Skip to main content

Enjoy Magazine

About a Fly Fishing Guide Service

07/25/2018 11:00AM ● By Enjoy Magazine

Getting Hooked

August 2018
Story by Jason Burkleo
Photos by Taryn Burkleo

LIFE'S GREATEST MOMENTS spring from the headwaters of new experience. For Brian “Bucko” Theriot of Western Anglers Guide Service, one of those great moments hatched on an early spring morning in the lower Sacramento River near Dunsmuir. While gripping the cork handle of a borrowed fly rod, a native rainbow trout darted through the crisp mountain water and took his hand-tied nymph fly, but it was Theriot who was hooked.

Theriot grew up in Orange County, and every year his family would make the long drive to spend two weeks vacationing near Dunsmuir. They would stay in the little river community of Castella. Theriot grew up fishing, but this was different. Fly fishing was exciting. Fishing with a fly required things like learning the habits of the fish and imitating the lifecycles of the native insects. For Theriot, much of the appeal was that this style of fishing required less waiting and more moving than bait fishing. 

When Theriot graduated from college, he started preparing himself for a career, but his search seemed to keep pulling him toward clear water and his passion for the fly-fishing experience. He chose to wade into uncertainty and enrolled in the Clear Water Lodge Guide School in Fall River Mills. A week later, he knew what he would do. Together, with Dan Giacomaro – the man who handed him his first fly rod – Western Anglers Guide Service was born.  

The service provides full-day and half-day guided trips on North State rivers. “Northern California is a very diverse place to fish,” Theriot says. Each river presents the angler with a great opportunity for a unique experience, and “if you can learn to fish here, you can fish anywhere.” 

As a guide service, Theriot wants to provide each client with the experience of hooking that first trout with a fly. He is also convinced that “fish are only part of the experience.” According to Theriot, “Some guides guide to catch fish, but I want my clients to leave with more than a fish. I want them to leave with skills, memories and an experience.” Western Anglers Guide Service is serious about teaching skills, so they also provide a three to five-day fly fishing school. This school can be tailored for beginners to advanced anglers. 

As for experience, the guided day on the river is the real catch. It often starts by meeting Theriot at a local coffee shop. After a latte and some small talk, the adventure moves to the river, where, with the exception of waders, all necessary gear is provided. After a brief assessment and orientation, the majority of the morning is spent learning the nuances of the river, the habits of the fish and the art of the fly-rod. When lunchtime rolls around, Theriot provides great food paired with unbeatable views. The afternoon is a continuation of the morning’s skills and the Northern California angling experience that caught Theriot so many years ago. 

For those willing to test the waters, Theriot stands ready to be your guide. Just remember, there is a very good chance you will get hooked.  •

Western Anglers Guide Service

5965 Dunsmuir Ave., Dunsmuir