A guide for fly fishing guide clients

I had quite a response to my last blog "A guide to fly fishing guides".  A few guides I respect liked the article.  On the flip side a few guides sent me very nasty emails about that post.  Oh well.  I believe every word I wrote.   

On the flip side of being a professional guide.  There are also expectations on our clients.  All professional guides should strive to give you the fly fishing trip of a lifetime.  Guide trips range in price from $300ish and I have paid well over $800 for one day on the water.  When spending money for a service I want my moneys worth.  I am pretty sure I am not alone in this thinking.

1)  There is one item that I would like to stress to our clients(friends).  We want you to be successful!!!!  To do that we would like you to listen to our instructions.  We know where fish are in our rivers.  We want you to experience the thrill of catching fish and hopefully lots of big fish.  The Ozark Angler offers instructional trips for the absolute beginner up to trips for the most experienced fisherman.  If you would like to come to our stores before your trip to practice casting, knots or fly tying that is one of the advantages to working with a reputable outfitter.

2)  Guide clients (friends) should not go into a trip thinking they already know everything about the river or how to fly fish.  My hope is to learn something new on every trip I go on.  I have fished my entire life and fly fished for over 20 years.  I do not know everything there is to know about fishing.  I do not know every inch of every river.  I go in with an open mind and hope our guide clients(friends) do too.   When I go to a new river I have never fished I prefer to get a guide.

3)  Make sure you have access to your guide client.  This is on the professional guide too.  If you have questions ask before your trip an email address, phone number, facebook page to the outfitter is valuable.  I have had my guide call me 2 hours before a guide trip.  All details about your guide trip should be made during booking. 

Maybe there is a new rod you would like to try.  Let us know if this is the case.  Don't expect an Orvis only outfitter to have the newest Sage or Winston rod.  The Ozark Angler carries many brands and If there is a brand you want to try on your trip let us know.  If I don't own it I will do my best to get it for you.  Just let us know before the trip.

4)  Maybe you want to try using big streamers, dry flies, emergers, switch rods, tenkara rods whatever please let us know before the trip.  Guides (me included) knows how to make you successful.  We get used to fishing a certain way with certain flies.  If you want to fish another way a good guide will be flexible and cater to you.  If you would like to be in the boat all day let us know.  If you want to wade please let us know too.

5)  When you meet with your professional guide before the trip have a quick meeting with them.  This can happen while in the car going to the river, over a cup of coffee or any time before you are actually fishing.  This needs to happen to make sure you are on the same page.  We will tell you what has been working, what we would like to accomplish, if you need to be off the water at a certain time and everything else should be discussed here.  

6)  Try to turn off your cell phone if you can.  Take photos with your phone if you want but try to unplug.  If you can not that is fine.  We fish in some of the most beautiful places in the world.   I think this is one of the times during life to unplug and relax.  We will take care of the rest.

As always you can email me with any concerns, ideas or questions to chad@ozarkangler.com.  If you would like me to blog on a certain issue or topic.  Let me know.  I will do my best.  Everything I blog about is my opinion.   

Tight lines and best fishes. 




A guide to fly fishing guides

I have been wanting to write about fly fishing guides (particularly in Arkansas) for many years.  We at The Ozark Angler are very blessed to employ the best guides the state has to offer.  You do not stay in business for 25 years without doing things the right way.  Have we made mistakes in the past? HECK YES.  We have learned and have moved forward.  Many many current guides in and around Arkansas learned through us and have either gone on their own or have gone to other companies.  It happens.  I have lost some great guides but I wish them nothing but the best.  I obviously have not fished with every guide in the world but I have fished with over 60-70 over my years fly fishing.  I have a check list of things I would like to share that every ETHICAL and RESPECTED guide should follow.  In many states there are tests, boating safety etc for guides to pass before becoming a professional guide.  A problem in the state of Arkansas as well as places around the world is here to be a guide you simply pay $25 and boom you are a guide. 

Ok enough rambling here is my list of characteristics a good, responsible ethical guide should follow. 

1)  A guide should be a teacher.  On every trip even the most experienced fly fisherman wants to learn something or better their art on a trip they are paying for.  If it is an instructional trip for a new angler they should be given knowledge and the chance to be successful on their next trip with or without a guide.   Guides should share fly assortments and explain why certain flies are working during this time of year.  They should also share what they prefer depths if nymphing, why certain streamers are working.  Hatches if any should be shared too.  You are paying for their expertise.  A good guide will not hide their "secret spots" from you.  A good company wants you to have the trip of a lifetime and come back and see us as often as possible.

2)  A guide should be completely honest with you!!!!  That's a very novel idea isn't it.  I have witnessed companies in Arkansas putting their clients in very dangerous positions.  When water conditions are not safe I make sure the clients under stand and most of the time we re schedule our trips.  We cannot control weather, flooding, unsafe water conditions.  I continually shake my head at respected companies who put their clients in unsafe water conditions.  First fishing is most likely going to be very poor.  Second the customer will think this is how are river always fishes and will never return.  Finally, and most importantly, your fun and safety are our highest concern.  Our guides will never do this!!!!  I personally make sure of it!!!  Please understand some "guides" only income is from guiding and they are doing this to pay the rent. 

(On a side note if the fishing has been tough they should tell you before the trip)  I've had several instances where "guides"  say about half way through the trip yeah fishing has been really bad lately.  Wish I would have known that before hand.  Instead of doing a full day trip I would have saved money and part of my day and choosing a half day trip.

3)  I will say that most "guides" in Arkansas and around the world are not insured.  It makes me sick to my stomach.  Go with a reputable company that cares about your safety.  I don't know what percent do not have insurance.  It would be a frightening statistic!!!!  Ask the service.  Have them prove it.  Insurance for guiding is not cheap.  Most will not have it.   I think closer to 90% of guides in Arkansas do not have it if not more.  Guide insurance is several thousands of dollars and most cannot afford that.

4)  Guides should not fish!!!!  The definition of a guide:  A fishing guide that has taken it upon him or herself to cater to the people who enjoy fly fishing should be an expert in this very complicated trade.  They have plenty of time to fish on their own time.  What usually happens is they catch a fish and show you how easy it is and make you feel bad.  It has happened to me and friends I have been with!!!!  It's very tacky of them.

5)  An expert guide should provide everything for your trip!!!!  Guides, especially salt water guides ask you to provide your lunch and sometimes theirs too.  Shake my head.  I have paid $800 before to a guide and he asked me to buy his lunch!!!!! UM NO!!!  If you are paying good money for their service you should be catered to.  Not the other way around. 

This can go on and on.  I will tell you one thing.  Even if you do not pick to go on a trip with The Ozark Angler I know or know of most guides in this state.  I know guides around the world I have fished with too.  If you want an honest opinion of someone I have fished with or know about I will give it to you.  Email me at chad@ozarkangler.com and I will be truthful.  I am so glad I wrote this!!!!  Most independent guides will be angry if they read this but every word is true!!!!

Tight lines and best fishes. 





Made in the USA

One of the cool things of being a local business and supporting USA manufacturers is keeping American's employed.  We at the Ozark Angler do our best to put people in the best country in the world to work.  All money that comes into our stores stays in the community and our great nation.  I pride myself in working with companies such as Orvis, Sage, Galvan, Abel, Simms and the list goes on and on that believes the same thing I do.  All these companies as well as the Ozark Angler are putting American's to work.  We believe so strongly in this The Ozark Angler and these other great companies guarantee our products.  Every fly rod that is sold in our stores (excluding bamboo) has a warranty of a minimum of 25 years.  Our waders, boots etc also carry great warranties. When you have an issue with a fly rod, fly reel, waders or whatever bring it to me.  We will take care of these issues for you.  Other retailers will put this on you the consumer.  Not Us Ever!!!!

Remember specialty retailers such as The Ozark Angler when service really matters to you.  Am I against big box stores?  NO!!! I welcome them to our communities.  They are here to make money and put people to work.  Actually the help my business tremendously.  They can introduce people to the sport that I cannot.  When our great customers or friends want to take the next step in learning the art of fly fishing they will come see us.  If there is a problem with an item or want help casting, fly tying, what is working on the river right this second that is what we do.  SERVICE AND EXPERTISE!!!!

Fishing Report From Sunday 10-6-2013

Fishing on The Little Red River today was fair.  The water was very off color because of the rain on and off all day Saturday.  Flies with flash and dark colored flies were the key today.  Fishing was best at the damn because of clarity.   All the major rivers in Arkansas will be in the same shape.  Unfortunately all national camp grounds throughout our great nation are closed.

Info about the damn site.  With the shutdown of the government all services at the damn are closed.  Fishing at the damn is the only thing you can do.  No camping, bathroom facilities etc....  The water will clear probably by Tuesday or Wednesday with generation from the corp or southwest power.   


Fishing report from Cameron 10-5-13

Weekly fishing report for The Little Red River 10/6-

The water has been clear and low, with 1-2 units running in the afternoon for 3-4 hours. Fishing has been good on pheasant tails and San Juan worms under an indicator. Wooly boogers have been working well also. Try fishing sink tip line with them, and be sure to give it time to sink before you start stripping. I've fished streamers in the early morning hours, mostly smaller browns on that bite. Try an olive or brown home invader. Not sure if the river will muddy after the rains today, it really depends on how much more falls tonight. At worst, try adding flash to your flys to produce more bites if water gets dingy. For clearer water, be sure to fish a finer tippet. No, the browns have not started creating havoc as of yet, but it should be firing up within the next 3-4 weeks. Be sure and go to any ozark angler location for tips or advice, or to book that guided trip of a lifetime. -

Tagged Brown trout.  Arkansas Fly Fishing. 

Tagged Brown trout.  Arkansas Fly Fishing. 

Social Media Give Away

Social media is going to be a huge part of The Ozark Angler going forward.  I will announce sales, giveaways, coming events, new items etc...  We want to build a very strong web presence so please invite others to join or facebook, twitter and Instagram.  As a hint I have a feeling we will do special events and sales only for our social media customers very soon.  I am continually adding items to the web site so I can put coupon codes on there as well.  I am also working on our 25th anniversary items for the holidays and for all of 2014.  For a specialty retailer to be around for 25 years is incredibly special and we owe it all to you are awesome friends and customers.   Thank You!!!

When we hit 1000 likes on Facebook, instagram or twitter I will randomly draw a name and contact you!!!  I am giving away a $795.00 Helios 2 to one lucky customer.  Hopefully this happens sooner rather than later.  This is my way of thanking our friends.  As always best fishes. 

Chad Kneeland

Helios 2 any size.  Valued at $795.00!!! 

Helios 2 any size.  Valued at $795.00!!! 

Ozark Angler Little Rock FLy Tying Class Schedule


Jan  13, 20, 27, Feb 3, 10, 17


Jan 14, 21, 28, Feb 4, 11, 18


Jan 15, 22, 29, Feb 5, 12, 19


Jan 16, 23, 30, Feb 6, 13, 20

Classes fill very fast and it is an awesome Christmas gift!  $100 for a 6 week class.  The classes start at 6:30 and go for usually 2 hours.  We provide all materials.  Just show up and we will take care of the rest!!  You keep everything you tie.  One of my favorite items we offer.

You can call the Little Rock store at (501)225-6504 or email me at store.ozarkangler@gmail.com. 

Montana Trip!!!

A small sampling of some cool photos from our last trip!!!   You will not be sorry going on one of our sponsored trips.  Ask anyone who has attended.


Government shut down and fly fishing

Just to let you know.  The government shut down on Tuesday, and yes it does affect us who love the sport of fly fishing.  If you use the app usace or the web site.  (US ARMY CORP OF ENGINEERS) LIttle Rock account it will not report like it should when the government is in business.  Please call our store for the Little Red's current conditions (501)362-3597(flys).  They will have the most current information there.  Let's hope this ends soon and our friends and the corps and the national hatcheries are working again soon.  Come to the fly shops in Little Rock, or Heber Springs for the latest info.



Cow Shoals Special Regulations and Spawning Beds

We are entering our brown trout spawning season and special regulations time in Arkansas!  This is the busiest time on our rivers and a time for you to catch monster trout.  There are special regulations that begin Oct 1 on the Little Red River and Nov 1 on the White River.  We will keep you posted on when we start seeing trout staging before spawning.  Great time to fish but please do it responsibly.


Cow Shoals Seasonal Catch-and-Release Area: Oct. 1-Dec. 31. Head of Cow Shoals to mouth of Canoe Creek, as indicated by signs. Only artificial lures with a single, barbless hooking point shall be used. Natural or scented baits are prohibited. All trout must be released immediately. Closed to night fishing (one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise).


Use bronze hooks whenever possible. If the fish swallows the hook, cut the leader instead of trying to remove it. Bronze dissolves more rapidly than steel or shiny gold hooks.

If possible,avoid touching the fish with your hands. Skincontains salts and oils that may destroy the fish’s protective slime coat. If you must hold the fish, wet your hands before attempting to land it.

Use nets made of soft materials such as cotton, soft nylon or rubber and wet the netting before landing your fish.

Keep the fish out of the water only long enough to remove the hook and take a photo.

Fish can run out of energy while being caught. When releasing the fish, hold it in the water to stimulate its gills. Allow the fish to swim away on its own.