On the Fly: Guides have their own style, attitude | AspenTimes.com

On the Fly: Guides have their own style, attitude

Scott Spooner
On the Fly
Longtime local guides Matt Ippoliti and Thomas Clennon (retired) swap stories.
Scott Spooner / Courtesy photo

Whether you have never hired a guide or have utilized them for years, you will see marked differences in styles, attitudes and experience levels. Many anglers can’t appreciate terrific fishing guides until they fish with one who isn’t so terrific. Pairing a client with the right guide is akin to matchmaking, although any guide worth their salt should be able to instruct any type of angler.

A terrific guide makes things simple, even when they’re not. Simple truths are distilled into easily digestible bite-size morsels with a guide who’s been at it for a while. Terrific guides remember where you are in your experience and ability levels and can pick up right where they left off with you last week (or last year, for that matter). A terrific guide is unflappable, knows when to take over a situation headed in the wrong direction, and knows that ultimately it is your day and that hiring them isn’t cheap.

Terrific guides know how to fish during low-water, high-water and average-water years. They have backup plans if their spot is taken, and backups to their backups for busy river days. A great float guide actually controls the drift of your flies on the water more than you do. Great guides keep track of their clients and rarely fish with strangers. A great guide problem-solves and finds solutions; whether dealing with Type-A personalities, drought, flood, fire or pandemic.

If you’ve been fortunate enough to fish with some of the quasi-famous guides the Roaring Fork Valley, I may be preaching to the choir. Spending a few days with them is a feat unto itself, as most are booked months in advance. Try out a few different guides, find someone you click with, and forge a relationship that may last many years.

Even though money changes hands, many guides and clients have personal relationships that transcend fly fishing. As I’ve said before, things get said on the river bank, skiff or drift boat that don’t get said in a confessional. I hope you meet your match and make a lifelong friend (and fishing coach) in the process.

This column is provided by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at 970-927-4374.