We are constantly striving to surpass our customers expectations with expert, fun-loving guides and exceptional hospitality, so our guests can focus on their love of fishing, maximize their success and take home memories that last a lifetime. This new guy helps us fulfill that goal we are striving for in a big way. Meet Ben.
Ben Kittell calls the diverse rivers of Central Oregon his home. Guiding has been Ben’s passion and career since he was 18 years old. The small streams of Colorado, where he was raised, have turned Ben into an accomplished oarsman, and an avid trout bum. Through his guiding career, Ben has had the opportunity to learn from and work for similarly passionate guides, fly shops, outfitters, lodges and equipment companies. He’s worked as a guide during the winter months in Chilean Patagonia for an Orvis endorsed Lodge of the Year winner, Magic Waters Patagonia, and he’s been a Pro Staff team member for R.L. Winston Rods and Bauer Reels. Ben looks forward to sharing his appreciation of fish, rivers, and canyons with you!
A Quick Story from Ben
A common question that gets asked of any fly fisherman is how they got started in our sport. Similar to many folks, I am fortunate to credit my Dad with starting me on a path that would define my career and life. However, like many working stiffs with a young family, my father only had so much time to go fishing. So as my passion developed into a career, I was sent down a path of endless learning from some of the best guides and fishermen around. Though my fishing skills had surpassed his, a father always has one more lesson to teach.
Possibly the most important lesson I have learned about fly fishing came on a day when I was supposed to be the one teaching. My Dad and I had the rare summer weekday off together, so to the river we went. Dad is no different than most people. He is always trying to learn and develop his skills to catch more fish. So we started with a short lesson.
There we were, father and son, standing knee deep together on a beautiful, slow turn on our home river, the Cache La Poudre. We were working on… something. Lets just say for the sake of the story it was a better mend. “Lift then mend” is something you may hear me say a lot when we fish together! When his drift had improved and all looked promising, I decided to move upstream and make a few cases for myself. “Stay here and keep working on those mends,” I told my Dad. “I’m going to run up to the next pool and make a few casts. I’ll be back in just a few.”
It was a short walk and an even shorter fishing hole. Not ten minutes later, I was returning back to the pool where I had left Dad fishing, but when I got back to our spot there was no angler standing in the water making perfect mends! Instead, my Dad was sitting on the side of the river with his hands folded in his lap.
“What’s wrong?” I asked him. “Did you get tangled?”
“Nope” he easily replied. Then I noticed the relaxed grin resting on his face.
“Did you catch a nice fish!”
The same easy “Nope”.
“Did you catch any fish?”
This simply wouldn’t do! “If you want to get better and catch more fish, you actually have to FISH!” I tried to gently explain.
He slowly got to his feet. “Upstream then?” he casually said.
That was it, my light bulb moment. My father had taught me a lesson that would define my guiding and outdoor lifestyle for the rest of my life. Not everyone goes fishing to catch fish. Sometimes it is about the fish, but sometimes it’s more about spending time with your son having him teach you to “lift then mend”.
This lesson is what I have built my guiding career and lifestyle on. I got into guiding to share the love and passion I have for rivers, and to help people build that same appreciation and respect I have come to foster. Adapting to an individual’s wants and needs is the key to providing a successful day on the water whether that success is based on the number of fish caught or the quality of conversation shared on the boat. I thank my father for teaching me this lesson that has become the foundation of the experience I get to share with others.