CAPT. JAMIE ROUSE
Ahhhh! Man, I love my job! It was fortunate that I realized in college that I was not cut out for a “real” job, because I’m just not a 9-to-5 kind of guy. So, I migrated to my passion—Fly Fishing! After years of guiding I’ve earned many nicknames, ranging from Fish Whisperer to the Fish Nazi. Over the years I have learned how to pursue a wide variety of species in a wide variety of water conditions for a wide variety of anglers. In 2004 I became an Endorsed Guide for the well-known Orvis Company. Three years later I was awarded their prestigious Guide of the Year. (I’ll have to show you my belt buckle.) I was an Orvis Endorsed Guide of the Year finalist in 2011. Rouse Fly Fishing won Orvis Endorsed Guide Service of the Year in 2012 and was a finalist in 2013 and 2014 . I was involved in starting the Watershed Alliance for the Little Red River (now Trout Unlimited Ch. 722), and I currently serve on the Arkansas Trout Advisory Committee.
I have been really blessed over the past several years. First, with an unbelievable team: my wife Kati, Director of Operations, and guides Matt Millner, Tony Simmons, and Jordan Case, who all bring a lot to the table. Secondly, the birth of my little girl Allie, who is now 7-- Wow! I’m a dad!—and our son Thomas, age 4. Of course, both Allie and Thomas have been introduced to a fly rod. I look forward to fishing with YOU.
I guess I have to blame my dad for my addiction to fishing. As a young child I was taken on many a weekend camping trip in the Ozarks, catching my first fish when I was 2 years old—a tiny perch out of a pond near Memphis. By the time I was in the third grade I had become well acquainted with a fly rod. After high school, I was drawn west and moved to Durango, Colorado. I probably spent a little too much time outside playing in the mountains instead of doing school work. I soon found myself out of money and moved back to Memphis. But it wasn’t long before the familiar waters of Arkansas drew me back to Heber Springs. This was when I met Jamie Rouse. Jamie was able to hook me up with a job as a guide in Iliamna, Alaska—such a wild and beautiful part of the country. It’s been my good fortune to fish all over the country for many different species. The harder they pull, the better I like it. As I like to say “the tug is my drug”. This is one reason that I am especially attracted to the aggressive brown trout that we have in abundance in our own local fishery. So, if I am not guiding, you can find me somewhere on the river hot on the trail of a big yellow belly. Fishing and guiding for me is not just a job, it’s a way of life. I love to fish and I love teaching people how to fish. Just putting someone else on a fish and seeing them enjoy being out on the water is what I live for.
For me the joy of Arkansas rivers started out simply enough as a boy playing in the JFK campgrounds with the Little Red River serving as a backdrop. Along the way, the river became more than a fun place to visit; it was the place I NEEDED to be! Some things just happen, and for me it took one afternoon for all of my focus and desire to land on one thing…Fly Fishing! Once that realization was made, my life could be described under two headings: time spent on the water, and time spent thinking about being on the water. This new direction has brought me more excitement than I could have ever imagined. And it is this excitement that I want to share with anyone who wants to take the time to find it.
The time I’ve spent as an angler as well as the past seven years of guiding has given me a deep love for teaching and sharing what I’ve learned. Not only do my clients and I get to fish, but we do it in the beautiful state I’ve called home for 28 years! The same drive and desire for learning that took me through two undergraduate degrees and a master’s degree is now used for learning and teaching the wonderful pursuit of fly fishing. We all learn every time we hit the water. I have been very fortunate to have many teachers of many techniques in many locations across country, and I use all of my experiences to provide my clients with the trip they desire. I have served as vice president and president for Chapter 722 of Trout Unlimited. I recently finished guiding the rainbow trout season in Alaska.
The river also ran me smack dab into my wonderful wife Taylor and her son (my little homeboy) Andrew.
No matter your skill set or goals, I look forward to sharing a day of fishing and fun that will leave your spirit enriched, your abilities improved, and put a spring in your step!
My love for the outdoors started as a young boy catching catfish with my grandpa out of muddy cow ponds in Mt. Vernon, Arkansas. Once I got a little older and they cut me loose to roam the farm every weekend, I began to gain a respect for wildlife and Mother Nature. By the time I was a young teenager I was successfully hunting turkey, deer and duck, and catching big bass on my own. It was during this period that I discovered the Little Red River. I had my dad taking me to Heber Springs every chance he got. I soon became obsessed with the clear cold river water and the trout that called it home. It didn’t take me long to figure out what a fly rod was. When I did, I began learning the basics of fly fishing. I picked it up quickly because that’s all I wanted to do, rain or shine. When I turned 16 and got a set of wheels, I made the trip to Heber Springs as often as possible—so often that I missed more school than I should have. Thankfully, I had a supportive mother who understood how deep my love for the outdoors really was. I spent countless hours on the river in my duck hunting boat, exploring it from top to bottom. A lot of what I have learned has been self-taught, along with what I have picked up from some of the old timers along the way. I’ve met some really good folks on the river through the years and there is no doubt that this is where I am supposed to be. I feel so fortunate to be a part of this awesome team of guides at Rouse Fly Fishing and can’t wait to share with others the joy of fly fishing!
After graduating from Rhodes College where I majored in Biology, served as a student trainer, and ran track and cross country, I did some graduate work in Exercise Physiology at the University of Memphis. I am a licensed athletic trainer, having worked at Campbell Clinic Orthopedics and Baptist Rehab with many high school and college athletes. My work with youth in Memphis also included numerous climbing, rafting, hiking, and ski trips. It was when I was getting my CPR renewal in Memphis that I unexpectedly met this fly fishing guide who was getting ready to go to Alaska for the rainbow season. Little did I know that just over year later we would get married, move to the Little Red River, and I would join him for two more seasons in Alaska at Rainbow King Lodge. It was certainly the beginning of a new adventure for me! Since then, I have served as a board member and secretary of Trout Unlimited Ch. 722. Since our location didn’t provide me an opportunity to ply my trade as an athletic trainer, I trained my sights on becoming an integral part of Rouse Fly Fishing, which has been a blast! Obviously, I’ve always had a passion for the outdoors, and now we enjoy the outdoors together with the rest of our pack—Allie, age 7, Thomas, age 4, Gus, our yellow Lab, and Lucy our rescue dog. You can keep up with our adventures and get some great outdoor tips on my blog, Getting Outdoors
Oh, and by the way, I’d love to help you book your next fly fishing trip with one of the boys!