hating the _uckers

Trying hard to keep this a fun place for fishermen, and a healthy place for cool fish.

There was a day…..

There was a day when you would put your boat in the Calawah in March, and maybe everything just didn’t feel right for what you were trying to do, and you could pull out and go somewhere else, and still be first boat.

There was that much water here.  That many place to be with no one else.

Then things started to change, then about five years ago, they started to really change.  Then last year, well, it got nuts.

Sooo many guides form all over the globe, getting EVERYWHERE!

And I mean some of these folks, well, suck at catching fish.  I mean, nice people, good casters, good fly tyers, good teachers, just absolutely awful at making fish bite for clients.

I mean really bad, I mean 4 or 5 days between fish, and still, booked everyday.

So thats it. Post a bunch of pictures of hamburgers and flies you tied,  get 8 million or so likes on facebook, damn, your a fishing guide.

The town I live in fills up with these people, they are everywhere, and I start hating on them.

But here is the deal, they are nice folks, mostly young, mostly on an adventure, out for a good time.  And they will generally give you the shirt off their backs.

It is not their fault they chose the same adventure as a bunch of other folks at the same time.
The ones that stick with it will become good fly fishing guides, or starve, probably both.

I realize me getting cranky pants about it is my problem, not theirs, and they have as much right as anyone to be here.

Last year a good friend  had an embarrassing incident that left him stranded in what used to be a very remote area.  Luckily, there was a group of traveling guides who cheerfully offered to help him out, they went out of there way to get him back to town, where he ran into another group of helpful vagabonds at the store, and still another back at the motel.  All helpful cheerful folks helping out a good guy having a bad day.

None of them realizing that they were ruining my ability to resent them.

This place has gotten too crowded during February and March, and we need to take some steps to keep it from being loved to death.

Folks around the state have been working for a while on a way to limit the number of guides working here, and the guides association has been working on its members to try to convey to clients, on those really good days when lots of fish are being hooked, to head in early and be thankful we still have as many fish as we do.

I will post more details on ongoing efforts in the coming weeks and months, and would love help and comments from those interested.

Jim Kerr

Rain Coast Guides

Forks Wa





Posted in Winter Steelhead Fly Fishing Report | Tagged | 13 Comments

13 Responses to hating the _uckers

  1. Jason Repko says:

    Hey Jim, I echo your concerns. I’ve been helping the C.W.I. team with some stuff regarding the mouth of the Elwha. Let us know if we can send letters, make calls, send emails or otherwise show up when needed to support this effort: which is conservation all around in my book

    • raincoastguides says:

      Thanks for the offer. WDFW is reviewing some stuff that may begin to get a handle on guiding here. I am guessing they will need encouragement to keep the ball rolling. I will soon be posting more details on that and urging folks to chime in. There is a lot that is out of our control, but also a lot we can do. Its time we get moving.

  2. Ben Grady says:

    Glad someone with some clout finally had the fortitude to make this a priority and to make a statement about it. I’ve had a fair bit of interaction with many of the more established guides (and a few lesser) in the area and you’re correct that most of them are great folks looking to follow their passion; which makes me feel like an a** when I get grumpy about the situation. That said, we are talking about a limited, fragile resource with seemingly unlimited demand and the resulting change in the atmosphere is very noticeable for those that have been fishing these rivers for more than 5 or 6 years.

    It’s a perfect storm of growing population in the PNW, social media, commercialization of fishing (and fly fishing in particular), the closing of once viable steelhead fisheries, rise of the “part-time” guide, etc. The “tragedy of the commons” is in full effect on the West End, and unfortunately there is also the case of a “shifting baseline” for many people that have just visited the OP for the first time and think it’s “unpressured” compared to their local waters and without having a reference of more than 2 or 3 years history.

    If the Olympic Peninsula is to be marketed and regarded as a world-class fishery, it needs to see the implementation of outfitting/lodging/guiding regulations and restrictions that other world-class fisheries utilize. Those with “skin in the game” benefit, and those simply looking to cash in on the flavor of the week to line their pockets and then bail out of town afterwards get the boot. It’s not an easy thing to do, but I’m glad there are a few willing to take it on. I look forward to seeing more of your thoughts on the subject.

    • raincoastguides says:

      Excellent comments Ben, thank you. Myself and a few others have been working on a limited entry project for 5 years now and it may well see its second chance at the state legislature this spring. It will be a very heavy lift to keep it moving and we will need lots of help.

  3. J michelle swope says:

    Im at the ready to lobby for that, keep up the great posts Jim!

  4. Don Freeman says:

    As always, anything that I can do, just ask, and I know plenty of folks here in Capitol City so if you need something hand carried you know where to find me.

  5. Jim Babcock says:

    I too feel your pain Jim. I’ve been back to guiding for just 7 years but I’ve noticed a huge increase of guides vs lesser area. I back you 100%

  6. Steve says:

    Get rid of the bait chucking, bobber huckin lure throwing fools that keep the wild fish first!! There’s a novel idea…

    • raincoastguides says:

      So Steve, I am sure you know that as of February 15 there will be no bait allowed, and native fish retention has been outlawed since last spring. For the record, I feel like that a caught fish is a caught fish, regardless of the gear.

  7. Eric Paulson says:


    I have a few questions pertaining to the proposed plan on guide restrictions for the Olympic Peninsula rivers that you have mentioned is in the works.

    1. Is this plan modeled after any other western state with guide/outfitter restrictions? If so, what state or states?

    2. Will historical use of OP rivers be a factor in determining allocated user days for guides, and if so, how will historical use be proven? ( As of now Washington does not require guides to report any type of client fishing license log or river use while guiding on it’s rivers.)

    3. Can you please provide the names of people, groups, and state officials you are working with in regards to implementing guide/outfitter restrictions on the Olympic Peninsula rivers?

    Thank you and kind regards,

    Eric Paulson

    • raincoastguides says:

      So Eric,
      Good questions. At this point there is no agreed open draft language. That should come in about 2 weeks. I think at that point there will be a lot of discussion, a second draft, some public meetings, another draft, ect. My involvement in this process has been extensive. For the last 5 years and I have looked at every piece of guide legislation I could find or dig up. But once everyone has had their say I would guess that any regs that pass will be region specific and quite unique. But that is really just a guess. If you have more concerns please call me, I would be glad to chat.

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