to the individual guide , experience doesn't always make for a great guide. Guiding is much more than just taking someone out for a day of fishing. You have to be part shrink, part teacher, part student, part historian, part comedian as well as being a knowledgeable angler. I have seen lots of great anglers fail miserably at being a guide and many great guides come from a very limited base of fishing knowledge. The key to a great guide is having passion for what you do and a personality that can make someones day no matter how good or bad the fishing is. The fish don't always cooperate and that is when your personality and ability to deal with people is far more important than anything else. Young guides get a bad rap, I would personally be very pleased to get a young enthusiastic guide who will work his or her tail off for me, other than get a surely old veteran who may have seen it all and is unwilling to work hard on the day when the fish don't want to cooperate. My best advice to you if you get a job guiding is to be proactive and ask your clients lots of questions at the beginning of the day to see what it is that they really want to get out of the day! Some will say it's just catching lots of fish, and these will be your difficult days, many will want to learn, have a good time and enjoy the places you enjoy. Good luck with your search and if you get a chance to guide for the summer it will be an experience that will benefit you for many years to come!
I guess what im more so trying to say is how to i get a job that can set me up to eventually be in position to become a guide. I understand one does not become a guide overnight, but more so likely begins working in a fly shop. Is the best way to just get in contact with various fly shops? or is there another way that is better to pursue?
Hubbard's Guide Academy in Emigrant, MT contact the head guide he'll line you out. There are alot of variables to be considered, its not as easy as folks might think. You have to consider where you want to guide, will you be in a drift boat? Is that river considered "navigable" if so an OUPV is in order, CPR and first aid training, insurance should you work "free lance", state to state applications for guide license, the gear investment, if you want to go to Alaska most if not all require an OUPV and alot want you to have jet boat training from an accredited school, and most importantly can you still get your fishing fix without having the rod in your hands, can you teach as well as deal with a multitude of different personalities? People have said things to the effect of familiarization with a certain body of water, finding the fish isn't necessarily the hard part, trout generally feed in the same places in all rivers, its more about knowing the bugs and the timing of the hatches in the area, and you clients abilities. There's a ton of stuff to consider I could go on and on but your best bet is to get in contact with Hubbard's or Sweetwater and have them give you the run down.
Biggie that's a very interesting reply you wrote.Troubum I can't help you much about what to do in the US.I guided in Austria for a few years in summer for the Drei Mohren which owns some of the best waters there.First I was only a customer for a few years and the boss sometimes asked me to guide foreigners (from Belgium,Italy,England or Japan)who where not used to fish fast waters and were completely bewildered,speaking french italian and english was a great help of course....then I was asked to organize weeks' fishing for groups.Got an offer from another lodge....when I retireI think I will say....yesthat's a great experience.Larry lent me a book writen by an american guide about his job...you should read it.