From a young age, there is no question that river guiding was Miles’ calling. Watching people get excited about all things fly fishing illustrates to him that guiding was what he was born to do. “While I love catching big fish myself, sharing that experience with someone else new to the sport is something I enjoy just as much.”
Miles learned to use his first fly rod at the age of four. Growing up just a few blocks from the Big Wood River, his love of fly fishing quickly grew into a lifelong passion. Miles took his first job as a wader boy for Silver Creek Outfitters at age 13, and a year later he became the “unofficial” guide for his grandfather’s social fishing trips. From that point on, he knew he would join the team at SCO someday.
Miles believes “the best way to know where you’re from is to leave.” So, with his collection of fishing poles and hiking boots in hand, Miles left to explore the waters of the Pacific Northwest and Montana, only to return with the re-affirmed opinion that nothing quite compares to the Gem state. “Idaho has a wildness and a sense of solitude I haven’t found anywhere else.”
A retired ski racer in his youth, Miles remains an avid backcountry skier, as well as a big game hunter, mountain biker, and whitewater rafter. Between September and May, Miles resides in Montana and is earning his B.S. in ecology with a focus on fish and wildlife management. Before guiding with SCO, Miles worked for Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks as a fisheries technician. “That position taught me a great deal, mainly how best to bring passion and knowledge into my guiding.” His passion for beautiful landscapes encouraged his adventures in other countries, such as New Zealand, Australia, and Argentina. But for Miles, Idaho is in a class of it’s own, due to the diversity and health of the fisheries and rivers compared to other areas in the lower 48. Most of all, Miles is grateful for the lack of crowds and kind neighbors.
In hopes of landing the next big fish, Miles’ favorite fishing spots consist of the Salmon River and its tributaries, as well as the south fork of the Snake River. When Mikes looks back to one of his more memorable fishing experiences, he recalls fishing the upper Green River in Wyoming alongside his friend Jay Pistono. They floated 22 miles in a day and caught “a bunch of browns on mice and drakes.” When it comes to files, Miles’ favors any fly that he tied himself, but if he had to pick a pattern it would be the Woolly Buggers, Gypsy Kings, and Kelly Galloup Sex Dungeon.
Miles’ recommends that anyone learning to fly fish should pay a visit to the SCO shop or reach out to one of the local guides. “Even if you’re not looking for a guide or a new rod, we can help you a get a license and share insider knowledge on where to go and what to use. The local scoop can be key to your experience.” Additionally, he recommends doing research before heading off to your fishing destination – there are many great resources online that are helpful and easy to understand. The tried-and-true tip is to always meet people and ask questions. In his experience, there is always a trick or a more efficient approach that can make all the difference between frustration and finding true enjoyment in the sport.
As Miles’ fishing day comes to a close, there’s nothing he enjoys more than to toss back a Dagger Falls IPA while tying new flies to replace those claimed by the river. And like clockwork, Miles is ready to do it all over again the next day.