We’ve saved perhaps our best gift for last. It’s a gift that would be truly appreciated by any fly fishing angler, beginner, intermediate, or expert. It’s the gift of a guided day of fishing on a stream whether local or distant. And most guided trips are for 2 anglers, so invite yourself along for the ride! How’s that for a gift that gives back?
My wife used to think that guided fishing trips were only for the most experienced anglers. That is, until she went on one herself. In truth, they’re great for anglers of all abilities, even those who have never fly fished before. The majority of guides are excellent instructors who love to spread their enthusiasm for the sport to anyone who’s brave enough to give it a try. Never cast a fly rod? No matter. Before you shove off from the boat ramp, the guide will have you casting well enough to have a fighting chance at catching some fish. An intermediate or expert angler? The guide will provide tips and helpful suggestions to improve your casting and fishing prowess.
But what if you don’t live near a fly fishing mecca? Why not plan a fishing trip? Or “piggyback” a day of fishing on a family vacation. For example, take a day off from your visit to Yellowstone National Park and let us float the whole family down the Yellowstone River. Kids as young as 8 or 10 can learn to cast well enough to catch fish, and even the younger ones often enjoy the boat ride. Maybe make it a half day and ask your guide to pull into a couple of beaches where the little ones can search for pretty rocks while the adults do a little wade fishing. Fun for everyone!
If you are lucky enough to live near good fly fishing, a guided trip is a great gift for a distant relative or friend. Give them a little extra incentive to come for a visit.
Yes, guide trips are relatively expensive. The cost varies a great deal depending on location, but here in Montana a full day trip for 1 or 2 anglers goes for around $500. A guide day is very taxing on the guide, something I didn’t fully appreciate until I began guiding myself. When you also figure in that most guides have to make all of their money for the year in a period of just a few months, it helps to put that cost in perspective. When you’re pricing out a trip, be sure to ask whether the flies you’ll use and any equipment you’ll need are included in the trip cost; it varies between different fly shops and outfitters.
Not ready to settle on a date to make a reservation? No worries. Simply buy a gift card for the amount of a guided trip and let the recipient make his or her own plans. Do warn them that things can get busy and fill up during the prime fishing season, so a reservation should be made as soon as possible.
Well, that’s it! 12 days of fly fishing gift ideas for anglers of all abilities and gift givers on any budget. Hope we’ve been helpful. We’ve certainly had a lot of fun putting together this gift guide. Happy holidays from all of us here at Sweetwater Fly Shop!