River Guide Spotlight – Tim Satre

Tim has been an icon of the Rogue River for decades. Countless people come back on trips to spend time with Tim and even more have a funny story about one of the practical jokes Tim played on fellow river guide, Mike Slagle. We wanted to hear from Tim directly about the Rogue River, guiding, kayaking and his time floating.

How Long have you been guiding?

 I have been a guide at OTT for 30 years. Starting out as a new teacher I had summers off and guiding was a fun way to make a few extra bucks. It doesn’t take long for guiding to get in your blood.  Pretty soon I was looking forward to the next season as soon as the current one was over.  I haven’t taken a summer off yet and I’m not ready to anytime soon. There are so many amazing things about being a river guide it’s hard to pinpoint even just a couple. The list is very long but here are a few reasons;

  • Getting out in nature with no motorized vehicles, no roads and no phones.
  • I get to exercise every day, out in nature and moving my body 8 to 10 hours a day.
  • The camaraderie is unequalled in any other activity.  Listening to the guests and guides sharing their adventure brings everyone closer to each other and the river.
  • Adventure, you never know exactly what’s going to happen in the next rapid.  
  • The excitement of the chase, as a guide you’re always trying to perfect your skills to improve your rescues and to do the best you can on the water.

Do you have any favorite moments or memories from the years?

So many years so many amazing adventures and moments.  I do have to admit tricking Slagle into rowing a broken TV down the river to marial lodge was probably among the funniest.

Why do you think river trips are such a great vacation?

This physically active vacation guarantees days of intense adventure. This adventure makes our river trip the best vacation anyone could choose!  Who doesn’t like an adrenaline rush?

What has your winter season looked like?

Looking forward to guiding every summer helped me get through the winters and 30 years of teaching. Guiding is also a motivating factor to keep you working out and staying in good shape.

What is your advice to new guides?

My advice to new river guides is to learn while you play.  When you’re not on the clock or the river slows down, get in your boat and play: jump in a surfing hole, practice eddie turns behind rocks, cross currents while paddling upstream just sitting in an Eddie and doing a bunch of whirlybirds. When you are practicing you are learning and a guiding team on the river is only as strong as its weakest link. 

What are you most excited for this season?

This upcoming season is not any different than others After a long winter off I just want to get outside, get a paddle in my hand and a boat underneath me. To feel the warm sun in your face and the river moving underneath your boat it’s something every river guide lives for but has a hard time explaining.

What are the biggest changes you have seen over your 30 years?

Over the years we have updated several procedures on the water that make portages easier for guests and guides. We have updated how we park our boats at the lodges, which helps speed up takeouts and put ins. We have updated how we place guides throughout the different rapids to help improve rescue times so that we can save people faster, making everyone safer on the water.  I would have to say one of the coolest things that we started was filming our guests throughout the days. Watching those films at marial lodge on night two of the Rogue lodge trip has made that night a great family night where everyone gathers around the tv and gets to relive our amazing river adventure together. Lots of laughs and love gets shared as we zoom in on still pictures and watch the videos . It’s just been a lot of fun. 

Probably the biggest improvements that I have seen in the last 30 years is the equipment. The equipment is much better, the rafts are better, the boats are better, the vans are better even the shop has improved.

I can’t wait to see you on the river you know thats where you will find me!

Tim Satre kayaking the Rogue River

Tim can be found guiding on a number of rivers for OTT but he is primarily found on the Wild and Scenic Rogue River so if you would like to do a trip with this river icon, sign up for a trip this coming summer.