A sausage making question you can answer.

So, guiding is a great job. But like any job part of the work gets done out front, with the guest, and part gets done behind the curtain. There are a lot of reasons for this, one of which is that most folks don’t want to really know whats in the sausage.

Here is a sausage making question I would be interested in your opinion on.

When should we not go fishing? (And this is tricky.)

Could have stayed home

Say the weather is really bad, cold, windy, rainy, and there are not a lot of fish around. The river is high and muddy, but, BUT, its just clear enough that there are a couple of spots where we might catch a fish.

Thats not all, in some of these spots, one in particular, I have seen some of the coolest winter steelhead fishing of my life on high muddy nasty days.

You really might get blanked (but I have seen beautiful days with perfect conditions where folks got blanked) but you might have exceptional fishing.

On one hand, isn’t it great just to be out on the water? And isn’t hooking any steelhead a great day? So if there is a chance, shouldn’t we go check it out?

On the other hand, if the water was in great shape wouldn’t we get more chances? Wouldn’t we see more cool stuff? Your paying for this, why would you pay the same for a nasty day as a beautiful one?

Of course it depends (from my standpoint at least) somewhat on the particular angler.

For instance if Linda is a strong caster in the wind, and a great wader, and enjoys a challenge, I might have her come out on a day when I might recommend a reschedule to Frank, who sucks at all of those things.

But wait a minute, if I reschedule a angler like Frank, because of tough conditions, on a day when I would have taken Linda fishing, I am loosing a pay day because Frank can’t cast well?

This is actually our livelihood. We support our family by guiding fishing trips, we can’t “make up” a day we don’t go. The calendar has limits.

You didn’t want to be here the day this happened

So when the water gets marginal I sit around and stew. Is it Frank? Or is it Linda? Do I get paid? Or stay home and do chores?

What would I rather do?

I have friends that guide who just always go. Brown river? Go fishing. No fish? Go fishing.

Look, if you book a trip to the Bahamas and the water is too cold, the lodge is still gonna charge you.

Why should a steelhead guide be any different.

For me, personally, it boils down to this. When I am guiding, and I look at the water, and the way my guest is fishing, do I think we are about to catch one? If the answer is yes, then I am having a lot of fun, and I want to be there. If the answer is no….then the fun level drops for me. But! If its fun for my guests, even if I don’t feel we are in eminent danger of catching a fish then by all means I want to be there.

After a rough weather/water day I take a hot shower and put on dry clothes and and think about the day, and ALWAYS learn something of value.

But it of greater importance to me that my guest felt they had a valuable experience. So thats why Im asking.

In the end this may be a aleatory endeavor. And its always an adventure.

Tricky question.


Jim Kerr

Rain Coast Guides

Forks wa.

Posted in Winter Steelhead Fly Fishing Report | Tagged , | 6 Comments

6 Responses to A sausage making question you can answer.

  1. Paul B. says:

    OK. I’ll give it a go! The mere fact that you pose this question and contemplate the answer shows your mettle and your integrity. That’s why you are a cut above the others. Linda, Frank and I know you will tell us honestly if the conditions are bad and we should go to the pub instead.
    When I book you a month or two out, I know it’s a crap shoot. No promises on any factor, but for me, that’s part of the fun and adventure. Fish or no, I always have fun, enjoy your company & knowledge and learn new things (Ancient Native Noodle Fork for one).
    Don’t over analyze this. Just keep being who you are. You are a skilled Master Guide with a great Family and Community behind you and I, for one, am lucky enough to call you Friend.

  2. glaw says:

    I think I learned a new word: “aleatory.”
    And to think I thought I knew ’em all.

  3. Paul says:

    I honestly thought we were gonna talk sausage! Great input amigo and see you soon. Looks like a game of pick up sticks with mother nature.. Paul d.

  4. Don Freeman says:

    When I book a trip, I am paying for an opportunity and an experience. The weather and the fish count may affect my chances of hooking lots of fish, but what I’m looking for is a challenge. As long as the conditions aren’t perilous to people and equipment I say go. It could suck or be epic.

    My philosophy of fishing spills over to life in general. “Sometimes it’s your turn”. You can’t predict when that is gonna be.

    Don F

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