Be Honest With Yourself (And Your Guide)

Partnering with a growing network of guides means that the Fisher Guiding team and community gets to glean wisdom from many knowledgeable sources. One of our guides, Wayne Weber, has passion for both fishing and writing, and we are all wise if we take his advice when coordinating with our guide before an upcoming trip. Read Wayne's post below to better understand why honesty with your guide matters, and if you're planning a trip to the Salmon River or Tug Hill region in New York, contact or book a trip with Guide Wayne-O through his Fisher Guiding profile.

Everyone has different levels of experience and abilities. There is no getting around that. When planning an outdoor adventure, you need to remember this and be honest about it. You also need to remember you might not be as good as you once were. This is true for many aspects of your trip.

When you set up a trip with a guide, they may ask you questions trying to judge your abilities. Based on the answers you give them, they then plan out said trip. This is why honesty is important. Any good guide is going to have a Plan B and probably a Plan C. However, if you weren’t honest in messages or on the phone, Plan B and C might not be any better than the original plan.

This is especially important if your trip includes fishing backcountry, out-of-the-way waters and you have to hike to get to them. You might have had no problem hiking for miles fishing in your younger or lighter years. If those days have gone by and you don’t have time to get back into shape, be honest. Tell your guide if you have trouble getting around or if you have knee problems. Ask them if they can still put you on fish without long walks to the water. If you don’t, you may arrive and quickly find out you are not up for what the guide has planned.

This recently happened to me. I was told by a gentleman that he and his sons were used to hiking 3 to 6 miles in search of wild trout. They wanted to fish somewhat remote areas where they wouldn’t see many people if any at all. I was excited to book this trip as it is one of my favorites. I started planning months before their trip and had 4 streams mapped out for the two days they would be fishing with me. One of these streams required some bushwhacking as there are no worn-down trails, and the other included a half mile walk from the truck followed by multiple waterfall climbs. After fishing these two spots on day one I knew that my plans for day two were out the window, and it was time to scramble and come up with a Plan D.

The original stream for day two involved a few miles of step grade and big boulders. This left me scratching my head as I needed easy walking wilderness fishing. As you probably already know, those don’t go together that often. I scraped together a plan and we did our best on day 2 actually landing the biggest wild brook trout and wild brown trout of the weekend. At the end of the day I was left feeling like two of my four guests weren’t happy with the results of the day. I don’t like that feeling at all and of course went home and tried to figure out what I could have done different.

The answer was nothing. If I had taken them anywhere that was easier walking, it would have involved stocked fish and/or an urban environment. Two things they didn’t want. In the end, given correct knowledge of their ability I could have planned out the days a bit different as to not beat them up so much on the first day. I could have also explained ahead of time that I could put them on some big fish with easy walking on day two but we would be fishing in the middle of town. If they were honest with themselves, they might have been alright with the idea.

Here is a list of some of things you should be up front about when talking to your guide before the trip.

  1. What time you are willing to get out of bed – Many guides want to be on the water before sun up.
  2. Your physical ability – Can you hike all day or would a boat be a better option?
  3. Your fishing ability – Don’t say you can cast an indicator rig 70 feet unless you can. This will come out very quickly. A good guide will put you within your casting range of the fish.
  4. What you are expecting to catch - Make sure your expectations align with what the guide is planning to fish for. If you want 20-inch wild brook trout in a small stream it’s probably not going to happen.
  5. Any food allergies - Especially if the guide is providing food.

 Just be honest with yourself and your guide. It will make for a much more enjoyable trip.