The trout waters of the Ozarks is a very diverse fishery. Because of the diversity of streams in Missouri, and the dangers of fishing unknown tailwaters in Arkansas, it is recommended that you consider hiring a guide during your first trip to the Ozarks.
Reasons to hire a guide — A good guide is an invaluable resource when getting started in fly fishing or traveling to new waters. A guide knows the water and where the fish are during a given time of the year, and will save you countless hours of fishing nonproductive water. A good guide will teach you more in a day than you could learn in several trips to the same river. When traveling to new waters, a good guide will show you differect access points to the river you are fishing and when to fish them (for your return trips). The reason for hiring a guide isn’t always for catching the fish of a lifetime, but for shortening the learning curve.
What to expect from your guide — A good guide will be calm and helpful while working. He should know the water and where the fish should be during the time of year of your trip. Your guide should make your trip fun and enjoyable. A good guide will look over your equipment and make suggestions regarding your equipment and its application to the waters you are fishing (for your use during future trips).
What do guides expect from you — Honesty. An effective guide will ask you during the trip planning phase what it is you want most out of the trip, your experience level, and how you rate a successful trip. A good guide will also ask for any health limitations or special diet considerations if there will be a shore lunch. If you want the most of your trip with your guide, BE HONEST when setting up your trip. If you want to spend the day chasing trophy fish, or you want to try and catch a number of fish, if you don’t tell your guide he may never know.
Tips for hiring a guide — Guided fly fishing trips cost money. Money that you worked hard for, and you want the most for this money. Be sure to check a guide’s references and referrals of those that have been on trips with the guide you are going to hire, or those that have fished with him. Remember to talk over the phone, or in person, with a guide prior to booking him for a trip. You definitely want to try and match personalities when booking a guide, as one guys knowledge is another man’s bore. Communication is key when booking a guide
I have had the pleasure of forging friendships with the individuals listed below, I have personal knowledge of their experience and ability, and have shared the river with most of them on several occasions. It is for these reasons that if you coming to the Ozarks I would recommend hiring any of the guides listed below (in alphabetical order by first name).
Recommended Missouri Guides
- Brian Sloss (Eleven Point Canoe Rental)
- Brian Wise (River of Life Farm)
- Norm Crisp (Streamside Adventures)
- Sam Potter (Tight Line Guide Service)
- Stan Parker (River Run Outfitters)
- Walt Fulps (Missouri Trout Hunter)
Recommended Arkansas Guides
- Ken Richards (Just Fishin’ Guides)
- Larry Babin (Hogs On The Fly)
- Jamie Rouse (Jamie Rouse Fly Fishing Adventures)
- Jim Traylor (Fly Fish Arkansas)
- Ron Yarborough (White River Fly Guide)
- Scott Branyon (Ozark Fly Flinger)
- Steve Stinnett (Spring Creek Outfitters)