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A Newbie of All Sorts

Sorry for the long absence folks. Things here at the Riverhouse have gotten crazy! Guide season is in full swing and the bunkhouse has a revolving door of guests. The flies we tied in the off season are now water logged, chewed up and in great need of repair. Fly lines are beat up and tips are broken off fly rods. Most days I’m not sure if I’m coming or going but honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Life is pretty amazing these days.

My Fly Fishing From Scratch blog has always been about my experiences as a newbie to fly fishing but this time I wanted to do something a little different. Our lives revolve around fly fishing…oh hell, who am I fooling, our life IS fly fishing! So I thought I’d share with you a little about my life as a newbie to guide life and bunkhouse life, some of our plans and projects and what we’ve been up to.  Raise your glass, take a sip and enjoy the ride…

In 2017 Kevin and I decided to build a bunkhouse on our property for our clients. We were determined from day one to give our clients an experience that was unlike most they’d had before. Our plan,  give free lodging to clients booking 2 or more days with Kevin. Why? Why not! No one else is doing it. In doing so we have been able to give our clients a very personal, family like experience. The connections we made with our clients was amazing. The way people reacted to our, “our home is your home,” approach was beyond our expectations. We had a 100% return rate with guests staying with us from last year to this year. Wow! It must have been the late night bathroom runs and seeing Kevin in his underwear that did it! Oh geez, just kidding but seriously we had a blast that first season.  



The off season was a much needed recharge for us and gave me the opportunity to think about how I could make our clients experience when staying with us here at the Riverhouse that much better and more enjoyable. This 2018 fishing season we wanted to add something new, some sort of bonus.  What could we do to make our client’s stay even better, more enjoyable? Build a Tiki bar!!  In our travels we have been to some really cool Tiki bars and we loved the feel.  We decided to build a bar/kitchen/grilling area near our fire pit which overlooks the river.  Adding this cooking area/bar meant we could spend time with clients, cook and still enjoy the beautiful river.  I wanted to create something different, something people aren’t use to seeing. Thinking outside the box I turned to Pinterest of course.  I’m a huge fan of using  materials in a different way than what they are traditionally used or made for.  Cinder blocks!  Crazy I know but different!  Cinder blocks, 2×4’s, advantex and corrugated metal. Sounds like a great combination right? We built the U shaped bar/kitchen in an afternoon and finished the bar top the next day with bar coasters we had been collecting from our favorite places when we travel. We covered one of the counter tops with coasters and the high top bar counter with decals from some of our favorite product and brands, Scott Fly Rods, Hatch Reels, HMH Vises ….Lastly we poured a resin over the top to seal them all in.  Done!



I also wanted to do something for our clients to show them how much I appreciate them and their choice to come and stay with us.  We are often receiving shipments and when we open the box we find the items we ordered along with that dreaded invoice letting you know how much they’ve charged your account.  You open your mailbox and out you pull junk mail and bills, right? How often are you pulling out something positive or anything that makes you smile or feel appreciated? It wasn’t until I received a certain package with a hand written thank you note that it hit me.  I finally knew what I was going to do.   In a time when computers have, in some ways, taken over the world, I wanted to strip things down to basics, much like our life here at the Riverhouse. Go back to the way things use to be, simple, personal, meaningful . My plan, send out hand written thank you notes including a photo taken while they were here with us. Thank the client for staying with us and let them know I appreciate them.  Sadly this sort of thing is “old school” these days but necessary in my opinion. 

This made my day…a handwritten note back in response to my thank you card from a client. WOW!


This 2018 season has been incredible!  Our clients have been so good to us. We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve cooked and we’ve drank with some of the most amazing people out there. We’ve made new friends and reconnected with friends we’ve known forever. I love that we have this opportunity to open our world up to so many.  That people from all over, who have been all over, can come to our little piece of heaven right here in Maine and enjoy all that it has to offer. From our sunrises here in the morning to the beautiful rivers and the fish they hold, Maine is truly a gift. I couldn’t ask for a better life, this fishing life is like no other!     


I hope you have enjoyed my little blog about my newbie life. I continue to fish and learn and I’m looking forward to sharing more of my Maine Fishing Adventures with you! 



Kevin McKay, Owner

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