Yes I have have fished the Rocky alot, 30 - 35 years. Your mak'in me feel old!!
Time on the water does equal hook-ups, so the more time on the water the better your odds are.
I don't know much about the "V" so I can't comment.
If you want to hire a guide I think that is a good idea. These guys are on the water almost daily and you will learn more in one day than a year's worth of experimenting.
My schedule has limited my fishing lately but if you want to hook-up on the Rocky some weekend shot me a PM and we'll see what we can work out. I can also get the name a guide or two if you want to go that way.
Our fall and winter runs have been very limited but most guys are expecting big things once the weather breaks. This is the time to scout the spots you want to fish.