The name “Steelhead Jones” refers to a few ideas that are what this guide service is all about. Our location is based on the seasons, following roughly the same path and schedule each year. We find that this is necessary not only to provide the best possible environment for guiding, but also to be rounded and versatile in our experience.
Movement is key to our survival, as it is for the steelhead. Beginning in the 1950’s, trout guides in the Northeast began migrating to the Rockies once the major hatches of the hallowed waters of the Catskills waned. These days, many guides alternate between saltwater and freshwater as the season dictates. A few of us, the true “trout bums,” have an insatiable habit of rivers, and would rather stay in current. We guide what I consider the greatest venues during their most prime periods. Our ability to move keeps us in the right place, at the right time.
Steelhead are well known for their ability to adapt to changing conditions. Because we are mobile, we can easily shift our focus to wherever the best fishing is taking place. Conditions vary from stream to stream, and can change on very short notice. Versatility and the ability to move are extremely important, even if it is only one local stream to another a few miles away. We employ drift boats, as well as rafts, so that we retain the option to float regardless of high or low water. We have a complete arsenal of equipment to keep our clients properly prepared and outfitted. We hold guide licenses in multiple states, and are capable of guiding in a multitude of locations.
Never idle, steelhead are constantly engaged in their journey upstream. We are full time guides. Our mobility keeps us busy and booked. This is what we do every day, all year long. If we are not guiding, we are fishing. We believe in the old adage that “nobody knows more than the guy who’s on the river every day.” We take our time on the water seriously and provide the best possible experience, and that comes by us doing this year round.
Many who have written about steelhead refer to them as “noble” creatures. We, as a guide service, try to emphasize what is noble. We practice devout catch and release. We teach conservation, and try not to exploit the resource. We do not engage in competition at the expense of the fish that we try to protect. We do not engage in shameless self-promotion and shy away from advertising and attention gathering. We fly fish exclusively, but see more nobility in going fishing than how anyone goes about it. We were taught by masters, and employ the values and codes that they showed us. We are ambassadors of the rivers that we visit, and we show them as well as our clients the respect that they deserve.
And the name “Steelhead Jones?” That simply was the nickname of an old buddy, who watched me learn my trade for many years, until he died far too young, only a few years ago. His dream of starting a guide service by that name lives on with us…