How to Start a Fishing Guide Business

by Larry Anderson
Fishing guides work with clients of a variety of ages and skill levels.

Fishing guides work with clients of a variety of ages and skill levels.

Many people who fish consider being a fishing guide one of the most desirable of all careers. The profession involves fishing, or talking about fishing, for a living. It involves being on the water hundreds of days every year, and teaching people who have not done much fishing more about the sport. But becoming a fishing guide is not as easy as simply declaring yourself a fishing guide. There are a number of factors you must keep in mind to start a fishing guide business.

Learn as much as you can about the waters on which you plan to guide. Learn what types of game fish are in them and about the best spots for catching them. Since you likely will be guiding for a variety of fish species, you must know how to catch them. Make sure you know which lakes in your area your clients are most likely to want to fish on. If you are not familiar with all of them, consider hiring someone who already is a guide and can show you around.

Acquire the proper equipment. Your boat should comfortably fit at least five fishermen, including you. You also should have the proper equipment and bait to catch the fish species that your clients want to target. Also, make sure you have the property safety equipment, including life jackets for all people aboard and a fire extinguisher.

Contact a local business association, like a chamber of commerce, and ask about the steps you need to take to make your fishing guide business legal. These requirements vary from state to state.

Call your insurance company to set up the proper policy for your business. You likely will need additional insurance for your boat, as well as liability insurance.

Market your service. One of the best ways is to join your local chamber of commerce. Create brochures and business cards. Distribute them at the chamber, local bait shops and sporting goods stores. Be sure to including testimonials in your marketing collateral, since they will add legitimacy to your business. If you haven't had a paying client, take someone out fishing and tell them all you need from them is a testimonial.

Stay working at your present job. If you work weekdays, schedule your guide trips for weekends. As your business grows and you have customers who want to go fishing during the week, start taking days off from your regular job. Consider leaving your regular job for full-time guiding once you make enough from guiding to support yourself or your family.

Items you will need

  • Boat
  • Fishing equipment

About the Author

Larry Anderson has been a freelance writer since 2000. He has covered a wide variety of topics, from golf and baseball to hunting and fishing. His work has appeared in numerous print and online publications, including "Fargo Forum" newspaper. Anderson holds a Bachelor of Arts in print journalism from Concordia College.

Photo Credits

  • female fishing image by from