Outdoor Storytellers- Toby Wyatt
HELLS CANYON – Toby Wyatt, the owner of Reel Time Fishing, has been a guide for nearly 20 years and he has seen just about everything during his time out of the water.
We recently took a trip out with him along the Snake River near Heller Bar. The cold weather did not bother Toby, and neither did the ice.
“It wasn’t that bad. The first thing I was worried about was the ramp being icy,” Toby said. “I’ve slid down that ramp from the top to the bottom. Other than there being ice-bergs at the bottom it wasn’t that bad.”
He has made many trips to many different areas along the water and the weather is the least of his concerns.
“This is all I do. Fish Idaho, Oregon, Washington and Alaska. That’s it. Chase fish. All year,” Toby said.
All year, no matter what the weather’s like, Toby cannot be pulled away from steelhead fishing.
“I always wanted to be a full-time fishing guide. That’s all I ever wanted to do, but I never thought it would happen,” Toby said. “I got lucky. I do what I love to do and it’s working out for me.”
Toby has been guiding people along the water since he was 17 years old. Now, he feeds his wife and two kids from the money that swims upstream.
“It brings in millions of dollars to the Lewiston/Clarkston communities. I figure each steelhead that crosses lower granite dam is worth $20 to $30 each,” Toby said. “Without it the community would lose a lot.”
The community sits among the Clearwater, Columbia, Salmon, Grande Rhonde, and Snake Rivers. Toby moved away from the area at one point during his life, but he soon learned that he needed to go back.
“I missed Hells Canyon. I missed catching the fish,” Toby said. “I’ve just had a love affair with these rivers my whole life and I don’t think I could ever leave them again. I’m here forever.”