My own personal experience when fishing with a guide has ranged from fantastic to miserable. The worst was from 2 separate west side of Vancouver Island, BC saltwater guides. My thoughts on both of these men were probably guiding simply because it was a chance to earn money and that they really did not know how or had their hearts in it. One was sacred of a little rough water when he let his boat get positioned slightly broadside to a small wave, then called it quits. The other had the newest/best aluminum boat of the whole harbor but was a diver, did not understand the principles of downriggers and when the fishing was slow, he just trolled all the way down the coast and back to the basin, hoping to catch enough fish to satisfy the clients. I also took a GPS reading on one of his halibut locations, only to find out later we were inside the Canadian closed waters. While on this halibut run, we ran into schools of mackerel, which he soon became very interested in catching. We found out later he sold them as bait to other halibut and crab fishermen.
Also about anybody can catch fish when the fish are about jumping into the boat, but on those days when fish are scarce and catching is hard, these above mentioned guides have not got a clue how to increase the catch. And they are so spoiled and out of touch with how to fish under tough conditions, plus they seem to think they are so good/smart that they will not take any advice for us southerners from the states. I am sure that this is not the norm, maybe just my luck of the draw.
To Tip or Not:
So here is a very common question. “I’m heading out on my first guide trip this week and have a question about tipping. Is it common/expected? How much is appropriate if any (full day’s cost is $175 per person for trip)? Do you only pay if you catch fish?”
The following was extracted off a well known Pacific Northwest fishing forum. Gratuities or tipping etiquette for fishing guides was the subject. Here you will get many thoughts on this subject.
You’re going to get a lot of different opinions on this one! A tip is something earned, not mandatory in any profession. Catching fish or not, you will know by the way the trip went if the guide earned it or not.
My opinion is that yes, you should tip if the service met or exceeded your expectations – but I personally enjoy paying extra for quality service.
Depends on the guide. If he tried all day and didn’t get a thing but worked his butt off, then tip him. If the dude was an idiot and rude then give him nothing. He already got paid for the trip, the tip is for his work ethic, get it?
Most guides here in the pacific northwest are self employed, and set their rates on how much they need to earn to make a living. They are not wait staff working for $7.00 bucks an hour and depending on their tips to make their living! One of the best tip you can give a guide is by re-booking another trip!
The price for a seat in that boat should be way sufficient. If the guide is having trouble paying his bills then maybe he should lower his rates to keep his boat full. When it gets down to it, your paying someone to take you fishing, and some of them fish themselves. You pay them because they are supposed to be a professional. If they do such a good job that it impresses you, well that is what you already paid them for.
Tip if you like, some people tip gas attendants. I think if you are lucky enough to not have to worry about money, and I know there are a few of you out there, then by all means, tip everyone that deserves it.
I think your own answer lies within yourself……………
Is it common?………..yes.
Is it expected?……….no.
How much?……………what you feel is appropriate.
Do you only pay if you catch fish?…………..no, it depends on the experience you had on the trip. You didn’t hire the guide to only catch fish, you hired the guide to take you fishing. I’ve paid out some good tips in the past and never even got a bump the entire day but the guide worked his butt off trying to get us some and I learned a ton of info. And I’ve gone and not paid a tip because the guide just sat there unsociable, unwilling to share, uninvolved etc.
It really does depend on you and the experience you had on the trip. But for what it’s worth, I’m typically in around 15%-20% on a fun trip (fish or not). But that’s just me.
If it is a guide working for a lodge or other guiding business and not his own boss then a tip. But if it is his own business and he set a price for his service I don’t see the reason to give more. $20 from each seat on the boat is a good tip for a good day.
Also, it is customary that the guide keeps the eggs from hens. And in my view is absolutely appropriate. I didn’t have to bring any gear or bait with me, shouldn’t get to take any gear or bait home.
I tip $20 plus, but if the guide keeps the eggs from a fish I caught then I tip zero.
I base my tip on attitude, etiquette, catching, how hard they worked, and hours on water.
A couple of these guides will break a guy with there great service.
On the last guided trip that I arranged, I forced everyone I took in the boat cough up $20 minimum. Rebooking is great, tips get you extra info and extra service. The cost that guides incur, insurance, license, fuel, the truck and boat itself, and the hours they put in, all deserve a little extra. Try buying your own boat. B O A T = Bust Out Another Thousand. It is way too true.
I went on my first guided trip this spring with a very talented guy and the trip was paid for by someone else, a work deal you know. I assume that the bookee was to pay the tip (and I had $0 on me) so I helped out as much as I could netting, bleeding, bonking, unclustering guys that don’t fish, I even got to hold the Guide over the back of the boat by his raingear and drive the boat on the big motor at the same time while he was trying to get a fish out of the kicker prop and a seal had a hold of it! Amazing part was we got the fish back and only a small chunk of the tail was missing! We were kind of on a time limit with one of the guys having to be back home at a certain time so I offered to fillet the fish so we could fish as late as we could to get that last fish.
Moral of the story I guess was even though I couldn’t fork out cash that day for a tip, I’m sure I made his day a little easier and hopefully he appreciated it as much as a tip. I know first hand how some days those guys wish they’d been cloned to help themselves out when things get chaotic. He worked his you know what off to put a spanking on some Springers that day and I would recommend him to anyone that wants to kill some fish and have a great time.
To me its like a restaurant, if its good services tip better, if not tip less or even not at all if its really poor service.
I know some of my best days with guides are the days that are slow, you really get to see the tricks of the trade then.
I know a thing or two about fishing, but on those slow days, I’m amazed at the things I learn when the guide has to pull out some “tricks” to get us into fish. That is one of the great things about a guided trip.
It’s easy to be a guide when the fishing is easy. Heck, cast and reel em in isn’t going to teach you much……….it’s fun, but not a learning experience. Unless of course it’s a technique you’ve never used before.
I have fished all my life and am well over 70 now, every time I book a guided trip, I try to make it for a new stretch of water for me, and with new techniques I have learned gives me a chance to use that later. We seem to fish how we have in the past, I can not live long enough to learn even a fraction of what the good guides know. And they are on the water all the time, being in tune with what is happening gives them an edge. I like the days that they have to dig deep into their bag of tricks. Some of the little things may become the important ones that brought in the fish. Kind of like having a private tutor, so tipping for me is usually from $25 to $40 & figure I got more back in things learned.
I’ve only been on one guided trip (a fall Chinook on Tillamook Bay ). Not only was he patient with my sons and aging father in law, he worked very hard to get us on fish (which he did) and freely shared any information that I asked him about. We even talked steelhead fishing and techniques while trolling plug cut herring for salmon. I tipped him what I could because of his service, and the basic fee didn’t cover the hours and hours of private lessons on other fishing topics.
As for the guides, if you’ve done all you can and don’t get a tip, don’t be offended as maybe this person doesn’t know its something that’s done most of the time. You never know if the client splurged and can’t really afford another $20.00. But what I am telling the guides is don’t worry about “if” you told the wrong joke or whatever. You did the best you could and you are not going to please everyone every time.
If you guys are like me, I would rather not get a tip and fish with fun people all day than get a 100.00 tip to put up with bungholes all day.
Have a great time, catch some fish, most importantly learn as much as you can…. $20.00 is about right, or just $25.00 for an even $200.00. If you have the experience of a life time you can adjust your tip accordingly.
For the customer, tip what you can, or feel comfortable with. I think as mentioned, booking another trip really tells them you enjoyed your trip and really speaks louder than words or even a 20 spot. Also if you had a great day ask for some business cards and hand them out to people who you think might book a trip. This also speaks volumes.
Guided trip for two is roughly $350.00 or more $175.00 for a single that’s a lot of money now adays, the guides charge good money for there work and a tip is just a bonus so they shouldn’t feel slighted in the least if they don’t get a tip.
The $175 is the price for a trip. Fish or no fish. It’s not called catching, however I expect your chances are greatly increased in many cases. The tip is your choice. You don’t have to, however if the guide is good and you feel they deserve one then give a tip.
So if a guide could book 200 days per year, 3 seats @ $200 dollars per trip, were talking 120k per year. Without tips. It pays to be a good guide.
Many guides are charging at least $200 per seat for a sled trip, oftentimes booking 4 sometimes 6 people. $800-1200 per trip ain’t too shabby. Add a $20-$25 dollar tip per customer, and we’re talking about a $1350 day (or up to $1500 if you want to be able to low hole them the next day.
$700 a day for the boat is a high price. Most guides I have used have been a lot less. I use to take a couple guided trips on Lake Fork, Texas for bass. I worked for a Dallas based company and would work in a trip at the end of the meetings. I used a couple different guides. Finally settled on Mark Woodruff. Always was good company, worked hard, and even if the fishing was poor, I tipped. I tipped for the service, etc. But calculate what it costs you to take your boat out. A lot more than a $100 bucks. I pay a couple hundred a year in insurance, $80 a month in storage, and then gas and maintenance. Adds up to a lot. The guide pays less per trip for the boat stuff, as he amortizes his storage and greater insurance costs over more trips. But his maintenance is most likely higher, loss of tackle adds up. And figure out what you make a day, and do not have to furnish and maintain a $40,000 tool. I was a very well paid engineer, and made around $2,000 a week. And I furnished a brain and a college degree. No lures, bait, or other tools. Got a car allowance as a marketing guy. Give the guy a tip for good service, not for how many fish you caught. Guides are not netting $50,000 a year as self employed and having to provide their own medical insurance.
For what its worth, I tip $25-50 per seat, and go on about a dozen trips per year, with no problems with bookings.
You may not catch a fish, but if the experience is good and the guide has a personality and works hard, he may deserve at tip that day too. Depends on what you want.
I haven’t had a boat for quite a few years, go out with others or guides. I find it kind of weird to get out of a guide boat, get handed a bag of fish in exchange for the tip and walk to my car in the parking lot. You mean I don’t have to clean and stow tackle? Help load and clean the boat? Chip in for gas? Seems too easy. No problem giving a tip for me.
I always Try to tip in the $50 dollar range. I inform those who want to go with me that this a good practice. I usually get my $50.00 worth in Information, First choice before the season starts on Dates, First calls when there is cancellations during Hot fishing. Tip Big, Book all seasons not just in the Fall, find a guide you like and fish with him in the Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. Let him see your face and a nice tip. I have my own boat’s and can fish pretty much all season’s on my own but it is OK once every 3 months to book a trip with a guide and go get pampered. The information you will get will be worth any tip you fork out. Good luck on your trip go and slay some fish and learn some new stuff.
Some of the biggest tips I’ve handed out, were to guides who worked their butts off when you couldn’t buy a bite. Remember, it’s not always about catching fish, it’s about the quality of service you receive. There are some great guides supporting this board. I hope you are sending some business their way.
Not a hard call – tipping should be up to the individual regardless of limits or not. I would tip, even though not required. Bad behavior goes both ways for guides or clients– if you don’t believe me try the Columbia River near the I-5 bridge during Springer season.
It doesn’t take a lot to bring that hourly amount closer to $20-$25 per hour. In addition, I would like to know how many guides that fish people for (8) hours, are actually done at eight hours. There is MUCH to do, prior to even meeting the clients and MUCH to do, after they all go home.
I have fished with guides a few times, and totally enjoyed the trips. more than once we have ended up empty handed. One particular guide fished me for almost (12) hours on the Oly Pen one day. Two different rivers. We didn’t touch a thing, but he taught me a lot and did more than I could have hoped for.
I tip what I can, but like some guides have mentioned, repeat business is what matters most.
Ya know a lot of folks scrimp and save for the guided trip and don’t really have the money to give for a tip. That doesn’t mean they didn’t like the guide or feel like he didn’t do his best they just can’t afford to give a tip.
I go with a guide at least 2-3 times a year, have good friends that are guides still say they get good money for what they do and if a person can’t afford a tip then they can’t and shouldn’t be put down for it or made to feel like their cheap !!
If the guides feel like they need more money then they should charge more for a trip. Times are hard for everyone right now.
As far as “only” working 200 days per year – maybe the guide could wait table in the off season? Or pick berries? Or, like scores of others in the same predicament, do anything that they can do.
And the guides do their work “in the weather” it was said? Uhmmm correct me if I am wrong, almost all of the construction industry, highways industry, heavy equipment, etc etc is done “in the weather”. And guiding is the only business I can think of where the owner gets to use PUBLIC LAND and RESOURCES and to harvest PUBLIC GAME for their personal profit, right?
Nothing wrong with guiding businesses – just the idea that they should get a “tip” or would even accept one, seems way off kilter. You charge what you are worth in any business and you do a good job. Everyone needs to take pride in their work and not to expect “gravy” from a customer when the customer has already paid well for the work.
Only guide I did not tip was in Campbell River in 1970. 2 of us on the boat. Larger size boat. Guide is trolling and polishing his boat. Fishing was slow and we run through a school of silvers. both of us hook up about 8# fish within 5 second. Guide had no idea where we hooked up as he is dicking with the boat and not paying attention to his job as a guide. Did not deserve a tip.
Pay $15-20 bucks, depending on the trip. More expensive personal guided trip, more money. Party boat out for rockcod, or salmon, have the deckies clean the fish, and toss in a few bucks extra.
My 2cents is this. These guy’s may make lots of money for a day, but keep in mind they may only work 200-225 days a year. Weather cancellations, regulation rule changes etc. They may also have either a truck or boat payment or both. The have the already stated insurance payment and other costs. Many guides pay the shuttle if needed. Bait in some fashion may need to be purchased. Tackle and updated fishing equipment isn’t free. Don’t even start on the number of hours these guy’s put in. Early to launch the boat, clean the equipment for the next day, and late night to tie tackle. In the weather all day.
And that doesn’t count the number of hours and the amount of donations they give to bring more fish to EVERYONE who fishes.
I know its their choice, just saying.
The last thing is just like any other group of folks, there are good ones and those that don’t quite know what’s going on. It real hard to generalize.
I go to fishing school 3-5 times a year. Its well worth every penny and has made my personal catch pretty darn good. There are some great guides out there that give you nothing but the best. Find one and go to school. Its not like any school you have ever been to before.
I tip according to what most of the experienced guy’s that go with guides have said.
I think the best thing to do is for everyone to do as they wish when tipping. Take the info here from the folks that really use a guide, and use it how you want to. As for some of the other comments, take them for what they are.
Tipping is not and never will be required, with that said I have always tipped every guide I went with. I have seen some guides behavior on the water that if I was a client I would never book with again nor ever promote! I have also seen guides I know can catch fish and work there butts off but couldn’t get one for there clients.
It is up to each individual on whether or not they feel they received a good enough service to want to tip and each individual has there own expectations…YOU CAN’T PLEASE EM ALL GUIDES…..
Back to the original question. I tip (my personal choice) and I tip around $30. Not sure why everyone gets so passionate about this subject. If you don’t think you should tip – then don’t. I could care less if you do or not and I am guessing that the guy that started the post could give a rats fat azz. He wants to tip – good for him. I have not met a guide yet that expects a tip.
Guides have insurance to pay, guide licenses, fuel costs, bait, flies, wear and tear, equipment costs, taxes etc. That stuff eats that hourly wage up pretty fast.
I give $20, no more. If they need more money then they need to increase the price of the trip.
With that I think its human nature to want to reward those who do good. So I think that it’s definitely up to the guide to work hard enough to EARN that tip because technically the trip is already paid for, the tip is just a bonus, and unless you work on Wallstreet or politics, you are not going to get a bonus for PP work. But its like fishing, sometimes it doesn’t matter what you do your just not going to get a bite…YOU CAN’T PLEASE THEM ALL. But every guide should strive hard enough to make there clients feel they deserve a tip and even if you don’t get a tip you might get repeat business or referrals. Good work is rewarded in many ways
One thing that is important in the above post is that there are both good and not so good guides. Like anything, once one finds a good one, you will probably do repeat business many times over.
The point of my original comment regarding NOT TIPPING any guide was a simple one. Tips are for the types of low paying service industry jobs as mentioned – they are intended to make up the shortfall between hourly pay and a decent wage in jobs that the person actually provides a service (ie, wait staff, bartenders, hotel staff, cabs, etc etc). The very fact that there is even a discussion about tipping a guide is misplaced.
SORRY to throw cold water on all the nice, thoughtful comments folks have made, but “tipping” should be reserved for the traditional service occupation where the worker’s main source of pay is from the tip (as opposed to the payment per hour). For example, wait staff, bartenders, valets, bell boys, etc etc. How often does a guide tip the owner of a hamburger stand for a good burger and nice service, or the parts counter person at NAPA, or his accountant for doing a good professional job on his books, etc? Never I suspect. Guides make very good money – they owe it to their customers (and they are “customers” not “clients”) to do a good job. People need to take pride in their work, do good work, and expect to be paid what they agreed to be paid. Gratuities are out of place in this situation.
Tipping is for a lot of situations in life, but guide services isn’t one of them.
I think going thru the math underscores the obvious economic impact that can be generated by the simple act of going fishing. And I only looked at fuel cost per fish caught. There’s oil, mechanical maintenance, and general upkeep associated with operating a powerboat… expenses which generally equal or exceed fuel costs in my personal experience. There’s the cost of operating/maintaining the tow rig as well. I live fairly close to my favorite fisheries and it’s generally 50 miles or less round trip…. another 5 gallons a day on fuel for “local” trips. Factor in bait, lures, line, and assorted expendable terminal tackle that one regularly cycles thru in a season. And don’t forget all the extra beer that gets consumed on a full day on the water. Total it all up and the economic impact generated per recreationally caught fish really begins to add up. And since a portion of the catch is released either by choice or by regulation, the impact for every recreationally harvested fish is even greater!
In these financially troubled times, more than ever, leaders and policymakers in Olympia really need to hear just how much recreational fishing contributes to the state’s economic health. Bottom line, it means jobs and tax revenue to fill state coffers.
The only way to keep those rec dollars flowing is to give us tangible opportunities to pursue our passion…. allocation, area, and time on the water… the more the better.
Maybe you can take consolation in the fact that each day you venture out, you’re boat is doing a much better job of stimulating the economy than mine.
I can not live long enough to learn how to fish all the types I would like to learn. I save & hire a guide maybe once a year & have not been disappointed in what I have learned.
It seems there are folks that don’t go with guides and then join the conversation about the tipping of the guide. Lets not get this thread going the wrong way.
Charter Trips are a Bit Different:
A charter trip is different than a guided trip, in my opinion. On a charter trip, tip the deck hand according to how hard he/she worked. But, 15% would be a minimum in my view. That deck hand is usually young, working for minimum wage (or very near it) and doing a lot of dirty work dealing with sea sick people who often are not aware of the first thing that they should do.
When fishing on a boat with deckhands I ALWAYS tip them. I never tip the captain of that boat. When fishing with a guide who is the owner of the business I feel that he is probably doing just fine and doesn’t need to rely upon tips to make a living. I think a lot of deckhands rely on our tips to survive.
Well, duh.. If you’re dealing with pukers (and the clean-up assoc. with), super-newbies, losing lots of gear, dealing with children, and there is a lot of PERSONAL and hands on assistance, a tip is definitely deserved and earned.
For the bigger boats down here in Costa Rica and Mexico (not the pangas) fishing marlin/sails/tuna/etc. the custom is to tip the Captain and let him divide the tip as he sees fit. And yes, it is a different sport than a salmon charter with deckhands.
Comments From Guides:
When clients tip me I apply that amount to their next trip. Even though they don’t expect it, I feel, it is- what goes around comes around.
We’re just happy for their business at the price set. Tips like wild game and something special from their kitchen is more meaningful then anything.
I would much rather have the group of fun, pleasant guys that tip nothing on my boat rather than the punks that throw down hundreds after acting like the day was more of a chore than a great day of fishing. Had both, and I feel better after having a few good laughs with some great guys/gals…makes my day a lot nicer.
Your answers on this thread are going to range from “Give them nothing” to “It depends on how hard they worked and if you caught fish” to “10-25% of the cost per seat” to “We appreciate the tips, but they are not mandatory nor expected”……The list will go on…….
I will say that in my 8+ years of guiding I have gotten a wide range of tips over the years. Included on the list would be: Wine, artwork, CASH, elk jerky & steaks (I don’t hunt), memberships to local organizations, and most importantly REPEAT CUSTOMERS. If you book another trip that’s telling me that I did the best job I could have given that days conditions. Sometimes that means we killed them, sometimes it just means that you know I did everything I could to do the job.
Repeat biz IS the best tip, but there is nothing wrong with those extra greenbacks either. All of us work very hard to get you into fish, and when they are not cooperating we work twice as hard and fish much longer to try to please our clients. In this industry you can go from a zero to a hero in 5 seconds.
Some of this is spot on, normal tip is about 20 to 25 bucks a person, but it can range from nothing to $250 at times. Let me say it really makes you feel like you did a great job at the end of the day when you do get a tip. And on those days that you don’t you keep yourself wondering if they were happy and just not the tipping kind, or if you left them disappointed for one reason or another.
Part of this job is being able to read people, some will get offended if you tell a joke that offends them, and hold it against you all day, others can’t be pleased it seems no matter what you do, ( but the ones I am talking about keep coming back). Then there are the ones that really enjoy the day and the trip and came out for a great time.
So show up and have a great time and know that every guide out there strives to catch his limit and have you reeling in fish each and every day. I would agree tips are optional but I would say I am tipped 80% of the time and the 25 bucks a seat is about spot on. And yes, $$, wine, meat (both smoked and not smoked), zuchinii bread (one of my favorites), vacation housing, etc, etc have been thrown my way as a tip. A guy from California even offered me a bag of pot once for a tip
I guided for twelve years after I retired, so I might have a biased perspective. I think that a 15 to 20 percent tip is in order IF the guide did his job, which means:
Did he deliver on what he advertises or told you on the phone or in person? Was his equipment in good working order? Did he have all the equipment he needed to perform the tasks? Did he catch fish for you or give you a reasonable chance to catch fish? Was he pleasant to be with? Did he work hard to deliver.
I didn’t always expect a tip, but was pleased to get one. I wasn’t a high profile guide at all, mostly servicing clients from the Alaska lodge where I guided in the summer, and fishing on the Columbia and the O.P. under the best of conditions. My clients were very good tippers because I kind of high graded them from the lodge, and knew what they were like before I invited them.
People want to catch fish, of course, but what they want most is to have a good time. If you have a good time with the guide, I think they deserve a tip in the range of 15 to 20 percent. If you have a world beater type day that will be among your best ever, dig a little deeper in your wallet.
Just a thought: I have a friend who went to Tofino a few years ago, and asked me about tipping his salmon guide there. My buddy has a few bucks. I told him to introduce himself to the guide with a $100 dollar handshake, then tell him what he wanted to do for the day, and say “Please just take care of us”. It really worked, and I’ll tell you why from the guides perspective: In Alaska working in a lodge, you might get the same guests 3, 4, or 5 days in a row. If they decide not to tip you until the end of the 5 day trip, you, the guide begin to wonder if you will even get a tip? If they tip you well at the end of the first day, you can’t wait to see them again the next day, and will bust your butt for them. It’s just human nature.———-
I’ve guided for more than 20 years; Alaska, Oregon, Argentina, Idaho and Brazil. Here’s what I’ve learned; If the client is open, any GOOD guide will make it worth your while in JUST what you can learn (doesn’t even have to be about that specific fishery);
A GOOD guide expects no tips and works hard for every client on every fish; the cost of living goes up far faster than the cost of an average day of guided fishing; a GOOD guide never EXPECTS a tip- tips tell a guide that his effort, not the fishery, was appreciated. Having said that, I will illustrate: A number of years ago, working a remote camp on the Nushigak in AK I had two guys who had saved for three years to take the only AK trip they were ever likely to take. At the end of the last day they came to me embarrassed because between them they could only come up with a couple of bucks in pocket change… literally, in a sandwich bag to offer me for a tip. They had saved, worked hard, fished hard and never complained about fishing or weather. I took their “small” tip and felt humbled by how hard they’d worked for their once-in-a lifetime fishing trip. I was graced by that modest tip.
The following year I worked for a lodge on the Alagnak and fished a couple from Great Britain. At the time they owned just about every cow in GB. They had lots of money and made a point of telling all who would listen that their year consisted of fishing every corner of the planet, in its proper order, to manage to catch the best bite they could. After telling me, repeatedly and in font of the owner, that this had been the best fishing trip they’d ever had, after averaging more than 30 kings per day, per rod on flyrods he came to me at the end of the week and told me all the money they had left was a $20 money order for a tip. I accepted it without comment. He promised that at some later date he’d make it “right” by sending me a check for the tip… It’s important to keep in mind here that I NEVER expect a tip… 9 months later he sent me a letter thanking me again for “the best fishing experience we ever had” and a check for $100 US. I was there when they pre-paid for their trip the following year, I was there when they paid the owner’s prices for Scotch (about 11 times the going rate in Anchorage) and they sent $100 9 months later. I admit I was a bit piqued… I sent the uncashed check and letter back. In the letter I pointed out that it was apparent that they needed the money more than I did. When I arrived at the lodge the following year I found I was to guide them again. I refused. Not because they didn’t “Tip appropriately” but because, unlike the other two I described, they were cheap about it.
I guess what all of this boils down to is this: tip if you feel you should; did the guide earn it? If you can’t afford the tip tell the guide how much you appreciated the day and that you will book again when you can and will recommend him/her to friends and family. Most of us are more than happy with that. Re-books and referrals are bread and butter to a guide. Tips are just gravy and you can’t make a meal out of gravy alone.
I’ve guided in Alaska for years, tips are appreciated not expected. But those kids, Male/Female deckhands who bait you up and net/gaff your fish work for minimum wage and depend on tips. $5-$25 per person really helps with there tuition/books or whatever there working there butts off for.
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