On the Fly: Ah, the unique life of a fishing guide

Justin Moore
On the Fly
Guide Kevin Sullivan and a guest share the passion for fishing.
Courtesy of Taylor Creek Fly Shops

Ever wonder what it’s like to step in the boots of a fishing guide? By all means guide life is not for everyone, and requires someone who truly lives and breathes fly fishing.

From working weeks on end, untangling hundreds of knots, tying on just as many flies, and coaching people who have never fished, it requires a special skill set.

To many, a day on the river seems like no work at all. For some, sharing their passion and showing the magic of what fly fishing has to offer is enough motivation to work a month straight … without a day off.

The main way to tell if your fishing guide is legit is their vehicle. There is a special ambiance about a fishing guide’s truck, from the countless flies hanging in the headliner to the funk of wet waders during the busy months of guide season. Oftentimes, the rods and gear that reside in or on top cost more than the vehicle itself, but depending on who you talk to, some would say their priorities are spot on.

Guides have to accommodate every type of angler, from “counters” who add up every fish they get to the net, to some who would rather see one fish take a dry fly then 10 fish caught on a nymph.

Truly, it’s a guide’s daily duty to create memories. Parents seeing their son or daughters landing their first fish on the fly, being immersed in the hatch of a lifetime, having a trout come sip dry flies on the surface, and hearing the river sing its sweet song is what guide life is all about.

They love what they do, from the guys and gals behind the counter serving up the recommended bugs for the day to the guides who call the river home.

We hope you get a little taste of guide life this summer!

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


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