Rediculous Guide Prices


Active Member
Alaska I can understand. Its hard to beat that type of quality. However I can name at least 5 reputable guides who will quote you $150 or under without a 2 person minimum to chase salmon and steelhead sun up to sun down on the OP. Bring your own lunch!
You should probably just hire those guys then.


Not to be confused with freestoneangler
Alaska I can understand. Its hard to beat that type of quality. However I can name at least 5 reputable guides who will quote you $150 or under without a 2 person minimum to chase salmon and steelhead sun up to sun down on the OP. Bring your own lunch!
Please list them so we know who to call.

Rick Todd

Active Member
Alaska I can understand. Its hard to beat that type of quality. However I can name at least 5 reputable guides who will quote you $150 or under without a 2 person minimum to chase salmon and steelhead sun up to sun down on the OP. Bring your own lunch!
I need their names! If only one guy goes, sun up to sun down is at least 12 hours. He will pay for a shuttle (or maybe have a buddy do that), still $15-20. He will burn $10-30 dollars of gas depending on the river and how far it is from his house. He has insurance, boat cost and maintenance, so lets say he nets $100. So he is making a little over $8 per hour-just about minimum wage! You figure days when the river is blown, or he is snowed out, and your reputable guide is probably on food stamps! Rick
Obviously some of the gear boats can fit more customers so there's some economy of scale that probably results in lower prices. If you want a top notch Fly Fishing guide all to yourself you're going to pay more than if you share a jet sled with four other guys.


Active Member
How about this? Tell me what you do for a living and how much you make. Id like to critique the fairness of your wage/salary vs. the value of what you do. That's legit, right? Its guys like you that I dread ending up in my boat. Go make it happen. Guides are wealthy, single, dirt bags that exploit poor flyfishermen.

Rick Todd

Active Member
It was probably 20 years ago and while I had some fair success fly fishing still waters, my wife and I decided to make a trip in our camper to fly fishing heaven. After being skunked on the Bitterroot, Rock Creek (wait-I did catch a couple sub 12" bows there!) the Clark Fork and (most frustrating of all) the Missouri where fish were literally rising next to my wader clad legs! I broke down and got a guided trip on the Big Hole. At the time, probably $250 for a single. It was absolutely the best day of fishing in my life (and there have been many more since then!) The guide got me into a morning trico fall and I hooked numerous 20" plus bows and browns on #22 trikes (and even managed to land one of them!) We had mayfly and caddis hatches all day and I learned so much that day with him. The next day I went out by myself and did almost as well. That experience was worth (easily) the cost of my Sage Z-Axis and Islander reel! From the perspective of time, the amount I spent for that day is truly a drop in the bucket, but the memory (as they say!) is priceless! Rick
Years back, my family and I vacationed in MT along the Madison. As a birthday gift to my dad, I got him a guided trip for both of us. Our guide patiently taught my dad how to cast with an indicator, untangling his line over and over again, changing his flies frequently as well. Had a fantastic lunch. Gave my dad a trip he still talks about to this day. The trip was worth every penny, and would have no problem going through a guide again.


Well-Known Member

I'd like those 5 names. I don't have a drift boat, and there are places I'd like to go on the OP where that would be handy and worth it. Of course I'd have to consider their credentials with the more expensive guide I've fished with to make a real value determination.


Old Man

Just an Old Man
I always thought that fishing was supposed to be fun. You take the price of hiring a guide then the fun as I see it goes out of it.. Being that I'm a cheap bastard, I go when the mood strikes me. But I have never in my time of fishing ever hired a guide. To me if fishing was work I wouldn't do it.

Brian Miller

Be vewy vewy qwiet, I'm hunting Cutthwoat Twout
attack said:
take $50 out of that for gas, $20 out of that for shuttle, $20 out for lunch, $10 out for guide licence, $20 out for insurance, $50 out for taxes, $20 out for boat and vehicle maintenance, $20 out for rods/reels/lines/flies...i could go on...get it?​
You left out the depreciation of a $7000 driftboat and $20,000+ rig to haul it. Sorry Thomas, but if most guides kept books like a business should keep books, their net will be minimum wage if they are lucky. A guide I know told me he spent $17,000 in fuel one year. Believe me, none of the guides I know are doing it to get rich.
Not debating the cost of engaging a guide or the value of the services performed but if the income is being reported, all of those expenses are tax deductible that, I found out as an independent contract musician, are supposed to at least help pay for, and the wear and tear on items used for generating the income, even including those $imms fishing shirts if it can be demonstrated they are used solely for generating business revenue. And one could argue that marketing one's independent contractor Guide services 24x7 is more effective if one looks the part on and off the water.

And to the comment that it may not be a full time gig, I used to generate enough income as a part-time musician with a steady day job to buy some really nice tax deductible instruments and other gear without getting "Pro" discounts while staying above board with the IRS and still be able to pay cash to replace a broken-down washing machine or some-such with the extra income. And if you aren't making enough to generate a profit as a part-timer so you can deduct the costs of doing business and stay legal with the IRS, being a Guide and incurring the costs is a personal decision.

That said, given the priorities my wife and I have for our (single) disposable income, I can't afford guide services. I can ONLY consider it on the rare occasion I would be brand new to a very exotic destination, and I have to be satisfied with the consequences of that or I might as well give up fly-fishing as one of life's greatest joys for me.


Not to be confused with freestoneangler
Brian, what you describe probably fits many part-time guides with other sources of income, including many cut-rate ones. However, I have dated or lived with 3 full-time guides and I have seen the tax returns. I run a successful small business so I undertand business accounting. Therefore, I insisted one of them keep books like a real business (as you mentioned above) and when he did, he was shocked. He lost money. With that knowledge and a good accounting firm, it took him several more years just to break even. While all the expenses are tax deductable, they are still expenses that come out of that $400/day. If one accurately accounts for all the business-related expenses, there is often not a lot of real profit left at the end of the year - much less than many of us, including me, would be willing to work for.

Guiding is exhausting work. Like any small service business, what the clients see is only part of the guide's workday which often starts hours before clients arrive and ends hours after they leave. (just ask their families) If someone wants to do it for $100-150/day and they can somehow make money or at least feed themselves doing it, more power to them. If they keep real books like a proper business, my guess is that they would cry if they looked at their real hourly after tax profit/take-home pay while they are on the water, much less the total hours they spend on their guide business.