Ohio Guide Series: Ryan Mccargar

Updated: Dec 10, 2020

Our next featured guide in our Ohio guide series is Ryan Mccargar with John Fabian Fly Fishing. Ryan is a native of the south shores of Lake Erie. As a kid he spent a great deal of time in the Adirondacks where his Father is originally from. This instilled a passion for the outdoors at an early age.


Ryan has always had several hobbies and interests throughout life, but for some reason he always ended up back at moving water. It is something that always seemed to have a spell over him.


If Ryan isn't out on the water, you will likely find him spending time with his dog Lucy, playing guitar, listening to music, or tinkering with tools in his garage.

How long have you been fly fishing? How were you introduced to the sport?

I have been fly fishing for 12 or so years now. I was introduced in the most cliché possible way- a certain Robert Redford flick. Maybe you’ve heard of it? For a long time, I was mostly completely self-taught. My biggest mentors never really came along until much later in my fishing career.

When did you start guiding and how did you get into it?

I kind of stumbled into guiding a few years ago. I had met John (Fabian) on the Delaware river up in NY, and we kept in touch. Over the course of a few seasons we kept bumping heads out on the local rivers and eventually John hit me with the offer to guide for him.


Where in Ohio do you guide? What species do you usually target with your clients?

I am primarily a south shore Lake Erie tributaries guide. Now, that being said, NO! I don’t only fish for steelhead. NE Ohio and its tributaries have so much to offer.


Yes, our steelhead fishery is one of the best in the country and I spend most of my guide time fishing for them, but it’s the native species that I really love. That being said, we fish for all different types of warm water species as well as trout here in NE Ohio. Smallmouth bass, bowfin, white bass, largemouth bass and my absolute favorite the northern pike.


What is your guiding style like?

That’s a tough one. You can never put yourself in a box as a guide- at least in my opinion. I am very green to the world of guiding, but it has been my experience so far that the guide is there to tailor the experience to the needs of the client. That being said, I get the entire spectrum of folks out there with me. From kids who have never held a fly rod to experienced anglers who have been fly fishing longer than I have been alive.


When I am guiding a client I like to set expectations for the day- what is it that my client wants to get out of the day? Sometimes that is learning a new technique, sometimes it's to catch every fish in the river. I want my clients to walk away with an experience and if I can teach them something in the process, even better.


As far as accessing our water ways I am all over the chart. Some days we are hoofing it, other days we are in a raft, sometimes we're in a motor boat. Again, it comes down to the client and what they are looking for as far as an experience. Personally though? I love rowing a boat.


If there is one thing you wanted clients to know before going on a guided trip, what would that be?

Set expectations for the day. Why do you want to go on a guided tip? Why do you want to fish with a guide? Defining your goals ahead of time allows you to convey to your guide what you are looking for. This puts us in the best possible position to give you a great experience.

Throughout your years of guiding, what is your most memorable experience/story with a client?

With my limited experience in guiding I don’t have a ton to choose from but there are definitely some days that stick out. I had a really great day of fishing with a young kid and his dad in late fall last year. We were stripping flies for steelhead and had multiple fish eating the fly right at our feet. Watching that boy’s eyes light up and hearing his dad scream like a banshee will definitely stay with me.


If someone wants to go on a guided trip with you, how can they get a hold of you?

They should reach out to John Fabian through the website www.JohnFabianflyfishing.com. Our email and phone number can be found there.


What is your favorite species to target?

It's all about the northern Pike these days. For now.


What is your go to fly when you target that species?

Everything these days is just a knock off of something else it seems like. I am a big fan of building off of the double deceiver platform as well as the bulkhead platform.

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