You have been planning for months, maybe even years and you finally booked a guided fly fishing trip but now what?

Whether you are a beginner or you have been fly fishing for years guided fly fishing trips are a great way to learn more while improving your skills. Guided trips can provide you with insights into where fish are likely to be, what flies are best suited, and (hopefully), making your experience on the water much more successful.

How to maximize your trip?

A question we get all the time is if I haven’t fly fished before or if I am a beginner, should I book a guided trip? Absolutely! Our guides love introducing fly fishing to first timers. If you have the opportunity, we suggest checking out Orivs’ free fly fishing 101 classes. They will cover the fundamentals of rods, reels, rigging, essentials knots, etc. They offer in person or even virtual 101 classes.

When you finally decide to reserve a guide for a day, we want to hear more about you, your expectations, and what you are hoping to accomplish. Maybe you want to target brown trout, or catching cutthroat is on your bucket list, all of these details helps your guide tailor the day to YOU. Everyone wants to catch fish, we get it, and guides do the best to be sure that you do, however, if you want to learn more about reading water, tying knots, how to do a reach cast, etc. those specifics help the guide make sure you have a memorable trip that is custom tailored to you!

Trust your guide! It may be hard to trust someone you have never met, but it is essential to make the most out of your trip to have faith in your guide.

What to bring?

What you need to bring with you on your trip will slightly depend on what time of year you plan on going and what you are hoping to accomplish. Here are the obvious things you should plan on bringing with you on your guided trip:

  • Fly rod
  • Reel
  • Sunglass (polarized)
  • Hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Casting shirt or sun shirt (preferably a shirt with UPF protection)
  • Quick-drying pants
  • A good attitude (more on that later!)
  • Rain jacket (yes, even in July and August you should bring a rain jacket)
  • Comfortable water shoes (Chaco, Teva, Simms, etc.)

If you do not have a rod and reel, no worries, most fly shops will have one that you can rent or the guide will have one you can use. If you are planning on fishing in early Spring, in the Fall or in the Winter waders and boots are recommended. This is especially true if you are hoping to do some wade fishing. For our area here in Idaho, typically, by July we are not wearing waders and boots, if we are doing some wade fishing, wet wading feels comfortable.

The maybe not-so-obvious things to bring along on a guided fishing trip include snacks and some thing to drink other than water. For most half-guided day trips a lunch is not provided so you will definitely want to be sure to pack some food. For full guided day trips, lunch is typically provided, but you should still bring snacks. No one likes a hangry person in the boat.

Research the area you plan on fishing, in most western states the weather is known to be unpredictable, so dressing in layers is probably a good idea. Now if you forget something, don’t panic, a good guide will have the essentials covered for you.

You may have noticed that I haven’t mentioned flies, leaders or tippet yet…this slightly because well, you don’t really need to bring them with you at least I wouldn’t let it stress you out. Your guide should have you taken care of. Now if you are an avid tyer and want to tie up some flies that you may be able to use, give us a call at our shops, we are happy to send you photos and tell you what flies you may use during your trip. When you take a guided trip, most of the time you will be meeting at a fly shop. The fly shop will have access to endless flies (that some poor guide wannabe has spent hours organizing, I say this because I was this) as well as leader and tippet, and it is always great to support local shops! #shopsmallfishbig

Take this opportunity to learn

Ask your guide questions! This is what they are here for. But on the flip side LISTEN to your guide. If they have told you to mend the first 5 times they probably want you to continue to mend on that 6th cast even though they didn’t yell it. There are going to be certain variables that are out of the guide’s control that could have a negative impact on your trip including the weather, the water conditions, and YOU! Be sure to come with a good attitude, and take this great opportunity to learn from your guide.

The most important thing when it comes to fly fishing and especially when you are taking a guided trip is to HAVE FUN. I realize how obvious that sounds, but more times than not it is the most forgotten. Taking the time to relax, have fun, and enjoy the experience of fly fishing should always come before worrying about catching a certain number of fish. Not only will this help reduce stress and promote relaxation, but it will also help you become a better fisherman in the long run.

Enjoy the overall experience and respect the nature you come across – this will make for a more pleasant experience and one that you will want to come back to time and again.