Restricting Guides Services on Some Rivers?

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by dryflylarry, Feb 28, 2011.

  1. Steve J. Red's Fly Shop

    Posts: 96
    Ellensburg WA
    Ratings: +4 / 0
    While I speak only on behalf of our shop, I believe my observations and values align with many other guide services and outfitters. The guide business has changed a great deal, particularly over the past 5 to 7 years. Modern day guide trips place much more emphasis on teaching and less emphasis on putting big numbers of fish in the boat (and taking photos of people holding fish); and people don’t want to only learn how to catch fish. They want to learn about the watershed, the fish and wildlife in the ecosystem, potential threats to the fishery and ways they can join the conservation effort.
    A client’s day on the river is measured as an overall experience. There are many factors that contribute to this experience: weather, equipment, interactions with other anglers on the river, instruction, fishing, and logistics. Some of these factors are within human control, others are not. The ironic thing is that the items that are within human control not only affect the client experience in our guide boat, but also the experience of ALL other anglers that we share the river with. We have NEVER put 10 boats on any section of any water and never will – as it ruins the experience for not just those in our boats, but others on the river, too. We try to give bank anglers and other boats plenty of room and maintain a friendly dialogue. When we see wildlife or something else that is noteworthy including the fishing, we share it with our clients and, often times, anyone else in the vicinity. We aren’t boisterous on the river, and are working towards placing less emphasis on the number of fish caught being the measure of a successful day on the water – especially for Steelhead.
    With the above being said, I am not opposed to restrictions being placed on certain watersheds to preserve the experience and/or protect a declining fishery. I am, however, opposed to holding guides to a different standard than the fishing public – and vice versa. We have always supported the WDFW and always will. We provide comments when asked and understand that some things that may be a priority for us may not be for the majority, or simply not feasible given funding or enforcement. As many people have stated on here, responsible guides are stewards to the watershed and actually enhance the overall experience for many. I am also opposed to making critical decisions like this without a thorough understanding of FACTS. Evan, we have discussed this before and have maintained a respectful dialogue. The weekend you referenced on the Klickitat happened to be a weekend that a large fly club hosted an outing. The middle 3 weeks of October on the Klickitat is the equivalent of the Salmon fly hatch on any popular trout river. There were very few boats on the river on weekdays, and traffic lightened up significantly by November. Is it fair to base a general ruling on 3 Saturdays in a given month? I do not believe a wade fishing only restriction on the Klickitat would have the desired effect of reducing pressure that many of you think. I believe much of the water on this river can be reached with a switch rod (we saw MANY more of this year) or spinning rods – and Supermuddler brought up a great point on wading over redds.
    Another thing I want to touch on is the days that guides go out and put up the huge numbers that many people hear about and some find offensive are often days that guides are actually “buddy” fishing. You hardcore guys on here, think about your best days of fishing – was one of your “guide buddies” along? I bring this up because these days are not necessarily the product of a commercial trip and would still happen even with restrictions in place. So speaking to FACTS, there is the traffic issue impacting the quality of experience – now how about the health of the fishery? By a large consensus, the Yakima River is fishing better today than it was 10 years ago. In speaking to our customers and our guides, numbers and average size of fish are up – and these are not moldy one eyed torpedoes – we’re talking fat healthy trout with sharp fins and sparkly eyes. I think a lot of this can be attributed to better C&R practices. We have graduated from the digital camera boom where every 14” trout that was caught had to be photographed. This is a great example of how educating the fishing public worked. Nearly every angler out there can recite the basic “Safe Catch and Release guidelines”. Awareness has been achieved and it was through joint efforts of fly shops, fly clubs, guides, government agencies, and conservation groups. The health of a fishery and negative impact due to pressure really takes on a different meaning when hatchery steelhead come into the equation. Again, we support the WDFW decisions and efforts and abide by the rules regarding hatchery fish and wild fish. The rules that are implemented were not made up, they are based on science/facts – and when the escapement numbers are met and harvest quotas are reached, the season opens and closes. If pressure is jeopardizing the survival of a fishery, then we would want to be first in line to restrict it – as would other guides and outfitters who are in this business because they love fishing and have the DEEPEST respect for the fish!

    We try to give as much information as we can to bring people success in their fishing. Many are very grateful for that, others get upset because it’s sacred information that one should pay their dues to learn. This dilemma is no different than this internet site. What gets overlooked in these situations and issues is that our success, hence our clients’ enjoyment, is the result of a positive experience on the river, which is aligned with ALL OTHER anglers on the river. For all the right reasons, we bring young people into this business and try to impress upon them that the success of a fishing day is never based solely on the number of fish they catch, but on the outcome of the days’ total experience. I’m not saying we are perfect or better than anyone else. We have had our share of problems. Whenever we become aware of a negative interaction involving one of our guys, we try to gather as many facts as we can and turn it into an educational opportunity. We are very proud of our fly shop and guide team. They work their butts off in this business, certainly not because of the money; but because they love the sport and have a passion for sharing it. Our philosophy on fly fishing is the opposite of the traditional 1950’s Ted Trueblood photo of forty trout strung up between two trees and two smiling men decked out in camp flannel. We seek pictures of smiling people before and after the outing without the safari kill. Our clients leave with rich memories that transcend fishing and who are smarter about the environment and much better equipped to refuse to accept that tomorrow’s resource is inferior to today’s. And when our clients feel that way, every other angler who was on the river that day shared the experience. If you've got anything to add, please send a PM. We'd love to hear from you.

    Steve J
    Red's Fly Shop
  2. Ed Call Mumbling Moderator

    Posts: 17,400
    Kitsap Peninsula
    Ratings: +1,357 / 9
    Steve J should write more...much more!
  3. Chris Bellows The Thought Train

    Posts: 1,628
    The Salt
    Ratings: +754 / 0
  4. BDD Active Member

    Posts: 2,227
    Ellensburg, WA
    Ratings: +216 / 2

    While I agree with most of what you write, I don't agree with your comment in quotes. Whether you want to accept it or not, guides are held to a higher standard...and should be...if not for the resource then for displaying professional business standards and practices. It reminds me of Charles Barkley's infamous remark about not being a role model. He didn't want to accept that the public was watching his behavior on and off the court and emulating it. Same thing with guides. They are in the public eye an like it or not, should be held to a higher standard than the general far as showing proper respect, etiquette, safe boating practices, proper release techniques and a host of other concepts. Yeah, it may not be fair but then again, guides have a better view than any stiff working in an office. :rofl:

    You don't post often but when you do, it is generally well received. Good luck on your March 26th event.
  5. Richard Olmstead BigDog

    Posts: 2,486
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +786 / 0
    Larry -

    The pleasure would be all mine, I'm sure.


    PS, I suspect we're both old enough to get over the UW/WSU thing...
  6. Evan Burck Fudge Dragon

    Posts: 6,445
    Duvall, wa
    Ratings: +1,623 / 2
    I was not aware of that. I did not say that guides were the only problem, nor are they the only problem anywhere; I was just stating what I saw that day in particular. I believe I only saw one or two of your guys' boats that day. Definitely a drop in the bucket. That was one of only two weekend trips I made down there this year; the rest were weekday trips which were pretty mild for the most part.

    What I have done though is talk to WDFW in that area to see what their plans are with the increased pressure in recent years on the ESA listed fish. I sent a letter requesting creel counts to get an idea just what kind of pressure is really being done. It sounds like they actually plan to implement that this year.

    Here's what I was told:

    "This summer we will have a sport creel census starting in June through November from Lyle Falls upstream. There will be a creel person working weekdays and weekends getting information on things such as effort and catch. This will also give us very good information on where the effort is, boat or bank, guided and unguided. This will be the first comprehensive creel on this stretch of the river since before I took it over in 1987."
  7. Ringlee Doesn't care how you fish Moderator

    Posts: 1,860
    Somewhere you don't know about, WA
    Ratings: +53 / 1
    Really? I would like you to elaborate on your thoughts regarding Professional Guiding.

    As a Professional guide, you are held to a higher standard regardless. You are a role model and an instructor for other anglers. Your post describes this yet, you mention that guides should not be held to a different standard.

    The Creel Survey Data will be very valuable for the Klickitat and I believe it will show an alarming amount of Wild Steelhead caught leading to a high C&R mortality rate. These fish are ESA listed and NOAA should be involved in updating the recovery plan to emphasize angling pressure as it increases.
  8. Freestone Not to be confused with freestoneangler

    Posts: 2,341
    Ratings: +1,176 / 0
    Gee guys, give Steve a break. Are you guys Spin Doctors or something because taking the second sentence out of the context of the paragraph is something I mainly see in politics. When I read the above text, it was pretty clear to me that the second sentence referred to the first sentence and the topic of this thread: "Restricting Guide Services on Some Rivers?" Steve seemed to be addressing angler/guide/boat traffic restrictions and whether guides should have greater restrictions than other people. No where did I get the idea that he was talking about ethics or behavior.

    To me, this whole topic is really about whether a guided angler has the same right to fish a body of water as a self-guided angler. That's what we're really talking about - guided anglers, not guides. The guides aren't catching the fish, the guided anglers are. The guides would not be there if some angler didn't want a guide to row their butt down the river. Whether I choose to row myself, wade or hire a guide is my choice; I will still be on the water one way or another and restricting guides is not going to stop me from adding to the crowds. Restricting guides is not really about restricting guides - it is about restricting me from fishing how I want to fish!

    Am I just "pro-guide" and have lots of money to hire them so I'm protecting my way of fishing? Hell no, I've never hired a fly fishing guide, ever, but if I wanted to, I would like the ability to do so. And, I would much rather have a newbie out with a responsible guide and learn how to do things correctly than have them fumbling around hurting fish for years. Since there are no requirements for anglers to know anything about the regs, fish handling or conservation, preventing an angler from participating in an on-the-water learning opportunity could actually have a greater negative impact. Should guides and anglers both have to do more than write a check to WDFW for a license? I would totally support that. But, all this divisiveness gets old for me; we need to quit alienating other user groups by wanting everything our way and work together toward solutions instead.

    Thanks for posting Steve.

  9. Chef New Member

    Posts: 1,102
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I have to say that fly fishing guides are much different then bait/spin fishing guides. Case in point: I was in charge of booking a trip for our chefs at work to go out on the river with a guide and do some bait/spin fishing. I called tons of people. I called local shops to get numbers of good guides and also looked on the web. I had to present a costing sheet to the president so I kept detaield notes of what the said and what they offered. One common theme is that they said "yup, we can get you into some fish". Some of the chefs truely thought that it must be true, not understanding what fishing really is.

    So, at the end of the day.... we decided to go with.... a fly fishing guide! Great experiance and great learning. We had some bites but ddint bring any to hand and that was ok because the vast knowledge we got from the guide and the fact that he TAUGHT us stuff was well worth it.

    And funny thing.... all the bait/spin guides were charging 150-180 per person while the fly guides were charging 300-480. Big price difference but I must say well worth it.
  10. guybg New Member

    Posts: 103
    underwood, Wa
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Good choice Chef,

    You don't teach culinary students how to cook scrambled eggs when they should be learning how to make a get what you pay for!
  11. Steve J. Red's Fly Shop

    Posts: 96
    Ellensburg WA
    Ratings: +4 / 0
    I should have better clarified the point that Ringlee and BDD comment to. I was referring to regulations - not standards of conduct and behavior. We hope people do look to us as role models and notify us when issues arise. That's the way problems get fixed and services improve.

    Steve J.
    Red's Fly Shop
  12. South Fork Active Member

    Posts: 158
    Trondheim, Norway
    Ratings: +34 / 0

    Thanks for trying to put me out of business, (I am trying to be civil). That being said.

    I was a Trout Guide for a number of years, on rivers such as the Madison, South Fork of the Snake, the Henry's Fork, and all of Yellowstone National Park.

    Here's some questions for you.

    1. How many people have you taught to fly fish in a year? I am talking BRAND NEW FISHERMAN. My record is right around 120 BRAND NEW that I taught to fly fish, through e-mails I know many people are still trying to keep it up.

    2. How many people in a year have you taught about conservation issues, stream access laws etc. Again my record is over 200 people, ONE ON ONE, or TWO ON ONE, not in a group lecture.

    3. How many people have you got to donate to a conservation organization such as the Henry's Fork Foundation or TU? I asked EVERY Single client of mine to donate at the end of the day. Thats after they already ponyied up close to $800 for a day with me. Many of them gave healthy donations.

    4. How many fish have you seen killed, by Honky Tossin guys, with HUGE Treble hooks on trout, and then they rip the jaw halfway off to get the hook out. How many by fly fisherman? I haven't kept count, but I have seen plenty of jaws messed up by trebles. I did all BARBLESS C&R with clients, never a problem, with rubber bottomed nets.

    5. How many jet boaters doing the above Honky Tossin (aka spin fishing) have you almost got run over by, How many Drift Boats have almost ran you over? I kept count on that one, its 12 on my first and 1 on the second, the drift boat was my own boat too.....

    6. How much litter have you seen thrown out by guides? How many times have you seen them picking up everysingle bit of trash on the river. Again 0 for the first one, and two many to count on the second. If our waterways are dirty, trashy, etc, PEOPLE DON'T want to fish. We keep the rivers CLEAN.


    States such as Montana, Idaho etc, have use days that limit amount of guides on the water, I have no problem with that. Just don't kill my lively hood because You can't catch fish.

    But I bet if you called a shop, they could hook you up with at guide for the day, And you could probably catch some trout.
  13. Mayfly Aviator Member

    Posts: 776
    Idaho Falls, ID
    Ratings: +19 / 0
    This is a just a conversation, and I don't think that the intent of the OP was to talk about the SF or HF or YNP. All are well regulated which is very important and the point of this discussion. If you look to other states without licensure requirements the scene changes, and some rivers are negatively impacted. The areas you list are shining examples of good regulation and conservation by outfitters/guides and conservation groups as well as recreational users.
  14. Evan Burck Fudge Dragon

    Posts: 6,445
    Duvall, wa
    Ratings: +1,623 / 2
    Exactly. I think what most are trying to say is just this very thing; there needs to be requirements to buy that guide license. CPR/First Aid, swiftwater rescue, conservation classes, etc. If this were implemented, I really think it would weed out the turds from the real guides.
  15. Jim Kerr Active Member

    Posts: 693
    Forks Wa
    Ratings: +138 / 0
    I read almost all of it.
    Looks like most people think the guide industry needs some regulations and restriction. I AGREE. Also looks like people think that fish need some more protection. I AGREE.
    That's awesome.
    Maybe instead of a discussion about how to change the regs in this regard, refocus on the goals of changing the regs.
    ie, less people on the water, less fish hooked per person, more places where fish are safe from angling pressure.
    Once we figure out what we want achieved, then we can think about how.
  16. stilly stalker Tuna sniffer

    Posts: 1,566
    Carlsbad, CA
    Ratings: +296 / 0
    ^^words of wisdom^^
  17. South Fork Active Member

    Posts: 158
    Trondheim, Norway
    Ratings: +34 / 0
    Original Post was:

    I fish around in some other states for trout. The best fishing I have found is where guide service is not permitted on the river. The fishing is fabulous. (I don’t know where there are many “No Guides Permitted” rivers, but haven’t researched it) So, I have come to the conclusion that guide services impact rivers quite negatively because of the tremendous fishing pressures put on the rivers. I think this rule should be applied on more rivers to enhance the fishing quality. What say you? What is your opinion or have you thought of this much before? I don’t expect to be popular after this post….

    I Fish around in some other states for Trout:

    I took this to Be, Idaho, maybe Montana

    The best fishing I have found is where guide service is not permitted on the river. The fishing is fabulous. (I don’t know where there are many “No Guides Permitted” rivers, but haven’t researched it) So, I have come to the conclusion that guide services impact rivers quite negatively because of the tremendous fishing pressures put on the rivers.

    I guided many rivers in in ID and MT. YES our FISHING IS FANTASTIC. And guides are on about every single river here. So his above statement about negative impacts is untrue.

    What say you?

    My opinions were written ABOUT TROUT, as he was asking. Not the OP, you guys swung it that way. (No pun intended) Steelhead, are trout, but in my opinion a different game entirely than fishing for browns, cutties etc.
  18. South Fork Active Member

    Posts: 158
    Trondheim, Norway
    Ratings: +34 / 0
    I agree with this statement 10000%
  19. Ed Call Mumbling Moderator

    Posts: 17,400
    Kitsap Peninsula
    Ratings: +1,357 / 9
    I think that the input from Jeff, Steve, Derek, Jim and South Fork show me what I think I see on the rivers. Guides are very talented, articulate folks that know their industry well. They seem to care for it, because it is their chosen profession, but also because they just give a shit about what is going on out there. Are there some guides that don't hold these high standards? I bet there are. But overall, I don't think the guides are the problem. Guided pressure on rivers is greater as more rivers close and more anglers explore the outdoors. Angling pressure is doing the same thing. More anglers are wading too. The problem with the bucket empty of fish is not because of the guides. It is not from the recrational anglers. It is not because of lead. It is not becasue of beads. It is not because of treble hooks. It is not because of barbs. It is not because of knotted nets. It is not because of boats. It is not because of tribal netting. It is not because of commercial netting. It is not because of garbage. It is not because of hazardous waste. It is not because of overdevelopment. It is because of all of these thing each being a drop or two in that bucket. The collective damage is done. When the hell does the collective effort for recovery begin? Sorry, I'm not in a very good mood today, all this bashing and bitching has spoiled my breakfast and at the end of it all we still find a bunch of folks trying to justify the how and why they do what they do, all the while blaming anyone who does not do it the way they do. Time for us to grow up or shut up. The fish can't do it for themselves, collectively we have all seen to that. Their fate is in our actions, or lack thereof.
  20. _WW_ Fishes with Wolves

    Posts: 1,905
    Skagit River
    Ratings: +647 / 0
    Lucky for me, I live near the Skagit. I don't have to worry about fishing right now...