I can hardly believe that last year marked my 4th season as a guide in Montana. Yesterday seems like it was my first guide trip and I had to get creative when answering the question, “So, how long have you been doing this?” by anglers in my boat.
As a young guide every year has ample room for growth, and there is always something new to learn. The 2017 season proved to be no different; and as my first year working through the entire season I really enjoyed being a part of the local guide community from early spring through the fall. The one thing I can confidently say in reflection is that I am very lucky to do what I do and it’s truly an honor to be pulling on the oars amongst such a stellar group of guides and anglers in Montana and my home water the Missouri River.
This year started off a little differently for me, instead of guiding anglers I was instructing in the Montana Fishing Guide School. It was great to spend some time learning the different rivers in the Bozeman area while showing different groups of students how to grow as fishing guides. This was for sure one of the highlights of my year.
This season on the Missouri we had higher water for most of May and early June, which was both challenging and fun. The Little Prickly Pear blew out overnight and brought one of the muddiest days I have ever seen on the Mo. One of the highlights during this period was some exciting dry fly water that you can only see at higher flows. Having this annual routine of high water is something I have rarely experienced due to recent drought years. I hope to see more seasons with big runoffs leaving cool water for later in the summer, even on the tailwater streams. I’m keeping my fingers crossed, and so far this year's snowpack is looking solid for it.
Late summer this year had a good run of dry fly fishing with Tricos and some of the best terrestrial fishing I have seen in 5 years. I really enjoyed taking new anglers on afternoon hopper fishing missions and watching their excitement when a fish came to the surface to eat a big, foamy dryfly. A large part of what we do as guides is facilitate success for our anglers, and sitting in the rowers seat is as good as glass seats at a hockey game, especially when it all comes together.
Anyone who has fished with me knows my favorite part about guiding is spending time on the water with many different people. Getting to know new anglers on their first trip to Montana and spending valuable time fishing with folks who come back every season is truly special. It’s the epic fishing days, crazy weather storms, and special moments on the river that will find a permanent place in my memories of 2017. However, it’s mostly the array of conversations, story telling, and awful jokes that make each day unique and gratifying. I’m looking forward to more river time with everyone in 2018 and from the bottom of my heart THANK YOU to everyone who was a part of my guide season last year. I hope to see you soon!