Yesterday I spent a very enjoyable day fishing for Salmon on the Sacramento River near Corning. I caught my limit (2). But that is not the point of this post. The picture at the left is of the two monsters I caught. They each weighed in at about 30+ pounds.
I went with a guide named Bob Sparre who works out of Sacramento but guides around Northern California. Most of the guides that I have worked with specialize in trout and steelhead. Bob does that but he also does shad and salmon and stripers.
Bob has a big boat which can comfortably hold perhaps six people fishing (yesterday we had four). The best analogue I can think of for a trip with Bob is what I used to do when I went fishing off Redondo Pier in what was called a party boat. Bob offers some insight into fishing but his real job is to find fish. And he does that well.
That is in contrast with fishing with a trout guide. One of my favorites is Confluence Outfitters, I have fished several times with Andrew Harris. There the emphasis is on individualized fishing. Every time I go out with Andrew I learn something more about fishing. Andrew is one of the hardest working guides I have ever worked with - he constantly tries to find fish and is a very patient instructor (with my casting skill that is essential!) You also get a lunch (which is often a deli sandwich). The difference between Bob and Andrew is the difference between a classroom and a tutor. But there is another difference - cost - a day with Bob is $200 - a day with Confluence is more than $400. (Both are before tips.) From my perspective both are worth the value. I would recommend both - but they are very different experiences.
There is one other difference - at least for this trip. When I fish for trout, I am a strict catch and release fisherman. My only memories of each trip come from photos (with the advent of inexpensive digital cameras and smart phones - no fish is real without a picture. But on the trip yesterday we brought home about 25 pounds of Salmon steaks that had been reduced to filets each of about 4 pounds.