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Discussion Starter #1
Just got back from a week on the Bulkley. Had four of the greatest Steelhead days of my life with two good Guides and three of the worst days of my life with the worst guide on the face of the planet, let alone the Bulkley. The fish are pouring into the Bulkley which is low and you have to have a guide with half a brain or one that will listen to you when you point out to him where the fish are holding, but they are numerous and they are huge! My three biggest fish ever. Bulkley fish are not supposed to get that big! It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about how wonderful it was and just a touch of bitterness about how terribly this bum who posed as a guide treated my best friend and I.
 

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Unc:

Just wondering, but if you had to point out to YOUR guide where the fish are holding, what is the point in having a guide :confused: Very perplexing to say the least. Seems to me that only a sport with half a brain would hire a guide so the he/she, he/she being the sport, could point out to guide where the fish are.
 

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I couldn't help but think the same thing Nch'i-wana. And why add some sort of commercial element (a big detraction to me) to your experience when you don't need to?
 

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Guide to chosing guides

If we can complain about things like blown-out rivers, late-arriving fish runs, and water-hogging boaters, why should it be a PC violation to acknowledge that there is the occasional guide who seems to be nothing more than an opportunist who wants to play outdoors and get paid for it?

Jack O'Connor, a highly esteemed shooting and hunting writer, occasionally complained about hunting guides who couldn't cook, adequately make camp, handle horses, or field-dress game. Guiding is usually a licensed profession practiced far from the eyes of the regulators. Well-founded criticism is one of the few ways of exposing the lazy and dangerously inept, something that competent guides should welcome. :tsk_tsk:
 

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On some rivers

a guide is required by law, so you cannot fish without one.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
We were staying at a lodge and were forced to use the guides provided by the lodge. Two of the lodge guides were great guys who figgured out where the fish were holding and gave good service. The third was an abusive alcoholic that hated his life and job and did his best to make the experience as unpleasant as he possibly could for us. He had two mantras that he kept repeating, "A guide has a plan. He fishes his clients according to that plan." The second, "Don't piss off the guide". During camp, he intentionally burned our steaks on one side and left them raw on the other because we requested them well done. He rowed so close behind a wading angler that even when he shipped oars, the poor angler had to duck to avoid being hit. He continually crashed the boat into holding fish, parking the boat where we should have been fishing. He kept blowing foul cigar smoke in our direction. He smacked us in the back with the oars as he rowed. He nearly threw us out of the boat a few times when he crashed into rocks. He got drunk in camp. He bailed out of the boat, left the oars swinging ang bashed my friend in the head. On the last day, he decided that I had caught too many fish and determined that I was not to catch any more. He put me on frog water all morning and when he finally gave me a decent run in the afternoon, he rowed the boat thru it. When I managed to accidently catch a fish on the reel up, he got angry. Later, he put me on the worst water that he could find and put my friend on a good run. When my friend caught a fish and the guide went to net it, I hurried down stream to some more promising water and hooked my biggest Steelhead of the trip. This infuriated him. He came down swearing ar me and barking instructions, demanding that I fight that fish in every way that I know would have made me lose it such as tighten the drag, point the rod at the fish, ridiculous things like that. As I brought the fish in, he made three swings at it with the cradle net trying to knock it off the hook, but he failed and when the fish rolled over, he was forced to net him.
"You've got your 40 incher." He said. "Well over 20 pounds." I watched as he taped him and indeed the tail was just beyond the 40 inch mark. He told me to remove the hook and then he did something that I have never heard of before, he said, "I'm going to take the first picture with your fish." As I moved in to get in the picture, he dropped the net and shoved the fishes tail thru to freedom before my friend could take a picture. Them he turned and looked at me with a sneer on his face!
I did not say a word. I composed myself. I kept telling myself that I was in Canada, and we rowed to the take out and returned to the lodge in silence.
That night at dinner, we said nothing and after dinner as I packed for the trip home, I heard him say, "I'm going to say goodbye to Craig." I met him half way up the stairs. His parting words to me were, "You needed to be knocked down a peg or two."
Needless to say, I registered a complaint with the lodge owner who assured me that he would deal with the problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
One thing that I should add. I never complained at any time during the entire trip and waited until I got home to tell the owner what had happened. I am a quiet guy who suffers in silence and perhaps this made the guide think that he could push me around. If I had said something early on, maybe the abuse would have stopped, but I worried about what he might do to my friend or our equipment.
 

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Uncle Craig.
Really sorry to hear about your bad experience on the Bulkley.
Its unfortunate there are still some bad guides around,I'm suprised the owners of the camp haven't done some thing about this guy before today.I'm sure other people have had similar experiences to yours.
On the other hand I have heard of many wondefull guides on the river through friends and reps we know who fish there all the time.
I would definately recomend you ask lots of questions before thinking about another trip there.
There has to some one on this forum who knows or can recomend a good guide for you next time.
Don't be put off by this as there is wonderfull fishing here in Canada with lots of really nice people.
Speyladdie. :smokin:
 

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Wow, that's an amazing story. Sadly, it's a story that you will remember instead of a great fishing trip. I hope that the Lodge owner took appropriate actions.

David
 

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Honestly, what you should have done is stood eye to eye with him and let him know in no uncertain terms that you were not going to be treated like that, and then have the same conversation at the end of the day with both the guide and his boss back at the lodge. His boss, even if he shared the guides disrespect for you, would not likely want to take a chance on the complaints, bad press and even possible reimbursement of funds over his mistreatment of a guest. Most jerks back off real quick when confronted, but press on when their behavior is allowed. Waiting until the trip was over netted you nothing, as now it is too late to do anything about it, except tell everyone (including us here) exactly what lodge this was so we can make sure not to spend our money there.
 

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Moose,

I am sure that each of us would have reacted differently to the situation. Moreover, the issue is not how Uncle Craig reacted but the inferior guide service that he received. I think that the proper focus is on the problem and not on the etiquette of dealing with the problem.

David

P.S. - what is the site's policy about posting bad experiences with sponsors? Is that something that should be privately directed to Dana?
 

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On speypages we've always conducted ourselves in a high-minded fashion. From time-to-time folks have posted here about a bad experience, and this is fine, but I think the best approach is the following:

1. contact the sponsor directly and let them know how you feel. If you don't get satisfaction from the customer service rep, move on up the ladder until you speak with someone who can help you. Most of the time this will solve your problem.

2. if things don't get sorted out with a sponsor I would certainly be interested in hearing about it, mindful that there are two sides to every story and that it is always in everyone's best interest to sort things out without any bloodshed (as my hero Shrek said, "Can't we settle this over a pint?").

The steelhead/salmon/spey community is very small, and word spreads quickly. Few fly fishing businesses can afford any sort of bad publicity, so they aren't likely to let anything slide if a customer has concerns and is willing to express them. I don't think it's fair to condemn an entire lodge operation because of the behaviour of one employee. Craig had a bad experience, but he says that the lodge owner was going to deal with the problem. He was willing to share his story with speypages readers but avoided names. If anyone is interested in finding out more about the story they should contact Craig directly via PM or email and see if he's willing to share any of the details with you.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I feal that I owe the board an apology. The intent of my original post was to give an optomistic report on the Bulkley River, a true Steelhead Paradise in my way of thinking with just a word of caution that there is a snake in Paradise. Unfortunately, the focus became the snake instead of the wonderful fishing to be had on the Bulkley. For this, I am sorry.
I read Dana's post asking, "Where are the Skeena summer Steelhead?", and having just returned from the best Steelhead fishing of my limited experience, I sought to answer his question and give hope to anglers who have planned a trip to this area because I feel that hope is definitely justified. We witnessed a constant parade of Steelhead pouring past us as we fished the Bulkey and everyone that we talked to marveled at the great numbers of fish. From what I had read, some of the fish that we saw, hooked and even landed were larger than I had expected to find. The scenery and experience alone would have been worth the trip under different circumstances.
As it turned out, everyone else treated me very well. I was fortunate enough to land more than double the number of Steelhead that I have caught on my best week fishing the Deschutes and the fishing Gods blessed me beyond my abilities as I was able to land my three largest Steelhead ever. I don't have a picture of the 40 incher, but I hooked him, fought him, landed him, removed the hook from his mouth, memorized his beauty and thanked him for a magnificent battle. I also thank Almight God who made such a fish and such a great river and land. A picture is just oxidized chemicals on paper or electrons on a monitor.
I have read so many depressing reports lately about the declining number of fish on the Dean or the scarcity of the Thompson River fish. I fear that many fishing oportunities will be gone before I can get there or that bad health will rob me of my chance. Please take heart. The fish are in the Bulkley. Get there if you can. Paradise still exists.
 

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Craig,

Having come back from the Bulkley just a few days before you, I'm curious where you were fishing. Your experiences with numbers and size run counter to what my group and those we spoke to were finding. I suspect as many of us hoped, the fish were just late this year. Our Bulkley days were focused on the Telkwa to Smithers stretch and those I talked to were either fishing this stretch or upriver (Quick to Telkwa) or further up on the Morice. If you don't mind sharing, where were you finding abundance?

sinktip
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
When we got there, the lodge owner explained that many Steelhead had held in the Skeena to feed on the eggs of an above average run of Pink Salmon.
At first, the Steelhead were behind the remaining Pinks, then began travelling upriver pretty fast. Our first day,we fished from Telkwa to just above Smithers and there were few fish at that time. The next two days were spent on a camping trip in the canyon and we began to encounter moving fish in large numbers that were not holding in traditional lies. Day 4, we floated a few miles just above the Smithers bridge to just below there. The traveling fish were found holding in troughs below gravel bars and riffles, I assume to get more oxygen as they rested. My first best fishing occurred just above the bridge and included a 38 incher.
The next day was the start of another two day camping trip from Morice town down river. I was again stuck with the bad guide and caught nothing fishing his "plan" and traditional holding water but we again saw a lot of moving fish. Day six, we started at a place called, "Stupendous" that more than lived up to its name and with the help of another really good guide who had figgured it out, we were able to take several fish,including a 39 incher. Please don't think I'm bragging. I swear that is not my intent.
The last day, we were scheduled to fish what they called the upper water but the reports were bad from there so we again flaoted from Telkwa to just below Smithers.
While we were there, the water was quite low according to them and it was warm. We took most of our fish on greased lines. I hope that this helps those of you going there and doesn't get me in too much trouble with the folks that I went with. Oh what the hell, the best fly was a Blue Bruce.
 

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Uncle Craig
That is encouraging - the numbers realy were not there on my Sept trip, this brings hope for my impending Oct trip.
As a Canadian resident I must express my dismay at the way you were handled by the one guide - I have witnessed this behaviour before and cannot condone it. Unfortunately speaking out is the only way it gets adressed.
speydoc
 

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Uncle Craig,

Thanks for sharing the news about the good fishing you experienced. As for the not-so-good guide, how you decide to deal with people in this world is your business. Suffering in silence is one alternative, and only you can decide if it delivers what you want out of life. However, your description suggests that it didn't, at least this time. Being clear and direct with people in adversarial situations may not be your personality, but it is another alternative. It is also possible to do so without being hostile. Please consider that you were paying for a particular service. And you were entitled to receive it. I might have let the first transgression pass, as everyone makes mistakes. But the second time, and when its deliberateness is apparent, you would have been well within reason to remind your guide what you were paying for and that you'd like him to deliver it. Clear and direct; he knows what you expect, and that puts the ball in his court to either come through or not. If not, you can always let him know you're not paying for service not rendered, and let him know the day's fishing is over, and take it up with the manager immediately, rather than after the trip. Better to lose one day's fishing than to get stuck with the same fellow a second day.

I've found that the least aggravating time to deal with anything unpleasant is - NOW.

Sincerely,

Salmo g.
 

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Unlucky !!!

Regret to hear your disapointing experiance up this way, Uncle Craig.
It sounds like your sour guide's Montana Factor was in full high gear...

I know the outfitter, and hopefully, he'll deal with the situation, for future clients.

The Blue Bruce was popular-ized by a Mr. Bruce Davidson, a client of the camp back in the early 90's. I tied a whack of them for the lodge last year, so I'm uncertain if you fished your own tie, bought some from the lodge, or had your good guide tie you some.

It fishes extremely well, and many a Skeena steehead has fallen prey to it.

All the best, and hopefully, you'll come back and see us.

Montana Factor as dubbed by Eastern Americans tinyurl.com/yxt46o ....this url points to a web collection of articles from all over, form magazines, newspapers, etc..........regrets...I mis-interpreted the policies on this site. I'll not do it again. thx...KD

Best, Ken Driedger Smithers, BC (Ken D)
 
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