Have you been on a guided fishing trip?

After several weeks on the road in the southern United States, competing on the Bassmaster Elite Series, it was nice to get home for the past couple of weeks to catch up and do some fishing around home. We get to fish some great places out on the tour, but some of the fisheries we visit are tough, where catching five to ten fish in a day is a good day. Fishing around home right now is the complete opposite, the fishing is excellent with high numbers of biting fish.

Earlier in the winter I had booked several guide trips on Lake of the Woods during this stint at home. I did my first guide trip when I was 14 years old at Ash Rapids Camp, when another guide didn’t show up, and since that day I have taken hundreds of people fishing over the years. Through high school and university, working at resorts on Lake of the Woods, Rainy Lake, and a few fly-in outfits was the best summer job ever for a kid that loved to fish and be on the water.

A nice pike from Lake of the Woods last week was mixed in with a school of smallmouth bass and walleye. —Submitted photo

After I got done with school, I started to do more guiding on my own and that has continued through today. I don’t get in as many days guiding as I used to because my schedule is busy with all of the tournaments that I fish, but I still take dozens of people fishing every year. Many are return clients that have become friends and come fishing year after year, and I’ll get in a few new guests each season.

The guiding doesn’t just take place during the summer months when the weather is nicest. There are great fishing opportunities throughout the year so I’ll do trips during all season. Musky and crappie fishing late in the fall, ice fishing trips for lake trout, pike and walleye, and ice-out trips for smallmouth bass. There are always fish to catch and good times to be had.

Across the region there are many fishing resorts on all types of waterways that can provide fishing guides. There are also many options for independent guides in every community.

If you have never been out with a fishing guide before but you want to learn more about catching different species of fish or how to navigate a specific body of water, you will learn a ton if you get in the boat with someone who fishes for a living. They can teach you how to use electronics, tie the best knots, choose the best lures and teach you how to take care of the fish that you catch, among other things. Most guides love being on the water and will be excited to show you a good time.

A few things to know if you do hire a fishing guide to avoid going in their bad books. Don’t get in the boat with sand, mud or anything else on your shoes. They keep their boats clean so don’t bring a bunch of dirt into their boat. Don’t try to poach their spots or mark waypoints where they take you fishing. I’ve had anglers do it to me and it’s really disappointing. Be respectful of their knowledge and time on the water and learn from them. Finally, avoid the temptation of telling the guide what to do. They probably want you to catch fish more than you want to catch fish so they are going to do everything they can to have a successful day.

For the anglers out there who want to make a living in the fishing community, being a fishing guide is not the best way to get rich but it is a job that allows you to spend time on the water, meet people from all walks of life and if you learn every day you’re on the water, you can become very proficient at catching many species of fish. It’s also the best summer job I can think of for someone going through college.

Hire a fishing guide and let them show you a great day on the water.