I just finished a book that was written by Jo Deubrouck called ”Anything Worth Doing.” I would call it a must-read for all guides, outfitters and anyone else who rows a raft, drift boat or kayak.
It is a great story of two river guides who are dedicated to exploring whitewater rivers in the West, and primarily the Salmon River. It is a story about floating and rowing rivers and has some places of action that will scare the wits out of you if you are an oarsman of any kind.
All of us should have great respect for water and how it can change our personalities, as well as an appreciation of hydraulics when you your floating craft flips and you are thrown into the water. I have had three friends drown on the Bitterroot in the past 10 years, and the story of Clancy Reese and Jon Barker can make us appreciate tuning our skills as soon as possible when we begin floating the river in the next couple of months.
A great way to get tuned up is at one of the local gums using the rowing machines. Having your strength in top condition will come in handy when the rivers begins to rise in the middle of May and you still want to get a few trips in before the major rush of water in June.
If you are thinking of becoming a guide, one recommendation I would make is to contact an outfitter and get in as much practice as you can before beginning your adventure. Guiding tourists is a lot more than just rowing a raft or boat down the river and hoping that your customers catch a fish or two. It takes a great deal of preparation and experience to have a customer that is satisfied and will continue to use your services in the future.
As a shop owner, I had plenty of people come to me and tell me that they wanted to be a river guide and wanted to know how to start. I have discouraged more people that I would want to count because I believed that they would not have the determination and stamina to stick it out once they started.
Most of these individuals wanted the glamour and glory of saying that they were a guide, but the truth be known most did not have the soft skills to make people comfortable and want to come back again and again to fish. It takes a very special person to be a fishing guide and those who have had a career doing it are very good at it.
The book I quoted earlier is not about river guides who spend all of their time taking tourists on fishing and whitewater rafting. They are individuals who want to get on the river to find the freedom and comfort of their own, away from others.
The weather is warming and fishing has been very good some days during the past week. The weekend looks good and it would be a good time to try some of the skwala nymphs that you have been saving.