Guide Profile: Fly Fishing the Kankakee River with Austin Adduci

Austin Adduci guide.jpg

Austin Adduci is a guide on the Kankakee River. A Sage Elite Pro, Adduci is also a Simms Ambassador, Hatch Ambassador, Stealthcraft Ambassador, a member of the Scientific Angler pro staff, and a Catch Fly Fishing signature tyer. Adduci recently took the time to interview with The Venturing Angler:

Why do you guide where you do?

I guide in the Chicago area on the Kankakee River. This is where I was raised and where both mine and my wife’s families live. I was the first to realize and believe in what we had in this major metropolitan area, and there wasn’t anyone else guiding on these waters. Fast forward this story, and for 10 years now I have established the fisheries, guiding full time to allow many angler the opportunity to understand how good fishing here can be.

What is your favorite fish species?

My top three list goes: tarpon, carp, smallmouth. After a lot of years of chasing tarpon, my knees still shake when they pop up in front of the boat. The sheer power and size is remarkable. Carp are number two because to catch one in the great lakes is much like hunting. The stalk needs to be right, the cast and presentation need to be perfect, and they pull hard. Smallmouth come in at number three for the lone fact they are freaking awesome.

Austin Adduci fly fishing

What is your favorite thing about guiding?

I’ve been fortunate to have spent a lot of time fishing for myself. I find it rewarding now not being the guy catching but instead helping people, watching their enjoyment, and making their day on the water memorable. That’s my favorite part of guiding.

What is the most memorable trip you’ve guided and why?

That’s a really hard question. There was a group of guys that came to Beaver Island while I was guiding there. One of the guys ended up with me solo in the boat for the day. This particular guy was a accomplished global angler who had 92 permit under his belt, (he was a real stick) the kind of dude a guide wishes for every day. Long story short, Mr. Permit starts the day catching his biggest smallmouth of his life (about a 5 ½ pounder), lands his first pike ever (low to mid 30” fish), and completes the day with an incredible feat. I was poling a flat looking for carp, when behind me a spot a fish at about 70 feet. I tell him about the fish so he can find it. I say, “hold on gimme a minute let me spin the boat for you,” he says, “I got this.” Remember now I’m on my tower, push pole in hand. With one double haul Mr. Permit fires a cast his line contours around me, the fly lands perfect, he feeds the fish, it eats, and after a few minutes he has a 39-pound carp sitting in his lap for pictures. I’ll never forget that day.

What is the funniest thing you’ve experienced while guiding?

As I stated in the first question I was the first guide here in Chicago. Drift boats were also new to the area. About year three into guiding, I was on the river one day with customers. One of my guys says “huh, look another boat” my head snapped on a swivel and I see this cat rowing down river right towards me. What makes this funny is he was back rowing down river. He was faced upstream. When he got close enough to me I said “might want to spin that thing around, it’ll be easier for you.” He slowed, spun the boat around and says “really that’s how you do it? Wow that is easier” I just sat there in total disbelief.

Austin Adduci

What makes your guide service great?

Any full time guide service across the country is great for the same reasons. Time spent on the water which allows us to be in tune with the day to day changes of the fisheries. I say to people, “everyone knows where I put in and take out. The big secret is how I get people catching fish every day.” Being on the water every day and having repeat customers for 10+ years is saying something. Guide services don’t survive if they’re not great.

If you had only one day off all year, where would you fish and what fish would you target?

I’m going to go bucket list here. I want to experience the East Coast striper and bluefish blitzes.

What are your favorite three flies?

I’ll answer this based on my guiding for smallmouth and what my guide boxes are full of.

Murdich Minnow
Yellow Boggle Bugs
Mimi Drunk and Disorderly

Austin Adduci tying

What is the one piece of gear you couldn’t bear to leave at home?

A tin of chew.

Do you have any other passions?

My kids. I have three ranging from high school to fourth grade. When I have a minute not driving them to a sporting event you can find me tying flies. I have numerous patterns in commercial production.

To check out more from Austin Adduci, please click here.