Updated: Dec 10, 2020
We are excited to launch a blog series featuring guides in Ohio. The series will highlight guides from across the state as well as the different river systems we have available for fly fishing. The first guide featured in this series is Hunter Hayes, who has been fishing in Northern Ohio since he was 9.
How long have you been fly fishing? How were you introduced to the sport?
I have dabbled with fly fishing since I was 6, but got serious about it when I was around 9 or 10. So approximately 15 years give or take. I was introduced to fly fishing by tying flies initially. Our neighbors growing up has peacocks, and my dad told me I could make “lures” out of them. It just snowballed from there.
When did you start guiding and how did you get into it?
I started guiding when I was 16 on the Maumee River. I fished it nearly everyday in the summer growing up, and figured it would be a fun way to make some money.
Where in Ohio do you guide? What species do you usually target with your clients?
I primarily guide on the Maumee River, from Grand Rapids down to Perrysburg fishing and guiding for smallmouth bass, northern pike, white bass, common carp and other migratory species that find themselves in the Maumee, but also spend a lot of time in Ohio’s “Steelhead Alley” in the winter and spring months chasing steelhead with clients.
What is your guiding style like?
My typical guiding routine is on foot. I enjoy teaching clients skills and tactics that they can use and take advantage of without the need of owning a boat, this makes it a great experience for both advanced and beginner stages of a flyfisherman or woman. As far as quality VS quantity goes, it is all dependent on the season and species. Typically the white bass run yields a high bounty of fish, but rarely a trophy per se, but chasing smallmouth and carp can lead to trophy quality fish, especially when conditions are right.
If there is one thing you wanted clients to know before going on a guided trip, what would that be?
My biggest thing that I remind clients is a piece of advice Brad gave me, and that is that I am trying to teach a lifetime sport in a handful of hours. Practice makes perfect, and always ask questions.
Throughout your years of guiding, what is your most memorable experience/story with a client?
Out of all of the clients I have had over the years, I think my number one would be on the Chagrin River fishing for steelhead, we had been fishing since sunrise and we were nearing the end of our days excursion. The temp had dropped and water was rising making for not so ideal fishing conditions. I told the client as soon as you think it’s not going to happen, it’ll happen. I think it was that drift or the following drift my clients indicator dropped and he hooked a fish. It was easily the biggest any of my clients had landed that season, and the happiness and excitement we shared was awesome, and that’s why I love doing what I do. Embracing the grind pays off!