Alexia Paige. Alaskan native, licensed 50-ton boat captain, globetrotting angler and all around bad ass. Now we can add Guide School graduate to the list. After spending the last seven seasons chasing King Salmon around Bristol Bay, Alexia found a new home in the fly fishing mecca of Craig, Montana and used guide school to perfect her guiding skills, network and have a good time fishing with new friends. We managed to catch Alexia in between shop work and fishing to catch up on her guide school experience.
GRG : How long have you been fishing?
AP: Fishing has been apart of my life the last seven years, but I have been trying to make a life out of it the last four.
GRG : When did you attend guide school?
AP: I was in the Spring Program in May 2017.
GRG : Why did you sign up for Guide school?
AP: As far as my resume goes, I hope to continue to add marine credentials as I will continue to pursue being a professional fly fishing guide. This was the next step towards my goal and I am proud to add guide school graduate. This school’s certificate takes you to the next level & helps open doors for future guides.
GRG: What made you want to be a fishing guide?
AP: To me, Fly fishing is such a beautiful form of expression and consistently challenging. When I'm on the river, all the constant worries like finances, deadlines, getting criticized, not feeling worth all disappear. No distractions. It's almost as though everything has paused. Serenity. I hope to bring that feeling upon others who choose to take on the elements and feel the life of another living thing at the end of their line! Be their Christmas story, be in that moment sharing moments, together. Everything nowadays seems to be overshadowed by media - I hope to be the next generation of guides that brings back fishing for all the right reasons.
GRG: By media do you mean social media? Do you think in today's world you can be a successful/well-known guide without a social media presence?
AP: I absolutely was referring to social media, yes. It's kind of a lose/lose situation specifically mentioning Instagram. I am 29 years old, so this whole social media thing wasn't really my generation. I read an article that said fly fishing is one of "The most" talked about things on Instagram. So I got one this year. I go back and forth, really.
*You can follow Alexia’s love/hate relationship with Instagram @shameless_hooker88
GRG: What do you mean by right reasons?
AP: Meaning, I want to remind people what it’s like to be outside. Show people how much there is to see both in and out of the water. There is a generation of kids thinking that fishing is cool because of Instagram, but there are so many other reasons why we fish. Not for a photo, but for the experience of understanding and being a part of the outdoors.
GRG : What was the best lesson learned at guide school? Best Memory?
AP: GRG provides not just the business aspect of guiding but what to expect as a guide. I enjoyed learning hands on activity with bugs, the variety of fishing that was taught: walk wade days / mock guiding practice / shallow creeks vs. big waters / and learning the difference between freestone and tailwaters. The first day at guide school was promptly announced: We always have people end in tears - whether it's because they super enjoyed themselves, or realization this is not the career for them. There isn't a single takeaway, the entire experience is eye opening and well taught.
GRG : Where are you now? How many days are you guiding since finishing school?
AP: Since finishing school, I now work at a fly shop in Craig, Montana. This last summer all I did was fish. When I wasn’t at work or fishing, I was doing volunteer guide trips with Project Healing Water, I gave my time and held casting practice to help me learn as an instructor and also did fly tying with veterans. Helping them also helped me as a teacher, instructor, guide, forever learner. I will be guiding in the 2018 season - but just have a goal of 25-30 trips as I will be a first-year guide. It's been a long journey for me - before this I was a jr. guide working at a guide service with an internship for 2 seasons, now I went to guide school & finished a season at a fly shop. I am more than proud to add this credential to my resume as a fisherman and guide and can't wait for what the future brings.
GRG : Thanks for your time Alexia. We gotta ask the “plug” question now. Why would you recommend attending guide school?
AP: Whether you're actively pursuing guiding, or just want to become a better angler - this school hits all aspects and provides you with the information you need to excel or succeed as a better fly fisherman/ guide. I absolutely recommend The Montana Fly Fishing Guide School.