Guide Dave Welch could be hard to impress with Ozarks' fishing since he spent eight years as a child in Alaska.
"That's where I got my fishing background. I was more of a salmon guy/trout guy," he said.
But after 24 years guiding in the tri-lakes area, he values the variety of experiences he can provide his clients. "I like my crappie and bass fishing, too," he said.
He spent his teenage years in Illinois where his father retired from the U.S. Air Force. It was not until his college days in Warrensburg, MO, that some of his buddies hooked him on tri-lakes fishing.
Although an education major in college, he embarked straight into guiding, working with guests at Lazy Valley resort initially before working at Fall Creek Marina from 1994-1998.
"Since then I have just been freelancing," he said. "I think some of the best fishing I ever experienced here was when the floodgates were opened in 1995 and then in 1998. I had several fish over 20 pounds on the line. Then the spawn was awesome, too."
He met his wife, Sarah, in Branson who had been drawn to town to play her trumpet in some of the music shows. Last year she became a flight attendant for American Airlines, allowing the couple to do some traveling in his off time.
Welch is thankful that they live close to Table Rock Dam, so he can he drive to a boat ramp on either Lake Taneycomo or Table Rock in five minutes or less. That allows him to focus more on his actual time with clients, booking half or full-day trips and even fishing from a pontoon when needed.
"I just like to deal with people from all over," he said. "I have had people from England and Scotland, and you name it."