BoatUS ANGLER has developed a Fishing Guide Checklist to offer our members assistance in selecting the right guide or charter for a more enjoyable day on the water.

BoatUS ANGLER: Fishing Basics

20 Question Checklist For Choosing a Guide

Photo of fishing guides Stan Gerzsenyi and guest Brian Harris

BoatUS ANGLER has developed a "Fishing Guide Checklist" to offer our members assistance in selecting the right guide or charter for a more enjoyable day on the water.

Use this checklist when researching or contacting a potential Fishing Guide or Charter. For more detailed information please read Choosing A Fishing Guide

  1. 1. What is provided?
  2. 2. What type of equipment do you use?
  3. 3. Can I bring my own equipment?
  4. 4. What do I need to bring?
  5. 5. Does your insurance cover liability? Liability limits?
  6. 6. Are you US Coast Guard licensed?
  7. 7. How many people can you accommodate? Are children allowed?
  8. 8. Do you provide life jackets/PFD's?
  9. 9. What are your rates? Do you require a deposit?
  10. 10. Do you charge extra for live bait?
  11. 11. How long are we out on the water? Half day? Full day?
  12. 12. Is lunch or drinks and snacks provided?
  13. 13. Departure time? Meeting place?
  14. 14. What type of fish will we fish for?
  15. 15. What is your cancellation policy? Inclement weather policy?
  16. 16. Do you practice Catch & Release?
  17. 17. Do I need a state license? And do you sell it?
  18. 18. Will you wrap and/or ship my catch?
  19. 19. Do you offer discounts to BoatUS Members?
  20. 20. Do you have suggestions for lodging in the area? Do you offer a discount on any lodging?


  • Research your guide: qualifications, experience, background, Member of a professional guides association?
    NOTE: The local Chamber of Commerce and Guide Associations can be an excellent source of information regarding guides and charters.
  • Ask friends or fellow anglers for recommendations
  • Book early
  • Speak with your guide directly for information/questions
  • Going on a walk-in trip can allow you to learn about waters that you can come back to and fish the next day
  • Let your guide know if you are bringing your own equipment
  • Mention your fishing skills, or if anyone else in your party is inexperienced
  • Get your fishing license in advance if possible
  • Bring your camera
  • Bring rain gear that can be bundled easily
  • In summer, wear light colored clothing; in fall bring a jacket or sweatshirt
  • Bring sunscreen, polarized sunglasses and/or a hat
  • Tip your guide
  • Most guides do not allow alcoholic beverages, plus many insurance policies would not provide coverage if alcohol is consumed.
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