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Gordo's Guide Service

gordon p

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My family has owned property outside of Rhinelander WI. since 1951.  My maternal grandfather purchased 80 acres of land including approx. 600 ft. of lakefront for $10,000.                                                                              I would spend the entire summer there as a kid from the age of about 5 till I was 16.   It was always my desire to live there some day.  My girlfriend and I had planned on doing this in the Spring of 2021.  The recent pandemic has changed those plans. It's likely we will have to move this year unless a minor miracle occurs. Though I will take early Social Security ( I became eligible this year ) I can't really "retire".  My life as a musician,  providing me with more fun than anyone has a right to, did not instill me with good long-term planning skills. 😉    

Ok, what has this got to do with fishing you ask ?   One way I would like to generate income, on a part time basis, would be to do some guiding. From 1999-2007 I did somewhere between  300 and 500 solo floats on 40 or so rivers throughout Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa.   A few of these I fished a fair amount and know them pretty well. Plus, there is my "home" river the upper Wisconsin. 

I talked to some people at the Blowout about this and I am doing a little research here to gauge interest from ISA members.

A few things, I am not a guide---yet. My initial forays into this would be to get my guiding chops together and gain more experience on the waters. I do not own a drift boat, fishing would be done out of a canoe.

Some of the rivers could require portages, this would require some degree of willingness and reasonable physical shape.

I would make this available to ISA members only at first. It would be aimed at hardcore smallie anglers.  Not interested in families, kids, newbs, etc.

A few more words about experience.  I'll use Tight Lines as an example.  Some of those guys spend close to 100 days on the water in a single season. Over a ten year period ( I think they have been guiding on the Menominee for close to 20, correct ? ) that's almost a thousand days on one river.

Now contrast that with your pal Gordo. My favorite stretch of river I have been floating for about 20 years as well. But, I may only float it 4-5 times a year ( I wade fish it sometimes too ) so lets say I have floated it 75 times.  That's less than one season of the guides at Tight Lines. So I need more time on the water.  I "know" it but not like I want and need to. That being said, I have caught many fish there and a good number of fish in the 20" class.

So I would be willing to offer my services  at a reduced rate, you save money and I get more time on the water.  Again, using Tight Lines as an example, their day rate is $495.   I am thinking $225 for a days fishing.  There is also the possibility of overnight lodging at our place. Not sure how to price that yet.  Also, you would have to let me fish........a little.

There is also a "sleeper" river that I am finally cracking the code on a bit.   BIG fish there. 

It's possible that I could have some dates available starting in July.  

Looking forward to getting some feedback from my fellow ISA members.  You can PM me too if you want.

Oh, here is a photo of a Wisconsin River fish I caught over Memorial Day weekend. I finally got to fish with Paul Trybul again after many years. Paul was the first guy to bid on the trip I offer at the Blowout, gotta be at least 10 years ago. Paul turned me on to a "new" river last week and this fish was caught on a borrowed Whopper Plopper. Thanks, Paul !


Trybul smallie.jpg

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You are welcome Gordon. Over the years you have been very generous with me on your knowledge of rivers and access points throughout Wisconsin. I'm glad I finally had the opportunity to pay it back with a  gem of a section I discovered on my own while vacationing up there.  Something that was relatively close to your home that offered trophy potential. Good luck on your guiding efforts. I've always enjoyed my float outings with you. You are very knowledgeable and have a lot to offer as a guide.

The best advice I could give you is to try to outfit your float rig to cater to the fly fisherman. Maybe some type of stand up platform. From what I've seen the fly fisherman tend to invest more into this type of guiding services.

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Hi Gordon,  I have a little bit of knowledge on this topic. I would be more then willing to share some info with you if you so desire. I was blessed to have moved to Batavia and the first and only people I knew when I moved here were the Conns ,who owned Batavia Bait and Tackle. Some flyers posted in the shop and some great referrals , I entertained  20 clients a year for approximately 3 years.  After awhile my fishing time just wasn't as enjoyable. More then once , I did not fish while guiding, due to customer request. It is something that clients would request and as paying clients their requests were always granted. I would love to use your service , when your up and running . YES, YOU COULD FISH. (lol) I think John and Paul have great points that you should consider ...some people DO not Like canoes..Tippy when Tipsy. Perhaps outriggers so fly guys could stand and cast. You are in a great area and you have experience on the river, I think your learning curve will ascend rapidly if you choose this endeavor. Nothing but the best! It's only rock and roll but I like it. BASS or Bass it's what drives the soul! 


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Thanks for the good feedback Kevin. I get the part about canoes.  I recently replaced my Cranberry Creek with a 14ft. Old Town Osprey. I got lucky and found one for sale made of ROYALEX !!   Cue heavenly music here. Much more forgiving on rocks.  Super stable, I stand in it with no problem.  I could see replacing the center thwart with a seat ( or move the front seat back a bit ) but the outriggers could seal the deal. I'll keep you posted  if it looks like I could offer some trips this year.

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