Cost Effective Way Into Guiding | Fly Fishing Insider Podcast

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In this episode, host Christian Bacasa interviews Michael Matthews, a former athlete and fly fishing guide. Michael grew up in a fly fishing family and had a passion for the sport from a young age. He attended the University of Montana, where he played football and also worked as a fly fishing guide. Balancing his athletic commitments with his guiding job was challenging, but Michael managed to make it work. He lived in a shack near the university and guided during the summers. Throughout his time as a guide, Michael developed relationships with his teammates and coaches, who were also avid fishermen. He worked with outfitters such as Missoula River Lodge and Atlas Outfitting to guide clients on the rivers in the Missoula area. In this conversation, Michael Matthews shares his experiences as a fly fishing guide and a former football player for the University of Montana. He talks about the abundance of fly fishing opportunities in Missoula and the joy of combining his passion for guiding and football. Michael emphasizes the importance of building relationships with clients and how it enhances the guiding experience. He also provides tips on cost-effective ways to get into guiding and fly fishing, including buying affordable equipment and starting with a raft instead of a drift boat. Michael highlights the benefits of having buddies on the boat and learning to row together.


  • Balancing a demanding athletic schedule with a guiding job requires careful time management and dedication.
  • Living in close proximity to fishing rivers and having access to private ranches can provide unique opportunities for a fly fishing guide.
  • Building relationships with teammates and coaches who share a passion for fishing can create a supportive and enjoyable environment.
  • Working with reputable outfitters can provide a professional and rewarding guiding experience. Missoula is a fly fishing Mecca with numerous rivers and accessible fishing spots.
  • Combining guiding and football allowed Michael to live his dream and create unique experiences for his clients.
  • Building relationships with clients is a crucial aspect of guiding and can lead to long-lasting friendships.
  • Getting into guiding and fly fishing can be affordable by purchasing used equipment and starting with a raft instead of a drift boat.

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Christian Bacasa, Host of the Fly Fishing Insider Podcast

By Christian Bacasa
Host of the Fly Fishing Insider Podcast

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