Guide School

Since 1994, Fly Fishing Outfitters has trained hundreds of guides in our Guide School. We either hire our graduates to work for our Orvis-endorsed guide service, help them find work elsewhere in the guiding field, or provide them with the tools to begin their own guiding service. We have trained a variety of students, from police officers, doctors, college students, Retirees, to the Orvis-Endorsed Guide of the Year.

Colorado Fly Fishing Guide School - Fly Fishing Outfitters

Since 1992, we have been serving the Vail, Colorado area. We are a locally owned and operated, year-round, Orvis-endorsed guide service and retail location in the Vail Valley. We are a two-time winner of the Orvis-Endorsed Outfitter of the Year. In the last 30 years, Fly Fishing Outfitters has administered over 15,000 guided trips and has one of the most experienced and successful guide staff in the Rocky Mountains. Our guide staff has over 300 years combined experience on local waters. Year after year, in a very competitive business climate, our guiding business has grown. By enrolling in our guide schools, we will give you the skills necessary to be a successful and knowledgeable teacher and friend to all of your future clients.

Click here for an article Midcurrent published about our guide school

What Will Fly Fishing Guide School Teach You?

Head FFO guide and dean of the Fly-fishing school Kevin Wildgen and his staff have created a curriculum that provides our students with all of the knowledge and skills needed to be a top-notch fishing guide. Each instructor brings something unique to our week-long school. We keep the class size to about 12-15 students for a more personal approach, so signing up early is important.

Each day, time is divided between the classroom and outside along the rivers and lakes. The course is designed to teach you the finer points of what makes a successful guide and tactics for garnering more return clients as well as furthering your enjoyment on the river. The class should not be viewed as a fly fishing class. While you do not have to be an expert fly fisherman to be a guide, a good understanding of basic skills is required. Actual fly fishing skills are not the main focus of the schools, as potential guides should already possess basic fishing abilities. Being a good guide has a lot more to do with understanding and adapting to what your client’s expectations are for that day on the river. One client may want to learn deep Nymphing techniques, while another might just want to get away from the family into seclusion. But there’s always that person who wants to catch a 100 Trout. How you manage those expectations is a large part of what being a good guide is all about.

Graduation/Job Opportunities

Upon graduation from the class, students will receive a certificate of completion from Fly Fishing Outfitters. Students also completing the Rowing Certification will receive a signed river log showing they have met all requirements. At that time, students will be evaluated and, if appropriate, they will be offered the chance to work for Orvis-Endorsed Fly Fishing Outfitters. Please note that the Orvis Company only endorses guides who work for an Orvis-Endorsed Outfitter. Students are only Orvis-Endorsed when they are put on an approved list of guides by the owner or manager of an Orvis operation. Over the past couple of years, we have created a group of other regional outfitters who are always looking for guides who have completed our program.

To register for the 2024 Guide school please contact the shop directly (970) 845-8090
2024 GUIDE SCHOOL DATES: May 13-17 2024

How Much Does Fly Fishing Guide School Cost?

COST $1000.00 or $900.00 if paid in full by March 1st

*Payment is required in advance to reserve a spot in either school. Each year the schools fill up fast, so booking a spot early is advised. The tuition fee is for the school only and does not include lodging or meals. We have arranged a special rate at the Comfort Inn in Avon for those students who need lodging. Evening fishing spots are close by to practice what you learn during the day.

*Successful completion of the guide school is required for employment at FFO. Rowing school is not required for employment at FFO.

Join us in the Vail Valley this spring to find out why we think we’ve got the best job and most beautiful office in the world!