How Should I Tip My Guide?

Tipping a fishing guide is an accepted way to reward the hard work, collected knowledge, and teaching ability of any professional guide. It may seem like guides are "living the dream," and most of them are. The fact is, guiding operations, especially independent guides that work without the aid of large lodge operations backing them up, work long hours, have tight margins for profit, and physically work very hard to get you into fish. Tipping a guide is much like tipping a waitress or waiter. You should always tip, but the amount you tip truly depends on the experience and services they performed for you.

Always speak with your guide or outfitting company about tipping standards. Cash tips are recommended above all forms of non-monetary tips, but depending on the guide, they may gladly accept another form of tip. You must remember however, most guides have piles of fishing gear, flies, rods, reels, and tackle. Therefore, it's doubtful that they would prefer to have another piece of gear on their pile instead of a cash tip that may mean gas in the tank or food in the refrigerator.

Prices of Guided Trips Vary Greatly Based On

  • Location and logistical difficulties.
  • Skill of the guide.
  • Time of year and fishing conditions.
  • Length of the trip (half day, full day, multi day).

The Money You Spend On a Guided Trip Helps Pays For

  • The gear you use (rods, reels, flies, line, boats, trailers, truck payments).
  • Food and drinks.
  • Shuttle costs if floating.
  • Guide licensing, permits, insurance, and other legalities of professional guiding.
  • Outfitters or fly shops that take cuts out of a guide's pay in order to book trips.

Give Your Guide a Large Tip (Over 100$) If

  • They worked hard all day long (rowing hard, scouting hard, hiking ahead to check out other areas, etc).
  • They gave you plenty of instruction, taught you something new, and focused on teaching.
  • They were organized, prompt, and did everything they said they would and more.
  • Gave you ample opportunities to catch fish.

Tip Your Guide a Smaller Tip (80$ or Less)

  • They didn't work hard.
  • They weren't prepared.
  • Gear wasn't in working order.
  • Food seemed ill prepared or sub-par.
  • Logistical issues got in the way of fishing.
  • Fishing and catching opportunities fell short and the guide didn't work hard to get you more opportunities.

Because there are so many things that go into setting the price of a guided trip, it can be easily understood why tipping your guide directly is so common and widely accepted. The tip at the end of the day means, "Thank you, you worked really hard for me today and did everything you could to make me happy, get me fishing opportunities, teaching me, and showing me a good time". Tip in cash always, unless your guide gives you the ok to compensate them in a different way.

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