Steve Mason - Guide

How long have you been guiding? I Started guiding with Fish Tales around 2000. I guided for about 10 years and then took a break from guiding and focused on my winter job as a custom saddle maker. In 2022, the shop needed a guide for a big trip and I remembered that I really enjoy guiding, so here I am.  

Why and how did you get started in guiding? I was obsessed with the Bow River and I needed to be on the river! LOL Then once I started guiding I realized how much I enjoy getting people into fish. I truly enjoy watching people catch fish, I am just as happy rowing or being the guy on the bank spotting the rising fish as I am as the guy catching the fish (well most of the time LOL)

Are you a fly tier?Yes

Favorite pattern(s)? Purple and foam! I never seem to tie patterns to the specific recipe, most of the flies I tie could be called "stuff on a hook." Typically I go to the tying bench with a pattern in mind, then I gather up materials and up substituting out materials with whatever stuff I find first that I feel might work. 

What do you row? Why? I row a Hyde 14.6′ Aluminum Low Profile, the thing I like best about this boat is also the thing I like the least. It's made out of aluminum so it's very strong and will last for ever. Therefore what I like best about my boat is it will last me for many years to come and what I like least is because the boat will last I don't need to buy a new boat.

Favorite fishing technique? I love to hunt and sightfish to fish eating dries on the Bow, I think this is the ultimate challenge on the Bow River, Stonefly or hopper dropper fishing is a blast, seeing fish smash big foam fly's never gets old.

Do you prefer guiding experienced anglers or beginners? Both, with experienced anglers we don't need to spend as much time instructing as they already know how to fish, with beginners more time is spent instructing and seeing the students figure things out. It's always a great thing to be a part of when the "lightbulb comes on" for a beginning angler. . 

Your strengths as a guide? Patience and no judgement on the client's skills.

What do you do to add to the experience on a slow(er) day? Telling some good fishing stories and having some laughs, and if the fish are not eating much we can still work on improving fishing skills. 

Favorite guide-related memory?  I don't have a particular memory but when guiding return clients I would often hear them say how their last trip was one of their best days in the last year or a fish they caught was their fish of a lifetime that they will remember for years.  It is a privilege to be part of someone's favorite memories, that's what brings me back. 

Embarrassing anecdote (something that happened while guiding)? I once froze to my boat! I had washed my boat the night before and it was well below freezing, when we put on the water I started to row out and both of the felt soles of my boots froze to the foot brace, I tried to drop the anchor but couldn't for two reasons, my feet were stuck so i couldn't drop the anchor, which really didn't matter because my anchor rope was frozen into a solid ball. The day warmed up and we all had a good laugh. 

This is seasonal work…. What do you do in the off-season? I am a custom saddle maker, silversmith and I have started building bamboo fly rods as well. 

Given the opportunity who would you choose to fish with? Or someone who has inspired you as an angler/tier/teacher/guide. I always enjoy fishing with other guides, always I good time and knowledge is always shared which makes us all better guides and fisherman. For fly tying Russ Webb has been a great mentor over the years, Russ if one of the most innovative tiers I know and he has helped me become a better fly tier. 
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