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The Backstage Pass

The Best Questions to Ask When Booking a Guided Fly Fishing Trip

May 03, 23

Your interest has been piqued. The time has come for you to stop reading online about your friends and other angler’s epic fishing adventures and begin planning your own trip of a lifetime. For someone who hasn’t yet had the opportunity to explore fishing possibilities outside their native stomping grounds, it can be a life-changing experience not soon forgotten. So where does one begin?

We get asked all sorts of questions from anglers and their companions from all walks of life, fishing skill sets and experiences about how they can best find and prepare for their guided fishing trip. While so much of where you go and what you want to do determines the right answer, we here at Yellow Dog are experts at asking these questions and have compiled our list of the top questions to ask when booking a guided trip with Yellow Dog Fly Fishing Adventures to make your trip a truly memorable one.

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What kind of experience do I want? What’s your bucket list fish? What species are available to fish for at a certain location?

It all starts with a dream but to make that trip to one of our 185 lodges around the world a reality, you need to focus on what species you want to target and ask what species are available to catch at the destination you’re interested in visiting. You have your options.

Zeroing in on the details like “Do you want a freshwater or saltwater destination? Does the lodge have dry fly fishing options? Are you concerned with the quality or quantity of your target species? Do you want to be in a remote location or do you want access to town, nightlife, culture?”

Taking the step to chat with our Program Directors will help you get a clear picture of what possibilities await you.

If you don’t ask the right questions, you could end up in a place where you and your group are not qualified to fish. This is the reason to call us here at Yellow Dog, we work closely with our clients to match their fishing skillsets and expectations to a place that will meet those expectations, time, and money spent traveling there. We want anglers to return from their fishing adventure excited and looking forward to booking their next trip because of their previous positive experience. Building trust and putting the time into creating the best trip for our anglers makes all of the difference. We are here to represent you, the angler, in matching your expectations with the right destination.

2. What are the important dates and times to go to a destination so that it works with the program schedule that you will be a part of?

Depending on the time of year, bookings for our fly fishing lodges can fill up quickly due to demand and limited availability with certain locales. We take the time to figure out not only the best location to fulfill your angling itch, but we also make sure to find the best balance between your schedule and the ideal times to target fish.

3. Why book a guided trip compared to me doing it myself?

Your valuable vacation time and your money are important to take into consideration. Planning a fishing trip of a lifetime yourself you end up not having anyone else’s first-hand experience to go off of and blind googling doesn’t always yield the best results for the right organizations to give you the experience you deserve. Instead, you are left up to your own devices and will have to guess. It’s difficult to ascertain what your experience will be like based on independent research. It’s so important to tap into the knowledge and expertise of the people who have been there who know the guides that know the operations and can give the client a straight shot. Working with an experienced, program director from Yellow Dog Fly Fishing Adventures will translate to a better trip – each and every time.

Here at Yellow Dog, we want to make sure our anglers go to the right destination, at the right time, with the right information and unbiased information. You get hands-on assistance, valuable firsthand knowledge, and support on all levels – all at no additional cost to you. After all, we don’t sell what we don’t know and where we haven’t been. We are trying to give you the best possible experience that is consummate with you and your group’s skill level, budget, and goals to help you find the right fit.

We strongly believe that it’s important to match every client with the right destination.

Our trips are not sold based on contracts or exclusives that we have with lodges, or beds that we are obligated to fill. Rather, with a strong diversity of locations, lodge options, and price points, we can match you and your trip expectations with the right lodge, the right guide, and the right package – at exactly the right time of year.

4. What activities are available for any non-anglers in the group to do?

Depending upon who will be joining you on your adventure, it’s important to take into consideration the wants and desires of all individuals in your group. Is it a family trip, a couple’s trip, or a guy’s trip? Maybe members of your party want to step away from the curated lodge experience to explore the local culture and do some site seeing, wine tasting, or perhaps they only want to relax near the lodge while soaking up the sun on a beach. Everyone has their own idea of what they would be interested in doing and it’s important to have good communication between all members of your group to gain everyone’s input.

Some do but many lodges don’t give the opportunity to get out to explore the surrounding inner fabric and regular life of community outside the resort. Exploring the dichotomy between the world of a curated lodge experience or going off to explore surrounding points of interest is a matter of what kind of destination it is, how much time you have during your trip, and how interested you are to get off the beaten path. Most of our lodges are catered to a very American experience by offering familiar meal options and speaking English.

Asking the right questions helps to focus your time so that you can maximize the experience. Along with that, asking us how your days will be scheduled at your destination will help everyone in your party plan for the best possible experience.

5. What gear and flies do I need to bring or is it already provided? What accommodations do I need to prepare for? Are meals included, do I have to eat all of my meals at the lodge, or are there other places to eat?

It’s all fun and games until you get to your destination lodge only to realize you are underprepared for the situations you encounter. Not realizing your booked trip falls within a local rainy season and you forgot your rain jacket can quickly put a damper on your experience. Asking your travel specialist if your lodge will supply equipment like rods, waders, or flies or if you need to bring your own is an important detail to find out. Some do, some do not.

The same goes for knowing the accommodations you will be experiencing during your lodge visit. Remember that each one is different. Knowing if there will be laundry services or common appliances like are hairdryers or provided wifi. All of our destination-specific, extensive pre-trip packets are loaded with relevant information on individual fisheries, relevant species, gear, and equipment, packing lists, fly recommendations, and much more catered directly to your experience. We guarantee that you have never seen materials as detailed, significant, and useful as what Yellow Dog provides for every trip that we book.

6. Am I OK with a day or more of travel to get to the destination? How long should I plan my trip?

Getting from realizing your dream fishing destination to arriving at the front door has a wide crevasse of travel logistics that need to be locked in prior to your departure. Often those adventure opportunities to fly fish remote foreign waters require a little more time to reach the destination than others do. While we take the time to help you book the best travel arrangements with reliable carriers, there is always a chance of delayed flights, less than ideal weather, or any other unforeseen travel hurdles. It’s important that you have a good open mindset when embarking on your trip and scheduling some buffer travel days is always a safe bet. Also, knowing you have a long journey to your destination means planning ahead to take your health and comfort into consideration.

If you’ve never visited a certain place before, a common suggestion from our travel experts is to plan to have as long a stay as possible. You might find that dedicating some of that time to other experiences besides the fishing like snorkeling, diving, eco-tourism can be a really rewarding experience. For many of the lodges we book all over the world, it can be a long way to go for a short amount of time, and not having the right amount of time to explore you can miss out on so much.

Ultimately, anglers need to ask themselves, what do they want to get out of this trip? Then our expert program directors can tell you suggest how much time you will need to achieve your travel wish list. It’s important to remember that no trip is the same but we will assist in making sure that you are getting the right package to meet your expectations.

7. Tipping, how does it work?

We get this question a lot. In our experience, one doesn’t think about tipping until you’re in that situation. Depending on the customs of the place you are visiting it can be it can be considered rude to not tip and in other places not customary. It all comes down to know the local culture and we work to educate our clients so they don’t find themselves in an awkward situation.

This goes along with knowing if a place accepts US dollars or will you need to exchange for local currency. We feel it’s good to have some cash on hand for taxis, tipping, and random little expenses while traveling. A great option is using a credit card like the Capital One Adventure card because they don’t charge fees for transactions in foreign countries.

We've written an entire article about tipping your guide, which you can find here.

8. How long has the fishing operation been in business? Are the guides experienced? Do you have the same guides every year or do they contract out to independent guides?

We take pride in the fact that we have spent time at each destination that we represent as well as fished with all the guides that we have anglers fishing with. Here at Yellow Dog, it isn’t simply about filling beds, we want to make sure that your needs and expectations are met at a destination and fishery that we know firsthand. Our goal is not only to visit each region and operation within once but instead to consistently visit and continue building on these relationships, see additions, meet new team members, and continue building on the best pre-trip materials in the industry.

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