Meet Our Guides

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OUR PROFESSIONAL GUIDE STAFF

Our guide staff is diverse in both background and talents. We have teachers, students, musicians, photographers and more. Collectively our guides all share a love for fly fishing and the outdoors that is unparalleled. Among our guides we have 35 Certified Casting Instructors and 5 Master Casting Instructors accredited by the Federation of Fly Fishers. In addition to an outstanding knowledge of casting fundamentals our guides know how to catch fish in our local waters. It is the goal of every Silver Creek Outfitters’ guide to help our guests learn to catch fish on their own. Book a guide today and have a great day on the water!

Certified Master Casting Instructors
A rare title amongst fly-fisherman around the world, these guides have demonstrated mastery in their skills and teaching abilities.
Certified Casting Instructors
After a rigorous test including more than 17 required casts, these certified guides can not only demonstrate their ability with a fly rod, but they can explain to their students how to make the cast correctly.

SUN VALLEY AREA FULL TIME GUIDES

amandabauman

AMANDA BAUMAN

Amanda Bauman is a born and bred Idaho native. After leaving the Gem State to attend college in Montana, she was lured back to the Wood River Valley by the pull of family and a lifestyle she embraces. Amanda began to fish during her time away at school. “It was something I could do by myself in the evenings while firefighting,” she explained. “Being somewhat self taught I remember vividly the first fish I caught on a dry fly on the East Fork of the Bitterroot River. It was that calm summer evening that I fell in love with fishing.” For her, the perfect end to a day on the river is getting back for an evening mountain bike ride in the valley followed by a meal shared with people she loves.

Guiding Style: Combination. Amanda is someone who likes to teach and can sometimes get lost in showing all the intricacies of fly fishing. She considers it a delicate dance to ensure the guest ends the day with new knowledge and understanding while ensuring they had fun and their expectations for the trip were exceeded.

FUN FACTS ABOUT CARLOS:
  • When not fishing, she loves to garden, cook, and share her passions with others.
  • Amanda really dislikes the feel of velvet or any fabrics with two textures!
  • Her favorite guiding trip was teaching a young girl to fish. “I was constantly amazed by her ability to soak up the knowledge I provided while reminding me of the brilliance that a young imagination can bestow,” she said.
  • Her favorite hatches are the spring and fall baetis because they seem to mark the changing of the seasons, bringing new life in the spring and an inviting breath of cold air in the winter.

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brett-bishop

BRET BISHOP

CERTIFIED FLY CASTING INSTRUCTOR

Bret Bishop has a long list of credentials to support what he calls his “addiction” to fly-fishing. A member of Fly Fishing Team USA, and the 2006 Individual National Champion, Bret has represented our country in two World Championships. Currently retired from competition, he serves as a member of the Leadership Committee for the Federation of Fly Fishers. Whew! Growing up, his family were fishing gypsies. His parents worked in the ski industry in Squaw Valley, California, and when the snow stopped falling and the chairlifts stopped running, they would pack up on the VW bus and go on three-month fly-fishing odysseys. Their meanderings took them to Henry’s Fork, the Park, Armstrongs, Nelsons, Depuys, and, of course, Silver Creek. It was Silver Creek that won out in the end and Bret’s family moved to the area permanently when Bret was in high school. A guide since 1991, he has also taught high school English in Boise since 1999. He is a devoted husband and father to three wonderful children.

Guiding Style: Flexible.

“The ‘catcher’ in me helps me pick the water I fish with a guest, the flies we use and the presentation with which we might be the most successful. The ‘teacher’ guides the individual to discover the ‘how-to’ and the ‘why to’ in order to catch the fish. We learn from our successes and our failures.”
Fun facts about Bret:
  • He holds an undergraduate degree from Colorado College and a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from BSU.
  • He winters in Boise and summers in Sun Valley.
  • The first line he threw used a piece of sausage as bait. He didn’t catch any fish that day, but he did manage to catch his dog.
  • As a child, Bret’s parents bought him a Winston glass blank that he built.
  • As far as flies are concerned, he likes all things terrestrial and beetles, ants and hoppers in particular, because while hatches are ephemeral, terrestrials are forever.
  • When he is not guiding or teaching Shakespeare, Bret is a family man who spends his time playing tee ball, tennis and soccer, driving to play dates, attending ballet recitals and, of course, continuing the tradition of the road trip.

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Watching my Dad get into lots of quality fish. Brett intuitively knows who needs to see early success and support and makes that happen as first order of business.

- Anonymous

Bryant asked me what I wanted and expected. He offered alternative options. I wanted someone who could spend time with my son and provide guidance at Silver Creek. He was great with my son and improved his casting greatly. Very attentive. My 13 yr old son caught a beautiful rainbow in the shark tank and a 17 inch Brown on a dry fly. Not bad for our first trip to SC! Great guide!

- Sean Solway

rileyberman

RILEY BERMAN

Certified Fly Casting Instructor

When asked what brought him to Idaho, Riley Berman replies, “I just never left!” Born and raised in Ketchum Idaho, he did leave to attend college and holds a degree in English from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. His entire family still lives in the Wood River Valley, and Riley spends his winters coaching ski racers for the local ski team. This true Idahoan is happiest during any trip down the Middle Fork of the Salmon River where the cutthroats are going crazy for hoppers. “It is the best because the beauty of floating through the amazing canyon cannot be beat,” he said. Closer to home, his favorite fly for the Big Wood is the extended body Green Drake Dun. “However nothing beats a good Salmon Fly anywhere in the west,” he said.

Guiding Style: Teacher.

“I like to make each trip a unique experience. I want to lead people to fish, but I want to do it through education. My style is to create an all-encompassing fishing experience that involves learning and catching.”
FUN FACTS ABOUT RILEY:
  • He has rafted the entire Salmon River from headwaters to the confluence with the Snake river – 428 miles!
  • Riley’s first fishing memory is of digging through his grandfather’s fishing stuff, deep in the garage, wondering what the heck all the junk was.
  • He simply loves rivers. Kayaking, rafting, floating, or wading — being on the water makes him happy.
  • Between ski coaching in the winter and guiding in the summer, Riley could not think of a better line of work!

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Riley was a fantastic guide! I explained very early on that I was a complete novice and wanted to just experience fly fishing and have fun, and he met all of my expectations. I actually didn't realize that I would have a private guide/tour, so that was an added bonus as well! He taught me a few different casting techniques, and we practiced them all before heading to the river. Riley is a great instructor, and was able to correct my form and offer suggestions for how to aim more accurately in a very nice and encouraging manner. He also was a complete gentleman and continuously offered me his hand as we walked up- and down-stream so I wouldn't slip. The highlight of my day was obviously catching a fish, but just the experience in general was fantastic!! I'm immensely glad I chose to go fly fishing.

- Caroline Rudolph

mike-bordenkircher

MIKE BORDENKIRCHER

Certified Fly Casting Instructor
The combination of the mountains and rivers are what lured Mike Bordenkircher to Idaho from Oregon. Though he grew up on the Upper North Umpqua, fishing for trout on tied down caddis flies with his dad, he has become a convert to Idaho’s waters. A dry fly guy, he is particularly fond of what he calls “Trico madness” and thinks bank feeders are the ultimate challenge.

GUIDING STYLE: TEACHER.

FUN FACTS ABOUT MIKE

  • He spent 1992-1994 in Togo as a Peace Corps volunteer.
  • When Mike’s not hunting fish, he hunts land creatures.
  • Working on old cars is his form of therapy.

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GUIDE REVIEWS

The highlight of our day was experiencing a river in beautiful Warm Springs with a very capable and helpful guide. Mike was wonderful working with both Mr. Elrick and myself while taking care of both of our needs. He was quick to offer encouragement when needed and made every effort to move us to different areas along the river, so that we might have better luck with catching fish.

Didn't really have any expectations just a time to enjoy with my son. We had a great trip--lots of fish and fun. Mike was awesome and we would love to fish with him again. Very knowledgeable and helpful.

- Barrett

 

2 days with Mike. Easy friendly style - he organized it all seemlessly. Day was with the wives. They had a great day and we all caught fish (Mike and Greg could not control this - but the fish gods were with them). Day 2 Mike got us into a brown drake hatch - need I say more. We had a blast and he stayed as long as we wanted and provided excellent guiding and company. One of the best ever.

- Paul Finkle

 

Mike Bordenkircher is as good as they get! A true pro and great ambassador...

-Rick Buckley

 

Mikes knowledge of fishing and the river make the experience a real joy. We had a super day, caught some good fish and enjoyed our time in the Silver Creek and Big Wood. Can't wait to go out again.

- Anonymous
pete-debaun

PETER DEBAUN

Certified Master Casting Instructor

As a child, when Peter DeBaun’s family said something to the effect of “come on, Peter, it’s not nuclear science,” they came from a place of authority. His uncle, Vannevar Bush, headed the Manhattan Project, working alongside the likes of Oppenheimer and Einstein. A brilliant engineer, inventor and scientist, Bush was initiator and administrator of the Manhattan Project as well as the founder of Raytheon. Peter’s mother also exhibited the dominant family science gene and it was her job at the INEL that brought Peter to Idaho where he learned to fish. With a fishing resume that has taken him to more than 33 countries, it’s a sure bet that he has seen all kinds of flies attached to all kinds of fish. The founder of Zambia’s first private university, he also founded African Fly Fishing Safaris and has thrown line into some of the mesmerizing water in the world. But his favorite guide trip was close to home. Through the Wounded Warriors program, Peter took a college-age veteran, paralyzed in service, into the Big Wood River. “He was strapped into a wheelchair. With only the use of half of his body, he hooked a big Rainbow and was cheered on by other anglers on the river. It was his first time fishing and it was amazing to share his accomplishment with him.”

Guiding Style: Combination.

“I love teaching and transferring my passion and confidence for the sport, but I love watching a guest light up after hooking up on a fish.”
Fun facts about Peter
  • Best quote: “My favorite fly is one attached to a fish.”
  • He attended graduate school at Princeton University.
  • A minimalist, he likes to bow hunt and spearfish.
  • His favorite hatch takes place during the rainy season in central Africa when termites emerge from the mounds as flying insects, attracting every conceivable fish.

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Guide Reviews

I have used guides throughout the world, this was right up there with one of my best experiences to date. I had heard of the legendary Silver Creek and how difficult it can be. I wanted to use the day not just targeting fish, but understanding the topology, river system and habits of the fish. I got all that and more. Peter is patient, informative, encouraging without being condescending, and thorough. A true master of his craft. Felt as if I was fishing with a bud vs a guide. A really really good fisherman and informed bud. The bonus was there was not many people getting the volume of takes and bigger fish that we were. Another testament on why its a good idea to get a guide on your first trip to a unknown water. An example of how dedicated Peter was to get me into fish, in a one hour period we must have switched up flies a dozen plus time, continuing to hone in on what the fish were feeding on, it paid off again and again. Again, beautiful river system and area, great company. Well done! thank you.

- Chris Delsing

 

Pete gave us directions to a great place to throw up a tent the night before. Showed up and discussed the morning, rigged our gear, history of silver creek. Even had a mat to change into waders on. He was great with my son and was able to give him some grief as needed.

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"This is the third year we have finished with Pete Debaun. We fished with a total of three couples and Pete lined up two other guides. Pete made sure everyone had a wonderful time. Everyone caught plenty of fish even though it was a challenging Trico hatch. There is no question that we will be back to finish with Pete next year."

-Doug Vickery
brettdrummond

BRETT DRUMMOND

CERTIFIED FLY CASTING INSTRUCTOR

Brett Drummond is a true Idaho native, hailing from Hayden Lake. Like any good local boy, he loves dogs, camping and ending a day on the water with a “beer on the tailgate, talkin’ about hogs, kids, huntin’ and women.” He learned how to fish with his great-grandma, trolling for Bluebacks in Moscow Bay.

Guiding Style: Flexible.

“I’m a good guide in many ways for fisherman of all experience levels. Most of all, I love guiding and know these waters like the back of my hand.”
Fun facts about Brett
  • The best guide trip he has had was his first day on Tarpon. “I got addicted.”
  • Favorite pattern? The Gypsy.
  • Go Vandals!

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Brett was focused on my fishing experience exclusively just like a good caddy Brett made sure I was in the right place to make my presentation like a caddy insuring a clean ball Brett was very fastidious about the condition of the terminal gear.

- Pat Olson

 

Brett was patient, letting me over-hunt a few, picky risers on silver creek. He also introduced some variety by fishing both Silver Creek and a feeder stream.

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carl-evenson

Carl Evenson

Carl Evenson hails from Boulder, Colorado and earned a degree in Fisheries/Wildlife Biology from the University of Montana at Missoula. He came to Idaho to guide wilderness survival courses and fell in love with the landscape, which is easy to do. Some of his earliest fishing memories are with his grandparents going after sunfish with a cane pole when was three or four years old. “I was hooked and my dad bought me a fly rod and reel for my sixth birthday and a fly tying vice for my seventh birthday,” Carl said. His best guide trip was with a guest who had just had lung transplants after a battle with lung cancer. His prognosis wasn’t great but Carl said, “he was so full of life and willing to live in the present. After a couple great days fishing in the winter on the Big Wood River, he wanted to try steelheading on the salmon. Climbing even a six-foot bank to the car was a major physical feat for him, but we went for it and he landed several steelhead with the last large hen swimming between his legs and hog tying him! He and I spent many more years fishing together. He passed away last year and I continue to fish in his honor.” When he is not fishing, Carl is passionate about backpacking, backcountry/Telemark skiing, mushroom hunting, gardening, home brewing, and traveling. He is also interested in solar energy and architecture.

Guiding Style: Combination. “It really depends on the focus of the day, the fishery, and the guests. Sometimes I become very focused on catching fish if I sense that’s what a guest is most interested in. However, by nature, I’m an outdoor educator, so I enjoy teaching and I have an inherent tendency to teach about the natural world surrounding us.”

FUN FACTS ABOUT CARLOS:
  • Both of his parents were Fulbright scholars and scientists. His father was a physicist and measured the speed of light and his mother published books on mycology.
  • His father paid for his college education by tying flies.
  • As a child, Carl lived in Brazil in a small town and went to school with the Portuguese-speaking locals. “My Brazilian friends were some of the healthiest and happiest families I have known, despite being some of the poorest,” Carl said.
  • The perfect end to a day on the river for Carl is “standing at peace by the river and listening to the birds and the sounds of the water as the shadows lengthen and the sun fades away.”
  • His favorite hatch is the parachute crane on the Big Lost River because large fish actively leap out of the water to take bugs out of the air. Woo hoo!

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skooter-gardiner

Skooter Gardiner

Certified Fly Casting Instructor

Woodward Gardiner III, a.k.a “Skooter” was born in Sun Valley and has not missed a summer here in forty-plus years. Though life’s circuitous path took him to Ventura County, California and Asheville, North Carolina, it led back to the Wood River Valley, where he has now been a full-time resident for 20 years. With roots wide and deep in Idaho, Skooter’s great grandparents first visited Sun Valley in 1936. He is now raising his children as 5th generation Idahoans. The first fish Skooter remembers catching was a 17-inch Rainbow on Trail Creek with his grandparents in 1975. They presented him that evening with a trout pin for his fishing hat. He was, as they say, hooked. An avid skier, Skooter works with Ski Patrol and is a weather and avalanche forecaster. Other hobbies include backcountry skiing, mountain biking, surfing, time outdoors with his family, reading and, of course, more fishing.

Guiding Style: Flexible. Skooter does not believe in what he calls “heavy-handed” teaching.

“I am someone who has vast knowledge of the area waters and enjoys seeking out hidden niches where wild trout swim. My teaching is subtly intertwined with the days’ conversation.”
Fun facts about Skooter:
  • He directed Silver Creek Outfitter’s international fly fishing program for seven years, fishing some of the world’s most storied waters with fascinating people and top guides. For more on these adventures, visit www.sv36.com.
  • His favorite end to a day on the river is to stay on the river. “A cold beer while you are still in waders, basking in some evening light and soaking up the wild Idaho scenery while listening to moving water is pretty perfect.”
  • He thinks Silver Creek’s Brown Drake Hatch should be considered the Eighth Wonder of the World.

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The guides were particularly helpful with waders (selection, dressing) and helping us with wading, crossing streams, and up and down banks. We all have varying degrees of disability (knees, neck, balance) and Kent and Scooter made sure that we always had support. They worked hard to find the best fishing options for us.

- Mary Jo Buckwalter
todd-kaplan

TODD KAPLAN

Certified Fly Casting Instructor

Todd Kaplan has seen a good deal of the western United States and Mexico from the vantage point of the family van. He and his three brothers logged countless miles with their parents during epic summer road trips. Early memories also include fishing off the jetties near Santa Cruz and Half Moon Bay for rock cod. Todd settled in Idaho in 1998 after attending school for photography and continued to pursue his passion for fishing, both in area streams and rivers and in remote mountain lakes reachable only on foot. His favorite guide trip was one where he and three guests hit the Brown Drake hatch head on. Everyone was simply amazed by the sheer number of bugs and the size of the fish the hatch brought up.

Guiding style: Teacher.

“If you guide in Sun Valley, you must be a teacher first. I think it is important to impart new information to an angler on every trip. No matter his or her experience level, there is always something new to learn. ”
  • Todd came to Ketchum because a friend from grade school opened the local bar, Lefty’s. Not surprisingly, it remains his favorite watering hole.
  • He considers June’s Brown Drake hatch on Silver Creek the official start of summer.
  • When he is not on the river, Todd manages the career of popular musician Ethan Tucker.
  • Hiking makes him happy. “I like to hike every trail, ridgeline and peak in the region. We live in one of the most beautiful places in the country and I try to take full advantage of that.”
  • Todd was born on the campus of Stanford University.
Fun facts about Todd:

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GUIDE REVIEWS

I thoroughly enjoyed everything about my trip. Todd was very knowledgable, we were on fish right away and I had a blast.

- Daren Nix
jesskiesel

JESS KIESEL

CERTIFIED FLY CASTING INSTRUCTOR

Jess is a fine example of the amazing young angling talent within Silver Creek’s guiding ranks. Jess grew up here in the Wood River Valley and has come to know our area waters as if they all were within casting distance of his backyard. Jess’ secret to successful fishing and guiding is his objectivity; despite his youthfulness, Jess is incredibly wise and a constant student of the sport. His passion overflows into other pastimes as well, such as his innovative fly tying and commitment to coastal Steelheading. Jess balances his life with good quality downtime, which includes mountain biking, motorcycles, guitar, music, backpacking, barbecuing and simply hanging out with his friends.

Guiding Style:

FUN FACTS ABOUT JESS:

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pat-lee

PAT LEE

CERTIFIED FLY CASTING INSTRUCTOR

Pat Lee hails from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but made his way west for college, attending Sierra Nevada College in Lake Tahoe. He is now a true westerner, addicted to deep powder, mountains, camping, hiking, snowmobiling, and most of all, fishing. Pat appreciates Sun Valley’s relative isolation as the people who come here really want to be here. He calls Sun Valley “classy, beautiful and not run over.” Pat’s first fishing memory was “dropping my Pop’s tackle box off the boat in Stone Harbor, NJ. I still to this day have never seen him so mad. Now that I’m a fisherman, I know why.” His first fly fishing experience was on Silver Creek where he caught one of the water’s elusive trout on the second cast on a grasshopper. After a day on the river, Pat likes to enjoy a few cold beers around the tailgate of his truck, telling fish tales.

Guiding Style: Combination.

“As a guide you want to focus on both teaching and putting guests into fish, but it’s all about what your client is looking to get from spending the day with me. Catching is always the goal, but you need to learn a lot of little things along the way. If I can bridge the gap between the two, crack some jokes, have a few laughs, I feel like it has been a great day.”

FUN FACTS ABOUT PAT LEE:

  • He holds a degree in International Business.
  • Pat comes from a long line of police officers. In fact, both his father and grandfather were chief of police in Dormont County, Pennsylvania.
  • His mother’s side of the family were beer distributors.
  • Pat came to the area “chasing a Hailey girl up here seven years ago. I am still here to this day and so is she.”
  • For four years, Pat ran a private snow cat operation for Smith Optics in the Sawtooth Mountains.
  • A traveling snowboard athlete since high school, Pat spent a lot of time in the mountains of Alaska and BC.
  • He loves the olive Wooley Bugger. “You never have to worry about the hatch cause if the fish are not coming up, we will just have to get down.”

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greg-loomis

GREG LOOMIS

CERTIFIED FLY CASTING INSTRUCTOR

Greg Loomis’ biggest fish tale is a big fish tale. He once landed a 20-pound Permit on a Pencil Popper. It’s true. He swears it. A fisherman since the age of nine, Greg came across his first Steelhead in a creek as narrow and shallow as Trail Creek. He caught that fish on a fly he tied himself only to discover the season wasn’t open. He did not keep the fish but he got in trouble with his father anyway. Greg landed in Sun Valley in 1979, the way so many people do: he came for a family ski vacation. He also stayed in the same way that so many people do: by discovering the vast scope of amazing recreational opportunities in the Sun Valley area. The Seattle, Washington native likes to end his guiding days with a shower, a beer and a good night’s sleep. All so he can rest up and do it again the next day.

Guiding Style: Hunter. No elucidation needed.

Fun facts about Greg:

  • He graduated from aircraft maintenance school with an A & P certificate.
  • His first guiding trip involved taking out six absolute beginners on his own. They have become long-time clients and friends so it seems he did okay.
  • In his spare time Greg works with the SaveSilverCreek website, monitoring his favorite water.
  • In his other spare him he likes to camp and take photographs.

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kent-mueller

KENT MUELLER

CERTIFIED FLY CASTING INSTRUCTOR

Kent grew up in Olympia, Washington and learned to fish while catching small sea-run cutthroat in a local stream. His favorite fishing memory is of hooking the same five-pound brown trout twice in a ten-minute period. Sitting around a campfire under the stars with a cold beer and good friends after fishing is as good as it gets.

Guiding Style: Flexible.

“I consider myself both a catcher and teacher depending on the situation.”
Fun facts about Kent:
  • He is a musician and plays a lot of local gigs with his band.
  • Go Huskies! Kent is a University of Washington grad.
  • Kent likes to cast big rubber-legged salmon fly patterns during the hatch on the South Fork of the Boise because there is nothing like seeing those big rainbows inhale them on the surface.

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The guides were particularly helpful with waders (selection, dressing) and helping us with wading, crossing streams, and up and down banks. We all have varying degrees of disability (knees, neck, balance) and Kent and Scooter made sure that we always had support. They worked hard to find the best fishing options for us.

- Mary Jo Buckwalter
jakenelsen

JAKE NELSEN

CERTIFIED FLY CASTING INSTRUCTOR

Jake Nelsen comes from good Norwegian stock, from a large family of farmers and fisherman. Born and raised in Edison, on Puget Sound in Washington State, his first fishing memory is of the sea-run Cutties that would creep into his local river each August. “I would walk and wade that as a kid, all day, every day!” Skiing brought him to Sun Valley, but after one summer fishing here, he knew he was home. The seemingly endless variety of water appeals to Jake. “You can fish the whole week, month or summer and not back track much.”

Guiding style: Teacher.

“I think that as you guide you are always teaching, even if you are just trying to get straight to catching. You share your thoughts, techniques and knowledge with your guest, even while you are laughing, exploring, and hopefully, landing some fish.”
Fun facts about Jake
  • He is a Christmas tree expert and runs a related business.
  • He started a sheep ranch. You can find him working there when it’s not a powder day, or hunting season, or fishing season. Hmm.
  • Jake has a pet llama.
  • To him, après fishing is just as important as après skiing.
  • He is a big fan of summer hoppers.
  • Chasing ducks, pheasant and elk makes him happy.

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My daughter's first time fishing and she caught a 21in trout. Are you kidding me? Outstanding.

- Joe Ash
mark-osmer

MARK OSMER

CERTIFIED FLY CASTING INSTRUCTOR

Mark Osmer is an enthusiastic University of Idaho Vandal and transplant to the Gem State from Diablo, California. There, he learned to fish for bluegill in Diablo Lake at the tender age of six. The world-class hunting and fishing brought him east to the mountains of the Wood River Valley. Since he began guiding, his most memorable trip was with a multi-day client. On the client’s last day before returning to the ‘real world’, the man caught a large brown trout on hopper. Whomp! For Mark, the perfect ending to a perfect day on the river is to land a fish on the last cast!

Guiding Style: Teacher.

“I really consider myself a teacher. I enjoy sharing the how-to’s of this amazing sport with guests.”

FUN FACTS ABOUT MARK:

  • He was a four letter athlete in high school, excelling in football, baseball, soccer and golf.
  • Favorite fly? #2 Gypsy King because it floats well.
  • Mark’s favorite hatch it is the Salmon Fly.
  • In the fall, Mark takes to the mountains to pursue two of his other passions: bird and big game hunting.

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taite-pearson

TAITE PEARSON

Taite Pearson returned to his Idaho roots after spending what he said was “way too much time in the hustle of big cities.” He decided to stay here because the area is good for the soul. Taite’s first memories of fishing were on the South Platte in Colorado when he was 10 years old. That was the first time he ever held a fly rod. His favorite trip as a guide was when he spent the day with a retired couple whose goal it was to fish all the world’s greatest trout waters. “I took them to Silver Creek and had the rare pleasure of facilitating a passion for the water that matched or exceeded mine,” he explained. “They continue to update me and share their experiences about the water they discover.”

Guiding Style: Combination. Taite wants to put you into fish and make your day a successful one but enjoys sharing his knowledge of the sport.

FUN FACTS ABOUT TAITE:

  • He was born in Idaho and grew up in Colorado, smack in the middle of five siblings.
  • Taite is a highly respected chef, known for his attention to detail and emphasis on locally-sourced, in-season fare. He has cooked professionally for 23 years.
  • In his free time, Taite enjoys tying flies, mountain biking, snowboarding, hanging out with his gal, spending time with his 10-year-old son and his dog, Abby.
  • The perfect end to a perfect day of fishing is more time on the river.
  • His favorite hatch is Tricos … long leaders, tiny flies, technical fishing.

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brian-richter

BRIAN RICHTER

Brian Richter learned to tie flies a full year before he learned to fly-fish. He is not sure why that was, but he is certain it helped him better understand the water and the environment in which he would eventually find his calling. “Learning about bugs is an integral part of fishing.” A native of southern Idaho, Brian started fishing with his parents when he was still a toddler. “My mother made a miniature, makeshift float tube for me so that my sister could drag me around the lake while she and my father fished. My sister tells me I was either in my birthday suit or in diapers during these excursions.” It doesn’t get much more native Idahoan than that! Neither does his choice of après-fishing activities that favor a cold beer at Grumpy’s or dinner at the Pioneer Saloon, relaxing and spinning fishing tales with friends and clients.

Guiding Style: Flexible.

“I strive to be an excellent teacher while still putting clients into fish. Some guests require or desire to learn, where many just want to hang a pig. I believe that a good guide has to be extremely adaptable in order to meet and exceed the expectations of every guest, on every trip.”

FUN FACTS ABOUT BRIAN:

  • His parents were taxidermists in the 70s and 80s in Wendell and Twin Falls, Idaho.
  • His favorite hatch is “what they are eating right now.”
  • Not surprising, Brian likes to hunt.
  • More surprising, he loves to learn about art.
  • Tying flies still makes the list of things that make him happy.

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GUIDE REVIEWS

Brian was simply fantastic!!! From beginning to end it was a truly amazing experience!

- Bob Werth
bradstansberry

BRAD STANSBERRY

Among elementary-age children in Ketchum, Brad Stansberry is a rock star. This extremely popular fifth grade teacher at Hemingway Elementary is the son of two lifelong flight instructors. “I guess teaching runs in my veins,” he said. Brad came to Sun Valley from Newport Beach, California. In the 70s, his parents built a small vacation cabin here that he first visited when he was seven days old. He moved to the area when he was 10. In the summer, his favorite place to be is in area rivers, introducing guests to his amazing home. His favorite guiding experience to date? “Teaching my wife to fish a couple of summers ago and having her catch our dog who promptly took her into the backing!”

Guiding Style: Not surprisingly, teacher.

“I enjoy sharing my knowledge of the rivers and surrounding areas, while teaching people that great days fishing are about the whole process, not just the catching of the fish.”

FUN FACTS ABOUT CARLOS:

  • He spent 10 years in Boulder, Colorado, attending college and graduate school.
  • His first fly fishing memory is of his father tying a piece of red yarn to the end of his leader and teaching him how to cast in the front yard.
  • Best ending to a day of fishing? Cold beers at Grumpy’s and then taking a walk on the bike path with his wife, daughter and dog.
  • Brad’s favorite hatch of the year is Green Drakes on the Wood. “It lasts so long and provides so many fun days.”
  • Brad is a father of two and enjoys spending a lot of quality time with his daughter and newborn son, who no doubt, will soon learn to fish!
  • His winters are spent skiing and summers are filled with lake time, surfing and mountain biking.

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seansullivan

SEAN SULLIVAN

CERTIFIED FLY CASTING INSTRUCTOR

Sean Sullivan hails from a big family. He grew up the son of a Navy man, so he and his five brothers and two sisters moved a lot and learned to adapt to many new environments. He came to Sun Valley to fish and to snowboard and plans to stay a long, long while. He is an exceptional snowboarder and loves the big extreme terrain of Alaska. He is also an avid surfer and has traveled the world in search of the perfect wave. Some of the best have been in the South Pacific, Indonesia, Central America and Kauai. Sully also loves to fish. His favorite way to end a day on the river? Fish until it’s so dark you can no longer see to tie on your fly or read the label of the beer you are drinking.

Guiding Style: Flexible.

“I do like to guide first-time fisherman, though. Catching that first fish is a huge deal whether you’re six years old or 60.”

FUN FACTS ABOUT SULLY:

  • He began wrestling at the age of five when he weighed 45 pounds. He grew to be a three-time state wrestling finalist with two years All-New England honors and honors in Division II College wrestling.
  • Sully completed high school and college in Rhode Island and holds a degree in Criminal Justice.
  • He was a Juvenile Probation Officer in Santa Cruz, California for seven years.
  • Sully’s earliest fishing memory involves a bamboo pole and a creek in Pennsylvania.

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GUIDE REVIEWS

Sean Sullivan. Fantastic guide, friendly and helpful. Worked very hard to get us to the right spots, provide guide assistance and training, patient and thoughtful. We had a great time and would recommend Sean to anyone. He exceeded my expectations on all levels.

Very thorough and thoughtful preparation, made sure he knew our skill level and needs, and pre-planned spots, as well as adjusted to our time frame and hope to get onto the river. Highlight was catching the largest trout of my life and landing it. Sean was fantastic, as this was a big fish and challenging to land, but he guided me through it. I'd like to share the picture with you both if you would send me the email's.

I've not fly fished before, usually been spin casting on high lakes in Oregon, or on rivers. I've always wanted to learn to fly fish, and Sean exceeded all our expectations.

I've said it above, but Sean was excellent as a guide, teacher and expert in assisting in our skill and learning, as well as heightening our passion for fishing. We'll be back and recommend your shop and Sean to everyone we talk to. Since I have a great picture, it will be shown around quite a bit.-

- Roger Busse

 

Highlight? My wife surviving the trip DOWN Trail Creek Pass! No really, watching my wife land a 20 inch Rainbow under the guidance of Sean! He is great to hang with. I LEARNED a ton fishing with him ...... He is a 5 star guide! Weather was perfect, Sean teaches us the things to make a person a better all around fisher and fly caster. All sorts of techniques learned. And HE IS SAFE!

- Mike S

 

I thought Sean was an excellent guide and a very likable person. I am around a lot of people and have had many guides and he is a very good one.

- Dr. Mark Jackson

 

Sean was a great guide with a deep knowledge of his craft. Additionally, he has a very upbeat personality to go along with his fishing expertise. We caught a full complement of trout in a variety of locations and thoroughly enjoyed our fishing with Sean.

- “Steve from Sausalito”
ritchie-thurston

RITCHIE THURSTON

CERTIFIED FLY CASTING INSTRUCTOR

This local Idaho boy grew up outside of Boise in Meridian, attended the University of Idaho and moved to Ketchum two days after graduation. The area’s rivers, streams and mountains proved irresistible. In the 1970s, Ritchie’s parents used to take the kids and pack a 100-pound military grade inflatable raft all over the alpine lakes in the Sawtooth Valley. Their goal? Catching cutthroats. Ritchie’s life was permanently changed by fishing when he met his future wife on the S-turns on Silver Creek in 2001.

Guiding Style: Flexible.

“If someone is serious about fly fishing, there is so much that can be learned with practice and information – casting, knots, insect identification. The hook-set, playing, fighting and releasing a fish can only happen if you are catching or getting opportunities to do so. It’s a balance between teaching and doing.”

FUN FACTS ABOUT RITCHIE:

  • He was a self-described “gear head” as a kid. “If it had a motor, I would race it.”
  • Balancing a baseball hat on the bridge of his nose is Ritchie’s go-to party trick.
  • His favorite pattern is any fly that works and “not a soul in sight to see it.”
  • Ritchie’s favorite ending to a day on the river? Taking his wife and daughter, Ruby Lou, to scout water for the next day.

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Richie has been a family friend since he was two years old or so. He and my son grew up together and Greg was with me on Sat. Great day as always. Richie is much liked by RR Members even though he may not have guided them. Everyones favorite.

- Scott Nelson
brettwilson

BRETT WILSON

Brett Wilson grew up on Lake Minnetonka in Minnesota. He graduated with an English degree from the University of Minnesota Duluth, where he learned to cast a fly rod at Lake Superior Steelhead, and spent a lot of weekends chasing pike in the Boundary Waters Wilderness. He said, “I pretty much embody every Minnesota stereotype there is--I am a blond-haired, blue-eyed, Lutheran-raised Norwegian...and yes, I've eaten lutefisk.” Brett felt the tug of the west from the Midwest, though. The mountains, the space, and the nature called to him and he answered. “I was in search of a place where I could fish, hunt birds, and snowboard right in my backyard. Ketchum is the best location I've found for immediate access to these passions so far,” Brett said. He loves introducing guests to the place he has come to call home. His favorite trip to date was helping two young brothers each catch their first trout on the fly as their grandfather proudly watched.

Guiding Style: Teacher.

“My favorite trips are teaching-themed. I like to share my passion with people, and watch them develop their own interest and self-sufficiency. Standing in a river alone can be all the therapy anyone really needs these days.”

FUN FACTS ABOUT BRETT:

  • He owns and operates a business that creates and manufactures products for waterfowl hunting, called Blackwing Advancements.
  • He only eats wild game for meat. “Do I miss hot wings!” he said.
  • He was a wildland firefighter on an Alaskan Hot Shot crew for three years.
  • The perfect end to a day on the river is the welcoming of a night on the river–big browns love midnight sculpins and mice!
  • His first fishing memory is of standing next to his father as he cast spoons for pike off a dock on Lake Minnetonka. “I tried to emulate his cast by reaching in his tackle box and throwing a bulky handful of lures into the lake. I then took an involuntary swim…it’s a wonder I love fishing so much.”
  • Brett’s favorite ‘fly’ is a 4-inch sculpin pattern with an articulated circle hook…true to his Minnesota pike-fishing roots. “I am still a streamer junky. The tug is the drug! Oh, and I do love the joyous, beer-swilling atmosphere of the brown drakes on Silver Creek.”
  • When he’s not fly fishing, Brett can be found chasing birds with his lab-setter mix named Emma Jane, bow hunting elk, backcountry snowboarding, ice fishing, mountain biking, writing stories for hunting/fishing publications, playing guitar, or trying to invent the next big gadget to hit the waterfowl hunting scene.
  • He loves dark beer and cheap whiskey.

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GUIDE REVIEWS

We enjoyed the knowledge Brett Shared with us about the Wood River. We have a vacation home in the area and he taught us how to fish the spots that were convenient.

- Travis Magamoll

 

He was fantastic. Really good teaching and made us feel like we were experts. We caught a ton of fish and had a great time.

- Kim Sorenson

 

I enjoyed the entire day. Learned a lot, caught a lot of fish. Brett quickly assessed my level of experience and tailored our day to it. He was always very encouraging.

- Anonymous

SUN VALLEY AREA PART TIME GUIDES

jason-buck

JASON BUCK

CERTIFIED FLY CASTING INSTRUCTOR

One of the most memorable guide days Jason Buck has had, as well as one of the most rewarding, was the day he fished with a guest who was visiting with the Higher Ground program. This wounded veteran was booked for four straight days of fishing. “What’s funny is we fished a total of two hours in that four days. We put hundreds of miles on my truck and rarely put the fly on the water. There’s no question, it’s not always about the fish.” But sometimes it is, and it was the fish, along with hunting, skiing, whitewater rafting and mountain biking that kept Jason in-state after he finished his studies at the University of Idaho. A Californian by birth, Jason had his first true understanding of fly-fishing when his father threw a hopper into a small stream in the Sierras that was promptly swallowed by a big fish. “Needless to say, we fished hoppers for the rest of the day.”

Guiding Style: Flexible.

“My favorite kind of fishing is hunting for big fish. I like to key in on one and try to catch that particular trout. ”
Fun facts about Jason:
  • The best ending to a great day fishing? Budweiser, from the bottom of an ice-filled cooler.
  • His philosophy on bugs? Any hatch is a good one.
  • Jason is passing along the passion, teaching his three-year-old daughter to fish.
  • His grandparents first came to Sun Valley in 1949 via the Union Pacific Railroad.

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lancecole

LANCE COLE

Lance Cole is Idaho born and bred. The Jerome native moved for a short time to Washington and Nevada where he taught skiing, but moved back to Boise because he really missed the fly fishing and skiing. The next natural step was to move to Sun Valley, the epicenter of both of this passions. “Here, I get to guide fishermen, teach skiers and live in one of the truly most incredible places in the country,” he enthused. Lance didn’t get the easiest introduction to the sport of fly fishing, casting his first line in pursuit of wily steelhead at the age of four. Surprisingly, during this early foray on the Salmon River, he actually caught a steelhead. “This was the beginning of my many trips with my father who stuffed me in waders, handed me a fly rod and taught me to how to appreciate and respect the outdoors,” he said. As a guide, his favorite memory to date is of guiding a physically challenged angler into his first steelhead with a swung fly from a drift boat.

Guiding Style: Flexible.

“I enjoy teaching what it takes to catch fish, but most importantly, I strive to give our clients a safe and memorable experience.”

FUN FACTS ABOUT LANCE:

  • When he’s not fishing, he pursues a career in real estate.
  • The perfect ending to a day on the river for Lance is rowing the drift boat to the ramp and reminiscing about the day with a fellow angler as the sun sets on the hillside lighting up the fall colors.
  • His favorite fly is a big ugly Salmon Fly or a Stone Fly hatch “because big fish eat big bugs!”
  • Lance loves spending time with his daughter in the mountains, rivers and lakes of Idaho.
  • In addition to fishing, Lance likes to golf, hunt, water ski and dirt bike.

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matt-curci

MATT CURCI

CERTIFIED FLY CASTING INSTRUCTOR

Matt Curci’s family has a long history in Sun Valley. Though a native of Santa Cruz and California’s Bay Area, he has always had close ties to this area as his grandmother moved here when the Resort opened more than 75 years ago. He did not learn to fish in our region’s storied waters, however. As a child, his stepfather put him in easy fly water all over the Sierras and taught him the fine art of tying flies. Matt is a complete convert to our area’s rivers, however. He loves the swarming hatches on the Big Wood, the snobbish fish on Silver Creek and all that the area’s smaller streams offer an adventurous fisherman.

Guiding Style: Flexible.

“I can guarantee any of my guests that after a day on the river, they will have learned something new and caught plenty of fish in the process.”
Fun facts about Matt:
  • He is a self-proclaimed ‘family man’ with a wife he adores and two children who are seven and eight years old.
  • His favorite finish to a day fishing is to join his family at the Pioneer Saloon for dinner. Prime rib “D-style” is the perfect ending to a perfect day.

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GUIDE REVIEWS

Matt was perfect - he took his time with us and spent a lot of time with my son to make sure he was understanding the techniques.

- Andrew Light

 

Matt Curci provided at great experience for us 3 ladies. He was patient, knowledgeable, taught us a lot about technique and took us to a great spot to fish. We had a great day and hope to come back next year!

- Destin Tonkin

 

Matt was just great. I took my 10 year old grandson and he was fantastic with him! I would recommend Matt to anyone who is a novice. He has a great deal of patience he is very knowledgeable. It was just a great experience, thank you Matt!

- Dave Williams

 

Matt is a fish whisperer.

- Joe Ash
jim-curran

JIM CURRAN

CERTIFIED FLY CASTING INSTRUCTOR

A Jersey boy, Jim Curran discovered Idaho while on a hunting and fishing excursion in 1965. Following studies at the US Naval Academy and the College of Marin, San Francisco State, Jim moved to Ketchum in 1977, which qualifies him as a lifelong local! His first fishing memory took place on the east coast, however. “After we finished milking the cows on his farm, my uncle drove us to the Battenkill River in Vermont. I had a $5 Southbend bamboo rod. We never caught one of the river’s big Browns on a fly but we sure did well with worms!” As a guide, Jim understands that while it won’t be a “worm” day, per se, on the river, flexibility is key, as is the ability to enjoy always-evolving conditions. To him, the best ending to a day on the water with a guest is knowing in his gut that the guest had a great day, not only fish-wise, but all-around.

Guiding Style: Teacher.

“I am a teacher. It is very important to me to put my guests in the best position to easily cast. I can then help them with their cast, explaining the why’s and how’s and always staying positive. That is the foundation.”
Fun facts about Jim:
  • He owns five Pierce Street Annex “drinking establishments” in San Francisco, Anchorage, Newport Beach, Washington, DC and Fort Lauderdale.
  • His favorite flies are beatis and pale morning dun.
  • Jim is passionate about bird hunting, especially for chukar.
  • He calls his relationship with his English Setter “sacred.”
  • He is an avid golfer and gardener.

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Jim was the highlight of our day! He was polite, personable, very knowledge and accommadating to our level of fishing experience. In addition to Jim, the highlight was feeling like an accomplished fly fisherman/woman at the end of the day! The quality of fishing can always be 'ify' - that is something not even the best guide can control. But Jim sure tried to find the hot spots. We did catch some fish and had many strikes as well. Jim's expertise and teaching ability were appreciated, comforting and excellent!

- Anonymous
ewald-grabher

EWALD GRABHER

Like the Sun Valley Resort, and the entire local Grabher clan, Ewald Grabher’s origins are in Austria. Relatives and fly-fishing brought him to Idaho. It was a trip on the Middle Fork some 30 years ago when he was a boy that precipitated Ewald’s love affair with the state and his decision to someday live here. His first fishing memory is not of a silvery Rainbow trout, however, but rather of a 20-pound Pike. This eye-popping fish spurred the ten-year-old’s interest. “I wanted to know how to catch one myself.” He began fly-fishing at 11 and so began a lifelong obsession.

Guiding Style: Flexible.

“I always try to find a happy medium between teaching a guest and putting them into fish. The two really go hand-in-hand. My job is to make a trip successful but also fun.”
Fun facts about Ewald:
  • His favorite fly is the Blue Winged Olive. “I grew up with it. The fish lie on the bottom and come all the way up to the fly. It’s a great take.”
  • After a day on the river, he loves to trade pictures and flies, as well as fish tales.
  • Ewald plays the harmonica and the guitar.
  • He spends his free time in the mountains skiing, hiking and mountain biking, and also loves to travel, cook and scuba dive.

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butch-harper

BUTCH HARPER

CERTIFIED FLY CASTING INSTRUCTOR

Butch Harper is an Idahoan through and through. Born in Rupert, he left for a bit to attend Western State College in Colorado, but returned in 1957 to work on the Sun Valley Ski Patrol. He began fishing as a boy and recalls riding with his father on one bike to the Snake River in search of wily carp.

Guiding Style: Teacher.

“It can be a complicated sport and there’s a lot to learn. I love teaching our guests whether they are novices or have years of experience. There’s always something new to master.”

FUN FACTS ABOUT BUTCH:

  • He worked for 30 years with US Forest Service where he was responsible for most of the trail development on the Ketchum Ranger District. We all owe him a big thank you!
  • Butch is very fastidious. After a day of fishing, he likes to go home and clean up all his gear. Only then does he treat himself to a beer in the shade of his favorite tree.
  • His favorite hatch is the Pale Morning Dun. Butch calls it a “nice size bug that the fish love.”
  • When he is not on the river, Butch enjoys hiking with his wife and their two wired-hair pointers.
  • In the fall, you can find Butch hunting birds.

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bob-jost

BOB JOST

CERTIFIED FLY CASTING INSTRUCTOR

For Bob Jost, the perfect ending to a day of fishing wild Cutthroat, Steelhead or Rainbows is camping on the edge of a wilderness river. Surrounded by the quiet of the canyon and the rush of the water, he drifts off to sleep knowing he will have the opportunity to do it all again the next day. This northern New York native is partial to being in the wild. Having worked as a forester in Colorado, he is most at home in the outdoors. His earliest fishing memories are of heading into the early morning light with his father and grandfather to small trout streams in central New York and the Adirondacks. He also fished the local lakes near his home for bass, pike, blue gill and bullheads before moving to Colorado, Florida and Oregon and finally settling in Sun Valley to work with Ski Patrol and to guide in the Wilderness State.

Guiding Style: Flexible.

“I feel it’s important to a novice fisherman to catch fish, it gets them hooked. However, it’s equally important to teach the correct skills to be successful at fishing as well as the intrinsic values associated with the sport: respect for the natural resources and ecology that make fishing possible.”
Fun facts about Bob:
  • He worked as a smokejumper.
  • Bob holds a degree in Forestry and Natural Resource Management.
  • His two sons are fishing guides and outdoor educators.
  • When he is not fishing, Bob can be found bird hunting, floating wild rivers, backcountry skiing, mountaineering and big game hunting.
  • He trains hunting and rescue dogs.

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bob-knoebel

BOB KNOEBEL

CERTIFIED FLY CASTING INSTRUCTOR

Bob Knoebel made the move to Sun Valley from Westport, Connecticut seven years ago. Back east, he was the program director for the town’s very successful YMCA and was also a swim coach. With the move west, Bob has written and has published 12 articles about fishing and hunting around the Rocky Mountains in Big Sky Journal. Though his first fishing memory is of catching catfish on his grandfather’s farm in Indiana, golden trout interest him most. He has landed these beautiful fish in California, Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. Bob’s favorite fly is the zebra midge because, like its namesake, it can change its stripes and works well in a variety of conditions.

Guiding style: Flexible.

“I believe three things need to occur on a guide trip to create memories that last a lifetime. 1. Have fun 2. Learn something new 3. Catch a fish! I work very hard to make sure these goals are met by day’s end.”
Fun facts about Bob:
  • He is involved with the Wood River Valley YMCA and also volunteers with Trout Unlimited and the Boy Scouts of the City of Bellevue.
  • When he’s not fishing, you can find Bob on Baldy or in his garden.
  • He holds a B.S. degree in psychology from Denison University.
  • Bob loves to take his godson fishing.

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Bob made learning to fish non-intimidating and fun. I will definitely come back!

- Maude Frye
thatcher-marstead

THATCHER MARSTED

CERTIFIED FLY CASTING INSTRUCTOR

Thatcher Marsted first fell in love with Idaho as a college student. A dream summer job river raft guiding on the Main Salmon River introduced the San Francisco native to the wonders of the Wilderness State. His first fishing memory is of casting a line in the Trinity Alps with a Royal Coachman. He said his best guide trip ever was “taking my Dad, and always will be.” Something you didn’t know about Thatcher? After graduating from the University of Colorado at Boulder, he spent a year backpacking from Uganda to South Africa.

Guiding Style: Catcher. He wants to put you into fish and make your day a successful one.

FUN FACTS ABOUT THATCHER:

  • After a day in Copper Basin, his favorite waters, he likes to sit on the tailgate of his truck and enjoy a cold beverage
  • He is the youngest of three.
  • His favorite hatch? Baetis in April. “The fish can be technical but a good presentation is very rewarding.”
  • Thatcher thinks any spring float trip in eastern Idaho and Montana is pretty close to heaven.
  • When he’s not fishing, Thatcher enjoys camping and working on his house and yard.

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"Thatcher was very knowledgeable and very helpful. Mark and I learned a lot from him."

- Tom Dwyer
mark-milkovich

MARK MILKOVICH

CERTIFIED MASTER CASTING INSTRUCTOR

The Wild West runs through Mark Milkovich’s veins. Born and raised in Montana, he is the great-grandson of homesteaders. His great-grandmother had a mine prop business – cutting posts and beams for the local mine tunnels. She also had a bootleg distillery until the local law shut her down. Oh yes, she also had 11 children. His great-grandma on the other side has Manifest Destiny credibility, too. As an infant, she rode into Deadwood on lap of Calamity Jane who was driving the stagecoach. True.

Mark and his wife came to Sun Valley by more conventional means, choosing a second home where his wife loved to ski, he loved to fish and that their daughter and her family would frequently visit.

Mark’s favorite guiding trips are those he shares with veterans in the Wounded Warrior program. “As a boy, I helped my wheelchair-bound uncle, a navy veteran, enjoy a few days of fishing each year, the best days of the years for him,” explained Mark. “These young people who have lost athletic abilities as a result of war injuries recapture some of those abilities when they cast, hook or land a fish on their own. To see them recognize that their situation can improve is the best of days!”

Guiding Style: Flexible.

“We guides are unrepentant pitchmen and women for the sport, especially for beginners. Given a choice between having my guests catch fish or learn fly-fishing, I’ll take both. Certainly catching is the easiest way for our guests to determine, ‘this is fun!’ but learning makes the point, ‘I can do this!’”
Fun facts about Mark:
  • Limited to a single hatch, he’d take midges. He also thinks they are the perfect entry bug for aspiring fly-tyers.
  • Time not spent actually fishing is devoted tying flies, casting practice, checking hatches and stream flows. You might say Mark is singular-minded.
  • Mark’s favorite ending to a day on the river is the sound of the stream in his memory as he hits the hay.
  • Mark’s first fishing memory is of using a Shakespeare fiberglass rod with metal ferrules, automatic fly reels and fly lines designated by letters of the alphabet rather than numbers. His father cast his line onto the Madison River and hooked the fish. Mark landed it.

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ed-northern

ED NORTHEN

CERTIFIED FLY CASTING INSTRUCTOR

As the fifth of seven children, Ed Northen’s childhood was spent somewhat unattended; exploring the open spaces of his native Orange County and fishing in whatever water he could find. His first fishing memory is of a day spent in a rowboat on a lake, angling for trout. Stubby rods, level wind reels and worms were the order of the day. Ed and a friend arrived at the lake before dawn and rowed out into the dark waters with only a flashlight to guide them. “The adventure, beauty and silence is what drew me to fishing,” he said. In 2003, he moved to Hailey to embrace what locals simply refer to as “lifestyle.” An avid climber, hiker and explorer, as well as obsessive fisherman, the Wood River Valley gives him access to all of the above. Ed’s favorite guide trip was an outing with two boys, aged 12 and 13, about the same age he was on the abovementioned trip to the lake. These brothers were interested in everything. “We looked at bugs, saw a moose, explored the river. They had great imaginations and took a break from fishing to just explore and play.” However, with Ed, they did catch their first fish on a fly rod.

Guiding Style: Teacher.

“I like to teach about all aspects of fishing and about the natural world in which fishing happens. I enjoy helping people along in their life’s journeys and fly-fishing can be part of that journey. It doesn’t matter if the client is a beginner or expert fisherman, there is always something new to impart.”

FUN FACTS ABOUT ED:

  • A member of the Orange County Fire Department for 34 years, he retired in 2006 as a Fire Captain Paramedic.
  • He enjoys writing poetry.
  • The perfect end to a day of fishing is friends for dinner, a piping hot bowl of pasta and good wine accompanied by jazz or classical music.
  • Ed volunteers for the Courtesy Ski Patrol, is president of the Hemingway Chapter of Trout Unlimited, works with the Wood River Land Trust, Nature Conservancy and Hunger Coalition and is also active in his church.
  • He has climbed the big walls of Yosemite and peaks as high as 21,500 feet in Ecuador.

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jimsommercorn

JIM SOMMERCORN

CERTIFIED FLY CASTING INSTRUCTOR

For a guide who as a young boy remembers fishing with a cane pole using hot dogs as bait, Jim Sommercom has come a long way. But that early ingenuity served him well in later endeavors. As a biochemist, he researched the cause of Type 2 Diabetes in the Pima Indians of Arizona and enjoyed a long and distinguished career as a scientist. He brings the same attention to detail to understanding Idaho’s waters. His best guiding memory is the day that he successfully taught a guest some new presentation casts that ultimately helped her land some difficult fish.

Guiding Style: In one word: teacher.

FUN FACTS ABOUT JIM:

  • Jim holds degrees from both the University of Wisconsin and the University of California at Davis
  • Fishing is what brought him to Idaho.
  • Good dry fly fishing with small flies makes him happy.
  • In his spare time he develops his tournament casting skills.

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dave-spaulding

DAVE SPAULDING

CERTIFIED FLY CASTING INSTRUCTOR

David Spaulding is not the son of a fisherman, rather the nephew of one. His uncle gave him his first rod, a beautiful bamboo stick designed for catching Salmon. “He would take me fishing on opening day of trout season and I would use that long, stiff rod to catch little lake Rainbows,” he laughed. An adventurer at heart, Dave is also a pilot who has flown the bust of Alaska and the Canadian Arctic. For several years he flew cargo throughout Africa, Europe and Middle East before beginning a career with Alaska Airlines. Back on terra firma, David is a fishing, skiing, backpacking and birding aficionado. In rivers, his favorite way to end the day is by fishing Caddis on the Big Wood and watching the colors melt and change as evening takes over on the water.

Guiding Style: Flexible.

“I think it’s important to contour the trip to the interests of your guests. Catching is important, but so are the skills you can pass on that they will take with them to their next adventure. The beauty in the presentation of a dry fly draws many guests to the sport, but there is an unmatched thrill in watching a trout move it and take it.”

FUN FACTS ABOUT DAVID:

  • He enjoys traveling by motor home throughout the National Park system.
  • David has been skiing since he was four years old.
  • Go Huskies!
  • His favorite hatch is purple haze Green Drakes on the Big Wood.

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gene-steiner

GENE STEINER

CERTIFIED FLY CASTING INSTRUCTOR

Gene Steiner and his wife Sharon moved from northern California in 1965 to Pocatello, Idaho so that Gene could attend pharmacy school at Idaho State University. The young couple first came to Sun Valley to ski in the winter of 1964-65 and fell in love with the area, and with each other! During his first year of pharmacy school, Gene took an exam to become a Game Warden for the State of Idaho and almost took a position as C.O. in the Swan Valley area. After learning the pay was $10,000 a year, he decided to stay in school! Moving to the Sun Valley area has allowed Gene to pursue his many interests and hobbies. He fishes year-round and enjoys tying flies. He also takes time to cross country ski, upland bird hunt, garden vegetables, cook, bicycle and he is trying to learn to play the Banjo. His favorite end to a day guiding is when the client says, “Thanks for a great day of fishing! Let’s do it again soon.”

Guiding Style: Flexible.

“I get a lot of satisfaction knowing that a guest leaves the trip understanding more about the process than when we started. I think all of the guides would agree that the FFF Casting Certification has greatly improved our ability to improve casting technique. For those guests who want to fish on their own in the future, I will show them everything I can so that they can get started. When a guest goes out after a trip and catches a fish or two on his own, he can't wait to tell you about it on the next trip. That always makes me happy!”

FUN FACTS ABOUT GENE:

  • His undergraduate degree from San Jose State is in Biological Science.
  • His father came to America from Switzerland was he was 16 years old and put down roots.
  • Gene’s first fishing memory is of going for the goldfish in his parent’s fishpond when they weren’t home. At the age of five he started to fish the Lake Tahoe area where his family had a cabin.
  • Gene started backpacking the Desolation Valley area when he was 11-years-old, something he calls an incredible experience.
  • When his son visits, the first thing Gene does is take him fishing.
  • Gene prefers a leech on Silver Creek if nothing is going off on top. He favorite hatch is a Pink Albert on the Big Wood, Warm Springs or Copper Basin.

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chriswillich

CHRIS WILLICH

Chris Willich was drawn to Idaho by the fishing and quality of life. Originally from Mercer Island, Washington, Chris attended Montana State University in Bozeman. He also lived in Scottsdale, Arizona for about seven years before deciding to move to the mountains. Sun Valley was familiar territory to him as his father was formerly the city’s mayor. He learned to fish trying to troll off the back of a sailboat on Puget Sound while doing 10 knots. He wasn’t too successful. Here, his favorite hatch, to date, is the Mother's Day Caddis on the Madison. Why? “The Caddis are so thick that you need to use your windshield wipers getting to the river when it's clear and sunny out,” he said. “Big Ol' Browns come out to play as well!” At the end of the day fishing Idaho’s waters, Chris likes to sit down at a picnic table, or even at the car, to laugh and exchange stories over a refreshing beverage.

Guiding Style: Flexible.

“As a guide I consider myself at the clients’ disposal. If they don’t need a lesson on tying knots or other basics, I’ll put them on the fish. If they need help on the technical side i.e. reading water, I’ll help them with that. My main objective as a guide is to make sure the client has a memorable time!”

FUN FACTS ABOUT CHRIS:

  • He was a National Champion horseback rider on Appaloosas.
  • Chris’ first fly rod came from Silver Creek Outfitters some time in the ’80s. At that time, Roger Schwartz taught him about feeding channels upstream from Lake Creek Trailhead.
  • He has a love/hate relationship with golf.
  • Hiking to, and camping out at, an alpine lake is the perfect way to spend a day off.
  • In the winter, you can find Chris skiing and snowboarding.
  • Whenever he can, he also loves to shoot sporting clays.

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STANLEY/SALMON RIVER AREA GUIDES

verlon-herndon

VERLON HERNDON

CERTIFIED FLY CASTING INSTRUCTOR

Verlon Herndon grew up a long way away from here, both geographically and temperamentally, in the flatlands of Oklahoma. An article in National Geographic that featured a photograph of Stanley and the awesome Sawtooth Mountains redirected his focus and brought him to Idaho. Fishing is in Verlon’s DNA, as is fishing ingenuity. His first fishing memory of the sport is attempting to catch a fish out of a concrete-lined ditch with a worm on a safety pin. Though his knowledge of the sport has become almost encyclopedic, the simple pleasures remain. His dream ending to a great day guiding is a beer on the deck of Lower Stanley’s Bridge Street Burgers & Brew, deconstructing the day with his “partners in crime” and staring at those amazing mountains that were once just a picture in a magazine.

Guiding style: Teacher.

“After struggling through a lot of my ineptitudes, my inner Confucius compels me to try to level out the learning curve for others.”
Fun facts about Verlon:
  • He designed and built his own log home: He felled the trees, peeled the logs and raised roof: dirt to doorknobs.
  • There’s nothing he likes more than catching a beautiful cutthroat on a #8 yellow stimulator. “Those fish materializing out of nowhere to take your fly in slow motion can electrify your nervous system.”
  • He is an avid backcountry skier

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julie-meissner

JULIE MEISSNER

CERTIFIED FLY CASTING INSTRUCTOR

Julie Meissner is the product of a family who loved the outdoors. Born and bred in Central Oregon, her father was ski school director at Mt. Bachelor, her mother taught all kinds of outdoor classes and she was raised ski racing with he siblings. Summers were spent on Odell Lake where her family operated a boat marina and days were spent waterskiing, hiking and fishing. Her first fishing memory is of throwing a line off a dock with periwinkles (otherwise known as caddis larvae) for whitefish when she was only three or four years old. She has graduated to stimulators and catching lots of fish during the crazy salmon fly hatch. She loves to guide the waters north of Ketchum in the Stanley basin, but it was our amazing powder that brought Julie to Idaho as a backcountry ski guide. She planned to stay one winter in the Stanley area but has been here since 1982; a story familiar to many transplanted locals.

Guiding Style: Flexible.

“I think if you want to be a great guide you have to be a teacher who is attuned to the importance of catching fish. Rarely do I guide a trip that doesn’t incorporate sharing and teaching opportunities for not only fishing, but for plants, geology and even local gossip. The teaching may be formal or more subtle, but it’s hard not to learn something on the river every time you go out.”
Fun facts about Julie:
  • She built her own house from the ground up, not once, but twice.
  • Backcountry skiing and backpacking are two of her favorite ways to spend her down time.
  • She is a consummate tier of flies.
  • Julie loves to combine floating and fishing.
  • What does she think of Stanley winters? You’ll have to ask her!

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GUIDE REVIEWS

Guide Julie is a cheerful, sharing, diligent hardworking guide. Each morning before we went out she scouted the river. I had two rods. She always rigged ahead and I was able to fish every moment we were at the water. I highly recommend her as a guide.

- Mike Mott

 

"Julie is a skilled guide and patient teacher. She knows the water like the back of her hand, and she clearly describes how to fish each hole, run and eddy. Her calm demeanor and encouraging attitude make for a wonderful day on the water."

- Larry