View Full Version : tipping guides?

06-26-2007, 08:16 AM
Hey folks,
I am about to take my first float trip with a guide. I have never fished with the water "on" and have been curious to give it a try. So anyway, everything is ready to go. But I have never been with a professional guide before. What are the expectations when it comes to tipping the guide? Thanks for any and all input.

06-26-2007, 08:36 AM
I've read that 10-20% is customary. Here is a link with all sorts of tipping guidelines (this one says 15%), http://www.findalink.net/tippingetiquette.php

The best thing to do is decide ahead of time what you are expecting the guide to do and if you feel the guide helped you meet (or exceed) those expectations (assuming they were reasonable), you should tip them. You might want to ask them if they would be offended if you tipped, just to be sure.

06-26-2007, 09:21 AM

My opinion is going to be a little biased on this topic. I have been on 3 guided trips, all with the same guide. Everytime this guide easily exceeded my expectations. I'm not saying I caught fish on every cast, or that I caught the biggest Brown of my life. This guide certainly gave me the opportunity to catch a few big browns, and I always had good days in terms of numbers caught. I took these trips when I was in the learning stages of FF. My expectations were primarily to learn, any fish that were caught was simply a bonus. The first trip I took was a half-day trip, at the end of the half-day, my guide told me he was planning on fishing that afternoon himself, and he asked me if I just wanted to stay out and fish with him that afternoon(at no charge). Getting to watch him fish that afternoon probably taught me more than any other single fly-fishing experience I have had.

In my experiences, I tipped 20-25%. But I felt like my guide easily earned it.

All that being said, I think the best thing to do is think about what you want to accomplish on your trip before you go. I always approached it as 15% was my starting point if my guide met my expectations, if expectations were exceeded I felt like the guide earned a little more than 15%. Unfortunately I can't offer any help in the situations where people may have a bad experience as that never happened to me. Just make sure you set realsistic expectations. I think it is easy sometimes for us amateur's to think that the guides are perfect, and should be able to produce the best day of our career both in numbers and size of fish. The guide can only get you on the fish with the right flies. I missed a lot of fish on my 3 trips, and it was never the guides fault.


06-26-2007, 10:40 AM

I generally start at 20%. If you have a great day or the guide works his tail off, tip more. I've tried to break down what I think guides are making, and it's not a ton. If you are using an outfitter, instead of a solo guide, part of his money is going to the outfitter. Plus, he's providing your lunch and flies. Over the course of 8 hours of fishing, he's probably making less than $10 an hour for rowing like crazy, and rarely picking up a rod to fish with you (I've begged some guides to pick up a rod, and they won't).

I am hooked on fly fishing in large part because of the hard work of my first guide. I showed up at the river with a Cabelas rod with the plastic still on the cork grip. It was April, but we had a cold snap. Neither I nor my friend who I was fishing with owned a pair of waders, because we had never been trout or fly fishing. We both weighed 250 lbs or more, and the river we were fishing was low. Our poor guide had to hop out and wedge us over numerous shoals, while we just sat and watched him. Nevertheless, he was entertaining and we caught fish. I had planned on tipping 20%, but at the end of the day, I gave him everything I had (except for $5 for Krystals on the way home) because he had gone WAAAAY beyond the call of duty.

Enjoy yourself. You cover a ton of water in the boat. Like wading, some days are better than others, but the most fish I've ever caught have come from a drift boat.


06-26-2007, 09:50 PM
Hey Preacher, be sure to post after your first float trip. SoHo maybe????

07-03-2007, 11:50 AM
I have taken a few guides in different places and this tipping thing is always tough for me to figure out. Generally if I have a good time, the guide works hard then ususally 15-20%. One exceptional guide I had I did 35%. One guide I had who was horrible, only went out for 4 hours (suppose to be a "day" trip), got nothing. Neither did I. Anywyays, what if the guide is also the owner of the business? Do you still tip? I was always of the understanding that the tip for a guide is essentially for service as well as the fact that he only gets a portion of what you pay the company. So the tips are important income for those folks. Whereas the owner, if they are the guide, gets the full benefit of what you paid up front. I think of it similar to what my wife says about hair dressers. Apparantly, that is a hard rule. You do not tip the owner because they get the full benifit. I guees I look at it like when my family and I charter a ocean fishing charter. Maybe we are spoiled by this particular captain, but we do not tip him. We tip the mate. And that is the captains rule. His thouhgt is that he is paid with the up front charge while the mate sees none of that money. So tips are his income. So am I off base questioning tipping the owner? Would love to know what some of the owner/guides think!

07-03-2007, 06:43 PM
Would love to know what some of the owner/guides think!

If the owner/guide worked his butt off, you had a great time, are you going to discount his tip because of that?
I'd ask them up front, is it the same price for a guide as the owner/guide, for the time & work involved, neither will retire early:frown: .


07-05-2007, 11:32 AM

Thanks for replying. Guess it is just an uncomfortable thing to bring up in person. Your point is well taken and I appreciate the perspective. Like I said before I have tipped owners before but never was sure if it was expected.

07-05-2007, 11:58 AM
I always have a problem with any tipping.What services should you tip for?My wife always tips the person cutting hair, I do not.When we eat out I think good service deserves a tip.When I have my car serviced and the mechanic does a good job I dont pay the dealer a tip.When you shop at LRO and the sales people are very helpful I doubt if any give a tip but just pay the bill.I have never used a guide and doubt if I ever will. To me when a business quotes me a price for a service I guess I am a cheap old fa-t and pay what I am told the service costs.I think that part of a guide service is to do a good job and make your trip pleasant.My best friend has guided for many years on the Battenkill and he does not expect a tip but is of course happy to receive one.He always said it was so hard for him to think people would pay him to take them fishing and then give him a tip besides. dave

07-05-2007, 03:39 PM
You could try to contact Mid Current, www.midcurrent.com/articles/trips/tipping.aspx , to try to retrive the above article datedmay,16,2007.