A Fly Fishing Guide's Daily Routine

by Jake Schilling March 09, 2020 2 Comments

By Jake Schilling - March 2020

A Fly Fishing Guide's Daily Routine

Jake Schilling - Professional Fly Fishing Guide


Every guide has their own routine for the day, before, during and after the guide trip there are certain things we replicate daily.  We're creatures of habit, just like MLB closers and meter maids. Here's what a normal float trip day looks like for me.

6:00 am- Wake up, usually to my dog licking my face.

6:05-6:15- Walk dog, fingers crossed she doesn't see a fox.

6:15- Feed dog, start the coffee.

6:15-6:30- Shower, no one wants to fish with a stinky guide.

6:30-6:40-  Get dressed and pack extra clothes, plan on temps between 30-80 degrees for most of the guide season.  The Madison Valley can certainly change 50 degrees in a day.  

6:40-7:00- Make breakfast and my lunch for the day.  Lunch is usually salami, pickles, fruit & Dotz pretzels.  Leftover pizza makes a cameo appearance at least once a week.

7:00-7:15-  Get gas, ice, any last-minute snacks for the day.

7:15-7:30- Get to MRO, clean out cooler, truck, boat w/ any leftover garbage or river funk.

7:30-8:00- Stock cooler, pack lunches into the boat, organize flies, annoy the other guides.

8:00- Meet the client(s)!  Time to figure out the who/what/when/where/whys for the day.

8:05- Hit the road, off to the ramp.  Stop for Mountain Goats. Explain Quake Lake.  

8:45-9:00- Arrive at the ramp on Madison; usually Pine Butte, Lyon, Windy or Ruby.

9:00-9:20- Load boat, get on waders, rig rods.  Usually, the time to explain my disdain for the Madison River Foundation.  

9:20-9:30- Launch boat.

9:31-  Explain how boat shuttles work.  No, I will not be rowing back upstream at the end of our float.   

9:30-10:00-  Even if we floated together yesterday, we'll practice a few techniques from a parked boat until the rust is off.

10:00 am -12:30 pm. -  Fish!  Pull anchor, let's go.  Start with a slow pace, let other boats get way out in front.  Take advantage of all the open room on the river.  

12:30-1:00-  Lunch & recap of the morning- what to expect and what to work on for the afternoon.

  • Last year this time was also used for getting rain gear on and/or ready, we had heavy afternoon rainstorms all but 4 or 5 days last July

1:00-5:00-  Fish!  Time to really take advantage of the open river, many of the boats you started with will be off the river by 3:00.  

5:00-6:00-  Hit Ramp, unload the boat, take waders off (best part of the day), organize gear, hit the road back to the big city of West Yellowstone.  

6:15-6:30-  Get back to town, unload the truck, share photos, shake hands, hopefully, plan dates for another trip later in the season or next year.  

6:31-  Check the schedule for tomorrow.

6:32-7:00-  Stop by Bullwinkles for a game of ring-toss, say hey to the other guides,  have a beer (hopefully Bong Water by Kettlehouse) on tap.

7:00-7:30-  Run the dog at the old airport or take her for a swim in Hebgen Lake.  

7:30-8:00- Dinner time, or stop by Taco bus. 

8:00-9:00- Fly tying, time to bust out a quick dozen for tomorrow if you or the local shops are running low on a pattern.  Otherwise, couch time.  

9:00-11:00- Wake up on the couch, head to bed.  

Hit Reset and Repeat.


Professional Fly Fishing Guide Jake Schilling

About Jake Schilling - Professional Fly Fishing Guide - Madison River Outfitters

At age 21 Jake moved to West Yellowstone from Missoula in May 2012. That first summer he spent two months living in a tent, before moving into a 1971 Lark camper until October.  After three years of part-time guiding, Jake moved into a full-time guide job with MRO.  During the winter he spends his time spey casting, midge fishing, steelhead fishing, and cross-country skiing while off work. Jake’s laid-back attitude and patience are unmatched, he loves taking the day slow; walking the boat and always having one more fly to try before moving on.

Madison River Outfitters Guide Trips with Jake Schilling


Madison River Newsletter

Jake Schilling
Jake Schilling


2 Responses

jake schilling
jake schilling

March 28, 2020

Thanks Wendy. That’s an early start!

Wendy Krueger
Wendy Krueger

March 28, 2020

I guide in north eastern Arizona. Similar day but we have to start super early at 5am before it gets too hot out! ( or rains in afternoon in July- Sept). No boat, but hike- in and wet- wade… answer question from some"do we have to get wet?" :)

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.