Meet Matt Mendes, an American fly fishing guide on the Deschutes River in Central Oregon. Matt is a passionate fly fishing guide, hunter, dad, husband and conservative. His legacy in the Warm Spring Reservation, allows his guiding service to operate in a private section of the Deschutes River, where he targets the local red-belt rainbow trout and summer steel head. We were lucky enough to spend the day before this year with Matt in the water of his house. Follow the full interview below!
Flylords: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your guide service?
Mat: I am a guide to steel head and trout at the Indian Warmsprings Booking in Oregon. Our company Spin The Handle offers a unique fly fishing experience on the Deschutes River in over 20 miles of pristine tribal land. I have been around people in the fly fishing industry most of my life and have always wanted to be a two-handed casting instructor and steel guide since a young age.
Flylords: What was your journey to becoming a guide?
Mat: I started running in 2005 as a sophomore in high school with my grandfather Al Bagleys’s company River Bend Guide Service. He was the first American fly fishing guide in Oregon and we worked together for 11 years before starting Spin The Handle in 2016. We have led private water along the Deschutes River since 1996.
Flylords: What’s so special about running the Warm Springs Reservation?
Mat: Being a registered tribal member with the Confederate Tribes of Warmsprings means the world to me. I’m proud to be a member and to be able to enjoy this extraordinary place I call home. I want to do my part as a Native American by being a land and resource administrator, not only being responsible and respectful, but also influencing young tribal youth to love and appreciate what we have here. I hope to share with people the beauty of being outside and how important it is to respect Mother Earth. We are truly blessed to live in such an amazing place that brings joy to people from all over the world every year.
Flylords: What conservation issues are you passionate about? Is there any organization you see making a difference in your fishing?
Flylords: Tell us about your platform?
Mat: The device I drive is a 2016 Dodge Ram 2500 6.7 Cummins Turbo Diesel. The truck is tuned to Ezlynk and has an SB entrance. I have a complete Thruen lift and suspension with King Shocks and components. I am running a 37.5 Toyo MT in the 18s.
Flylords: Roads are pretty gloomy in some parts of the river road, how important is your truck to your guide service?
There are not many places you can reach without a 4-wheeler, especially on our muddy roads. I like to think it’s more like a sleigh ride up and down the river following the steel tip, our 4 × 4 program is at the next level.
Flylords: Why did you choose the DECKED System for your truck?
Flylords: What is one random item you will always have on your truck on a guided (non-fishery) day?
Flylords: What’s next for Matt?
Mat: I have plans to buy a piece of property along the river and start a nice fishing lodge in the near future.