Building a sustainable future for our fisheries:

one course at a time.

G4F's Standards and Training.

Upon completion of this course, participants will have demonstrated an understanding and tested competence in areas ranging from the history of conservation and river etiquette to fish biology and river hydrology. Following successful completion of the online course material, students will participate in a four-day intensive practicum experience, which will include both classroom- and field-based lessons. At the end of the practicum, students will take a final exam. Students who successfully complete this course of study will receive their official Guiding for the Future certification.

Course Requirements:

1
Successful completion of nine online modules, comprised of lessons, review material, and quizzes–undertaken at student’s pace and schedule over course of two months.

2

Attendance and successful completion of a four-day, hands-on practicum with classroom and in-situ instruction. A final exam will be administered.

“The hydrology segment opened my eyes to the bigger picture of our rivers and the challenges they face. In general this course provided valuable info useful to anyone making a living on our waterways.”

2019 Course Attendee

Course Curriculum

1. History of Conservation

› Outcome:
Understand the broad outlines of conservation history, and how fish and wildlife conservation has evolved through time to today’s laws and policies.

› Content includes:

Public trust doctrine and state management of fish and wildlife, North American Model, Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program, profiles of conservation, role of anglers in ensuring future conservation.

3. Ethics, Etiquette and Good Working Relations

› Outcome:
Appreciate importance of ethical conduct in conservation of natural resources, models for angler and outdoor ethics, situational ethics and importance of solid working relationship with FWP, landowners, and the general public.

› Content includes:

Background in ethics, codes of ethical conduct for anglers and general outdoor use, river etiquette, and interactive discussions about situational ethics and methods for maintaining solid working relationships.

5. Water Use and Challenges in Montana

› Outcome:
Working knowledge of watershed hydrology, where water comes from, how it is used in the Upper Yellowstone and Upper Missouri river systems and impacts and challenges for future water management.

› Content includes:

Hydrologic cycle, hydrographs, understanding ground and surface water, water use (e.g., irrigation, groundwater pumping, urban water supply and treatment), potential impacts to fisheries (e.g., effects of warm water temps and reduced flows and link to disease outbreaks), and what works and what doesn’t in addressing future challenges.

7. Fish Biology and Fisheries Management

› Outcome:
Solid working knowledge of fish species, their status, life histories, anatomy and physiology, science behind proper fish handling, background in fisheries management techniques and assessment.

› Content includes:

Fish phylogeny, behavior, life history, populations and communities, examples of fisheries management techniques, and the science of fish handling.

9. Beyond Flies and Drifts

› Outcome:
Gain knowledge and training in being a more skilled, well-rounded, and more financially savvy guide.

› Content includes:

Teaching techniques, teaching fly casting, “It’s not just fish” (knowing the natural history of your rivers), tips for wowing clients, and business management basics.

2. Laws and Regulations

› Outcome:
Appreciate the role of FWP, regulations on angling, why we have them, how they are established, and the role of fishing guides in compliance.

› Content includes:

General laws and regulations governing fishing, outfitter/guides regulations,  Montana Stream Access Law, and role in helping to manage Aquatic Nuisance Species.

4. River Hydrology and River Ecology

› Outcome:
Understand basic hydrology and aquatic biology as it effects river dynamics, water flows, fisheries, and the like.

› Content includes:

Basic understanding of hydrology including water flow, sediment transport, physical/seasonal changes, and hydrological connections with “reading water;” and aquatic habitat development in riffles, oxbows, side channels, etc.

6. Ecology of Aquatic Macroinvertebrates

› Outcome:
Familiarity with the major aquatic insect groups, life histories, anatomy and physiology, behaviors, food webs, and responses to changes in habitat.

› Content includes:

Insect classification and identification, growth and development, behavior, habitats, environmental stress, management of riparian zones, and biomonitoring.

8. Guides as Stewards

› Outcome:
Role of guides in being advocates for river systems and training in principles of scientific data collection, river monitoring and assessment techniques; and importance of observing, researching, and getting involved.

› Content includes:

Collection protocols, sample collection and recording, and rapid assessment techniques; in addition, role of guides as advocates for rivers in observing, recording, and taking action.

Course Curriculum

1. History of Conservation

› Outcome:
Understanding the broad outline of fisheries management and how that has advanced over time.

› Content includes:

North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, state management of fish and wildlife, Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program, Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson Acts, economics of fishing, role of anglers in conservation.

2. Laws and Regulations

› Outcome:
Understand why we have them, how they are established, and the role of fishing guides in compliance.

› Content includes:

Basic laws and regulations that govern fisheries management and sport fishing, wild trout policy, and most common violations.

› Montana Outfitter and guide statutes and regulations.

3. Hydrology and Ecology

› Outcome:
Understand basic hydrology and aquatic ecology as it affects coldwater fisheries, water flows, and water quality.

› Content includes:

Water flow, temperature, quality, changes through time, productivity, drought, food webs, fish habitat needs, connection with “reading water,” observed changes within hydrology and ecology due to changing climate.

4. Entomology

› Outcome:
Working knowledge of macroinvertebrate taxonomy, life cycles, anatomy and physiology, and science behind macroinvertebrates as indicators of aquatic ecosystem health.

› Content includes:

Macroinvertebrate identification, macroinvertebrates in monitoring aquatic ecosystem health.

5. Fish Biology and Ecology

› Outcome:
Working knowledge of fish species, life histories, anatomy and physiology, and science behind proper fish handling and physiology.

› Content includes:

Fish identification, fish behavior, and fish physiology and handling, releasing in increased water temps in summer, fish movements, awareness of thermal refugia and how handling exacerbates issues already affecting fish.

6. Water Uses and Challenges

› Outcome:
Working knowledge of where water comes from, how it is used in the Upper Yellowstone and Upper Missouri river systems, and threats.

› Content includes:

Montana Stream Access Law, property rights, water rights, river flows, water use (e.g., irrigation, groundwater pumping, urban water supply and treatment), potential impacts to fisheries (e.g., effects of warm water temps and reduced flows and link to disease outbreaks), aquatic nuisance and invasive species.

7. Outfitters and Guides as Stewards

› Outcome:
Training in a set of river monitoring and assessment techniques that will be part of a system-wide effort which will also improve etiquette and guide-stakeholder interactions.

› Content includes:

Etiquette and behavior, improving guide-landowner-FWP relations, river monitoring and fisheries assessment techniques.

8. Beyond Flies and Drifts

› Outcome:
Gain knowledge and training in becoming a more-skilled, well-rounded, and more ethical guide.

› Content includes:

Teaching techniques, safety, tips for impressing clients, understanding the local region’s history (geological, cultural, and natural), fly-fishing history.

› Tools or language for guides to teach about ethics, discuss ethics more explicitly.