Mike Warren of Trout Buddy guides for trout on the spectacular Driftless Area of Wisconsin. Warren recently sat down to take on some questions for the Venturing Angler:
1. Why do you guide where you do?
Both Nick and I have lived and fished in the Vernon and LaCrosse county portions of the Driftless nearly all our lives … Even before the expansive stream improvements and habitat preservation projects.
2. What is your favorite fish specie?
Browns and Brookies
3. What is your favorite thing about guiding?
Absolutely love showing people new to the Driftless the incredible topography, skinny streams and beauty of the area. Getting a client back the second or third time is one of the most rewarding compliments a guide can receive.
4. What is the most memorable trip you’ve guided and why?
My first trip ever – a client from Michigan. At the end if the day he told me that we didn’t catch as many fish as he had the day before with a different service BUT he really enjoyed the relaxed style we offered and the fact we didn’t judge or critique his abilities.
5. What is the funniest thing you’ve experienced while guiding?
I took my future so in law on a freebie… He had never caught a trout in his life – after some warm up and a quick casting lesson on his forth cast I told him to toss his nymph just above a rock and wham… The look on his face was priceless!
6. What makes your guide service great?
We are all about the “experience”. Clean vehicles, developing friendships and listening to clients desires. I’d rather catch a few less fish and have a client leave happy than catch a bunch and have someone drive home thinking they just went to the dentist…
7. If you had only one day off all year, where would you fish and what fish would you target?
I’m a huge fan of Montana drift boats on the Big Horn, competing for slots on the Madison but the head waters if the Gallatin south of Big Sky in the northern reaches of Yellowstone is where I want my ashes spread.
8. What are your favorite three flies?
So many flies so few days… I guess a #16 tan scud on a Spring day in the Driftless or a #14 Dave’s hopper trailed by a #20 Trico on a hot summer night in Bohemian Valley my eyes aren’t that good anymore.
9. What is the one piece of gear you couldn’t bear to leave at home?
… Easiest question you have asked … I keep all my stuff in the back of my SUV. But I couldn’t bear to take a break from fishing, sit down along the bank only to find I didn’t have a Fuente Chatteau Maduro, cigar cutter and lighter in my pack. Makes me shiver to think.
10. Do you have any other passions?
I still enjoy playing a great golf course with friends on a summer afternoon or walking out to the garden and picking lettuce, tomato, pepper and onions to whip up a dinner salad — both leading to an after dinner scotch and cigar.
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