Post By: Jake B 4444 Posted: 7/18/2012 12:37:32 PM Points: 220
I was thinking about becoming a fishing guide in the next couple years and was wondering how much it would cost to do that. I know you have to have a guiding license but is that all. do you have to have anything else like insurance.
Yep liability insurance...and a state outfitter's fee, fee to water managing agencies (keep in mind you need a permit specific to each body of water you guide on and they'll likely want a cut) and CPR/First Aid cert. You'll be a couple of grand in the hole before you guide your first day. Like any business, pay to play! CL
You will spend a lot of money and time before you even put your self out there as a guide. Its not just getting the proper permits. Its building your self up and learning what you need to know about not only catching fish but getting clients and running a good buisness. People think its easy or guides have the life by getting to fish all day. I'm in the early stages of doing this and its a lot of work! Like chad said, you have to Pay, Pay, and Pay before you even think of playing! And I don't just mean Pay by money. Good luck though if you get in to it! MM
You can do it, don't be worried, just do some research before you cough up money and time. It'll take a couple grand to get into mid-grade schools and typically it's only a week long course, depending on what type of guiding you choose to do of course and basic courses are kept to the lower 48 states unless you want more schooling.
Don't let anyone discourage you but definitely research and think if its something you want to do.
You only need a permit specific to each body of water you guide on if it's private land (most cases). Keep asking questions here and hopefully some of the pro's and guides here can help you but try to do some research first.
Reply by: Fishful Thinker Posted: 7/19/2012 8:09:47 AM Points: 4196
Actually, you do need a permit for each specific body of water, public or private, and there is no standardization as to what the managing agency or private owner will charge for it. Even within a single agency, State Parks for instance, there is variance from lake to lake based on the specific park manager's decision. Some take a percentage of your guiding fee, some want a flat fee plus a percentage, some just the flat fee. Said permit must be on file with the state prior to them issuing your outfitter's license.
I'm in no way trying to discourage people from trying it, but if I'm looking at opening a new business, I'd want the straight scoop on what it will cost. Sugar coating it up-front will lead to failure in any business. Also keep in mind that your records are subject to audit by DORA...keeping your permits/insurance/first aid current and in order is a must.
The cheaper and easier route is to take a job with an established outfitter until you see if you really want to be a guide. Hope this helps! CL
Reply by: lewdog Posted: 7/19/2012 10:59:32 AM Points: 689
Jake i got an idea. Where you planning on guiding? Maybe we can meet up and fish together then i will be able to tell you if you can make it as a guide. Also maybe i can donate a few bucks for the fun time fishing. No laws against taking a buddy fishing.
There are also many fly shops that hire guides for the summer. Some of them also have float schools that get you your float certificate. This is probably the easiest way into the business. I worked as a fly guide in Keystone about 5 to 10 days a year in graduate school.
If you want to be a stillwater boat guide then talk with the current guides out there---it's a small list. You might also want to look into working FOR one of the current guide services first. Some need people to take over when they go out of town or have an influx of clients.
Other states have easier and less costly guide protocols.
There are guys who work unlicensed, just work for cash "tips" and get their clients by word of mouth. Just to be clear, I don't think this is the way to go, but I know it goes on.
If I were going to be a guide I'd volunteer with an established guide first for a while. I would do this to get the experience, and connections. The legitimate guides I know start out (and many are still) working under another established outfitters license.
It's worth the couple of grand for liability insurance, and becoming a guide to just to feel like riding a high horse is not the right way, it has to be driven from a passion that should never be taken for granted. It's actually quite simple to become a guide, you just have to be a really dam good fisherman that knows the area that they are guiding like the back of your hand. If you're a dam good angler and can catch big fish, nothing small, CONSISTENTLY, I mean every time you go out, the fish fear you because they know if you're in their presence, they will be caught, no matter where you are fishing. This is what separates better than average anglers from the elite. There is nothing wrong with perfecting your angling skills so that any fish you chase, you will catch. I chuckle at many guides in our state that think they can fish at any body of water successfully, but only to get the skunk or catch small, average size fish. Not my style, nor will it ever be. So if you're worth your salt as an angler, and can talk a big game as well as back it up EVERY TIME YOU GO OUT, you can become a guide. It's that simple, a reputable fly shop knows a good angler, so go offer yourself to your local shops like I did and prove that you can catch fish, and before you know it, you'll be guiding with the best. Any business minded individual would not let a talent walk out the doors if you can generate the company revenue. You must know what you are talking about because you'll get hammered with questions, but they are fun to answer.