I want to take a moment to brag about my core guides and staff first. It is their dedication to making every trip more professional, better equipped and more successful in every way that is the real reason that this outfitting business has been so successful over the years. But beyond their loyalty to me, it is the fact that these guys are the kind of people that anyone would want to spend five days on the river with that makes people want to come back. They are all great individuals in their own right and I keep crossing my fingers every winter that they will want to work again the next year because I know they are all destined for great things in their lives.
Adam DeBruin - Adam started working for me the first year that I bought my Smith River business. He was fresh off a National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) course and a fly-fishing fanatic. His constant “build a better mousetrap” frame of mind helped me refine our camping systems and improve the equipment that we use. This same mentality carries over into his fly tying and fishing skills and for years it resulted in many of the biggest fish of the season. He is definitely one of the most innovative fly tiers that I know and certainly one of the best casters. He has worked nearly every single Smith River trip since I have owned the company! I definitely owe him a lot of gratitude for his continued leadership. Spend a day on the river with Adam and you will learn from his wealth of knowledge! Adam spends his winters in Key Largo, FL running Redhook Fishing, chasing tarpon, bones and all those other rod-benders down there in the salt.
Kirk Gammill - As soon as Adam started working with me he started telling me about one of his best friends in college and how he would be a great addition to our Smith River crew. Now Kirk is an irreplaceable part of team. Anglers that have traveled the world fishing have told me that he was the best guide they have ever had. He has work every season since 2002. His contagious positive attitude is combined with a true dedication to the profession of guiding. In the fall Kirk migrates to Northern California where he runs his own Steelhead guiding service, Adipose Fly Fishing, and he also finds time to be the Varsity Soccer coach at Frenchtown High School here in Montana.
Steve Blanche - The “third stooge” is the other best friend of Adam and Kirk. They dragged him out the year after Kirk. Steve’s practical joker sense of humor will have you laughing all day. After several seasons of running the camp crews, he has become an excellent guide in his own right and has worked every season since 2003. Steve has always has that uncanny, fishy quality, where you could hand him a tattered old fly from your hat, and he could figure out how to catch a fish on it! With many dozens of trips down the smith river he is truly a wealth of knowledge. Steve is known throughout the fly-fishing industry for his company that provides logistical support for outfitters and other companies during the Flyfishing Show circuit. Steve also winters in Key Largo, FL. If you drive over one of those long bridges down there you might get a glimpse of him getting towed around in his kayak by a tarpon!
Chris Orwig - During his tenure at the University of Montana as Offensive Lineman for the Grizzlies football team (where he earned a Div.1-AA National Championship) we were lucky enough to have him join the crew. His muscle was a welcome addition to the crew largely composed of ex-soccer players, but it is his positive attitude and enthusiasm that will keep you casting late into the night. One thing you can be sure of is that no matter what the fishing Gods throw at you for the day, Chris is going to have a good time, and make sure you do too! He sincerely cherishes every day on the water. When he is not guiding he is a sales rep for Hendricks Outdoors.
Jake Van Noppen - Jake is originally from Bend, Oregon where he earned his reputation as the youngest snow groomer ever at Mt. Bachelor. When the temperatures were above freezing Jake learned the ways of the river by guiding, leading youth groups, and generally exploring up and down the Deschutes River. He has been a key addition to the crew and we are looking forward to sharing many years with him, although we have to share him with the rest of Missoula, he recently landed a very coveted full time position with Missoula Rural Fire Department!
Casey Dudley – When I originally took over my first Smith River permits in 2000, Casey was already working his way up the ladder with the previous outfitter. I guess you could say he was part of the deal. Casey is the quintessential fish-bum, except he actually has a real job as well. Somehow he still manages to get more personal fishing time that any man legally ought to! Casey lives in Bozeman and is very involved in the “Green Building” industry, working for one of the leading LEED Certifying companies and several non-profits. Quite possibly one of the funniest people I know, he can probably recite “The Big Lebowski” from start to finish. But seriously, he has chased fish around the world and is an absolute riot to be with in the boat for a day. We are lucky to still have him as part of the team.
Tom Gagnon – Our latest import from Eldredge Bros. Fly Shop in Cape Neddick, Maine, Tom is in his third season. Tom is a master fly tier and ties custom orders of everything from the most detailed Atlantic Salmon flies to giant saltwater streamers for anglers “in the know.” His is a big teddy bear… but, be cautious if he challenges you to a game of horseshoes, he might take your money!
Will Plumhoff – …aka, Mr. Incredible, possesses the strength to snap oars in half right in mid-stoke; fish flock to him, and nice handmade wooden landing nets tremble at the sound of his name! All kidding aside, Will is everything you could ever want in a guide; inherently fishy, great work ethic, great sense of humor and patience. The years have flown by since 2006 when he joined the crew and he has become an irreplaceable friend and an integral, spirit lifting, part of the staff….even if he is terrified of mice!
Me? I was born and raised in York, Maine. I grew up pulling lobster traps and hunting and fishing for everything I could. I was blessed with wonderful parents and a Dad that had the hunting-fishing wanderlust. I was lucky enough to be invited on a trip to Montana when I was 11 years old, and that was it for me! I returned many times and finally came out for good. I attended the University of Montana and got a degree in Forest Resource Management and started guiding in the summers. In addition to guiding fly fisherman in Montana continuously since 1993, I did stints of guiding hunting in Montana and Wyoming, and spent a year running Safari camps in remote areas of Tanzania, Africa. I live in Missoula with my Amazing wife, Carroll Anne, and our two Yellow Labs, Callie and Roo. And I get to call all the guys above my best friends! I can’t wait to fish with you.