How To Book a Guided Fly Fishing Trip

How To Book a Guided Fly Fishing Trip


How to Schedule a Guided Fly Fishing Excursion

The details of booking your next fly fishing trip are important so remember some of these points when researching your next fly fishing adventure and your trip will be an overall better experience.  If you have never been out on a guided fly fishing trip and are interested in trying the sport reading this short blog will help you select what type of trip may be best.  We will answer the common question “what might I expect on a fly fishing trip” by explaining to you the best questions to ask your potential guide service.

It is advisable to schedule your trip over the phone and ask for an email confirmation with a copy of your deposit receipt.  You will be best to give your sensitive credit card information to an employee of the guide service who is providing you with information about the trip.  Face to face is a good way to set up a trip, especially if you may require assistance in less than 24 hours.

Most all fly fishing guide services will answer the phone, sometimes lone guides or outfitters without a fly shop will need to reply based on a message you leave.  It is best to contact these types of services after hours.  The best time to call a fly fishing guide service is usually mid-morning.  Typically the fly shops have the morning trips out and can spend more time on the phone with you, if necessary, to help you select the best trip for yourself or your group.

Describe your current situation, if you have fly-fished all your life or if this may be the first time.  Also detail hhen you may be able to spend the time and how much time you may have.  Note if you have any physical or age limitations, or if there will be young children or seniors.

 Describe your fly fishing expectations or lack of them to the person on the phone. Do you see yourself on a small creek? Do you see yourself in the snow wading under a covered bridge? Do you see yourself hiking to an alpine lake?  Do you see yourself floating a remote western river?

If the shop employee on the other end of the phone line answers your questions to your satisfaction and you have maybe visited the fly shops web site and feel comfortable, go ahead and schedule a date and time for a trip.  Unless you have a tight schedule ask what time of day the fishing would most likely be best.

Decide if it is best to go for a full day or a half day guided trip and where you may go should you choose a full day or a half day.  Also inquire if a float trip or a wade trip may be a better choice for you.

Float fishing can provide more intense scenery and better opportunities at less selective trout. Wade fishing provides a more intimate experience with a guide, allowing for more hands on instruction.  Float and wade options are good for both beginners and experts alike.  Once you have selected a trip and decided what it will cost go over what the guide service supplies for free and what you may need to pay extra for.  No two guide services are exactly alike.

Guide services may supply gear and food.  You may need to pay for gear, flies, licenses and more, so please ask, “What’s included and what’s not included”. Most clients can feel confident bringing rainwear, hat, and sunglasses.  You may what to purchase a fishing license on line prior to your trip, most states offer this option.

Should you find that you are on a full day trip and you have any dietary concerns express them to the person booking your fly fishing event. 

Vail Valley Anglers, Edwards, Colorado, the shop I am lucky to help out, provides several dining options.  This past summer I had all types of lunches including the basic make your own sandwich to both gluten free and vegetarian options.  If your kids want peanut butter and jelly and will have more fun eating that, ask the guide service to provide a PBJ.

Let’s face the facts; everyone wants the “best” guide available for their own special trip.  The “best” guide can mean a lot of different things to different people but consider these fly fishing guide attributes when asking to be matched with a guide; experienced, hard-working, detail-oriented, exciting, steady, young or old, male or female, type A or not, of course you may need to confirm your trip early on to get the “best” guide.

Since no one guide may be “best” for everyone it may be best to describe yourself and/or your fishing partner to let the guide service figure out who may be best to serve you. 
Next, ask to please have your guide phone you the night before the trip and don’t forget to provide a time frame when you may answer the call.

Reconfirm your trip details with the guide who will be guiding you the next day.  Be sure to ask the guide for the best time to meet again and decide where you may be meeting, if not at the fly shop.  Confirm what type of trip you are doing and where you may be heading.  Make sure the guide is aware of any time commitments you may have scheduled like a massage or dinner plans, especially if you are vacationing in Central Colorado’s Vail Valley as most of my guided anglers tend to be. 

This may also be a good time to let your guide know if you have any special needs or goals.  Be careful here to set activity goals that lead you to opportunities for fish and not fish in and of themselves.  Your guide will help you to come up with a few activity goals should you be a bit short on fly fishing goals.

It is always good to confirm, for example; you may be taking your ninety year old dad out for his birthday and your wife scheduled a wade fishing trip.  Mobility is a safety issue for an elder and a boat would be much more accommodating situation.  Knowing this the night before is huge!

One last item, after having administrated over 10,000 fly fishing trips, some larger than 500 anglers I have come to a conclusion; The cheapest fly fishing trip is not always the best trip.  The sport allows for many compromises when it comes to guides abilities, rental equipment, retail environment and general customer service.  You will most likely get what you pay for. 

Try to select a guide service you like and build a relationship with a guide.  This will enable you to grow more as a fisherman and provide the guide with an opportunity to better serve your needs.

Bill Perry
Guide and Content Writer