Tipping guides: what's appropriate? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Tipping guides: what's appropriate?

07-18-2005, 01:54 PM
Just curious . . . how much do people tip guides/gillies? I typically start at about 20% of the amount charged and go up if I think the guide was particularly good (or if the amount "feels" too small). But I'm not sure how I came up with that approach--probably just based on what I tip in restaurants (15% to 25%, based on service) . . .

Any thoughts? I know I'm probably not the only one wondering . . .

07-18-2005, 09:16 PM
while it is a personal thing I finally asked my guide if he had a number.
So of course he did- he liked to see 10%. This is not a waitress making ten or fifteen dollars on a reasonable meal it adds up a lot faster.
Here is how I work it Is he prepared 2. is he organised 3. friendly and knowledgeable about the fishery and 4. will move from one spot to another till he finds fish. If he does not move to find fish and others are reporting good results elsewhere then skip the tip.
I asked because of a generational difference of opinion. My father refused to leave a tip because the guide owned the boat. He had no mate and did everything himself. He deserved a tip. We have gone with this guide for several years now. And always caught fish.

07-19-2005, 11:43 AM
10-15% is very good IMHO.

07-19-2005, 01:10 PM
Sometimes a guide is giving you a hint with his quote. If the number ends in "75" then we is saying "round me up to the whole figure if I kick butt". That $25 is often well earned.

07-20-2005, 08:27 PM
Thanks for the tips on tipping . . . I guess I've been tipping a bit high, but better that than low when the service has been good. Maybe I've been lucky, but generally I've been very impressed with the guides I've had in the past.

07-20-2005, 08:59 PM
(no flames please ;))

Just a friendly reminder, ... a tip is in no way (imho) an automatic thing. Plain ole bad service means no tip (I wouldn't give one, ... and I wouldn't expect one). Bad service can also include NOT having the day you expected. I don't mean success (unless the Guide promised that).

To avoid this situation, ... make sure you do some real solid communicating BEFORE booking. Do you WANT to move around (on a river) looking for fish (or MORE fish)?

If your drifting a river, ... do you want to get out and wade some (if possible)?

Do you want your Guide to point out history, heritage etc on the water? (or just to politely "row the boat"). A professional Guide won't be insulted if a client politely says, "Hey I had a killer week at the office, .. Just put me over some fish and let's have some peace and quiet".

Every client is different. Some want pointers on casting, ... others may feel insulted by a suggestion for improvement.

I won't say the average % tip I receive. I NEVER expect a tip.

07-21-2005, 09:37 AM
In over thirty years of fishing during which I have been responsible for paying the guide -- I've been fishing for over 50 years -- I have had only one experience so bad that I didn't tip. That was in 1975 after a day of bass fishing on Lake Okeechobee. The guide seemed to think that he had done me e favor by taking me along fishing with him. He drove his bassboat like a maniac, didn't ask me whether I minded if he fished, fished over every spot first, and he kidded me about catching fish smaller than he caught. While I struggled with the idea of not tipping -- I admit I'm a wuss -- I decided it would be wrong to leave a tip and didn't. He seemed shocked.

Since that time I have fished with many guides, all but one of whom have been up to par or better, and most have been truly fun to be around. This includes guides in New Brunswick where the lore is that they do nothing but smoke and sleep in the grass while you froth the waters in search of salmon -- something that I have found to be far from the truth.

My usual tip is from 15% to 25%.

Rick J
07-21-2005, 02:18 PM
When I guided, I generally received between 10% and 25%. Some of my repeat clients did better than that.

I rarely hire a guide - there is one I keep going back to for steelheading in Oregon and I consitently give him around 25% - he works for his $'s and is a kick to be around, continually laughing at me when I scew up a cast. He not only knows fishing he knows casting and is an excellent instructor.

In th tropics (ie Mexico) the tips are generally quite a bit less but in terms of cost of living probably are quite a bit

07-24-2005, 01:26 PM
i got a buddy who used to guide the garrison i believe (happens to be the president of the twin cities TU chapter now) i forgot what he said his best tip was but it might have beedn 600 dollars he also got a scott 8' 3wt rod as a tip very nice and durable rod (he hit a bat with it while casting and not damage done to the rod the bat was ok too it managed to get off the water without being eaten