Three Rivers Ranch Fly Fishing Guide School

2023 Dates:
May 7-14 (FULL), May 14-21 (FULL) & October 9-16 (spots available)

All Inclusive $2,595.00 per guide

Interested in becoming a Fly-Fishing guide? Take your passion of fly-fishing to the next level. Three Rivers Guide School is designed to prepare you for a professional career as a fly fishing guide or simply increase your knowledge and skills of the sport.  Learn on the Henry’s Fork, South Fork of the Snake, and other tributaries of the Henry’s Fork in East Idaho.

There is more to being a guide than being a good fisherman, though having in-depth knowledge about our sport is essential to being an excellent guide. This knowledge is gained through time on the water, trial and error, classes, guide schools, or a combination of all of the above. Our instructors are all full-time guides during the regular guiding season and bring their time on the water, their own trial and error, and experience to the table. These guides will teach, along with all other aspects of guiding, in-depth advanced fly fishing techniques that are used every day in guiding but translate directly to your own personal everyday fishing. In short, not only will you learn to be a guide, you’ll learn to fish like one too.

What you will learn:

Casting techniques

Casting lessons are like golf lessons. You’ll always come away better for it, and having learned something new. Can you double haul? Probably. Do you know the dynamics of the double haul, and when or why it should be used? Ultimately, can you teach someone else to double haul? The same goes for other casting techniques like roll casting, long distance casting, and casting with accuracy. Your clients may or may not be able to achieve any of the above, but you will come away with the abilities to do so yourself, and the tools to teach your clients to do so.

Fly Fishing the Snake River with TRR Outfitters
Henrys Fork Angler fishing Henrys Fork River

Reading the Stream

You’ll learn how to read water for the “fishy” spots. This is a relatively basic, but hugely important skill a guide must have to be successful. It may seem like a no-brainer, but you might be surprised that water reading is so often overlooked. For example, say you’ve decided you want to be a fishing guide. You’re successful on your home stream, and you think a career in guiding would be a good fit. Say your home water is a freestone stream with little pressure. Chances are that you’ll be guiding a tail-water stream that not only sees a fair amount of private boat pressure but also a lot of guide pressure as well. This is where the ability to read where fish will lay up in high-pressure situations is essential.


Three Rivers Ranch guide, Todd Allen, helped me hugely when I first started out ha saying “The three Ps of fly fishing, presentation, presentation, presentation.” If you’ve fished long enough, you know that if you see a happy fish rising, chances are, that with the right presentation, you can make him eat whatever you want. Sometimes when guiding, the presentation is completely on the guides shoulders. You’ll learn that sometimes a good drift can only be achieved by manipulating the position of the boat. You might have to be closer to the bank, maybe farther away. Perhaps your client hasn’t grasped mending. You’ll learn presentation, and ultimately how to cater to your clients’ abilities to accurately present a fly.

Wading Techniques

This might seem like another no-brainer, but try to remember the first time you took to the middle of a river with a rod in hand. For many of your clients, this may be the first time they’ve ever waded a river. There are techniques you’ve likely picked up that you don’t even think about. You’ll be able to focus on what you’re doing and be able to verbalize it to your clients. We have a lot of walk and wade opportunities around Three Rivers Ranch, and you will find that guiding will often have your clients out of the boat and wading. You’ll learn how to safely escort people in and out of your boat, and help them wade and navigate the river safely on their own.


Courses on the water are located on the Henry’s Fork of the Snake River, South Fork of the Snake River, Teton River, and other tributaries available at the time of your school. Weather, river flows, runoff, and general fishability all contribute to what rivers we will spend time on.  All of our classes are taught at Three Rivers Ranch in Warm River, Idaho. Learning to guide and fish on these rivers will provide students with the skills needed to guide and fish almost any river in the country.

The Henry’s Fork is 80 miles long, and in those 80 miles, virtually every type of fishing scenario can be found, from super technical spring creek style to freestone, to tail-water, it can all be found on the Henry’s Fork of the Snake River.  It also has been called ‘the largest spring creek in the world’ so it’s reletively immune to runoff.  It’s also a river that can be fished, sucessfully, all year long.

Rules and Regulations

Idaho Fish and Game, IOGLB, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Wyoming, and Yellowstone National Park; Laws regarding both guides and clients vary from state to state, and Yellowstone National Park. You will learn how those laws differ, and how they might affect your guiding career. In some ways, one state may be stricter, in other ways laxer.  Three Rivers Ranch is licensed to fish in Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming (Yellowstone N.P.), & Montana.

Three Rivers Ranch Outfitters


You will learn what equipment you’ll need, sources for acquiring equipment, and what you’ll need to maintain your equipment. Some guides like to keep rods and reels in their boats for everyone.  Some guides will keep a 5, 6, and 7 weight in my boat at all times. This might be overkill, and every guide has his or her own program. Another essential and the most significant investment in your career would be procuring a boat. Depending on where you plan to guide, a boat is a crucial piece of equipment. You’ll have the opportunity row different styles of boats & try out different rods to see what will fit you best.


Not only will you be guiding your clients into catching fish, but also you will likely be doing a lot of teaching along the way. As covered previously, you’ll learn advanced fishing techniques, and how to teach them to clients. Everything taught about fishing should, in turn, be able to be taught by the guide school student to future clients.

Guide School at Three Rivers Ranch Fly Shop


There is a not-so-unspoken etiquette that guides our behavior on the river. As guides, we are held to a higher standard of etiquette than recreational fisherman. What is expected varies on different rivers. Bigger rivers can withstand higher pressure, and therefore, etiquette on the South Fork of the Snake can be different from what’s expected on the Henry’s Fork. As we will be in the boat most days, there will be many opportunities to discuss etiquette on the river.

Safety Training

To be a guide, you must be certified in First Aid and CPR. Part of the curriculum includes this certification.  This will be a phyical class and not an online course.  Some agencies do not accept some ‘online only’ classes.  So no matter where you end up guiding your CPR/First Aid certification will be accepted.

We will also cover how to get yourself, family, or clients out of sticky situations, including what to do if someone falls out of the boat, falls down wading, if you and your boat get separated, and lots more.

Red Cross certified class at TRR Outfitters

Outdoor Education and History

So much of guiding is teaching your family, friends, or clients how to do certain things to help both yourself (the guide) and others (clients) be successful. A lot of the time, success is measured in the number of fish caught, or size of fish caught. If trout fishing were easy, there would be no need for a guide. Sometimes days are tough, and the fishing is slow, you should be able to rely on knowledge of the geology, plants, and animals in the guide’s area to make even a slow day a successful and fun learning adventure.

Knot Tying

There are only a handful of knots you really need to know. Chances are students will come with their choice of knots that they like to tie in their personal fishing time. We’ll teach you how to tie those faster.

It is also important to tie knots safely while rowing. You can expect to learn how to navigate safely while tying on a fresh tippet, or a new fly.

Learn how to tie knots at TRR Guide School

Fly Tying

We have several guides that tie commercially for us.  You’ll get to learn how to tie flies from the best.  You’ll learn some techniques, tools, materials, and more.  Tying your own flies gives you a whole new dimension to fly fishing.  This class will provide you with a way to dive-in to the art of fly tying or hone in on your skills.


One of the best things you can do is study what fish eat.  It will help you catch more trout, plain and simple.  We will go over in detail what is on the menu for our local trout.  We will study different species, lifecycles, and how to match the hatch.

Boise Fly Shop Entomology Class in Eagle, Idaho
Snake River Guide Service and Guide School

Rowing Progression

Arguably the most important skill anyone can bring to the table is your ability to row. Not only can rowing ability get you closer to fish, but it also keeps you safe. The point of the day is to hopefully catch fish, but doing so safely is the most crucial part. The South Fork of the Snake is one of the more technical pieces of water around, and learning to row here will prepare you for most anything a river can throw at you. What the South Fork of the Snake River lacks in some technical aspects, the Henrys Fork makes up for. Between these two rivers, you’ll be very well prepared to row just about anything that’s doable in a drift boat.

Guide Opportunities

If you need help with a resume, contacting outfitters we’ve seen plenty.  We will help you hone that sucker in so you will stand out.

  • Included in the TRR Guide School:
    • Airport Transportation
    • Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner
    • Accommodations in our Robinson Lodge
    • Open Bar at graduation!
    • Lot’s More!
Cutthroat Trout - Fly Fishing Idaho

Custom Program / Personalized

We understand that all people do not want to become a full-time guide.  We also understand that some students will excel at some things and others need to work harder in other areas.

We won’t make you sit through something you already know.

For example, if you already have your CPR / First-Aid.  You wouldn’t have to go through it again.  Or if you already know how to row like a pro, we’ll ask you to prove it, get you checked off, and we will work on other areas of interest to you.  We do go by a syllabus and will stick to it, but everyone will have their own pace and will need to continue their work far after the school is over.

After the school is over, you will receive a certificate and a full written review of your progress, areas still in need of work, and areas in which you excel.  Graduation night is fun and is an open bar at the ranch!

What makes Three Rivers Ranch different?

  • We have 5 locations throughout the State of Idaho
  • Orvis Lodge Of The Year.
  • Orvis Guide Of The Year & Fly-Fishing Legend Doug Gibson, a 50+ year veteran.
  • We are a 4th Generation family-owned business & have been in business for nearly 100 years.
  • Several guides have been with us for over 20 years.
  • We maintain a 90% return rate over a two-year period.
  • We have several 3rd and 4th Generation Family guests.

Anyone can take our guide school.  It’s built for any fly fishing fanatic that wants to learn more about the sport, fish better, row a boat, start a new career, or simply have a life-changing experience!  What are you waiting for?

Call (208) 652-3750 to book now!

Guide School – Sample Schedule

Arrival Day, Meet the Instructors, Course Handouts, Overview

Arrive at Three Rivers Ranch in Warm River, Idaho.  Get settled in, if you have a chance, go wading up Warm River or Robinson Creek.  You’ll get a chance to meet the guides / instructors and we’ll go over the entire course.

First Aid / CPR, Introduction to Drift Boats, Keeping Clients Safe on the water; tips & techniques, Knots, Wading & Casting Lessons (on the water), & Outdoor Photography.

Safety first.  We’ll get you Red Cross Certified in First Aid/AED/CPR.  Not all courses are certified by Red Cross and some states will require it.  After that, we’ll go over the technical aspects of a drift boat.

Client safety is the biggest and most important thing you’ll learn.  We’ll go over a few things you need to do to keep everyone safe in your boat.  We will go over some tips on how to take better fishing pictures, how to correctly hold a fish (preferrably in the water), and other outdoor photography tips.  The remainder of the day we will be on the water learning knots, casting & wading techniques.

A quick note: If you’re already “good to go” on some of these lessons, you’ll quickly be checked off and we’ll move on to other things…  Also, our class is catered to teaching you how to teach people how to enjoy the day fly fishing, so emphasis will be given to that.

On the water day – Rowing Progression; drift boats, trailers, vehicle demands, fishing gear setups, client safety, stream etiquette, reading the stream.

We will pair 2 students to one guide.  We will probably be on the Henry’s Fork of the Snake River, the location will be dependent on the rowing ability.  You will learn a majority guide skills on the water.  A few lessons will be taught everyday on the water others will be highlighted and emphasised as needed throughout the course.  Guiding is a skill and art that is learned in the field and not in a classroom.

On the water day – Rowing Progression; holding the bank, reading the stream, knot tying on the water, client safety, & stream etiquette. Flora, Fauna, Geology, & History.

You will be paired with the appropriate guide.  We will be on the water all day.  After you learn the basics, you will learn and practice how to hold the bank and other techniques to help you row the boat in different conditions.

Each night we will return to the Robinson Lodge, have dinner and will relax by tying flies or plaing some pool.

Rules & Regulations, Client Relationships, Entomology. On the Water – Rowing Progression, client relationships, work ethic on the water, match the hatch.

We will go over a few classroom activites in the morning.  Rules and regulation is at the heart of our industry.  You’ll learn a little bit about each agency in multiple states and how to keep everyone happy.  We will work on maintaining client relationships, and will finally wrap up with an Entomology presentation.

The rest of the day will be on the water focusing on rowing progression, work ethic, and matching the hatch.

Guiding Opportunities, Client Relationships on the Water, Class Overview. On the water – Personalized day catered to individual needs. Graduation Party (open bar).

For the students that are interested in guiding as a career, we will go over how to land a job, resumes & cover letters.  We will go over the entire course and then we will get out on the water.  The remainer of the day is catered to the individual students needs.  After that, we’ll have a graduation party with an open bar!

Final Interview, Critiques, Recommendations.

Before you leave, we’ll go over your final interview.  What you did great, what you need to improve on, and how to move forward.

Airport shuttles to and from Idaho Falls Airport (IDA) are included with your tuition.  You are more than welcome to rent a car or hitch a ride from someone else.  Let us know how we can help.

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