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FAQs - Guided Fishing Trips

What kind of fish will I catch?

Our local rivers have both stocked and wild rainbow and brown trout as well as native brook trout. We also have guides who specialize in bass, panfish, pike, musky, and more. If you have a particular preference and would like to go find native brookies or pull panfish from a pond, let us know!

Where will I be fishing?

We fish the South Branch of the Raritan River, the Musconetcong, the Pequest, the Lamington, and other local rivers, tributaries, and ponds. If you have a specific river in mind, feel free to contact us. It is also possible to book an outing on private waters, although the availability of access is more limited than that of public waters and requires earlier booking. This private location offers a more secluded and controlled environment with additional stocking, fish management and easier wading. However, the private waters option is generally unavailable during the warmest months, unlike the public waters which offer a wider range of water and year-round fishing is available.

What is the best time of year for fishing?

Fishing conditions vary, but generally, spring (March through June) and fall (late September through mid-November) are our peak seasons for guide trips. The state stocks rainbow trout in many rivers in the area in the spring and the fall.  We offer guided trips year-round, however, and we will find a spot that is safe and enjoyable for fishing regardless of the season.

 

How many fish will I catch, and what size will they be?

As any angler knows, we call it “fishing” and not “catching” for a reason! We can ensure that you’ll learn a lot and have a great time, but it is ultimately up to the fish to determine whether or not they’re going to bite. Many of our guide trips catch lots of fish, and large fish, but we don’t guarantee any number of fish or size of fish. If you’re not going to have a great time if you don’t catch monster fish, our trips probably aren’t the right ones for you.
 

Can I take home any of the fish I catch?

All our guide trips practice catch and release only. Catch and release fishing improves native fish populations by allowing more fish to remain and reproduce in the ecosystem, ensuring that future anglers will have high quality angling experiences tomorrow and in the months and years to come.

Why should I take a guide trip?

– I’m an experienced angler.

Guide trips aren’t just for beginners or non-locals!  Our guides specialize in many different aspects of fishing, from tenkara to Euro nymphing, from matching the hatch to swinging streamers. We have guides that are panfish aficionados, those that love finding native brookies, and those that enjoy going out for pike and musky. We can also help you improve your cast, your bug identification, or even just show you some new spots. The guide will also make your time on the river more efficient. By tying on flies, or helping untangle knots and line after getting snagged on a rock or tree (it happens to even the pros!), or having a rig at the ready if a fish breaks off -- you won’t spend the time solving problems, but fishing instead. If you’ve never tried Euro nymphing or fishing a fiberglass creek rod, we have the option to rent those for a guide trip here: https://sboutfitters.square.site/product/rental-gear.

– I’m just starting out fishing.

Our guides love to teach! We’ve taken folks who have no idea what fly fishing is, and within four hours, they’re confident enough to go out by themselves. We will familiarize you with your gear, help you understand how to read the water, and get you comfortable with all aspects of fly fishing, from selecting a fly through netting a fish. Taking a guide trip will make you feel much more confident for future solo trips!

 

– These aren’t my local waters.

Our guides have been fishing these waters for decades.  They know the likely holding spots, expected hatches, and bug activity. They can show you more locations and give you more local knowledge in one short guided trip than you would get exploring solo for a few days!

 

What is the maximum number of people that can be on a guide trip?

We allow up to two anglers per guide for safety and education purposes. For larger groups, multiple guides will be used, though anglers may be spaced out along the river. We also host several corporate trips throughout the year complete with equipment, food and concierge services. If you’d like to book a trip with more than 4 anglers or for a corporate group or special outing, please call the shop so that we can build the trip to be exactly what you need.

 

How far in advance should I book a trip?

We recommend booking at least a month in advance, especially for trips during peak seasons or to private waters. Less than two weeks' notice might not be accommodated, although we always do our best to schedule a trip at your convenience.


 

I've booked a trip. Now what?

Before the trip

Can I bring my own equipment?

You are encouraged to bring your own equipment and any flies you’re eager to try; however, our guides will provide all terminal tackle, including flies to match the existing conditions. If you haven’t been fishing with your equipment recently, we recommend bringing it to the shop beforehand for a tune-up so we can evaluate it and make any recommendations that will help make your trip more enjoyable.

 

What if I don’t have my own gear?

If you don't have a rod and reel or boots and waders, we have sets of both available to rent through the shop, and you can purchase those online here:  https://sboutfitters.square.site/product/rental-gear.  We’ll need your approximate shoe and pant size to match you with a set of waders and boots. We will ask you to meet your guide at the shop on the day of your trip and we can swap out waders and boots if they don’t fit.  We also have left-handed reels, a rental Euro nymph rig, streamer rod, and a fiberglass creek rod, so if you’d like any of those, feel free to rent those! Just send us a note and we’ll make sure your rental rod is the one you requested.

Can I pick up my rental equipment before the date?

In general, no. All trips with rental boots and waders meet at the shop so that you can try on the gear beforehand and make sure it fits.  We will swap out sizes at the shop if your predicted size isn’t quite right. However, it may be possible for your guide to pick up your rental equipment earlier than the day of the outing with prior coordination, except during peak season or on the weekends since there is not an unlimited amount of rental equipment available.

What should I wear?
All anglers will need appropriate footwear, waders, and eye protection (i.e. sunglasses). If rain is forecast, bring a rain jacket. Otherwise, quick-drying clothes (wicking UPF shirts are a great option) and warm layers for your feet (the water is colder than the air!) are useful. Bring a change of clothes to leave in your car in case your waders leak (while rare, it's always a possibility!). During the winter months, layer up!  We don’t recommend wearing puffy down jackets as a precaution, should you fall in the water, a puffy down jacket will suck up and absorb the water potentially pinning you down.

 

Where do I meet my guide?
Meeting points are typically set at convenient locations near the fishing site. If you need rentals, you will meet your guide at the shop. Exact details will be provided by your guide when your trip is confirmed.

 

What documents do I need before the trip and where do I get them?

A valid fishing license/trout stamp is required, which you can obtain from a local licensing agent or online. We do not sell licenses in the shop.


How do you choose a guide for me? And can I request a specific guide?

Before your trip, we ask you to fill out a questionnaire which then helps us match your expectations and experience and availability with one of our guides. It is possible to request a certain guide by name.

During the trip

Will the guide also be fishing with me?

Our guides will not be fishing during the trip. They will focus on providing instruction and assistance rather than fishing themselves ensuring you receive full attention.

Can we visit multiple sites during an outing?

Multi-site visits depend on the trip's duration and logistics. Discuss your interests with us in advance.

Can I smoke on the river?

Smoking on the waters is prohibited to maintain the natural beauty and cleanliness of our fishing environments.

Can I drink during an outing?

Alcohol is prohibited during a guided fishing trip. 

 

Can I bring food along during an outing?

Yes, you are encouraged to bring snacks or a packed meal, especially for longer trips.

What if it’s raining on the day of my trip?

Rain can actually enhance fishing conditions. Unless it's unsafe (see below), we generally proceed with trips as scheduled.


Can I bring my dog along on a guided fishing trip?

Dogs are not permitted on our trips.

What bathroom facilities are available?

We have a bathroom that is available in the shop for guide trip customers to use prior to departing on a guide trip if needed. Bathrooms may be available at your fishing location depending on where you are heading.


I want to buy a guide trip for others and just fish alongside the group. Is this allowed?

No, all anglers on a trip are considered “guided anglers” and must be paid for. This is a safety issue as well as detrimental to the experience of the trip.

What happens if I damage any rental equipment during the outing?
We understand accidents happen and generally do not charge for normal wear and tear. Severe damage may incur a fee.

 

How do I know how much to tip my guide?
Tipping your guide is customary if you enjoy your trip.  An average amount is $40 for a single angler trip or $65 for a two-angler trip, although it is certainly up to you to increase or decrease based on your experience. Most anglers bring along cash, but it is possible to Venmo some of our guides directly or simply leave a tip for the guide through our Venmo.  If you Venmo it to @sboutfittersnj with your guide’s name and the date of your trip, we will ensure the full amount gets to them!

Why am I tipping my guide?

Besides the cultural tradition of providing a tip as a thank you for a service well-performed, your guide is responsible for all of the terminal tackle on your trip (tippet, flies, indicators, split shot, floatant, etc).  They are taking all of this from their personal supply.  Tipping is a recognition of the effort and cost that went into them providing a quality trip, and especially if the trip went through a lot of flies, tipping is a way of providing a “thank you” for the supplies they have provided.


Safety Info

 

What is considered “safe” for fishing?

We monitor river flows (check this gauge), temperatures, ice conditions, and weather conditions. If the river flows are too fast (which varies based on the river you’ll be fishing), you can still fish from the bank, but depending on the river section, bank fishing may not be an option.  Your trip may be postponed for safety concerns even if the sun is shining as the river will often take several days to come back down after a large storm. Our guides are adept at finding locations that are less susceptible to flooding and flows, but they are the final authority on wading safety and will make the decision after considering current and forecast conditions.  If you have any concerns based on your wading ability, please share those with us during the booking process and we will be sure to inform your guide.

 

My guide thinks it’s safe to go, but I’m worried about the river conditions.

Please have an honest conversation with your guide about this, and if your concerns aren’t addressed, please call us at 908-867-8067 x2 and ask for Lindsey or Abraham.  The guide may have a safer spot for you than the main stem of the river if it’s flooded, or may be planning to take you out before or after weather moves through. We take safety very seriously and we want to make sure everyone is safe and feels comfortable on the trip.

Are there any poisonous snakes or snapping turtles in this area?

You will be out in nature during your trip, so you never quite know what you’ll see that day!  There are various dangerous species both in and around the water. In general, they are more afraid of you than you are of them, and moving through the water will help keep them away. We always keep safety first, and our guides are on the lookout for anything that poses a threat, whether it is a deep hole or a snapping turtle, and will make sure you stay away from it.

What is the required gear needed?

We require all guide customers to wear waders + appropriate footwear (wading boots or bootfoot waders). Additionally, we require glasses or sunglasses to be worn as well. If you have polarized sunglasses those would be preferred because they can help you see into the water, but nonpolarized sunglasses are ok as we need them more for safety, as casting hooks around your head is inherently dangerous.

May I wet wade (wader-less fishing)?
Yes, as long as the water temps are above 60F and you still have appropriate footwear to use (i.e. wading boots or approved wet wading shoes), wet wading is ok.

Reschedule + Cancellation Policies
 

Guide trips are valid for one year from the date of purchase.

Rescheduling Policy

  • Up to 48 Hours Before Trip: You may reschedule your trip up to three times without penalty. The fourth reschedule request will be considered a cancellation and a refund will be given in accordance with the cancellation policy.

  • Within 48 Hours of Trip: If you request to reschedule within 48 hours of your trip, and we cannot resell the date, it will be considered a late cancellation. If we can fill the date, your reschedule request will be honored without additional fees.

  • Guide-Initiated Rescheduling: The guide may reschedule within 48 hours due to weather or river conditions without penalty. There is no “penalty” for guide-initiated rescheduling.

Cancellation Policy

  • We always want to get you out on the water, so we encourage you to reschedule if at all possible in accordance with our rescheduling policy!

  • All cancellations outside of 30 days of a trip will receive a refund for the balance minus a $25 cancellation fee. Inside 30 days, the cancellation fee increases to $125. Inside one week, no refunds will be given.

  • For guide trips with multiple anglers, if one or more of the anglers can’t make the trip, and you are within one week of the trip, no refunds will be given for any guests who do not show up. You are welcome to substitute an angler up until 24 hours prior to your trip. Outside one week, a refund of $50 will be given per angler who cancels.

No-Show Policy

  • If you do not arrive for your trip, it will be considered a no-show, and no refund will be issued. Our guides will wait for 30 minutes before the start of the trip and will attempt to contact you. If you do not arrive within this time frame, it will be considered a cancellation.

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