Fly Fishing and Guides
This is a letter I received from a fishing buddy. It tells the sorry state of what is going on in
parts of the fly fishing world and it may be a sign of things to come! I've seen a lot of nonsense in the last few
years from "so called guides" but I think this letter says it all!
Amateur Day at Big Spring
I arrived one recent morning and had the entire ditch to myself. Immediately I spotted several rainbows and
brookies actively feeding and on the second cast I hooked and landed a nice 12" rainbow that was no more than 10
feet away. Unfortunately within 15 minutes the parade of guides and their clients started to arrive.
Within 30 minutes of my arrival the ditch became so crowded that it was next to impossible to fish. Just about
every trout in the ditch was jittery, as fly line flew overhead from every possible direction.
I watched in amazement. Most of the guides had their clients kneel on the bank you know, just like in the photos
you see in books and magazines. I guess most of the guides also stressed the importance of long distance casting,
as most of these poor clients were trying to cast the entire fly line even though many were not good casters and
struggled simply trying to aerialize 20 feet of line. I guess the guides don't believe in trying to catch any of
the 50+ trout that are feeding in the 50-foot distance between their feet and their end of the fly line. Or maybe
they simply didn't even know they were there?
And then once the guides had their clients comfortably kneeling and tying to throw 50 feet of line when all they
needed to do was cast 15 feet of line (if that) they began to make the rounds. Several guides approached me trying
to sell me their guaranteed special Big Spring fly and their guiding services. I don't know about you but I'd be
upset if I'm paying YOU to guide and instruct ME and you're out trying to drum up new business on MY nickel.
So I decided to move downstream. I also didn't see one single fish caught by anyone.
I'm not the best fly fisherman in the world but I'm not the worst either and I proceeded to land a nice 16"
brookie just downstream of the ditch. As I worked my way downstream and the morning progressed, I could hear more
and more cars arrive and then I noticed several guides and their clients walking downstream presumably because the
ditch section was so crowded. One guide really knew what he was doing when he instructed his two clients to simply
walk into the creek about 50 yards downstream of where I had just watched about a 5 pounder chase my streamer
before sulking back under the weeds never to be seen again. The funniest part is these two fishermen walked right
through productive water to start fishing water that isn't very productive at all. I would have thought an
experienced guide on Big Spring would have known the extremely shallow and coverless water he had his client's
fishing was not very productive water at all. I'll bet these poor souls and quite possibly the guide too didn't
even know that they walked right through the spot that offered them the best chance for success. And the guide
showed no stream etiquette in cutting me off. It was totally uncalled for. There was plenty of other open water
further downstream so there was no reason they had to enter where they did to fish unproductive water.
Later that day I was fishing another spot casting to a pod of about 20 very spooky rainbows. Anyone who's fished
Big Spring knows there's sections of stream that are loaded with wild and very, very spooky rainbows. Some of these
sections the fish can easily be spotted when they are in their feeding lanes. Unfortunately, they can easily spot
you and it really doesn't take much to put the fish down. In fact, many times you'll put the fish down without ever
even knowing they were there and then think the water holds no fish.
Carefully I got myself into position and I made a cast with a BWO and got a hit but missed the set. While the
fish weren't spooked I waited about 15 minutes before casting again to let things settle down. I made another cast
and got another hit but once again, I missed the set. I waited again and made another cast, he took and I set the
hook but it came out. He darted downstream when he felt the hook and the pod scattered.
I waited motionless for about 20-30 minutes and they returned. I made a cast and the fish spooked when they saw
I changed flies and waited about another 15 minutes.
As I am getting ready to make my cast this car pulls a u-turn and drives right onto the grassed area about 10
feet from the creek's edge and stops next to me. Out gets this gentleman who just plods down to the creek and
introduces himself as guide and tries to sell me his services and special flies. He gives me his card and asks me
to call him if I want to catch fish. Needless to say he spooked the very fish I was trying to catch.
After he drove away, I waited patiently and motionless on the bank for a good 20-30 minutes for the trout to
return. They returned and on my first cast with the new fly I proceeded to land and a nice 15" wild rainbow.
Putting this into perspective, it took me 2 hours and 5 casts to land this fish. Most guides I've seen have
their clients trod into the water like a water buffalo and begin making long aimless casts to who knows what. And
when it comes time to move, they just plow their way in the water creating a nice wake like a motor boat.