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Old 09-12-2005, 11:54 PM
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Eric Eric is offline
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Location: Pacific Northwest
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Hi, Ed,

I don't know what the situation is on eastern streams, but I can give you some input gleaned from my 15 or so seasons as a float-trip guide on Oregon's Deschutes River.

Sounds to me as if you're an ideal client. Certainly your attitude is 100% right on. Trout guides (most of them anyway) are quite pleased to provide all help and assistance to the novice, provided he or she has the attitude you seem to have. I've worked with lots of beginners and enjoyed the experience the vast majority of times. One thing I did try to do was to work on casting and presentation away from the likely fishing spots. This was so that we could concentrate on developing technique without being distracted by the presence of rising or otherwise active fish. I wouldn't spend a lot of time on this, usually less than an hour was needed to get people casting nicely 25-30', learning a drag free float on the dries, mending a swing for the sub-surface caddis, and (horrors) casting and steering a strike indicator rig for deep sunk flies. Once they had the basic techniques down, we'd actually start fishing, with me keeping close watch to offer advice and encouragement.

You didn't mention how many others are on your trip. A quide must divide his or her time among the clients. If all are of about equal ability and attitude, the guide's time will be divided equally. In cases where the party varies in ability, the guide will spend the most time with the client who needs the most help.

Sometimes, having a guide perched right on your shoulder can be a distraction. Don't hesitate to suggest to your guide that you've got it for now and would like to practice alone for a bit, if you feel like you're being overwatched or overcoached.

Guides really appreciate clients' paying strict attention to their advice on matters of fly selection, tippet sizes, drift lines, and proper presentation. They want to see you catch fish and will give you the best advice they can, based on years of experience on their home streams. Nuff said.

As to the matter of a couple of cold beers -- in my boat, that was always the client's call, as long as it didn't get out of hand. It's your trip and it's for your enjoyment. However, if the guide does have a strict "no alcohol" policy, that's that.

Tipping: Yes. It's always appreciated. Again, I don't know how it works on your rivers, but, as a head guide, I wouldn't be tipped but my subcontracting guides would. Where I was the only guide, or when I was subcontracting for another guide, I would be tipped. Tips usually varied between $20 and $50 per guide, depending on the length of the trip. Of course, it's been a while since I've been guiding and things may have gone up a bit since then. Tipping on a restaurant scale (15%) would probably work all right.

I hope this helps.

Good luck; let us know how you make out.

Eric
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