We had the good fortune of connecting with Cameron Rhodes and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cameron, what role has risk played in your life or career?
In my industry risk taking is huge. Everyday you might take a risk on where to fish or how to fish. I think taking a risk is always worth the reward in this case. Most times I will always take the risk as long as I am not putting clients in danger. Sometimes it doesn’t pan out and all that was lost was the effort. But the reward of gaining that knowledge or catching a fish of a lifetime was definitely worth the risk. I took a huge risk when I started my own fly fishing guide business. I took the risk of burning bridges with people I have worked with in the past. I definitely burned some bridges but that risk was worth working for myself and being a happier person because of it. Without taking this risk I would still be doing the same thing and still be unhappy working groundhogs day. I took the risk of being a fly fishing guide in general. My father told me to be careful because you don’t make any money being a fly fishing guide. He was right! But that risk is worth the reward because I get to do what I love everyday. Of course it has ruined relationships and doesn’t help my bank account much. But I would say it is worth it.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Being a fly fishing guide is not an easy thing. Especially if you want to be good at it. It has long hours and irregular hours. Usually there is traveling involved and you are often away from home for days/weeks on end. This is not a seasonal job for me. There is always work to be done and I am always looking to improve. I feel what sets me apart is that I have a lot of skin in the game. I have dedicated my life and most of my money to this occupation. This is not only a job but a passion, and that is hard to manage at times. I work very hard to be the best I can be on and off the water. I want to provide the best experience I possibly can for a client. There were a ton of challenges while building my business and creating a career. I worked on the river for eight hours a day and then would work a restaurant job at night to supplement income and earn enough to buy a new boat to start my career. It is a very cutthroat industry as well so I had to earn the respect from others before I could move up the totem pole. This wasn’t and isn’t an easy career choice to jump in to. But it is some of the most rewarding work I have ever done. I have learned to keep driving forward and keep your chin up. Everyday is a new day. Today may have been tough fishing and clients were bummed out but tomorrow is a new day to start over. And in the end, it is just fishing and it should be fun. I just keep moving forward and keep looking ahead and that helps me overcome the challenges. I want people to know that I work very hard to be the best fishing guide I can possibly be. I stay awake at night studying fly fishing and techniques and how to teach them. I am Colorado born and raised and am proud of my roots. Fly fish guiding chose me. I am exactly where I am supposed to be.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I am located in Gunnison CO. It is a small town with a small college campus located right inside town. The great thing about this town is that being outside is never far away. Places to visit would include the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, the town of Crested Butte, obviously go fish the Gunnison river, Taylor park reservoir and Lake city. Some of my favorite places to eat and drink include The Dive Bar which is connected to a great pizzeria called Mario’s. Blackstock Bistro is on the higher end but has great food and drinks with an intimate atmosphere. Garlic Mike’s Italian restaurant is located right on the river and we can float and dine there. Amazing food and great outdoor atmosphere. Another great place to check out is the I bar ranch which is an outdoor music venue next to Tomichi creek. Outdoor recreation is not far at all. Rivers and trails are all very close.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Of course my dad deserves respect in this journey. He always encouraged me to chase and do what I love. Which is being a trout bum. But I took it one step further to make money being a trout bum. He is always there with new ideas to help boost my career and help support myself. He is my rock. As for fishing, my buddy Matt helped me become the guide I am today by teaching me to always have your heart in the game. He says row a boat with all your heart and that’s what I always try to do. He has also taught me how to be more organized on and off the water. I give so much credit to both of these people for helping me with my career choice.
Dane Scott Jill Elliot