Interviewed by Emerald LaFortune
Name: Quincy Becker
Hometown: Jackson Hole, WY
Current Location: Victor, ID
Guiding Job Title: Fly Fishing Guide
Tell me about your career as a fly fishing guide.
I grew up fishing in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem. My father was a guide for the original Jack Dennis in the Jackson Hole, Wyoming. My father had a special eye beyond just the fish, it was the whole ecosystem that he taught me about. I started guiding one summer when I was home from college. After college I continued to guide in the area expanding to the Green, South Fork, Henry's Fork, Teton and every little stream in the area I could hike or ride into. I was very lucky to be able to guide in Argentina before they started not allowing guides from the states to guide down there. Once they started limiting the amount of US guides in Argentina I moved onto Chile.
How and when did you begin hunting/fishing?
I started fishing as soon as I could walk, and rowing. I didn’t start hunting until my 20's when my peer group was into hunting.
What makes a good guide?
I think a great guide is made by compassion and the ability to adjust to all circumstance, personalities and needs.
How do you balance your work as a guide with your non-profit work?
I have always tried to be part of the larger community within which I have guided in and have volunteered on the local board of Trout Unlimited, our local land trust and fisheries department. The off season is a great time to volunteer, through volunteering I have even ended up working in the winter for a couple of these organizations. I actually can’t believe that more guides don’t support the non-profits that support their livelihood, I have always tried to educate and advocate for these practices. It also gives you great conversational topics with clients.
What’s the most rewarding part of guiding?
Helping someone catch the first fish of their life through verbal communication. Amazing.
Who inspires you as a guide?
The people who have inspired me most as a guide are the ones who shaped my own guiding practices. Initially it was my father and his larger view of the intrinsic nature of our environment. Then moving on, my friend Kim Keeley is a woman in the profession who shaped my guiding practices encouraged me and believed in my guiding skills. Ramon Aranguran showed me the rivers of Argentina and Patty Riley who arranged for me to guide in Argentina.
What inspires you as a guide?
Everyday on the river inspires me to guide, it’s the environment of being out there. I’m inspired by the ability to show people something that is new and hopefully cultivating a love of nature through fishing. I hope that people will make saving and preserving our natural environments a huge priority in their lives.
What’s special about your corner of Idaho?
The most special part of my area of Idaho (and really I believe all parts of Idaho!) is the solitude, vistas, and the wildlife.
Can you describe a major transition point in your guiding? How did you navigate that?
A major point of navigation in my guiding would have been this last season when I took the year off after 17 years. I wanted to gain an appreciation of the profession again. You reach a point where you feel like every person who gets into your boat is just interested in catching the most, biggest and best fish on the river with no or limited experience in the practice of fishing. They pay they should be able to catch! I had also moved onto managing a guide operation, fly-fishing shop and continued to guide. My husband had left me and I was searching for my new me. I have realized that I am a guide and once a guide always a guide but I am working new ways and different venues to expose people to guiding. I am also taking classes for additional experience from our local fire and EMS services.
Any memorable guiding moments that stand out?
The most amazing guiding experiences on the river, the ones that have brought tears to my eyes are people with disabilities and veterans. The hardship that they have overcome is humbling. If I could guide people with disabilities for the rest of my life I would in a second.
Any fun facts/personality quirks your fly fishing guests wouldn’t expect from you?
Fun facts and personal quirks, I am full of them! I like classical music and gangster rap. I am redneck who hunts but conservation is at the core of my soul. I enjoy travel and yoga. I read Instyle Magazine and Fur-Fish-Game!
What advice would you give an aspiring fishing guide?
The advice I would give to an aspiring guide is be good to yourself and your body. Cultivate friendships with your clients and they will become your larger family and can open so many doors for you outside fishing.
How do you take care of yourself during the guiding season?
Taking care of yourself during a guide season is paramount for the health of your guiding career. Eat well, sleep and exercise outside of guiding. I tend to do a lot of yoga outside of guiding. It’s not as intense of cardio as rowing all day, but you need the addition of stretching. Take turmeric for your joints, wear protective clothing and plenty of sunblock. Drink water and appreciate your profession. The second you walk into the shop to pick up your clients and you cringe at the thought, it may be time to take a break - you are not doing yourself or your clients any favor guiding in that state. Try to always learn new things about your profession, learning is life.
Thanks Quincy, good luck with your upcoming guiding season!
Know an Idaho guide that goes above and beyond? Nominate them for Redside Guide of the Month by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. GOTM score Redside swag and a $150 gift card to Chaco Footwear.