Restricting Guides Services on Some Rivers?

How about getting the state to implement statewide wild steelhead release first. I like the no fishing from a floating devise on selected rivers or selected times of year but I don't see it happening in the near future.

Chris Bellows

Your Preferred WFF Poster
How about getting the state to implement statewide wild steelhead release first.
100% in agreement. we had statewide wild steelhead release, but the city of forks (pressured by local businesses) pushed back hard and the commission backed down.

every time rule change proposals come up we need to keep pushing for this. hopefully it can happen before the coast shuts down early like puget sound.
Wow, guys, Evan nailed it with the South Park post. In 1966, when a my group of plebes at a military academy was enduring our third round of through the roof hazing for the day, Pat Conroy (yeah, that one) walked into the room, smiled at us and said "fellas, relax this is college". Great advice (although the hazing from everyone else continued unabated). Fellas, this is fishing, something we are all passionate about. And it is not the guides or the boats screwing up the resource. It is the decades of abuse and neglect, the dams, the loss of habitat through road building, logging, you name it, and the commercial fishing. We need to focus our frustration, get together, then reach out to all of our clubs and fishermen in other states. You know, one of the thing that stands out to me in this thread is that Bob Trigg, a professional guide, has just proved once again his love of not only fishing, but also the resource and conservation.

Old Man

Just an Old Man
As usual to a thread that gets this long this quick that there is so much junk in it that anybody in their right mind would just not bother with it. I tried to read some of this but it doesn't make any sense. I scanned through the first 5 pages but skipped the rest because you are all repeating what was said on the first two pages.

I was going to comment on the way it is here in Montana. But none of you would pay any attention to it so I didn't.


I was going to stay out of this one, but some of the shit in this post rubbed me the wrong way. We've met briefly. You seemed like a nice guy. Because I have met you face to face, I'm going to respond to your comments.

I have a buddy who has caught and seen hundreds of bead caught fish. If done right, he said it is no worse than any other method.

You can't possibly know what everyone on here thinks it's all about.

I'm on here pretty often. I haven't seen this crying.

You will never help someone see your point of view by harping. Seriously.

I "spout" conservation, and I fish beads sometimes. In over a year, I've touched 4 steelhead. 3 were natives. You seem to have the whole swing thing down. Have you touched more than 3 natives in the last 12 months? If so, given the widely accepted 10% C&R mortality rate, you have had a worse impact on them than me. A sometimes bead fisherman. Is it possible that those bead bans are a knee jerk reactions? Some laws are stupid. Like not letting certain races and genders vote. Here's a crazy example. In my beloved Washington, the laws allow certain people to string gillnets across the fucking river, and kill everything that swims into them. So laws can be fucked up.

So this whole bit right here makes me ashamed to be seen on the river with a 2 hander. Seriously. We met once, and you shared some whiskey with me. But you have never kept me awake on a long late drive home. We've never tried to get wet firewood lit in December. We've never hiked until our feet and backs ached. We've never traded time on the sticks so the other could fish. Shared food when it counted. Taught and learned from each other. Never talked about how chasing steelhead changed us as people. You have no idea what my feelings are, what I'm missing, what my ego is like, what I think is mindless, and how I cast. You basically said that I don't get it. That I am somehow beneath you. That I am doing it wrong. That is annoying. You presume. Some folks might presume that you are a pompous fucking asshole based on your words here. But I don't. I just think you feel strongly about something you care about. Extend to me and others that same courtesy. We care about the same thing. Can you imagine how stupid it would seem if guys who pulled plugs talked major shit about guys throwing spoons?

Guys, stop fighting. If you don't like the way someone fishes, then don't ask them what they are using. Nobody likes being interrogated. If we spend all our energy looking at what is on the end of a guys line, the fuckers win. I hate it when fuckers win.
I am so glad you replied...I have been wondering about you guys and what you thought?

First yes I have touched more then that and all were natives...My C&R return rate was 100% that's not hard and an assumed 10% C&R is flawed as it takes in all variables of fishing including the highest rate of gear...Swung fly is down around 1%....I have not had a floater or bleeder steelhead yet, knock on wood...

Your first question is a good one and that's what I want to know from you guys? Do you know the proper method...It's not foolproof...but it can be done with less harm...I've asked this multiple times and your the only one who's answered...

Second, I don't fish down here...this is my first year I've given it a try...I fish in B.C. I don't fish the vedder...I haven't seen beads and boats like this anywhere else. So it kind of shocks me...The fly guys I know and gear guys as well are involved in conservation for the most part and when something is questionable about method they will..Simple? I have seen and heard of a number of fish with lines coming out their guts and gills...So I worry and I ask?

It bothers me when guys are ready to give up one way (the swing) because they feel like they are missing out on fish by not fishing another....It's winter steelheading...I've gone months without a touch..frustrating? Yes..Do I catch fewer fish? Of Yeah....but I remember them more for it...guess that's the good part about it...I do this because it is hard...I accept that challenge...I dig the hell out of it....That's my connection, not the numbers but the quality..So no I don't know what everyone else thinks, I just hear this and that and find it pretty sad..

I agree laws are fucked up...but some are better thought out then others..The OP is not fly only...What you are doing is perfectly legal..but you can't take to fly only water...but guys will because we all have stupid people in our sport....If you put a plastic pink worm, a bead, a dickey night etc. on the end of your fly line..are you gear or fly fishing? I have tossed a little dickey night for pinks..freaking hoot but I'm gear fishing then..well actually I found one on the beach and tried it...but it still was..I can accept that and wouldn't argue I'm doing different...I don't know why that can't just be accepted as well? I've seen guys fish with centerpins on sage xp's...but they didn't call it fly fishing, they just liked the action of the fly rod...So that's my point in all of this...There are enough new guys and knobs that are watching what you are doing and that needs to be explained to them....

Your last point...yeah I get a bit self righteous at times...I tend to do so more out of frustration then anything else..I have waited for a response like this for awhile.....Again..I hear guys start to piss and moan that they aren't getting ones on the swing and tell me the bead guys are killing are the gear fish that if you want..but stop moaning about it....I have become more and more of a steelheader through time...I love summer time, big trout up on big rivers up north..not a lake guy..a river the hiking, doing floats and fishing the bars...and more then trout I love summer run steelhead....
It's taken me a few years but steelhead are becoming my passion...winter steelheading with a swung fly is a bitch at times...that's kind of the rub with it...I accept that part of it ...the weather and just about everything else is against you..but that's why it's a brotherhood in a way....This will take you a few years to learn as well..and IMHO you'll appreciate it more if you make that journey and one day might even think...Fuck that prick was right...Or you may not...but you again IMHO can't walk in fishing gear on a fly rod.....the easiest method next to putting guts on a hook and think because your using a fly line your doing amount of meisers and perfects will help...

I guess what I'm saying here is it bothers me that you...a guy that I believe has that passion and the other guys I've met.. would want to cheat himself and take the easy way or road....I learned from some good people up north and looked forward to meeting guys down here that shared my passion...and stew is one is another though we only fished briefly..and by the time I met you I was fried from doing that fucked up all night and day thing..that IS my problem your right...and I know it..but it surprised me and disappointed me in a way I wasn't expecting....I think so much is missed that way...

to the point of the and fishing from them are not allowing the fish to have any part of the river to rest and recover in...eggs are instinctively smashed by them so like bait, they get no break to rest and recover when they are dropped on them all day long...those are IMHO enough reason to stop using them and/or disallowing their use as fishing platforms...

Glad you posted...I'm glad you have the passion and thought to answer me....glad I riled you up if you can believe that....I'm trying to write this while I work so If it's discombobulated take it for what it's worth...

you got any other questions or me or talk to me on the river...look forward to it...


Active Member
I love how you guys took an interesting discussion about guide services on the rivers and made it out to be the same insane religious rant about swinging vs nymphing.

Honestly - you should get TWO nymph vs swing manifesto rants a year on this site - any more and you're banned.


Eyes to the sky...
I love how you guys took an interesting discussion about guide services on the rivers and made it out to be the same insane religious rant about swinging vs nymphing.

Honestly - you should get TWO nymph vs swing manifesto rants a year on this site - any more and you're banned.
He was talking about guides who bead. Be nice, or I'll sic the kids on you with a sharpie next time you crash on my couch.

Golfman, I got your PM. Thanks, man. I'll talk to you tonight.

Ed Call

Well-Known Member
Golfman, I'll nymph on the go between swinging spots. When I arrive at spots I think are good swining water I don't want to nymph it, I want to swing. I'm giving up nothing as I think I'm balancing both and using the right technique for the right type of water. Those who swing only can think less of me, I can deal with that. I likely would not approve of 100% of anyone's life choices, but that is not my business just like how I legally fish is not your business.

I gave up gear fishing with eggs, plugs and all that stuff. That meant choosing a far, holy freaking shit, far less productive method. I don't have the time to dedicate to fishing steelhead hardcore and want to catch fish. Nyphing means I can still fish on the move becaus swinging a fly on the float is somthing I have tried but it does not seem to work productively. I want to catch fish. When they come on a nymph in nymphing water then I have a good feeling about what I've done. When I hook one on the swing I have the same feeling of satisfaction. When I'm jaded and have tailed thousands, hundreds or dozens of fish I might change my tune and forego the craft and swing only at places I can hike into. I like boats too, why not enjoy my love of boats, fishing on the move and fishing from the bar all in the same outing? I don't think a nymph is anything but fly gear and since that is my perception then that is the reality and you can have your own view. I don't think a dick nite is fly gear.

I do know that my spey rod can successfully put the below object into play, with a 6" long heavy bead head pink MOAL. I found this derelect gear on a river bank and figured after working a run on the swing that I'd mess around. Tossed it to the seam just fine. Sucker measures about 6" in lenght and as big around as a golf ball.
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I'll see you out on the water again. You'll see me. Maybe we chat it up, maybe I'm off your Christmas Card List. Only time will tell how that all works out. Tight lines swinger!


"Chasing Riseforms"
I have much the same experience that Larry described. In his OP, he indicated that he was talking about trout rivers, not steelhead (I know they are trout, too, but...), and that his perception was that rivers that often fish better are not heavily guided. I fish in Idaho and/or Montana every summer, and have sampled, sometimes pretty extensively, most of the well-known and many of the not-so-well-known rivers there.

On its face, this presents a conundrum. A guide's business is to get his/her client into fish. Ipso, facto, they should be taking them where the fishing is best, right? But that isn't always true. Hence Larry's (and my) impressions that the rivers that fish best are NOT frequented by guides.

I think there are a couple of explanations that intersect. One is that there are some rivers where pressure from guides is a significant factor in making fish more wary and, therefore, harder to catch. Of course, pressure doesn't come only from guides, but on most rivers, guides can more consistently find fish than can the tourist fisherman on a DIY trip. So, us poor schmucks who visit on our own suffer the consequences of trying to catch those wary fish (oh, wait a minute, isn't that the epitome of fly fishing? Yeah, but we still like to catch a fish now and then...).

So, why then are there still rivers where the fishing is great (which means the catching is more frequent); why aren't the guides taking their clients there? I think this gets at the point several of you have raised. Those rivers typically are the ones that are not conducive to fishing from boats. Not all, but almost all guiding for trout is done from a boat. Clients want it and expect it. Similarly, the increase in recent years of privately owned drift boats means those same rivers are infested with both private and guided boats, sometimes so thick a boat is never out of sight of the wading fisherman.

So, I think the bottom line is that easily floated rivers, which includes some of the most famous rivers in the west (thus the ones clients from out of the area expect guides to take them on) are the ones that get hammered the most and make the fishing a little tougher for everyone.

I suspect that Larry is like me, a wading fisherman, who prefers dry flies to rising trout. Sure, it might appeal to snobs like us to have rivers where nymphing is off limits, or guides are banned (intermittently or completely or via lottery), but I think the real factor comes from the quantitatively greater and spatially more distributed pressure that comes from rivers with lots of floating fishermen. Heck, some of the best rivers I know are not restricted to fly fishing (so nymphing restrictions won't do it), or even to catch & release.

My life's too short to worry about trying to change the rules to favor the style of fishing I prefer. I'm just grateful that so many pay-to-fish folks are too lazy to wade and fish and that so many people today want to emulate guides by having their own ride. Let 'em have the rivers that fit their style. I'll just continue to find the rivers they shun and continue to enjoy the experience.

Well said Richard. We should wade a river sometime.

Steve J.

Red's Fly Shop
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