Is a Fishing Guide an Artist? – Ask Patricia Edel of Blue Fly Guide Services


Patricia Edel - Blue Fly Bed, Breakfast, & Alaskan Fishing Guide Service King Salmon, AK

Fortunately when the time comes for Teri and I to experience Alaska we’ll have at least one place where there’s a familiar face to guide our adventure. I’ve been friends with Patricia (Patty) Edel since some time I’d say in the first grade. Patty is now the owner of Blue Fly Bed, Breakfast, & Guide Service in King Salmon, AK. Teri and I have decided that relocating our shop has to come first, but once we’re reestablished and operational – an Alaskan adventure is one of the next highest priorities!

Blue Fly offers a variety of seasonal fishing packages, guided nature photography, accommodations, and the Alaskan Experience! Patty has spent her life building her experiences in the outdoors always taking the opportunity to go fishing, crabbing and exploring. During her time in college in Colorado she honed her guiding skills while earning her degree in biology. During this time frame she took a summer opportunity to visit Alaska, which began a lifetime hook to the state and the fishing.

Now – regarding the topic question “Is a fishing guide an artist?”

About ten years ago Patty was back in New Jersey for a visit and while getting the grand tour of the latest updates to our house she mentioned a few times her appreciation for the skills required to restore a house, build furniture, and admired a few of the carvings around the house. Meanwhile she was describing her travels, and at the time lack of any real roots or base to personalize as her own. Of course my comments focused on her lifestyle, mostly being a bit jealous that she is literally living day to day what the rest of us have to save up for a year to experience for a week every so often.

Now that I mentally revisit these conversations, read some of Patty’s profiles, reviews, and listen to podcast interviews, well it’s actually very clear that being a successful fishing guide requires the same mindset that an accomplished artist achieves. I can’t claim to have a fraction of Patty’s knowledge and experience with fishing, she’s fished around the world. I on the other hand occasionally have the time to spend a few hours losing lures and catching “stick fish.” Fishing requires a dedication and commitment to observation, patience, and practice that I have already chosen to direct towards mastering the art of woodworking. Anyone can venture out for the day and get lucky, coming home with a bucket of fish and bragging about their prowess. There are however only a lucky few that repeat that performance on a regular basis.

(Here’s an interlude question: Given that my brainwaves are focused on woodworking, maybe catching “stick fish” aligns with my true calling?)

Patty and I have bounced off the subject of our lifestyles a few times over the years. We’ve been profiling artists and craftsmen boasting a variety of skills and an assortment of mediums. Learning the environment, habits, feeding, tolerances, and hundreds of other detailed facts and techniques about a fish, or any creature, is much the same as mastering the skills of carving, metal working, or stained glass. Until now I actually hadn’t realized the correlation between these unique activities.

Patty has chose King Salmon, AK as the place where she established her personal habit, and as the place where she will fine tune her skills – and it seems she’s already achieved a masters level credential in the art of fishing. Take about twenty minutes aside and listen to this great podcast interview (click the link to the left it’s a link to a specific place on Throughout the interview Patty provides a first person description of how she found her way to become a fishing guide and describes her life and home in Alaska. The only warning we’ll provide is that if you are into fishing … you’ll really have the burning desire to book a trip to Alaska that may not quench without taking the journey. You’ll find the depth of her skill and passion for fishing and guiding as she touches close, but stops just short, of revealing a secrete method of attracting trout. Patty’s personality is pretty well summed up with an anecdote where she describes just running down to the dock with a can of bear spray; much like the rest of us would grab a can of raid and knock out a few rouge bees.

Let’s not forget that Blue Fly’s focus is on fly fishing – for those who are addicted to this activity you are certainly not disputing the claim that it is an art form. I’ve personally tried a few feeble attempts at fly fishing, the net result landed me a few hats, a couple large trees, and on more than one cast (more than a dozen) I firmly hooked into the boat. I’m thinking it will be a bit of an embarrassing display to start, but figuring that Patty can stare down a bear and win, she’s likely equipped with enough tenacity to teach Teri and I how to fly fish!

We’re looking forward to our chance to venture to Alaska – which hopefully won’t be too far off! We’ll give a first hand perspective when the time comes. If any of our friends, clients, families, etc. are planning a trip; make sure you check out Blue Fly Bed, Breakfast, & Guide Service.

My conclusion – I’ve not only justified the blog feature of a fishing and guide service on our “Artisans Blog,” but I’ve likely given many of you an increased appreciation for the efforts your fishing and hunting guides go through to master the skills that are often responsible for your (our) success on the waters and in the field. These folks dedicate their lives to the environment, our natural resources, the preservation of the species that supports their lifestyle, and on a more selfish level they provide those of us who do not have the time to scout, study, and observe a chance to experience the life of someone who does!



Blue Fly has recently received some attention from Outdoor Life Channel’s Adventure Guides hosted by John Dietsch. Adventure Guides – Alaska Trip Trailer watch the Outdoor Channel – look for Episode 9 in the 2009 season! For the rest of us that do not have this station we’ll be posting a link to an online video stream ASAP! Those of us that have known Patty since we were kids are all very proud of her achievements. We are not remotely surprised at her success;  I think most of us expected it. Now its time to wonder what she’ll pull off next!



Extract from

Adventure Guides: Fishing Edition features the world’s most colorful fly, salt and bass fishing guides in a fast-paced “reality TV” format. Host John Dietsch travels the globe and goes behind-the-scenes of outfitters, lodges and fly shops. As we learn about the waters these guides fish and the techniques they use, we also get insight into the trials and tribulations of the guiding lifestyle as well as the rewards of living life every day close to the fisheries they love and protect.

Episode 9

“King Salmon Alaska: Trout and Char” (Preview Images Above!)

This episode highlights the amazing fly-fishing available in King Salmon, Alaska. We join professional guide and owner of Blue Fly Guide Service, Patricia Edel, her father Rick Edel, and guides Will Cranz to fly fish for trophy rainbow trout, char and grayling. They take us out on their home waters of the Naknek River, followed by the Brooks Falls, and lastly they take a bush plane out to search for salmon run in the Ugashik Narrows. This episode showcases the beautiful Alaskan wilderness, the local brown bear population, and includes several amazing fishing sequences in which the Blue Fly crew bring in the record size trout famous to this region.


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