Sam Sickles

My passion for the outdoors has been the driving force in my life for as long as I can remember. I’m a Beav’. I went to Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon, where I was born in 1970, and graduated in 1994. In 1994 I met Mike Gorman at the Scarlet Ibis Fly Shop and he told me, “If you can’t catch a steelhead on the Deschutes, then you can’t catch a steelhead.” Being heavily infected with the fishing disease I checked it out.  I scratched that itch. I taught myself to row a drift boat, to cast a spey rod and to drive a jet-boat on the Deschutes. I did it the old fashioned way with some bumps and some bruises along the way.  Since then I’ve fished a lot of rivers and been a lot of places and the Deschutes River is still my favorite; it’s my home.  You will find me trout fishing or chasing steelhead year around!

I became a jet-boat guide on the lower Deschutes in 2008. It’s arguably the nastiest place on earth to run a sled and I had zero guiding experience. This was a chance encounter that led to a very rare opportunity to guide the best river on the planet…and to do it out of a jet-boat. I learned a lot, logged a lot of days, quit a good job, and caught some of steelhead, but what I’m proudest of is earning the respect of my peers that included dudes that started guiding the Deschutes in the 1980’s and they are not fly-fisherman. That speaks to me.

My journey has allowed me to work with some of the best outfitters in the business, but my program and my philosophy are my own and it goes something like this; Steelhead Outfitters has the best boat on the river, I put people in the best spots at the best times, I make people better, I respect the rules of the road, I only fish elite equipment, we have fun and we catch fish. I am honest and exceptional at what I do but fishing guides are not gods, we are guides.  We love what we do and where we do it and people who fish with us do too.

I fish Hatch reels because they are the best fishing reels available.  We are in the business of hooking and landing steelhead in a very large river. We need reels that perform, we need elite equipment and Hatch falls in line with my philosophy.  I’m very proud to fish Hatch reels exclusively in my boat.