Each season brings a new group of anglers to Southwest Montana for our Montana Fishing Guide School, each full of anglers with different goals for the week. Some want to understand knots and fly selection so they can be better anglers at home, while others have high hopes of gaining valuable knowledge from experienced guides, networking and getting their hands dirty in the guide game. Kelly Harrison joined guide school with a good number of guide days already to her name, and took advantage of some local knowledge to increase her ability to guide new rivers. Kelly now helps with some of our Montana Women's School and has even gitteb
Another day in the life. Right at home on the sticks
Were you guiding in Missoula already when you signed up for Guide School?
My guide career started in the summer of 2015. I was the General Manager of an all inclusive lodge in Montana called the Missoula River Lodge. The outfitter I worked for knew there was a demand for female guides for both ladies and couples interested in fly fishing. I sprung at the opportunity and haven't looked back. I accomplished 85 days in my 2016 season and will exceed those days in 2017 thanks to Gallatin River Guides and the guide school they offer.
The rivers I guided around Missoula are the Clark fork, Bitterroot, Blackfoot, Rock Creek, and the Missouri.
If you were already guiding what made you think that Guide School would be helpful for your career?
As a female it was important for me to establish a concrete reputation in the industry. I wanted to ensure that the skills I possessed were accurate and my goal was to expand my career outside of Missoula. I want to be one of the few females to successfully fish and guide several trout meccas' around MT and that's what I intend to do. I currently premiere for the Stonefly Inn and Lodge in Twin Bridges, The Wolf Creek Angler on the Missouri River, and the Gallatin River Guides as an Instructor for the Women's Fly Fishing School.
Similar to the above, what were you hoping to take away from guide school and how did it meet your expectations.
My hope for the school was to confirm my skill set, learn new techniques for fishing and guiding, and to network within the industry. With the vast knowledge among the outfitters, guides, and shop staff I was able to learn more about our industry and apply it to my own career. I also was exposed to the fly shop setting which I had not been accustomed to. It was beneficial to get an inside look of how a fly shop operates and produces successfully.
My skill set was confirmed when Pat Straub offered me a position as an Instructor for his women's school. I have now added the Gallatin, Madison, Yellowstone, Jefferson, and the Beaverhead to the rivers I guide and can't wait to see what the 2018 season has in store for me!
What was your biggest takeaway?
Biggest takeaway was the confidence the guide school gave to achieve my goals in my guiding career. If your a newer guide in the industry and unsure of your skill level or would like to improve any aspect of your guide career I would recommend this school to you.
My other takeaway from the school is the networking it created so i could continue to be successful and accumulate days for my season and many seasons to come.
Thanks for your time Kelly. See you on one of many rivers soon.