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Thread: How to get a summer guide job

  1. #11

    Default Re: How to get a summer guide job

    In the world of saltwater, there's such a thing as 'pin-heading.' Initially, you are donating your time and working for tips. You get meals and lodging included (which on a 60-100' sport boat only makes sense), but it's a time to prove your worth.

    In fly-fishing, I'm guessing you need the credential of having completed a known guide school before any of the well known outfitters will even blink. Good luck. It's something that I wish I had done a few decades a go.
    I fish, therefore, I drink...

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    Wasilla / Skwentna, Alaska
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    Default The Real Skinny as I see it;

    To have a dream of being paid to fish or to show others how to fish is not a novel idea and many here have considered what you speak of. Age and experience takes away some of the edge and for me as time went on I wanted less and less for fishing to be my job. I have guided fishing trips and have been employed as a commercial fisherman so I have had a couple brushes with being a professional fisherman. In the end I found that owning and operating my own small business where I was in complete control of my income and my schedule was the answer for me. I lived in a fishing heaven and was able to travel extensively to many other regions because of my flexible lifestyle.

    However if you are bent on the idea of guiding the process is fairly simple. Contact the department of fish & game in your state and apply for a license as a guide. I lived in Colorado prior to moving to Alaska and this is how it worked there. You will discover all that is required of you at this point. I have never applied for a license in a state where I was not a resident so I do not know how that works. Once you have a license, insurance, a vehicle, boat, and a good knowledge of rivers and creeks in your state where guided fishing does not run afoul of any particular regulations you are good to go.

    Prior to investing in all of the paraphernalia that you will need to outfit a fishing trip I strongly recommend a feasibility study. This is a fairly simple process, you research to find out what the market already offers in the particular discipline of business / sales you intend to offer. You research the pricing of and the volume of business that the businesses already operating are implementing and experiencing. If your feasibility study reveals that the market is at saturation level in the area and business's are operating at less than 80% of service capacity you may want to reconsider investing in that particular market. If you believe that by implementing an aggressive marketing strategy and if you have access to abundant start up capital you could choose to proceed. There's always room for one more but don't look for immediate success.

    Here in Alaska if I were running an outfitting service out of the cabin on Hewitt Lake and I were looking for help I could not rationalize hiring anyone who was not a bush resident. I would be looking for someone from Skwentna who had a lifetime of experience on all of the regional rivers and creeks. This would be especially necessary because of the cost to any potential customers who were contracting with me to fish this particular part of the state. If my business were to grow large enough for me to hire support staff then an out of state new hire may be possible. Support staff would be working at the cabin / lodge and not actively guiding clients for obvious reasons. However the only way you could ever find yourself guiding out of this hypothetical lodge would be to start as the cook, fish cleaner, wood cutter etc.

    So the bottom line is there are two ways to go: Number one, get a license and become a self employed guide in a state where you reside. Number two, look for openings as support staff at any of the large lodge operations in the areas you would like to gain experience. If the owners like you and take a look at your education they may start moving you on the water thinking of the future.

    Anywhere can be the land of great expectations, broken dreams, or paradise found, it's all up to you.

    Life On The Line - Alaska Fishing with Ard
    Ard's Forum blog, Alaska Outdoors

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    Central Florida
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    Default Re: How to get a summer guide job

    Hi troutbum17,

    Guiding in Alaska has lots of requirements. If you operate a boat in navigable waters you need a Coast Guide license. They have different level of licenses and I don't know exactly what you need. Certain rivers like the Kenai have their own rules for guides who operate a power boat. Then you need a Sport Fishing Guide license. If you have a job with a lodge then some of the paper work is the responsibility of the lodge. So it is not a simple thing to just guide in Alaska for a summer.

    The problem you face is like the joke where you want a loan from the bank but you can't get a loan because you don't have any money. If you had any money you wouldn't need the loan. Lodges want to hire guides with experience but you can't get experience unless someone hires you. You have several things against you. You are young and have no experience fishing in Alaska. Lodges can't put guest into a boat or airplane with someone who has no experience.

    In your circumstances I think you would be better off getting a camp job. They are always looking for people to cook, serve, make beds, do laundry and any number of other things it takes to run a lodge. If you work you butt off and show an interest in guiding this may be a way to get noticed. The good lodges all have fly tying facilities and you could offer to tie some flies for guest or guides on your own time.

    Here is a fool proof way to get a job as a guide in Alaska. Get some experience in the lower 48 guiding and get a commercial pilot license. If you can fly a float plane and have guiding experience you will have no problem getting a job guiding in Alaska. A lodge will sometimes hire pilots to guide even with no guiding experience as the pilot license is what is important to them. If you are not a pilot you have to target lodges on rivers that fish from jet boats. Then you do need some guiding experience. When someone pays $4000 to $8000 for a fishing trip the last thing they want is a new guide with no experience. A lodge just won't do that.

    Frank

  4. #14

    Default Re: How to get a summer guide job

    I would just move to where you want to eventually set up, get a BS job, fish in the meantime, get to know the waters/guides/local and you're on your way. It's a situation where you can only get experience in that particular locale. Good luck, wish I would have done that my jr. year of college.

  5. Default Re: How to get a summer guide job

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Whiton View Post

    The problem you face is like the joke where you want a loan from the bank but you can't get a loan because you don't have any money. If you had any money you wouldn't need the loan. Lodges want to hire guides with experience but you can't get experience unless someone hires you. You have several things against you. You are young and have no experience fishing in Alaska. Lodges can't put guest into a boat or airplane with someone who has no experience.
    First of all how good a fisherman is he? How good a caster is he? AND, drumroll, HOW GOOD A TEACHER IS HE? Any old smhuck can be a guide in california, just takes money to pay the state and insurance. Actually get paying customers?

    First he needs to work his butt off at being a good fly fisherman. Can he cast 90 feet? Does he have his FFF CI? If he has his CI that shows he can teach. Once he has his CI he has a decent possibility of getting a job at a fly shop. With a CI and working at a fly shop he has a decent opportunity to be trained as a guide.

    Literally having a CI is not the point, but having the skills and having the teaching ability the CI shows, is the point.

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