Fly fishermen can make a living from their favorite sport by becoming fly fishing guides. This entails taking what used to be a recreational activity to a professional level.
- Master the art and science of fly fishing. Your customers will most probably look to you for instruction on any aspect of fly fishing from the various techniques of casting a line to choosing the right kind of fly and hook and how to tie them. To gain their trust and confidence you have to be really skillful and knowledgeable. Fly fishing is an outdoor hands-on activity. You should not only be able to talk about it but you should also actually be able to show your customers how it's properly done. This kind of mastery can be gained through training either under a mentor or finishing a fly fishing guide course but more than any of this is the skill that comes with personal experience. You'll be charging a fee for your service so the people you'll be guiding through the area expect you to be an expert.
- Have an extensive knowledge of the area. Besides the techniques of fly fishing, you must also know the area like the back of your hand whether it be a lake, river, stream or a small part of the ocean. You should be able to bring the people who've hired you as their guide to the best fishing spots and inform them of what kind of fish are available depending on the season. You should also be able to bring them to the best places to camp out if it's going to be more than a one day expedition.
- Know how to implement safety and emergency procedures. You'll be bringing people out on to the water and as any good outdoorsman knows anything can happen out there. You should be a good swimmer and know how to handle a boat. It would be prudent to have your customers wear life jackets or have ready any flotation devices in your boat. You should also be able to administer basic first aid and have a first aid kit with you all the time. Your customers are your responsibility for the duration of the fly fishing trip where they've hired you as their guide.
- Know the business. You have to be clear on how much you should charge, what you need to supply, how to organize a fishing expedition and all the other necessary details included in offering such a service such as making sure your customers have obtained the proper licenses for fishing. A good source of information for this would be more established guides. In fact a good way to learn the nuts and bolts of being a fly fishing guide is to become an apprentice to a veteran in the trade. To start marketing your service you might want to ask around nearby vacation spots or resorts. Perhaps you can arrange with them to become the resident fly fishing guide for their patrons. You might also want to contact and start a good relationship with the local state department of natural resources or any outdoor recreation or fishing groups. This would expand your social network and possibly gain you more prospective customers.
A fly fishing guide is part instructor, part outdoorsman, and part tour guide. Planned and properly handled this can be a lucrative trade for you and the best part is that you'll be doing something you really love.