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Tipping a private guide

1/7/21 @ 3:38 PM
Big Lake Hoosier
Big Lake Hoosier
User since 9/2/20

I've been to resorts and fishing lodges before that provide guiding service for a fee.  In that situation, I have always tipped as the guides were employees of the lodge.  In Wisconsin, I see a lot of independent/private guides who have their own business.  If anyone has used this type of service before, is it customary to tip on top of their fee, or because they are private and not being paid by an employer, is the tip assumed as part of the fee?  Thanks!


1/16/21 @ 5:55 PM
User since 12/19/10

I’ll tip good if I feel they went over and above. If they didn’t then I’ll give either small tip or none at all depending.  No matter how good a guide is they can’t make the fish bite so u really can’t judge them solely by the amount of fish u catch. They are already charging you what they want to make and although I’ve only hired a few fishing guides in my life none of them gave me money back for sub par effort. I hired a guide as a gift for my old mans 70th birthday. After a long winter he really wanted to get out for spring crappies. I won’t name names but we went out with a guide on Lake Delavan for 6 hrs. The guide was late, then we had to wait for him to clean all the beer cans out of his boat from the last weekend. “So u guys want to catch bluegills and crappies eh?” He asks. We both say no we specifically want to go after crappies. “Well I think bluegills taste better myself “ he says. Ok good for u buddy. So after 4hrs of fishing with 0 crappies and a handful of bluegills caught he says “now let’s go look for some crappies “. Umm I thought that’s what we were doing?? No tip given on that trip!

1/16/21 @ 5:35 AM
User since 2/7/06

Tipping is obviously a personal thing.  When our group gets a guide once a year up north we always tip at least $20 per guy.  I look at it as the guide showed us some spots on a new body of water that they fish all year and I’ll store them away when we fish that lake.  Only didn’t tip once many moons ago and out of guilt we sent a small tip to him.  The guide was not good in our opinion but felt bad for him due to weather that day.  Never used him again but he sent us a thank you letter.  It is getting strange how some places have a tip jar out when u pick up a pizza to go for $25.  Ya sorry not tipping with a pizza costing that much.  

1/15/21 @ 11:05 AM
Big Lake Hoosier
Big Lake Hoosier
User since 9/2/20

Appreciate everyone's feedback.  Clearly, it ultimately comes down to a personal decision.  Why do I tip for the bartender to pour my beer but I don't tip the coffee shop for the same action on a cup of coffee?  I'll just go with my gut based on the experience.  My one agreement with some of the posters is it's very interesting to see how tipping began, how it evolved, and what is often expected today.  In Europe, they laugh at American's for how much we tip.  But, having worked as a waiter in the past, I do understand being rewarded above and beyond for great service.

1/14/21 @ 1:47 PM
Summers Off
User since 5/9/06

McDonald's employees don't get tipped.  Walmart employees don't get tipped.  If the employer pays the employee enough then I should not have to tip.  Tipping is subsidizing a businesses wages.  Google why tipping was started.

Tipping is now assummed whether the service is good or bad.  

I have never hired a guide so I guess it would depend on the guides rate and the experience.  Personally, I would think no tip.

1/14/21 @ 11:08 AM
User since 4/9/03

Independent or employee I don't see the difference. If you go into a tavern and the owner is bartending/cooking do you not tip them?  

1/13/21 @ 9:12 PM
MEMBER since 1/2/02

if you are from ill. and coming to wi. 75% will be fine.

1/13/21 @ 5:20 PM
User since 6/14/05

an old man's perspective..

I would like to hire a guide just for a different perspective on different lakes....I won't because I will not tip...refuse to...just makes it easier for both of us....I don't care if he works his tail off, which is great by the way, he is getting paid to do that very thing.....well you know he cleaned the was part of his service...

I swerved from the original post so I fixed it..when these fat little fingers start flying I can write a book in 10 minutes...I aim to go a whole year without ruffling any minute at a time.

1/13/21 @ 11:44 AM
User since 3/11/07

My son wanted to take me on a guided walleye trip this summer on the Columbia River in Washington and his future Father in law and Brother in law wanted to join us. $175pp was the guides fee and since my son was paying for me I said I'd tip the guide. The guide claimed that his worst walleye day in 18 years of guiding was 14 walleyes and he had 2 clients catch 17 walleyes the day before our trip after fishing and catching a couple sturgeon. Well our group of seasoned walleye fishermen crushed his all time low walleye day as after 8.5 hours of fishing my son caught 1 15" walleye, nobody else caught anything except shad and about 5 14" smallies. Guide worked hard and took us to numerous spots but no bites, he apologized numerous times, said he's never been so humbled and thanked us for our patience. Still at the end of the day despite the lack of catching fish I still tipped him $100, we all felt he worked hard and tried his best but for whatever reason the fishing gods were against us. The only thing we wished the guide would have said was he'd give us a discount on a future trip if we wanted to give him another chance, since he never offered, our group decided we would use a different guide should we want to try again. We all thought that at least an offer would have been an attempt to make things right but after such a costly trip not willing to pay full price with him again despite his efforts. My experience with a guide.

1/11/21 @ 10:23 PM
MEMBER since 11/7/20

I have tipped all guides I have hired for the day except 2. One the resort booked for me and was a complete dud and the other was a GB guide and at $600 for a full day that is enough in my mind. 15% would be another $90.


1/9/21 @ 10:38 AM
MEMBER since 2/16/04

Guiding folks on a fishing trip has got to be a labor of love. The idea of being in it for the tons of money to be made, seems goofy to me. Heading out in a rain to fish a choppy lake to honor an appointment. Think about it.....give that person a tip. Samfox nailed it with his "brutally honest" approach. On a trip with my elderly brothers in-law, the guide must have mentioned a hundred times about the bottom bouncers being "too high up" or "you're dragging bottom" with the occasional ,"a fish just bit your leech! .....set the hook!".

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