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Andrew Erickson

how to become a guide?

31 posts in this topic

just curious on how you would become a guide? maybe something to look forward into the future with since im still only 17.

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I wish I could help you, but I just wanted to give you a heads up.. The best alaskan salmon guide I ever had was an 18 year old girl.

Her parents run a fishing lodge that is on a river that makes up part of the iditarod trail when it freezes over. They lodge and resupply the sled racers in the winter. Needless to say she has some wilderness experience, and has fished for salmon her whole life, but she still was only 18 years old, and it was her first year guiding(with some years of deckhand experience) since you have to be 18 to guide in alaska.

The point is, don't ever trick yourself into thinking that you're too young to be good at something!

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There was a post back in march on the open water form about becaming a guide I beleave it was like march 1.Lots of good stuff.

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There is actully alot of rules to become a guide. 1st depending on where you want to guide you need to find out if you need to be licences, some place you dont need to be registered. then if you decided to run a charter boat you need to go and get your captins licenses. but if you want to run independet you need to get a tax id number,cpr cert,insurance, a good boat lol, it actully costs some money to start. call your local dnr enforcment officer and ask if you and him can sit down and he would be willing to help anyway he could

Travis Koster

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jeesus lol. yeah i looked up the post on the open water forum. hel1 of alot of stuff you have to deal with.

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just curious on how you would become a guide? maybe something to look forward into the future with since im still only 17.

I see you live close to me. Take me fishin and if you can get me my first fish of the year your good enough to be a guide... Ive been skunked all year I seem to suck at this so far

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There's a good post on muskiefirst right now about being sponsored, the two kinda go hand in hand, might wanna have a look.

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Get a handfull of double cowgirls and a handful of bulldawgs...seems to be the protocol for many of the new "guides"...

On a serious note...talk to a few guides who have been doing it a long time before you decide it is a path you want to follow...it's not always as glamourous as it may appear.

Good Luck!

Brett Waldera

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I'd suggest you practice-- give away most of your money, always fish with constant pressure to produce fish, deal with people who are sometimes unappreciative, and put in long days and endless hours. Do that for a year and see if it's for you... then you'll be ready to guide. grin

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My uncle just went through all the classes and got licenced by the coast guard. It cost him almost $700 dollars but he works for Voyaguers National Park and wanted to be able to drive the tour boats. He had to go through a few classes but you also have be able to prove that you have spent somthing like 360 days on the water in the last 10 years and 90 days in the last year.Don't quote me on exacts. I don't think that it is quite 700 for just the guide licence i think he said that it was something like 450 but he got some other boating certificates to be able to drive a barge for the park and some other big boat. Also some of these other guys are right, Be prepared to deal with ungreatful people when fishing is'nt super and a lot of people that can't even put their own minnow on. My grandfather guided for almost 40 years and it was'nt always as easy of a job as it sounds.

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my suggestion is go to college try and get a good job and enjoy fishing in your free time, dont spend your whole life on the water trying to make someone else happy, i have heard many gudies say spending your whole life on the water always trying to make people happy has made them lose there enjoyment for fishing. Its a tough life

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I agree with mrklean. Go to college and go from there. Remeber you can always guide part time.

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Rinc, go to school get a great job that has lots of time off in the summer or big weekends and guide part time. Trust me it is not a very profitable bussiness. If I was not a single man without kids I would be hard pressed.

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Agreed about making it a part time gig.

The best guide in the world I know works as a fireman down on sanibel island, FL, and guides on the side mostly to pay for fishing.

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I have to agree with leaving hobbies be. I've turned several into jobs and it's ruined them all.

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It is my understanding that to fish inland lakes you dont need to be coast guard licenced, as long as its just one or two people. I am not a guide so im not sure. I would guess that now days good insurance is a must. I say if you have the boat and equipment why not give it a try.

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Jonny P,

I spent a weekend in one of your ice shacks this winter. We talked about "livin' the dream" and you put that into perspective for me with your story of the guest who failed to lift the seat and didn't clean up. I still think you have a really great job, but you helped me realize it can have its bad days.

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This is my 5th season of guiding - I can tell you it is a labor of love to the utmost. There are a myriad of factors.

- You have to have an open schedule to be able to guide.

- You have to be a 100% people person. The actual fish is only 10% of the game.

- Be a good teacher. Remember that you aren't there to catch, but to help your client catch. I do fish while I guide if it is okay with the client. First and foremost, I am there to teach.

- You need to be as close to automatic on the water as possible. Musky fishing is difficult, there are a lot of great guides everywhere. You need to be able to compete by putting up numbers. There are tons of people out there that catch 50 muskies a season and feel they are on the top of their game. I decided that I wouldn't advertise as a guide until I had multiple consecutive 100 legal fish seasons.

- You need additional income. Weather you have investments, a bait company, teach, or fix boats, guiding is a drain on your wallet, especially during theses difficult economic times. I just had my sixth cancellation today. Some of the top guides in MN are pulling out their hair with 10 or more.

- Thick skin. When you do find success on the water, you are going to have a lot of critics. Some are down right mean. You'll get tires slashed and nasty notes on your truck. Even if you are the nicest guy in the world, the vampires will come out!

Honestly, there is so much that can be said. And when it's great there is nothing better, but when it is bad, you take the burden of many upon your shoulders.

I'd be happy to chat more with you about it over the phone if you are interested. I think I'd get ispanked if I leave my number.

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I agree. MOst of these guys came here from Wisonsin because of our fishery and call themselves guides.

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\ I think I'd get ispanked if I leave my number.

I'm being a little off topic here and it may just be a typo but that's a GREAT term. Gotta give credit where credit is due!

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Two years ago when I was in college I got asked to take a few people out. It is a lot of pressure to put fish in the boat and I learned that every person has different perspective of doing good. Granted When I guided the few times we were walleye fishing. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like for Muskies. I no a lot of people hire a guide just to get a new spot frown

Overall I really enjoyed it but then I was lucky and we brought in 60 - 80 eyes and I was able to keep the clients very happy but I could not imagine what it would be like on a slower day.

My advide would be start out small, take a few out and if you enjoy it run with it. If not your not to finacally into it so you can get out of it

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Hey grasshopper,

I have been guiding professionaly for 22 years now.

I don't have any real horror stories to tell. I have had my bad days, but overall it's been a wonderful way to make a living.

You have to absolutely love what you're doing, or it just won't work for you.

Just last Saturday my trolling motor took a dump on me, $1000.00 to get a new one. I bought a new motor this year for one of my boats, it cost $10,000.00. I needed to upgrade my electronics on both boats this year, $5,000.00.

I also spend about $2000.00 a year on tackle and equipment.

Think about that before you worry about the simple things like Guide insurance, thats only about $800.00 a year, gas is only about $2000.00 a season, bait about $500.00 to $800.00 and the list goes on.

I work about 120 days a year on average, which is more than most. I also pay for a HSOforum and a few other business related bills. Part time guides are living off of their real jobs. If you want to do it for real, go to school and take some related business and fisheries studies. It will help you a lot in the long run.

If you can't get along with all kinds of people, stick to fishing for fun, because they will eventually dive you nuts.

Once guiding becomes just a job to you, it's time to move on to something else. One more very important thing, you'll never get rich guiding, no matter how hard you work. That stuff about sponsors..... yea right. Getting free tackle is a long way from having a sponsor. Sponsorship means they give you "CASH", I have a lot of free baits lying around but they don't pay the bills.

Nobodys going to give a Part time guide any sponsorships so you can put that dream away.

Even the tournament pro's are struggling to get sponsors and they have to spend days and weeks on the road selling all the stuff they get for "FREE".

Take some advice from an old man who's been there. Do it because you love it, or don't do it at all.

Good Luck!

"Ace"

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Most of the guides I've hired, if they were financially comfortable at all, had money before they started guiding. Even some of the most famous Muskie guides basically just support themselves and their family barely, if they have side businesses there is usually a "money guy" that was formerly a client.

Minnesota is also tough because if you don't guide ice, you only have part of the year to make money. Guiding ice is tough for many reasons, most of them obvious. Some guides give up on it because other fisherpeople know what their shacks look like and park theirs right next to it. Before you know it there's a big crowd and the guide's spot is much less productive for many seasons. This cycle is repeated all winter until the guide throws in the towel.

I'd say if it's worth it to you to work extremely hard (think stretches of 20 consecutive 18 hour days, if you're lucky enough to have the business) to break even, forgoing much sleep and social life for the privilege of having a nice boat and gear and being on the water all day, go for it. Keep in mind it's also hard to guide exclusively Muskies unless you really make a name for yourself. Most of the Muskie guides I've been with guide other species, as with only Muskie trips they wouldn't get enough business. That means you need to work even harder to develop spots for *all* species, at all times of the year. That leads to you potentially going weeks without even having a Muskie trip, because most people want Walleye (though growing Muskie popularity is making the ratio a little better). A couple guides I've had would tell me how happy they were to see me simply because they hadn't done Muskie trips in so long.

The economy is definitely a problem. Maybe by the time you're ready it will be better. Guides aren't cheap to hire, and people can fish without them (unless they're in need of their boat), that puts the guide on the extreme end of discretionary when fishing is already "discretionary spending". Getting wealthy regulars, who just like going out with you every year in any economy even if they no longer require the teaching is a big help.

Then there's a few that guide just enough that they can write off all their fishing expenses from their taxes. They have full time jobs and guide 18-25 days a season. Then they write off the Ranger and all the gear, which is already discounted because of guide rates. These aren't teenagers, they're middle-aged men with careers.

Many guides think it "unprofessional" to fish with you (which I thought was a little silly), indeed, I hadn't experienced a guide fishing with me until I visited Minnesota. If you're one of those people, you can go weeks without even casting a line or catching a fish yourself.

So like others have said, you'd better really like people, because the fishing won't be as entertaining as it was before you were a guide. You'll be left with the people that pay you and all that comes with those people, good and bad.

Good Luck!

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