Three Rivers Ranch Fly Fishing Guide School
May 10-17 or October 11-18
All Inclusive $2100.00 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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?