You can research the shit out of a location but once booked, it’s hard to know if you’re actually getting a good fly fishing guide.
My fishing partner Stephen and I have seen it all! We’ve had the guide not show
up, show up two hours late, forget their flies (and they told us not to bother bringing any), run out of gas on the way home and forget lunch. We’ve even had a guide try to convince us to troll when we were explicit that we were only interested in fly fishing. I had a guide take me out on a river that had completely blown out rather cancel and try to rebook for another day. Needless to say we caught nothing, not even a bite.
And then we met Curtis. Curtis has set the bar for what all other guides should measure up to and in addition to becoming a good friend, he’s also at the top of the list for guides we recommend on the Elk River and Columbia. I met Curtis when a friend invited me up to the Kootenays for a weeklong getaway. She had a friend who was a guide and he was looking for an experienced fly fisherman to check out some new rivers and fishing holes. He wanted to test them before he committed to taking any clients down them. He had a float boat, a truck with lots of gas and all the flies and food we’d need for the trip.
Even though Curtis was taking me out gratis, his attention to detail and the quality of my experience were exemplary. He cared if I caught fish. He cared if I had a good time. And judging by the lunch he packed full of salads and deli specials he cared if I was hungry.
Because every river and every location is different, different fish, different flies, different conditions, having a great guide who understands the ecology is as crucial as knowing the best spots. During our float, Curtis would step out of the boat and spend time turning over rocks, looking for larvae and what the fish were eating. He was patient in his instructions and was genuinely interested in making sure I had the best possible experience.
I spend a lot of time researching and a lot of money goes into booking a fishing trip. When I go to a new location I need a good quality guide at a reasonable price and I want to catch fish. That’s why Stephen and I created Holy Waters. We saw there was a void existing between fly fishermen and access to reliable and professional fly fishing guides. All of the guides that we book with have been vetted by Holy Waters. If they do not meet our expectations, they are not included on the site. That means we go out on the water with them, spend the day and only after we’re confident that they really understand the biz from a customer service perspective do we invite them to be part of Holy Waters. We only book courteous, friendly, knowledgeable and safety conscious guides who understand customer service and know how to pack a good lunch!