As I roamed the west this year and mentioned that I would be staying in Montana for six weeks, one of the first questions was, “Who’s your guide on the Yellowstone?” Invariably, the recommendation was Tony Valeriano or “Tony V.” I was fortunate he even had a day available to guide because 80% of his business is repeat clients who book him again and again.
Tony has guided on the Yellowstone for over 20 years. He and I both grew up in New Jersey before finding our way out west. Tony came with his wife and they settled just north of Livingston on ten acres and raised five children. Pretty impressive.
Like many of the great guides I had this year, Tony not only rowed the 16 miles on the river, he rowed back up river several times when we hit a productive spot. He knew the river like you and I know our own bodies.
What I will remember most about Tony is his patience. I had a particularly difficult day fishing. Over the previous weeks I had received a lot of advice about how to improve my cast – all of it helpful but just not easily digestible. I couldn’t put it together that day to catch more than ten fish – and that’s being generous. I probably had the opportunity to catch 60!
Throughout it all, he just kept plugging away, trying to be helpful and offering me more opportunities to catch fish. I know I’m not the first one to have a bad day, I just wish it hadn’t happened with Tony V. Thanks for everything, Tony.