Here’s a quick peek into our off-season… What do most guides do during their time off?
The typical Alaskan Fishing Guide spends nearly every day of the summer on their respective rivers hosting clients from around the world. On an average guiding day, fishing guides spend upwards of 12+ hours not only on the river with clients, but preparing before and after each trip..
Prepping for a guided trip (all the behind-the-scenes work) can often go unnoticed, but it makes for a smooth, care-free day on the water. Everything from washing boats, to vacuuming vehicles, to re-tying knots and fixing broken equipment, demands hard work between fishing trips.
Nearly every successful guide on the Kenai will put in over 100 consecutive days on the water. Many of these days include not just one trip, but often two or (in rare cases) three trips per day. We know some guides that will sometimes guide back-to-back full day fishing trips in one day, so 100 days on the water feels like a full calendar year!
Putting in long hours every day in just a few summer months is an absolute grind. All the preparation and time on the water definitely takes its toll. Maybe this is why fishing guides have such a variety of unique and diverse activities they choose during their time off.
It might be hard to believe, but something Jackie and I really enjoy doing in our free time is fishing. If we had our way, we would be fishing every day of our off-season! Even with all that time on the water during the season, we never get sick of fishing. We find it just as relaxing, stimulating and fun as our guests do.
Some guides, aside from taking the time to fun fish on their own, guide elsewhere during their time off, making guiding their year-round careers. We, on the other hand, guide during the months of April-November (and a few odd days here and there).
Other guides choose to take a break from fishing all-together. Many head to warmer climates, visit families around the globe and spend a good bit of their time off traveling. Some surf, ski, work off-season jobs and generally take a break from the rush of summer guiding in Alaska. A few guides even have “real jobs” as their primary work during the other months of the year (i.e. school teachers, etc…).
So what does our off-season look like? Well, we generally do a lot of relaxing for starters. For us, visiting family and traveling are our favorite things to do (aside from hitting the river of course!). Much of the off-season is also filled with making YouTube videos, booking fishing trips, updating our website, tying flies and prepping for the upcoming season.
This winter, we decided to venture out a bit and set up booths at local fly fishing shows and sporting events. Normally, we’d be attending these events and talking about fishing in Alaska anyway, so setting up a booth is a great way to showcase the Kenai River in a more formal way.
Most of our season is booked months and months in advance, so our need to hit the event circuit is minimal; however, events give us a chance to interact with the local communities and learn more about the local fishing scene and fisheries.
We also love to fish while we travel, so hitting our home waters is another way to stay connected to our roots and local fisheries.
Fishing guides are definitely living the dream! Though we put in exhausting hours during the summer months and work extremely hard to show our clients an amazing time on the river, the reward of time off is such a huge benefit to what we do. How we make the most of our days away from the water with guests is as unique as each guide’s personality and style.
If you’ve ever thought about being a fishing guide, it’s a great way to make a living and enjoy the freedom it affords. What would you do with all that time off?