My name is Dana Lattery and I am the head guide/outfitter with Fly Fishing Bow River. We are a guide service based out of Calgary, Alberta and we guide the rivers in all of central/southern Alberta. Having spent the last ten years in the guide/outfitter industry, I have seen a lot of things take place on a guided day of fly fishing, some good, some bad. Some outfitters better prepare their clients for a day on the water, and some completely miss the boat on this. Throughout the 10 years, I have come to a conclusion that most errors come from lacking of being informed. So, I have compiled a list of things to try and merge the expectations of guides and the expectations of clients so that there is a better day had by all on the water. Remember this list is just a starting point, and nothing can take place of great communication. So whether you’re a guide, or a guest looking to go on an amazing guided fly fishing trip, take into consideration these points as you prepare for an next awesome day on the water.
-5 things for a Guide-
- Serve your clients in every aspect of the day. In having a servant heart, this can help you in leaving your ego at the door. What do I mean? I feel a lot of guides make this trip about them and trying to show how good they are to their clients. If you’re choosing to guide with a servant heart, you won't be able to have an ego. Hands down the best guides I know on the river are those who truly care and serve their clients. This will help shape your attitude throughout the day, in knowing that all your actions, are serving your client. Being cognitive to their needs throughout the day is very important, and you will be more aware of this if you choose to serve your clients. I can’t tell you how many times at the end of the day, the best compliment that comes out of a client's mouth, is that they felt taken care of all day! Approach your day with a WE not a ME attitude.
- This could almost be at the top of this list, because if you wanna start your day off on the wrong foot, well, show up late. Being late insults others, it also undermines you to your clients. It tells them you aren’t prepared enough in your day to be on time. This might be day 92 in your season, but for them it’s Day 1, and they didn’t sleep last night waiting to go on this trip. Respect them and their time, so that they will want to respect you and your time throughout the date. Being early also gives you time to visualize your day, and have a few moments to yourself to get mentally prepared for the day ahead. BE PUNCTUAL, simply that!
4. Be a Teacher
- Be a teacher, not a teller. Nobody pays this kind of money to be yelled at all day. A lot of the days success comes from the teaching and learning. Whether your clients are on their 500th guided trip or their first time fly fishing, everybody has lots to learn. I always ask my clients how much they wanna be taught or corrected, or perhaps, they just wanna fish and do their thing. Almost 99% of clients answer me be saying “don’t hesitate to teach me some stuff, and let me know if I am doing something wrong”. They have opened a door and are now receptive to my teaching. It is up to me, to be a teacher not a teller. I think this could be one of the most important traits of a guide, is the ability to teach people, if you can’t teach, you can’t guide. Again, check your ego at the door, and you’ll be surprised how much YOU can learn from your clients throughout the day, which in turn will only make you a better guide, as well as fisherman/woman!
5. Be a Friend
- Be honest with yourself and Be honest with your guide. I can’t tell you how many people show up on a trip and tell me for 30 minutes about how amazing they can fish, and that they have fished all over the world, and been on so many guided trips. This may all be true, but once you pick up your rod, your guides gonna know right away how much of that was real. The more honest you are with your guide about your skill set, the better they can plan a trip for you. We can shape our tactics for fishing that day based on your ability and experience, so it is very important to be Honest about where you are at on your journey of fly fishing! If you have the right guide, there should be no concern in where your abilities are at, they should be able to work with everyone, from New fly fishers to the most experienced, but just make sure you are honest about this before you get started for the day!
5. Tip your guide
Fly fishing is fun! There’s no other way around it. We as clients and as guides can all do our part, in preparing for these trips, that they can be filled with laughs, stories, fish, and ultimately memories! We need to also understand that as different and unique as each client is, each guide has their own uniqueness as well. We should not feel the need to conform to any standards, but to use this list as a guideline to help shape a successful fun day on the water! Hope to see you on the river sometime with a tight line and a big smile!!