The fall fly fishing season is upon us. How do you cut through the clutter to ensure you’re spending your hard earned vacation hours with the guide that is the best fit? Here are four tips, in no particular order, to help you in choosing a guide for your fall fishing trip.rsz_nantahala-7022

Look for a Stamp of Approval

Not that it’s written in stone, but a key indication of a well-organized and professional guide service is an industry endorsement. In the fly fishing industry, the most well known is an Orvis Endorsement. Endorsed Outfitters and Guides throughout the Blue Ridge have earned this designation by working to achieve a level of service that stands out in the industry.

Utilize the Orvis-Endorsed Adventures tool to pinpoint the best of the best in the area you would like to fish.rsz_img_2552Get Personal

You could spend hours combing through online reviews, social media properties, and websites but to truly vet a guide service nothing beats an old fashion phone call. Be prepared with a handful of questions for the guide or shop employee that answers the phone. What water will we be fishing? How are we transported to and from the water? Do you provide all gear (including flies)? What is your trip cancellation policy? Whether you are speaking directly to your potential guide or representative of the guide service, the person should be willing to spend as much time as necessary discussing the details of their trips. They should show excitement in the opportunity to get you on the water they call home, and work to understand exactly what you are looking for out of the trip.

That drive to understand your goals is a good segue into the next tip.rsz_img_2399Seek out Customization

Perhaps you are a beginner looking for a friendly environment to learn basic casting and fly presentation. Conversely, maybe you are a seasoned fisherman looking to land a long overdue trophy. Or maybe you are a businessman looking to ensure a group of clients or colleagues has a great day netting fish, after fish, after fish. The point being, each client and potential trip are different. The best guide services have the ability to ask the right questions and craft a fly-fishing trip according to each person’s interests. The ability to cater to individual preferences is critical for a successful day on the water.rsz_img_2521Understand the Price

As with many experiences, you will often get what you pay for on guided fly fishing trip. Daily trip rates will vary from guide to guide and it is important to understand what goes into those pricing differences. In your initial discussions, determine what gear is included, if food is provided, and the experience level of the guide(s). These are all elements of a trip that guide services will use to determine their pricing. For example, if the guide service is comprised of college students working seasonally in the area, you are likely to find lower trip rates than the service operating with longtime professional guides. However, the added cost could result in much more value from the local knowledge and level of professionalism.rsz_img_2469

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