Guides work incredibly hard to make an honest living and show you a great day in their favorite spots. Many of them have chosen to live near the fishing they love because of their passion for the river, the fish and the lifestyle. They are up early prepping the gear, picking up or making lunches and driving to meet you at the designated location. After they drop you off, they are cleaning boats and gear, gathering intel from other guides or the fly shop and in some cases driving a longer distance home than you might be. On their days off they are often found fishing to find the next ‘secret spot’ they might take you too.
When you consider how much to tip your guide, an easy place to start is something similar to tipping in a restaurant. It is a percentage of the rate you paid to book your guide. A few other things to think about when you decide how you want to tip:
- If you have a great day on the water landing that large fish, making an extra long day of it, or learning a lot from your guides special instruction, a little extra tip goes a long way to thank them.
- If your guide is one of the ‘best in the business’, it is likely that their regular customers probably tip them a little more than average. They are after all, a little better than average.
- If you are fishing a world-famous piece of water and the lodge or fly shop is very particular about the guides they hire and the way their operation is run, it is likely most of the customers probably tip higher than average too.
- Our economy has been crazy. Remember that most businesses have had to raise their prices. If you have tipped a standard amount in the past, it might be a good time to see how that amount stands up to published guide rates for the area you are going to.
- Remember that the tip is a function of the rate for the day. If there are two of you sharing a guide or boat you can split it. If you are lucky enough to have your own guide for the day, you should tip them the full amount.
So, yes, tipping is entirely up to the angler. Just like in a restaurant, if you have a bad experience, you are not required to tip any certain amount. But if you have a favorite waiter, or someone goes out of their way to take care of you, a little extra goes a long way in making their day too.