Bryan Glass’ Instagram page is a thing of trophy anglers’ dreams.
The page, which Glass runs under the handle @wildtrout and attracts 33,000 followers, shows pictures of Glass hefting behemoth trout, salmon, sturgeon and many other species.
The 22-year-old Idaho Falls native is part of the pro staff at local fishing business Kast Gear and spends spring to fall guiding trips in Alaska. When not on the water hauling in lunkers, he’s working at getting a bachelor’s degree in business marketing at Boise State University. But that’s the backup plan.
“Right now I’m pretty much doing what I’m hoping to be doing for the rest of my life,” Glass said in a phone interview.
Glass held a fishing rod the first time at age 4. From there he grew a fondness for the sport and had the goal of traveling to Alaska to seek out secluded rivers and catch its hidden fish.
“I dreamed of flying into the middle-of-nowhere Alaska, floating on some no-name river and enjoying that with complete solitude,” Glass said. “At the end of last summer I realized, ‘Holy cow this is my job.’ ”
Glass’ second “fishing-life goal” was to be paid to go on a fishing destination trip. Kast Gear afforded him just that by taking him about five weeks ago to the Olympic Peninsula in northwest Washington to haul in steelhead.
Glass lives fishing. He estimated he spent 320 days last year on the water either guiding or fishing. Being a self-described trout bum also happens to pay well. He’s able to rake in the cash as a guide in Alaska and by booking trips for people when he’s not guiding. His partnership with Kast gives him some extra change to fill out the middle.
Colby Hackbarth, Kast Gear owner, said he’d been keeping tabs on Glass for several years. Hackbarth was keen on Glass’ knack for reeling in big fish, so he offered him a spot on the company’s pro staff about two years ago. Glass does promotional and YouTube videos for the company and sports its gear in many of his Instagram photos.
“Anytime someone is consistently landing big fish like he lands people take notice, and he’s killing it,” Hackbarth said. “He puts a lot of time and effort and research into figuring out where those big fish are. We do the same, but he does it more publicly.”
Hackbarth said Glass has the lifestyle many anglers strive for.
“Bryan is a real fishy guy,” Hackbarth said. “It’s about fishing for 12 hours straight and then getting up and doing it again.”
Glass said during his first try at guiding three years ago he applied at 40 different lodges in Alaska.
“None of them would give you the time of day,” Glass said. “I finally got a hold of one and they said ‘We’ll give you a shot.’ ”
Once he had a season under his belt, and all the necessary certifications to guide, he had multiple lodges giving him offers the following season.
But Glass said he only has about three more Alaska guiding seasons left in him. He said the job is rewarding but grueling. It’s early rising at 5 a.m., constant travel, hobnobbing with clientele, untangling lines, rowing drift boats and serving meals until midnight seven days a week. Glass has no gripes with hard work, but he doesn’t want to get burned out on fishing.
“I’d like to move into marketing for the fishing industry and be able to enjoy fishing for what it is,” Glass said.
Glass is the rare angler who will reveal some of his secrets. Secrets that some creek- and small-river anglers may scoff at, but the proof is all laid bare on his Instagram.
Glass works with either an 8-weight or 10-weight rod and heaves out six-inch streamers or mouse patterns.
“I’ll fish all day and all night just to catch one fish,” Glass said. “If I go on a three-day fishing trip the goal is to catch the biggest fish possible.”
Glass said he likes a good fight with a big trout, but he’s more interested in landing it. So he doesn’t dally too much with putting on a good fight and tiring out the fish since Glass is almost strictly a catch-and-release angler. An exhausted fish can go belly-up once released.
“I can watch somebody hook a medium-sized fish and fight it to absolute exhaustion on their super light rod. Whereas on my 8-weight I would have skipped that fish across the water,” Glass said. “I love an incredible fight but more importantly I want to get the fish in the net.”
See Bryan Glass’ Instagram page at instagram.com/wildtrout/