Guided by the Pursuit of Adventure

Summer on the Fly

Schuyler Deeney is doing exactly what he thought he’d be doing this summer. He just happens to be doing it 4,000 miles from where he thought he’d be.

Deeney is a student in the Fisheries and Aquaculture Program. He is also a fly fishing guide, who had planned to spend his summer leading guided trips in Alaska. With that no longer possible, he is fishing the Adirondacks.


Deeney went on his first trip when he was 12. He fell in love, and was mostly self-taught after that. This is Deeney’s fifth season working as a guide for the Hungry Trout Fly Shop, in Wilmington, NY.

“Nobody learns the same way, which makes the job enjoyable, along with actually catching fish. There are a lot of different things that go into it. Typically, we determine where we will be fishing based off of past trips, future weather, and where on the river the hatch is located.”

Each guided trip starts at the shop. Then it’s a drive of anywhere from five minutes to two hours to that day’s perfect spot.

“Typically, it’s one trip each day, anywhere from four to eight hours. We have the ‘Learn-Tos’ and we have the regular trips. About 90 percent of our client base fall into the ‘brand new’ or ‘some experience’ category. Knowing where to take each group has become second nature.”

Like with many seasonal jobs, a lot of time and effort in the on-season balances out an inactive off-season.

“Starting June 4 this year I’ll have trips every day for three weeks. Last year it was every day for almost two months.”

There is a lot of down time with clients – even on the five minute drives and four hour trips.

“Sometimes it is more of a therapy session. You go on a peaceful outing, have a conversation about the world, and catch a fish here and there.”

Deeney is still under contract to guide trips in Alaska next summer. It is a way’s away geographically and chronologically, but also just the first part of a multiyear plan.

“You can guide year-round around the world, so after I’m done in Alaska I’d like to head down to Argentina and do some guiding. My career goal is to be a NY State Forest Ranger. I want to do search and rescue in the Adirondacks. I think I’ll still be guiding whenever I can.”