I occasionally hear people say they would like to be a fly fishing guide and generally have to bite my tongue rather than say stuff like ‘you’re far too stupid’, ‘you don’t have the patience or skills and you’re lazy’ or, that old classic, ‘my dog is a better fly fisher than you and I don’t even have a dog’.
Yes, it’s a bloody hard job that requires someone who’s way more than just good at fly fishing to be successful.
The good guides I’ve had the privilege of fishing with over the years have a couple of important things in common. One, they’re hard, relentless workers who find fish for their clients no matter the conditions and two, they have the people skills and patience to make the day memorable for either the very skilled, or very new fly fisher alike.
Fishing with guides costs a fair amount of money of course, but I think it’s a great way to learn the craft in general and money well spent if you’re looking to increase your knowledge of a particular area and it’s fishing.
Recently, I’ve met Cameron McGregor and his partner Katie Doyle of River Escapes while working on an upcoming article for FlyLife Magazine and found them to be both excellent at guiding, and awesome hosts out on the water.
They’re both highly educated science types who have worked extensively in fisheries management through the region and know Northeast Victoria as well as anyone I’ve met.
Also, their knowledge of the the fish and the environment they feed in is second to none.
After shooting the magazine article, I spent a couple of social days with Cameron on the Mitta Mitta River during the very low flows and tough days at the end of last summer.
Though still relatively new to this area, I’ve fished the Mitta Mitta several times by myself and with friends with mixed levels of success from forgettable day to having sore arms from reeling them in – it’s that kind of water thanks to the wildly fluctuating water levels released from Dartmouth Dam.
From Cameron, I’ve got a whole new direction on fly choices and presentation in the tough low water conditions and look forward to picking his brain when it’s running bank to bank at a pace that would make Usain Bolt look like a liquored up sloth.
I’m also VERY keen to float the Mitta Mitta and/or the Swampy Plains from Cameron’s Aire drift boat as it opens up water that most people wouldn’t get near.
From what I hear, it’s a brilliant way to spend the day on the water and gives you shots at fish that don’t see many anglers through the season.
River Escapes cover Northeast Victoria for trout and cod and can organise fishing in the small streams, lakes or the big rivers of the region.
They run group lessons and workshops for new fly fishers and casting lessons for all.
Accommodation is available for clients at their lodge near Myrtleford in the heart of trout country and only a short trip from a lot of the best trout water on mainland Australia.