Elite Pro Profile - Luke Swanson

By Sage Fly Fishing

Luke Swanson grew up in the true north beside the great Mississippi River in Monticello, Minnesota. He has been an avid fisherman since a young age and has always been passionate about chasing that fish of a lifetime. Luke began as a guide at Alagnak Lodge in Alaska. He knew guiding was his true calling when he saw the smile on the face of an eight-year-old boy that caught his first fish with him in Alaska. Guiding at the lodge opened doors to become a full-time guide in the upper Midwest.

Currently, Luke is the owner and head guide of Livin' the Dream Guide Service. He works as a full-time guide from May through December chasing smallmouth and muskies. In the winter, he guides ice fishing for Pike, Walleye, Crappie, and Bluegill and works at Thorne Brothers/The Fly Angler in Blaine, Minnesota. Luke is passionate about tying bigger and better flies and constantly developing them to perform better.

home town

Monticello, MN

home waters

Mississippi River

local fly shop

target species

Smallmouth and Musky

perfect setups

Sage IGNITER 890-4, Sage SPECTRUM LT, RIO InTouch OutBound Short F/I

Sage Smallmouth Rod paired with a Sage SPECTRUM LT

Sage MUSKY rod with SPECTRUM MAX reel

career highlights

Being able to chase my dream and do what I love. Showing people what fly-fishing truly is and what the sport is all about.

conservation work

I think the most important aspect of conservation is educating people on catch and release. In Minnesota, our smallmouth and especially our musky fisheries have very strict regulations on what you can or cannot keep. Some of the muskies we catch can be over 20 years old and we really look forward to the opportunity to catch those fish. Without catch and release that would not be possible.

philosophy on fly fishing

Fly-fishing is all about continually educating yourself about the sport, fish, and your surroundings. It makes you grow and become a better person than you were the day before.

one tip to improve one's fishing

NEVER GIVE UP! When you’re grinding it out looking for that fish of a lifetime and you haven't seen anything all day, remember it only takes one cast to make it all worth it.

perfect day

Dropping the jet boat in the river, setting down the trolling motor, picking up the fly rod, and having a great day with friends while chasing a fish of a lifetime.

a good fishing story

The first thing that comes to mind is getting the opportunity to guide Musky Madness that is hosted by Bob White. It was my first year and I was just a young buck trying to make my name in the game. I had a very successful first two days and Bob White came over to me and said, “Hey Luke, you have John Gierach tomorrow, good luck!” At that moment I was freaking out and that feeling continued until about two hours into the day. John Gierach went into the figure 8 and all of a sudden, his rod doubled over and he’s hooked into a fish. After a long fight, we got the fish into the net and realized it was a giant! This fish turned out to be John’s biggest musky on the fly. It was one of the most memorable and exciting moments of my career so far.

contact info

Email: luke@ltd-365.com