What makes a good guide? In my mind the best guides have a number of characteristics and qualities: experience, knowledge, patience, great communication, an ability to work with and teach clients of all skill levels, and an overwhelming desire to get clients into fish, no matter what.
I know a lot of guides, but only a handful with all of these qualities, my good friend Matt Ruuhela is one of them. He's one of the fishiest guys I know and it's been great seeing him do well as a fly-fishing guide. During his first season of guiding, I remember him mentioning that the biggest challenge was not in helping people catch fish, but in making them catch fish. I understood completely. Making it happen day in and day out, regardless of river conditions, weather, fishing pressure, physical limitations of clients, etc. is very challenging.
Matt has certainly been making it happen for his clients lately, despite runoff conditions. Over the past month I've been amazed by both the number of fish and the size of fish that he has reported his clients having caught. In particular there was a 24-inch brown from the Gallatin River, and a 28-inch brown from the upper Madison River - incredible fish anywhere, but particularly so on these rivers.
Matt is based out of Big Sky, MT and specializes in walk-wade trips on the upper reaches of both the Gallatin River and Madison River. If you're in the market for a guide in this area, I'd highly recommend seeing if Matt is available - he can be booked through Wild Trout Outfitters.
|Two "never-evers" and a very rare two-foot Gallatin brown.|
|Stoked! A young man with a great catch on the upper Madison.|
|This photo does the fish more justice, it was taped at 28"!|
All photos courtesy of Matt Ruuhela