In 1986, John Marshall was trying to figure out how to combine his passion for fishing with his Associates Degree from the New York Board of Regents as a Sous Chef graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. He did it by creating a unique venture known as River Excitement!

As a Licensed and Registered New Hampshire Fishing Guide and a Vermont Registered Fishing Guide, John takes guests on fly fishing or light spinning McKenzie Drift Boat float trips on the Connecticut River and - along the way - treats them to gourmet river side lunches or snacks complete with white table cloths, china, and sterling silver serving pieces.

A native of Newport, Rhode Island where the waterfront was his childhood playground, John, eager to learn about fly fishing, stumbled into Wally Kolkowski, a veteran fly fisherman from Pennsylvania who was eager to share his extensive knowledge. Fast forward to the late 70's when John and his wife Susan started to vacation in the Upper Valley and eventually decided to make the move to the north country - Hartland, Vermont to be exact.

To support their new adventure, Susan went to work for the VA Hospital in White River and John went to work for Billings Dairy in Norwich and, eventually, for the VA as well. “I had the perfect job at the VA,” said John who is now retired. “I was able to take time off during the fishing season when I started to book my float trips and build my business.”

Two years ago, John added a private mountaintop pond near Woodstock to his fishing and dining offerings and, recently wrote and self-published a book, Fish On! The book captures his experience and information so others can enhance their enjoyment of the outdoors. It’s available in paperback and Kindle format through and in local bookshops.

Despite the success of River Excitement!, John thought it might be wise to contact SCORE to see if there were marketing techniques that would enable him to fill in those open dates in his schedule. Counselors Barry Rotman from Norwich and Jeff Bendis from Woodstock worked with John.

This really has nothing to do with the success story of John Marshall’s River Excitement!, but it’s a lovely add-on. In 2009, John’s wife, Susan Marshall, was named Nurse of the Year at the VA Hospital. Congratulations, Susan!

To book your river or mountaintop pond fishing or bird watching or leaf peeping trip or just to learn more about what River Excitement! has to offer, check out John’s web site at or e-mail him at or call him at 802-457-4021.


How SCORE Helped: 

“Barry encouraged me to contact local chambers of commerce and local inns and Jeff and Barry suggested that I get on the‘speaking circuit’ of the local Rotary Clubs so more local residents and businesses would learn about River Excitement!” said John. “The SCORE counselors also gave me tips on how to get the word out about my float trips to travelers to the area before they arrived.” Hopefully, these ideas will build on John’s already successful venture in this up coming fishing season.

River Excitement!