Montana Fishing Guide School "Luke McCready"

Montana Fishing Guide School "Luke McCready"

Luke joined us for our May 2017 guide school and quickly became a familiar face around the shop. New to the game Luke spent his spare time in the shop going through all our fly selections for hours, studying each individual pattern and slowly filling his fly boxes. He probably knows our flies better than we do. 

For his first season guiding, Luke got a lot of work.  A lot more than your average first-year guide. Luke is a hard worker and what we like to call a Yes Man. Last minute three-person two hour?  Yes. Pond trip with a four and five-year-old?  Yes.  It's a valuable lesson for all first-year guides.  Being at the bottom of the totem and saying yes will keep you plenty busy and build relationships into the future. 


How long have you been fishing?

I've been fishing ever since I was a gleam in my parents' eyes. My father was a charter boat fishing captain on the Great Lakes and my parents were always fishing so I was already fishing as a lump in my mother's tummy.

When you signed up for guide school were you planning on guiding or just looking to improve your angling skills?

I was definitely planning on guiding from the get-go. I was also looking (and always looking) to improve my angling skills.

What made you want to be a fishing guide?

I have been fishing in the Rocky Mountains for over a decade and saw the potential to dovetail professional fishing guiding into my existing business model as a property manager in Big Sky. Guiding is also an amazing opportunity to share my passion for fishing with other people interested in pursuing angling as a hobby.

What was your biggest takeaway from guide school?  Best memory?

The most valuable takeaway from guide school was making connections and establishing long-lasting relationships with other anglers that are passionate about professional fishing opportunities. My best memory was seeing how each participant rapidly progressed in their own way by being exposed to the talent and knowledge base that the school offered. The variety of guide instructors, the variety of the water we were able to fish, and the varying water conditions gave us the perfect lab to hone and improve our skills as well as learn new skills and tactics to up our angling game.

For your first year guiding, you wound up with a lot of work this summer. What would you attribute that to?

I was very fortunate to have had all my paperwork ducks in a row and hit the river in full stride after guide school (thanks GRG!). The hardest part about getting everything going was overcoming all the administrative processes to get a guide license. I already had all the equipment and tools necessary to execute guiding, but cutting through the red tape was a lengthy process in making sure all of the necessary paperwork and apps lined up correctly. Make a list and check the hurdles off!

I also think that I was able to field a lot of guide trips because of the fact that I lived in Big Sky and was always locked and loaded for any last minute trips that came into the shop. Following a few simple rules helped make me successful. 

  1. A guide is always ready! (thanks T.-Todd).
  2. Never say no to trips
  3. Adapt and adjust your schedule on a moment's notice (thanks Jimmy!).   

Do you still keep in contact with friends made in guide school?  Still fish with any?

Absolutely! The network that one can establish during guide school is priceless. Connect via social media, email, facebook etc. Whether connecting with one another in our neck of the woods, asking for advice, or planning some fishing sessions, it is important to foster those relationships and make them last.You never know if one day it could turn into an amazing opportunity. 

Why would you recommend signing up for guide school?

Guide School offers valuable takeaways for all ability levels and aspirations.  

Thanks Luke for working so hard this summer and helping with all those last minute trips!   

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Gallatin River Guides

  • Gallatin River Guides Big Sky, Montana fly fishing store and guide service near Bozeman, Montana and Yellowstone National Park
  • 406-995-2290
  • [email protected]
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