Tipping a guide...

Nate Dutton

I'm a teacher, I fish to eat!
When I go to a restaurant I assume I will leave a tip because it is customary. That's the main reason. And I accept that it is customary because the prevailing wage in the wait staff industry is notoriously low. But I gage the amount I tip on the quality of the service provided, and I follow what I understand to be the accepted standard of 15-20% for good service. Twice I've left a nickel to make it clear that I hadn't forgotten to tip, but tipped according to what I thought the service was worth when it was especially bad, not just poor.


Salmo g.
It is at the sole descrestion of the client to tip or not, for whatever reason they see fit! Period. If i get a guide who doesn't make an effort to put me on fish or has no professional skills I defintly wouldn't tip him/her. happened to me in Hawaii.(long story, Good ending maybe another day) You are the one who decides tip if you will!
Every guide should make the effort to do the best job he/she possibly can. Tipping is just an extra bonus. I do agree with guides who work for lodges and such should be tipped decently because half the time they work for chicken scratch compared to what other independent guides make. Sometimes fishing can just be slow but thats when a great guide knows how to entertain and at least teach whatever can be taught. Teaching a person how to fly fish and catching a few fish vs. taking somebody out who knows how to fly fish and catching alot are the same to me. I think if a guide works his butt off it should be like any gratuity business. As far as the hourly thing I would call bs a little bit simply for the fact that you have such things as gear, gas, other spending expenses that drops that rate way down. Once I am on the water I will stay on the water for as long as the client wants me to but you do have to factor in those other expenses as well. Just my opinion.
The last time that I treated my Dad to a float, I tipped the guide upfront. I told the guide to take care of my Dad and not worry about me as I gave him $100. At the end of the day, my Dad said he could not have imagined a better day of fishing.
That's a good idea. My dad just retired and the next time he comes to visit I want to take him on a Yak canyon float. I might just leave my 16' Don Hill at home and see about getting a guide from Red's to do all the work for us with the up-front tip thing.

My experience with guides is solely limited to a lodge in Alaska on the Alagnak. The guides were excellent and totally fun to fish with, drink with (in the late evenings after they busted their butts building new cabins etc. after guiding all day) and to hang out with for a week. The all deserved every dollar I could scrape up to tip them.

Bill Dodd

Bill's in a time out.
A good fishing guide provides a much different service than a plumber or electrician. when was the last time your plumber brought you under your sink and taught you how to fix the problem for next time. or how bout the last time your plumber brought out a part from his tool box that he built on his own time and made your pipes run better?[/QUOTE

iagree iagree iagree iagree iagree

Good day or bad day I always tip $100.00
I have never been with a guide who did not work his ass off.
I always learn something new from a guided trip and think of the tip as part of the fee.
I know the exact amount most guides make and that means nothing to me I feel it's doing my part to tip good, just as ALL Guides I have fished with feel it's there job to make the trip the best they can for us..
If I can't afford a good tip I wont book a trip. it's just the right thing to do..
I only fish with the best guides I can find, so I do the best I can for them as they ALWAYS do there best for us..
It's called establishing a relationship. TRUST YOUR GUIDE and he will take care of you..
But I guess the key word here should be afford as we can not all afford a $ 100.00 tip and in that case just tip the what you can afford and to the level of service you feel you have received.

P/s I did not realize this was a 6 month old post someone else brought back.

Bill Dodd.
Just because Your paying $300-600 a day to hire a guide, does not mean he is recieving that amount. Generally the guide is getting paid less than or about half of that, with the rest going to the outfitter, lodge, or flyshop. If any-one hasn't noticed fly-fishing guides arent a particullary wealthy group of individuals. No one ever said, "I'm gonna be a fishing guide so I can get filthy rich and bang supermodels." Fishing guides bust their ass for a hundred or so days a year, for one thing, a love of fishing and the oppurtunity to share that love of fishing with someone else. Tipping a guide is not demanded or expected, but it is a nice gesture. With the rising cost of gas and whiskey, fishing guides have less money in their pocket at the end of every season. So tip what you can afford, and what is deserved.


Well-Known Member

Food for thought: How do you know that $100 is a good tip? And does that make $50 a "bad" tip? Is the reason your guide takes care of you because you trust him, or is it because with the guide fee and your definition of a good tip, you pay him well enough that he desires to take care of you. And are you establishing a relationship as much as you are buying a relationship? Is there some relationship that goes beyond the exchange of money? I mean, I once met a hooker, and I'm pretty sure she would have taken care of me with a lot less than a $100 tip. And if I wanted to be a repeat customer, I guess I could have had a "relationship" with her. I just thought a less appropriate anology could shed a different light on the subject.



Well-Known Member

I thought shops take 15% for a booking fee. Is it true they take 50%? For what? Just for booking trips for guides? If true, that seems like a rip-off. I'm surprised guides would work for that.

Outfitters and lodges are different, as they usually own the boats, other gear, and transportation, with the guide providing mainly daily guide service labor for the lodge. That's quite a bit different than being the independent businessman most guides are.


Bill Dodd

Bill's in a time out.
Salmo g
Tip what you can afford, if $100.00 is out of reach for you then tip $50.00 I won't hold it aginst you but the hooker might..

Bill Dodd..
I take it that the ones bitchin are the same who go back to the lodge and tip the bar maid more than then the person dealing with there crap all day. Just in my opinion the guide should get tipped for dealing with you.I know a few guides here and they hate to take out arrogent people especially who tell the guides how to do it. Also talking to some guides they aint living the high life like most of there clients ,there trying to get by just like average joe. You figure there out looking for fish in conditions most wouldn't think of fishing in, and taking all the guess work out so you can just show up and catch a few. I know what goes on because i helped my buddy who is a walleye charter captain take clients out. He two charged a straight rate but that just goes to paying bills and replacing equipment, so any little extra someone threw him really helped. I feel if you can afford the $2-4k per person to fish with a guide you can sure as hell afford a tip. For those who say they tip depending on how may fish you catch I must of missed were when you become a guide mother nature dont affect you. Or maybe try fishing for yourselves for once and see how good you do in bad conditions. If the guide is not getting you fish due to pure laziness take it up with managment. So thanks to those who appreciate there guides, I know i do and tip them no matter how many fish you land. For those who dont well find another hobby like golf-wait you have to tip the caddy nevermind maybe chess or watercolor painting.

Again, my only experience with guides has been at one Alaska lodge.

I'm the type of client that allows the guide to be done working within the first 1/2 hour... they tell me where the fish are holding typically and what they're eating. Oh, they work a little, taking the boat from spot to spot and maybe snapping a pic from time to time when I land a hog. Other than that, they can take a nap if they want cuz I don't want someone hovering while I fish. Hell, we encourage them to fish! Actually, I have pics of a couple of my guides snoozing in the boat cuz I knew it would be damn funny at the lodge that night. I also have pics of my favorite guide throwing dry flies on a 4 weight picking off grayling while I picked off rainbows on dries. Before you jump to, "what a lazy bastard" realize that it was on Jeff's and my instruction that they basically let us fish and maybe answered some questions here and there.

All that said, my guides still got tips. Why? Because they were funny bastards that kept us laughing and having a good time, got us safely up and down the river, were attentive when the Griz were nearby, were the ones packin' guns just in case, etc, etc. I think the only real instruction I received up there was how to handtwist retrieve a mouse (a couple minutes after which I got a nice leopard rainbow on a mouse).

Unless your guide is a complete jackass, tip em! They've made a lifestyle career choice that provides a great service to us and we should show our appreciation for that. They are essentially fishing sherpas, keeping us safe, giving us some lunch and helping us achieve our various personal goals on the water.
What about other circumstances?
I always tip guides and restaurant staff etc.
Can you give us some advice please, we are staying at a Bed and Breakfast for our holiday when we visit the US from the UK, the rate has been agreed with the husband and wife owners.
So the question is, do we still give a tip on top of the B&B bill?
If so what %?
Many thanks


New Member
A good fishing guide provides a much different service than a plumber or electrician. when was the last time your plumber brought you under your sink and taught you how to fix the problem for next time. or how bout the last time your plumber brought out a part from his tool box that he built on his own time and made your pipes run better?