This is a story about three guides who I will use as examples of at least a few of the many good and bad guides out there. The first was a bit of a joke but then he was cheap so I wasn't too badly burned. He was nice enough, lived in Gold River, B.C., a good gear man (no flies on this guy and no pun intended) and he knew of holes on the river (the famous Gold River) that I would never have found in the limited time I had to fish. Trouble was that each time we reached one of these secret holes, he would fire his bobber with roe(all Canadiens know the power of the bobber) straight at the best lie which I might have been able to figure out on my own given a few minutes. He would nail a fish or two and then grin at me with that "this is why I am the guide smile." I asked myself, "what am I paying for here?" He kept his fish and was sort of pissed when I released the one fish I had caught, a wild, 15lb buck, fresh and bright. The second guide, fishing at Roach Lake, B.C., was one hell of a fisherman. I asked him if I should go get some gear as all I had was a flyrod. He said, "Nope,I don't allow anything but fly gear in my boat." I was a bit shocked and I asked him what would he do if a dude didn't know how to fly fish? He said he would teach the dude and for that reason he always carried an extra flyrod or two all rigged up. I asked him if he was going to fish. He said,"Of course I am." And I suggested that maybe, seeing as how I had been rubbed up in Canada, I didn't think that was such a good idea. He said, "Look, what I am going to do today is to locate some fish for you. I expect to put you over two maybe three hundred large trout. If I don't fish, you will think that I'm a liar and that you wasted your money. But when I take fish after fish, you will know that is not true and also you will hang on every word I say and I will have your undivided attention. I am a teacher and I need you to listen to me. So I will fish." What followed was possibly the best day on the water I have ever had. We released fish after fish, most in the plus two range, and all were terrific warriors and really tough to bring to the boat. What a day! What a guide! And, most importantly, he taught me how to fish chironomids correctly. What a teacher! Guide three was maybe the best. He took me down the Bogachiel in his river boat when the river was practically dry in early Fall. We took a few shocks, but, man, was he good with those oars! He didn't say much when I threw here and there but suddenly I would notice that the boat was stopped in mid-current and it was therefore sort of an order to throw. I wanted sea-run cutts, and I got several to my delight. He suggested I use dry flies and a muddler minnow would be a good choice. BAM! I nailed this big hatchery hen right in front of a row of rocks and she fought somewhat like a wet mop. I don't think she understood what was coming down. A big buck, 12lbs. or more, shot out from under her. Since not much was really happening I tried to force her to the boat and I had my rod in one hand and my forcepts in the other. Then she looked me, bolting like a torpedo run amuck straight down the river. Like a rookie, I tried to stop her. POW! The end of that. I felt like a fool. How many big fish have I taken? How many times have I let fish run against the drag? We had a boat; do you really think there might have been a problem with letting the fish run? Like we couldn't follow? Damned dummy! The guide was quiet. The next day I dumped my pontoon boat into the Boggie, remember that I had never floated this river before, and had one miserable experience after another every time I hit the chute at the top of a pool. No water. Big rocks. Slam after slam. Jaws knocking together. My pontoon boat, a Fish Cat, took some awesome knocks. Hard to believe the boat could hold together. Eyes wide. And an "Oh No!" at the end of each tailout. I could hear it all coming in one deafening roar after another. I read every current, every ripple, every swirl or eddy to try to find the deepest water. I didn't fish. I knew I had a long way to go and I worried that dark would come and I would have to spend the night in the woods. My wife would call the local sheriff when I didn't report as per my float plan. Coast Guard. Helicopters. That sort of thing. I had told the shuttle, stupidly, to leave my truck at the bridge where there is no takeout. But they did as they were told. When I saw the bridge and the fact that I would have to drag the boat several hundred feet up through thick brush, my heart sank. Oh, shit! Then I kept drifting, remembering that there was a state ramp below me. I drifted on. It was getting dark and so I passed the ramp and was on my way to the ocean (a bunch of miles away) when my guide called out from the woods. "Hey," he said,"over here." What a man! He da man! Boy was I happy! Apparently, he had been keeping an eye on me at no pay. So what we have here is sort of a river keeper, a guide, a man of the water and the woods (he lives in a beautiful cabin in the forest near the river). Hell of a dude! Guide number one is a Canadian and lives in Gold River, B.C. I can't remember his name. Guide number two is named Kenny Oshida and can be reached at Roach Lake Resort in the Kamploops area of B.C. Guide number three is named Jim (I forgot his last name) and he can be reached at Three Rivers Campground, Forks, WA. Guides cost a lot. But what do you get? It can range from an annoyance to a life altering, horrible experience avoided. I'll take my chances with them.