Updated: Mar 11
Deciding whether or not to spend the extra money on a fly fishing guide here in North Georgia doesn’t need to be difficult. For beginning anglers, I would always recommend getting a guide. The investment in a guide will pay for itself in speeding up your progress on the slow learning curve of fly fishing as well as save you a considerable amount of money when you go to buy gear. Many beginning anglers end up purchasing a lot of gear that they never end up using. A guide will be able to tell you what is best for you and where you can cut costs. Guides can add a tremendous amount of value in not only their knowledge of fly angling but also in the local knowledge of surrounding streams and watersheds. Being a Georgia native or visiting on vacation along with how much fly fishing you plan on doing in the future are the two main factors that should guide your decision.
For a visiting fly angler to North Georgia, knowing where to fish at what time of year can be challenging. Even after reading our other articles on where to fish in North Georgia, the odds are likely not in your favor if you don’t know how recent conditions have affected the trout. Cold weather, drought, and flooding can considerably affect streams differently. A guide will always have a good idea what rivers and creeks are fishing best. Sometimes private water can be fishing significantly better than public stretches, and sometimes the reverse is true. A guide can also pick locations closer to where you a staying making traveling a little more convenient. Often there are rivers and creeks that will be fishing very well in close proximity to where you are staying, but you would never find an online article or fishing report about these creeks. Good guides also enjoy taking experienced anglers out because it allows them to focus less on fundamentals and more time finding fish and discovering new productive sections of streams.
Most people think local anglers are the ones who need a fly fishing guide the least. However, the opposite is likely true. I see many anglers get caught in the trap of fishing the same 3 or 4 streams repeatedly with the same techniques and blaming it on luck or poor weather conditions if they get skunked, or don’t catch much. While spending time on any creek can always have its rewards, exploring will often lead you to even more rewarding days and increase your local knowledge. You can always spend the time picking a guide’s brain on other places to fish. Though they might not give you their very best holes, they can likely give you a plethora of new creeks and rivers to check out that are very productive. A guide may also give you a chance to look at your home waters through a different lens. I always enjoy watching other guides fish as you can find new methods and techniques that will make you a better angler.
Overall, most of these benefits come down to saving time. If you are an angler who has the ability to get to the river a good amount, it may be more rewarding to fish on your own. If your time on the water is limited to a handful of times per year, a fly fishing guide is certainly worth the additional cost. This will maximize your experience on the water and make sure you come away with the most knowledge possible.