I have heard too many horror stories about ornery or aggressive guides that have ruined what could have been a great day on the water. That is a crying shame. It is my personal belief that people book a guided fishing trip in Alaska for one reason; and that is to have fun. Everyone has their own dream of what a good day on the water means to them. Some want the most fish, some the biggest, some just want to see the wildlife and watch their friends and loved ones enjoy themselves. When you are fishing on the Kenai River it should be a low-pressure enjoyable experience.
The best way to find that perfect guide who can give you the experience you want starts with research. The world-wide web gives you the opportunity to look at reviews of businesses after you look at someone’s web site. Be a little weary of the reviews, some outfits have lots and lots of vanilla reviews, and some have very few and those were probably from friends and family. Being able to discern the reviews that are from the heart, versus the family reviews or the forced follow-up reviews, is important.
After you look at web sites and reviews, the next thing to do is get on the phone or even FaceTime or Zoom with your guide or outfitter and talk to them. It is important that you feel some connection or have a feel for the honesty of your guide, because for some this may be a once-in-a-lifetime trip and having a connection is important. If someone can’t or doesn’t want to answer your questions, in person, be wary. It is easy for a desk jockey to promise you everything you want and then pawn you off on a guide who has to try and deliver the impossible, or meet unrealistic expectations. Don’t be fooled by the person who tells you, you will get limits everyday or catch the trophy of your dreams no matter what.
It is important to remember that when you are fishing the Kenai River it is a natural resource and you will be in a fair-chase scenario where timing, technique, and skill-set all play a part in your success. Guides are just that; guides. Guides are not miracle workers and all we can do is control the controllable’s and let Mother Nature do the rest.