Brian_MinichBy Brian Minich

There are endless outdoor opportunities for anyone coming to the rolling hills of Western New York or Northwestern Pennsylvania. From the slopes of Holiday Valley to the rivers in Pennsylvania’s Allegheny National Forest, there is a good time to be had during the four beautiful seasons.

In the winter months, activities such as downhill and cross-country skiing, tubing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, ice fishing, and hunting are available, as well as golf, hiking, biking, fishing, camping, and boating in the summer months. These adventures can be done on your own or you can seek guidance from a local that already knows the area and the potential that it holds.

Local Knowledge Goes a Long Way

One of the best ways to ensure a great outdoor experience is to hire a knowledgeable outdoor guide. Although the guiding industry is relatively small in this region, there are a handful of us waiting — eager and ready to take you out and show you the opportunities that this beautiful landscape has to offer.

It is very beneficial to hire an outdoor guide for at least a half day when visiting a new area. Why? By hiring a local guide, you get a chance to learn tricks, techniques and travel routes from someone that has years of experience in the particular type of venture that interests you. Spending a day with someone that knows the area and activity will help cut down on the learning curve that comes with a new territory.

Confirmed Outdoor Junkie

As an experienced and licensed guide, I am an outdoor junkie that lives in the woods, on the water, and guide for fishing in both New York and Pennsylvania. I was born and raised on these activities and always enjoy teaching others about my passion.

Nothing beats the thrill and rush of watching a client reel in their first fish on a fly rod! Trout and steelhead are the primary local species targeted on a fly rod, but there are many other warm water fish available for both fly-fishing and on terminal tackle. Other species include bass, musky, pike, walleye, and carp. And don’t when you hear carp — they are a ton of fun to fight on a fly rod and are quickly becoming a household name in the fly-fishing industry, despite their ugly reputation.

Discover Hidden Fishing Holes

The main trout waters I target are the Allegheny River below the Kinzua Dam outside of Warren, Pa., and the Clarion River near Ridgway, Pa. Both of these rivers have great trout fishing but also offer canoeing and kayaking along the most scenic stretches of the Allegheny Mountains. Steelhead fishing opportunities are available on many Lake Erie tributaries in both New York and Pennsylvania in the fall, winter and spring.

The Allegheny National Forest also has miles of hidden, small streams that hold good numbers of native brook trout. These small trout are very aggressive and will eat about any fly that is placed in front of them. The Allegheny Reservoir also resides right in our back yard and offers endless opportunities for the outdoor enthusiast.

Do Your Homework

Before hiring a guide, you should do your research. Anyone who has done something once can call themselves a guide, but you want to make sure you are getting someone with experience and a good reputation. Do not be afraid to make phone calls to a few different operations before committing a day of your trip to them.

A guide is not just a good idea for someone coming to this area but is also beneficial for vacationers embarking on new travels and adventures. Traditionally, I always hire a guide for a day when traveling to unfamiliar territory. A good guide is able to provide you will local knowledge on their specialties.

After spending a day with a good guide on a new adventure, you will have memories and stories to tell for years to come.

(Brian Minich is a seasoned outdoor adventure guide who can be reached at