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About guides


June 25, 2014

I spend a hefty amount of time trout fishing. I will be on or in trout water any day the water temperature is in the 60s or less. Despite all this experience, I won’t pass up an opportunity to fish with a guide. No matter how much you think you know, you can dependably learn something every outing with an experienced guide.

My favorite guide story was told to me by Howard Guja, fly fisher extraordinaire. Howard regularly fished the Florida Keys tarpon bite in May, a week or more at a time, always using the same guide. That guide had many long-standing customers. One was a Detroit auto executive who also booked a week at a time. One glassy morning, under perfect conditions, the auto magnate allowed his thoughts to wander and said to his guide, “I’d give anything to trade lives with you. The business world is so stressful and this fishing is both so tranquil and exhilarating.” The guide agreed; he too would like to trade places. The car man was astonished and could scarcely believe what the guide was saying. “How so?” he asked. “Well,” the guide replied, “after we traded jobs and places, I’d go back to Detroit and negotiate my golden parachute, next I’d resign my position and liquidate all my holdings. I’d have more money than I could ever spend in three lifetimes. I’d come back here to the Keys and have my businessman turned guide pole me around for the tarpon season.” That guide was no dope.

The Delaware River has an abundance of very able guides. Yes, it costs a few bucks to hire one, but your chances of having a really memorable trip—vanity photos and trophy fish are real possibilities. These professionals will work super hard for you, and you will learn new sections of the river and new techniques.

I usually fish with Bill Fraser, who has been at the guiding game for 30 years. You’ve got Adrian at one end of the river and Joe “D” at the other. In between there are 48 more licensed guides to choose from. You can get a complete list of Upper Delaware Licensed River Guides and their contact information by visiting the website www.nps.gov/upde, click ‘Things to Do,’ ‘Fishing,’ then ‘Fishing Guides’.