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Thread: So, what is the usual tip rate for a guide?

  1. #1
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    Aug 2010
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    Default So, what is the usual tip rate for a guide?

    Does it vary depending on the area, or is it pretty standard throughout N.A.?

    On 4/30-5/1 a cousin of mine and i are going on a two day guided float down the John Day river in Oregon. We are going to be chasing the well publicized smallies that live there.

    I am usually a generous tipper and i think for something like this i am willing to reward a good guide for sharing his knowledge. Our idea is to float this river and learn it from a guide and then next year make the tips in our own boats.

    Also, anyone have suggestions on what smallmouth like for flies?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: So, what is the usual tip rate for a guide?

    I guided for seven years in Colorado, and my buddy and I always hire a guide when we go up to Montana for a trip.

    An all day float for two will get the guide $100 tip if he puts in a good effort. We try really hard to tip on effort and NOT on fish caught.

    An all day walk/wade gets $80 and a half day/walk wade $40. Again, its effort not fish.

    Walk wade trips get less because the guide has to put in/ haul out and clean the boat on his time.

    Chris

  3. #3
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    Thumbs down Re: So, what is the usual tip rate for a guide?

    Quote Originally Posted by fishnskiguy View Post
    I guided for seven years in Colorado, and my buddy and I always hire a guide when we go up to Montana for a trip.

    An all day float for two will get the guide $100 tip if he puts in a good effort. We try really hard to tip on effort and NOT on fish caught.

    An all day walk/wade gets $80 and a half day/walk wade $40. Again, its effort not fish.

    Walk wade trips get less because the guide has to put in/ haul out and clean the boat on his time. Chris
    I consider myself a generous tipper also, but your guidelines seem on the high side to me. Of course, a lot depends upon what the guide rate is. I'm used to the San Juan where for some reason guide rates are lower (last I was there, low $300's for 1), but even up in, say, Wyoming or Montana, where the going rate seems more like $400 for 1, a 25% tip seems on the high side. 20% to me is a good tip, and only for when the guide has put in a real effort (I agree that number of fish caught should not be the criteria, because that can and usually is beyond the guide's control).

    Just my 2c . . .
    On the whole, I'd rather be in Wyoming . . .
    Fly2:

  4. #4
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    Default Re: So, what is the usual tip rate for a guide?

    Quote Originally Posted by fishnskiguy View Post
    I guided for seven years in Colorado, and my buddy and I always hire a guide when we go up to Montana for a trip.

    An all day float for two will get the guide $100 tip if he puts in a good effort. We try really hard to tip on effort and NOT on fish caught.

    An all day walk/wade gets $80 and a half day/walk wade $40. Again, its effort not fish.

    Walk wade trips get less because the guide has to put in/ haul out and clean the boat on his time.

    Chris
    When I fish on new water, I usually always hire a guide to help figure out how to fish it and I agree with the rates Chris has outlined above.

    Larry
    Larry


  5. #5
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    Default Re: So, what is the usual tip rate for a guide?

    I guess the question here is what is the percentage of the guiding fee is the "going rate"; obviously, a certain dollar figure means more to a lower guide fee than to a higher. Am I right that Chris and Larry think a 25% tip is the appropriate rate? I don't know any other service business where a tip that high would be the going rate.

    Now, again, I have tipped a guide at that rate (remember, I go solo with a guide, not as part of a group), but it has to have been an exceptional day. What does that mean to me? I will know something about the guide ahead of time, or I wouldn't have picked him/her. But I will also have mentioned to the guide just what I'm looking for in a day's guiding - not just a maximum number of trout, but learning some things I can use in the future, be it a hitch in my casting, learning the water since I may not be familiar with it but intend to fish it again by myself, suitable flies, depth that works in the case of nymphs, amount of weight for sub-surface, etc. One of the largest tips I ever gave was to a guide during a day when I probably got hits by less fish than ever before on that water (probably due to a weather change coming through); however, that certainly wasn't the guide's fault, and the fact that he was generous in giving me a good number of flies for me to try during the rest of that week I was fishing solo really impressed me, especially since so many guides cut off the fly they put on the leader at the end of the day (either to save the cost or because it's their "secret" fly).
    On the whole, I'd rather be in Wyoming . . .
    Fly2:

  6. #6

    Default Re: So, what is the usual tip rate for a guide?

    In my limited experience it all depends on the guides effort so far the few guides I've hired have all put in a lot of effort and eventually, put me on a lot of fish. Regardless of their rate the most I tip is $50 if I'm paying for two its $100. One of the things I find is that in my area guide rates IMO are all over the place.

    My favorite guide and the one who has put in the greatest effort and has put me on the most fish in any one day is actually the least expensive I have used. IMO He is also one of the most knowledgeable and experienced and only charges $295 a day for one person for two he charges $350.

    The least I've ever tipped is $25 for a full day. I'm also a person who if I feel a guide was lazy and put in little effort am willing to give him no tip and not use him again. However, I do not hire guides who have not been referred to me by fisherman I respect.
    Last edited by FlyBum; 01-20-2011 at 11:15 AM.
    -Tom Wilson
    Attention New Fly Fishers and those just wanting to improve- Join a Fly Fishing Club. They have classes on every aspect of fly fishing for beginners to advanced for free or cheaper than offered elsewhere. Some offer mentor programs. You will make friends with other fly fishers. Clubs often have outings in which members pay special group rates for guides or to fish prime private access areas.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: So, what is the usual tip rate for a guide?

    Thanks for the info. The rate for the trip is $225 per person, per day.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: So, what is the usual tip rate for a guide?

    Quote Originally Posted by fishnskiguy View Post
    I guided for seven years in Colorado, and my buddy and I always hire a guide when we go up to Montana for a trip.

    An all day float for two will get the guide $100 tip if he puts in a good effort. We try really hard to tip on effort and NOT on fish caught.

    An all day walk/wade gets $80 and a half day/walk wade $40. Again, its effort not fish.

    Walk wade trips get less because the guide has to put in/ haul out and clean the boat on his time.

    Chris
    Spot on.

    But I'll throw this in, if he sucks, make it obvious to him with your tip. He needs to catch on.

    (btw, I don't expect that to be an issue)
    http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-..._1276302_n.jpg

    I'd rather hunt fish than bait deer any day.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: So, what is the usual tip rate for a guide?

    Quote Originally Posted by fishnskiguy View Post
    I guided for seven years in Colorado, and my buddy and I always hire a guide when we go up to Montana for a trip.

    An all day float for two will get the guide $100 tip if he puts in a good effort. We try really hard to tip on effort and NOT on fish caught.

    An all day walk/wade gets $80 and a half day/walk wade $40. Again, its effort not fish.

    Walk wade trips get less because the guide has to put in/ haul out and clean the boat on his time.

    Chris
    I agree. This is a good general rule. A guide would have to suck pretty bad for me not to at least tip 20%. Most guides I know and have hired put in pretty long days and give a very good effort.

    Gary

  10. #10
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    Default Re: So, what is the usual tip rate for a guide?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fly2Fish View Post
    I guess the question here is what is the percentage of the guiding fee is the "going rate"; obviously, a certain dollar figure means more to a lower guide fee than to a higher. Am I right that Chris and Larry think a 25% tip is the appropriate rate? I don't know any other service business where a tip that high would be the going rate.

    Now, again, I have tipped a guide at that rate (remember, I go solo with a guide, not as part of a group), but it has to have been an exceptional day. What does that mean to me? I will know something about the guide ahead of time, or I wouldn't have picked him/her. But I will also have mentioned to the guide just what I'm looking for in a day's guiding - not just a maximum number of trout, but learning some things I can use in the future, be it a hitch in my casting, learning the water since I may not be familiar with it but intend to fish it again by myself, suitable flies, depth that works in the case of nymphs, amount of weight for sub-surface, etc. One of the largest tips I ever gave was to a guide during a day when I probably got hits by less fish than ever before on that water (probably due to a weather change coming through); however, that certainly wasn't the guide's fault, and the fact that he was generous in giving me a good number of flies for me to try during the rest of that week I was fishing solo really impressed me, especially since so many guides cut off the fly they put on the leader at the end of the day (either to save the cost or because it's their "secret" fly).
    In re-reading Chris and Larry's posting, I notice they are referring tipping when there are two anglers. Paying a larger tip (I assume their $100 tip is for both of them) makes sense when there are two anglers rather than just one, because obviously there is more work for the guide with two anglers. So I guess I really don't disagree with their guidelines for a two-angler situation.
    On the whole, I'd rather be in Wyoming . . .
    Fly2:

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