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Taking a guided fly fishing trip is one of the best outdoor experiences around. You spend the day walking or floating a great river with an expert who can help sort out the details, untangle lines and tie knots with the best flies around. You even get a great lunch and local knowledge about the ecosystem and culture. While your guide manages a good portion of the trip, there are a few ways to really make the most of each day on the water while increasing your odds of landing more fish.

Practice Casting

Learning to cast on a guided trip is just fine but it really helps to have basic skills developed in advance. If you spend the first hour or two of a guided trip in a casting lesson, it means other boats are passing you and that precious time is not being spent with flies in the water. This isn’t a huge issue, especially on multiple day trips but it pays to practice in advance. Take a lesson near your home or order a rod and reel kit and start casting in the yard to get a feel for things. There are plenty of free online videos teaching the basics and you can video yourself to spot errors and missteps. Spend some time developing casting skills and your guided trip will be more productive.

Take Advantage of Your Guide

Guides have intimate knowledge of their regions and they have special skills to share.On many guided trips however, the anglers are busy fishing and don’t really ask the guides to instruct beyond the basics of casting and presentation in the immediate moment. If you want to learn new knots, techniques and anything specific, ask for help. Guides can teach new casting styles, how to fish streamers, how to tie better knots and even how to untangle lines. They can discuss the insects and reasoning behind different fly choices and strategies at any given time as well.

Get Tips for Your Unguided Days

Many anglers spend a day or two on guided trips then head out to explore on their own. The mix and match style makes for a great trip with different perspectives. Ask your guide for advice about different rivers and places to explore. While many guide trips take place on the popular mainstem rivers, you might discover information about potential tributaries and streams or lakes to fish where the crowds are small and the fish are abundant. 

Communicate Your Needs

Guided fly fishing trips are all about having fun and every angler is different. Many guides are intense and they work hard all day to put you on fish. Sometimes however, taking a break to relax and enjoy the surroundings is needed. If you want to fish harder or slow the pace down, make it known. Every trip should be customized to the angler’s preference and your guide will make adjustments. Communicate your needs to make the day fit your speed.