Time for Fishing in Mammoth Lakes!
Many of the shops and stores in Mammoth Lakes switch from winter to summer, but the TroutFitter specializes in fishing all year long. In Mammoth, it isn’t just the variety of scenery and sports that you can partake in. It is getting to know the people that make Mammoth a welcoming place to spend your time.
With the opening of fishing season upon us, I thought you might be interested in some behind the scenes information on one of Mammoth’s premiere fishing stores.
The TroutFitter has been owned and operated by Kent & Jeri Rianda since the late 1990’s. It is a family run business with Chad Brizendine, their son-in-law also managing during the busiest season which is late April to November 15th. They offer a family environment and local expertise. It is a destination shop and they keep 15 guides busy, 7 days a week. They also bring in reps for special deals and extensive product knowledge. They also plan to include tie flying classes, which is truly an art.
As I was looking through the shop, I was amazed by all the fly’s and couldn’t help but take a photo of the “Terrestrials”. They have a full line of fishing apparel including outer wear, shoes, boots, sunglasses, waders, rods, reels, fly fishing, spin fishing, you need it, they have it!
They guide from Bridgeport to Bishop, lakes and streams. Pleasant Valley, Hot Creek, lower and upper gorge are open year round. I have even seen them at Shady Rest, which is where they take beginners to teach them the technique of using a fly rod. They make it look simple, but I am pretty sure it isn’t!
Summer time usually brings in more families looking for something to learn and do as a family. You can put away all your technology tools (phones, IPADS, laptops) and really spend time getting to know not just the habits of the fish you are trying to outsmart; but those members of your family that are often too busy to have any type of a conversation, other than text messaging one another.
I was able to “hook up” with Cog MacNeil and ask a few questions about how he ended up as a guide. He started fishing at the age of 8. He worked in the banking and investment business and after doing that for many years, decided to follow his heart and probably help his heart with a different environment. Cog is in his 5th year of guiding. He specializes in fly fishing and enjoys the walk and wade style of fishing. I asked him, what is your favorite spot? and he said, “Wherever my client wants to fish. It is all about the experience. The guides spend all day out in the field and share information and hot spots which are constantly changing. It is just like any sport, you need the local expertise to fully enjoy the experience.” When Cog visits another area for fishing, he always checks into the local shops and hires a guide so that he can learn and enjoy what that area has to offer.
Cog MacNeil and Pat Jaeger
To become a guide for The TroutFitter is a commitment to the sport. The following is an excerpt from Kent Rianda, the owner and operator of The TroutFitter in Mammoth Lakes which tells what he looks for in a guide.
It is no easy task becoming a TroutFitter guide - the standard is high. After demonstrating they are already an “expert” fly fishermen and having graduated from the Clearwater Guide School, they must “pay their dues”. Paying their dues translates, first, working in the shop for a minimum of a full year and demonstrating that they have patience, empathy, and the ability to teach, traits that you are born with and cannot be taught.
Next, a formal training program for every apprentice, which is conducted by our master guides. Most of our master guides came from the original Eastside Guide Service, unquestionably the finest group of guides ever to fish the Eastern Sierra. The “secret” to why that group was so good was that as they accepted a new member into the group, the new person was expeditiously brought up to the group’s level of expertise by on-the-job (or in this case, on-the-water) training. Half of the original Eastside Guide Service guides are still with the shop and now comprise a good part of our master guides.
I know you will enjoy the friendly, family atmosphere and advice when you stop in The TroutFitter, which is located in the Shell Mart Center at the corner of Highway 203 and Old Mammoth Road. You can contact them at 760 924-3676 or better yet check out their website at www.theTroutFitter.com and hire one of their knowledgeable, friendly guides.
You just might find me at Shady Rest on one of those beginner lessons! One of my best memories about fishing is when my Dad, who is now 91, took our son Chad fishing on his 5th birthday and Chad caught 5 fish at Convict Lake. Those are times money can’t buy.
We make a living by what we get, We make a life by what we give