IRWIN, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Wading in the South Fork of the Snake River, Boots Allen knows exactly what he’s looking for. A third-generation fly fishing guide, he comes from a family well known in the community.
“They did have a strong name in the fly tying world," Allen said. "They had a very strong name in the fly fishing world, not just regionally but nationally.”
Though Boots has been guiding for nearly three decades, he said he doesn’t quite have that same reputation yet. But he’s always improving.
“I was just out here fishing, certainly learned something today. Most of it is bits and pieces,” he explained.
Allen started guiding as a way to make some extra money while in school, but as he was wrapping up his graduate degree, he decided that fishing was what he wanted to do professionally.
“I had developed some success in the industry, just with different fly fishing competitions, writing that I had done for magazines and some books that I had written, all of that was a coalescing and building up into one big ball where it said, 'yeah, this made sense to go and do this.'”
With all that experience and a continued love for what he does, Allen says he’s in it for the long haul.
“I’m in my 40s now, I’m not gonna switch professions unless physically I can’t do this anymore.”
One of the best parts of it all for Allen is the diversity of what he’s reeling in.
“This is not just about trout. Up here, it’s a lot about trout, but, you know, I get to take people to Mexico. I get to take people to Argentina to fish for saltwater fish or warm water fish … all these great, great places to catch fish,” he said.
The fact that things are always changing makes this lifetime sport just that much more enjoyable for Allen.
"Fishing can get to be a bit more challenging, so you've got to be a heck of a lot better at what you're doing with a fly rod."