Monday, September 5, 2011

Tough day guiding: taste of humility/reality

I just finished my first guide trip that I have ever done on the Dream Stream. Now the biggest thing that worried me when I got the call that I was guiding there was the decrease in flows, salad season, and Labor Day weekend. Now, anyone who fishes the Dream Stream regularly, knows that there are never any guarantees, and the Dream Stream doesn't owe you anything, even if you are guiding. The weather was perfect for seeing fish: bluebird, but it was a chilly morning, so the tricos didn't come off till late, and the hatch was sparse. My client did have 3 shots at a trophy 24''-25'' Brown that I have seen in a specific calm water section in a bend pool on the upper river for over a month. Luckily we were the first ones to this hole, and the fish was there.

To make a long story short he had two takes on a hopper on a downstream slack cast, and ripped it out of the fishes mouth too quick both times, and then had trouble getting drifts to fish nymphing. By mid afternoon the fishing shutdown, and we had zero fish to the net. I tried every spot I have ever seen a fish in the upper river, every rig that can work, and even went from sight-fishing to indicator dredging and hopper-dropping every deep run, bank and rock garden. Still no fish to the net.

I saw lots of fish, and big fish too. My client couldn't see any of these fish, even after using my glasses for a couple hours, I bet he thought I was just saying there were fish. The toughest part was that the fish were incredibly spooky, and in very tough locations.

At one point we made it to a certain bend where two guys had been fishing all morning, and as we are fishing from our knees toward a fish I could see in a tight seam in a hard to cast location, a guy in the bend pool landed 4 fish blindly nymphing, and all my client could do was watch this guy pull in fish, when we weren't hooking anything.

It was a little embarrassing, but a great learning experience. I felt bad for the client.

Here is what I realized.

1. Just like catching big fish, you have to pay your dues guiding

2. To the guides I have watched and run into on the Dream Stream like Pat Dorsey, John Keefover, Landon Mayer, Angus Drummond, etc.  You guys are unbelievably skilled at what you do. The Dream Stream is hard enough to fish on your own, but when you have a client who is expecting big fish, and can't cast well enough to get results, things can be very tough. And these guides get there clients into fish in some of the worst conditions possible on that river.

3. I need to really practice getting people into fish with easy fool-proof techniques. Making clients do downstream slack casts, stack mends, and 50 foot casts, means I'm not half as good at fishing the dream stream as I thought.


  1. I feel for you, man. Creativity is the only way. Keep after it.

  2. Charlie--That place can be brutal! I have been in your boots before and know the feeling. And the part about some guy pulling in fish is hard to swallow. Everyday is different up there and I guarantee clients nothing, except you will probably get your butt kicked if you hook into some fish. Keep working. If you can get clients into fish there, you can get them into fish anywhere.


  3. Ben, Juan, thanks for the support!

  4. The bright spot, you did learn something out of the day! I feel bad for your client, and I feel bad for you. Hang in'll hit your stride, even on the Dream Stream!