When it comes to tipping a fly fishing guide, the amount you should give depends on the diligence, kindness, ability, and willingness of your guide to teach and go the extra mile. Generally, a tip for a fishing guide should be based on the total experience of the trip. It is generally accepted that an adequate tip is approximately 7 to 15% of the cost of the trip, but some top-notch guides expect a hefty tip and won't find future deals in their schedule for new customers who don't tip 20 percent. The rental fee covers the trip, the wear and tear of the boat, gas, equipment (your rods, reels and flies), knowledge, license, the convenience of fishing in a new area and having someone standing on a boat and pushing or paddling all day.
As a guide, I have the privilege of sharing very special moments with customers. My customers work hard to make money and I work hard to provide them with the best overall experience in return. The tip amount should be based on the way the guide controls all variables, not on the number of fish caught. There are days when the fish don't stop biting and days when you work as hard as possible and you don't catch anything because of the effort.
Guides get a large percentage of their income from tips. If you give a regular tip greater than 15 percent, you can access peak season slots that suddenly “open up”. Fishing is based on experience, so if a guide is friendly and fun, attentive and willing to help in any way, that's what it takes to be a good fishing guide and the tip usually represents my appreciation for it. Guides make a difference in rivers, lakes and salt marshes, and are a key component of the trip, allowing you to focus on fishing and the beautiful places that fish call home.
The guide takes care of all other tasks. Perhaps the biggest misconception about the life of a fishing guide is that it's as simple and stress-free as simply taking someone fishing. Of course, if a guide makes an exceptional effort, fishes an extra hour or three hours above normal, or makes a special effort to get fish, tipping makes sense. As a group, anglers can share tips, but help your fishing partner with advanced knowledge to keep him from feeling embarrassed at the end of the fishing day. So when you fish with a guide, even if you've fished there before, it's best to follow their example and let them do their job. Most enjoy keeping customers engaged, having fun and learning when fishing is slow, and they even consider this to be a crucial skill required to be a fishing guide. Base your advice on your overall experience with your guide.
Plan to give your fly fishing guide a tip of between 15% and 25% of the day's booked rate. If you're budgeting tips, estimate 15 percent for an average level of service from an independent fly fishing guide, but no less than 10 percent. In short, when you think about tipping the fishing guides and the rest of the staff at the fishing lodge, I prefer to tip about 20% in total, but if I especially thank them for the effort they made for me and my group, there's nothing wrong with climbing from there.