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Alberta Guides / Licensing


cgyguy
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Merry Christmas everyone (hope it's ok to say this)!

 

Just been doing some reading on guide requirements and licenses needed for BC. Looking to stir the pot a little and to see what everyone's thoughts are for guides having to be licensed in Alberta.

 

First off, I have done quite a few guided trips and have NEVER been disappointed with my choice of guide. I had no idea if they were "certified to guide" or not. But at the same time, I wonder if I have been lucky, or just did my homework as to who to choose for my trip? I am pretty sure I did my homework for the most part!

 

But what if, I was not as informed as a local, and I chose a guide that really wasn't experienced or competent to actually be a guide? I have taken trips to BC to do some steel head fishing and the fun in the trip is also the planning, preparation, excitement of that trip from the time you book. I would have been very disappointed and a little bit po'd if the guide didn't have the experience or competence needed to provide a great trip. After all, I spent a lot of money to do this.

 

I also wonder if all of the guides (say on the Bow for instance), have Emergency training? I am getting a little older like all of us, and if I were to have a health emergency, would that guide know what to do, or even be trained for this? Do all guides carry a minimum first aid kit, with aspirins for potential heart attack, diabetic attack, etc.? I am sure most guide companies DO carry these as a minimum however, who's checking to ensure our local guides are: experienced, competent, knowledgeable of the ecosystems, bugs, first aid, emergencies, have a communication device in case of emergency, etc.. Where is the check and balance?

 

Not sure about the how many guides should be on the river or if there is a quota on this, but I for one, would sure like to feel safe and secure and ready for anything when I hire a guide. I am putting my trust in them to bring me home safe and content.

 

Cheers

 

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I also wonder if all of the guides (say on the Bow for instance), have Emergency training? I am getting a little older like all of us, and if I were to have a health emergency, would that guide know what to do, or even be trained for this? Do all guides carry a minimum first aid kit, with aspirins for potential heart attack, diabetic attack, etc.? I am sure most guide companies DO carry these as a minimum however, who's checking to ensure our local guides are: experienced, competent, knowledgeable of the ecosystems, bugs, first aid, emergencies, have a communication device in case of emergency, etc.. Where is the check and balance?

I'll be blunt, since I guided on the river for a bit, there is no check and balance. The only somewhat guarantee is that if you go through a well known outfitter (say a shop), that you can ask these questions of the shop to ensure that the guide you're getting does have first aid, knowledge, etc. Anyone with a boat and a half-assed website can call themselves a guide, regardless of skill/education/knowledge.

 

But even then, I've seen some pretty shitty guides get out on the water under some of the shops/outfitters because of the busy-ness of the day. I'm more comfortable with a shop that will say no to a booking, then one that will dig deep to find you a guide just to ensure they get you on the water that day. One case in particular an outfitter put a guide on the river when they had only been in Calgary for a week...you tell me if they know the river, the bugs, etc. If you can fake it, you can get away with it, I guess.

 

I'm all for licensing and knowledge, but unless the guides themselves are pushing for it, I don't see it being a realistic venture. There is pretty well no current data on how much money the guide community is bringing into the region, let alone the amount of angler (guided or otherwise) use, so it's hard to start with getting them licensed.

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I'm not positive, but I don't think there's a requirement for licensed guides in BC to have first aid or CPR training either. If that's a concern I think it's something you need to ask before hiring a guide. As for first aid kits, I think most probably carry something fairly basic for cuts and scrapes and maybe headaches, but if you are diabetic, allergic to bee stings, or something like that then the onus is on you to let the guide know and bring with you the appropriate medication you need. Be responsible for your own well-being just as you would if you were walking and wading by yourself.

 

As for making sure a guide has knowledge and experience, I agree with bcube. Going through a reputable shop or outfitter will be better since they have a reputation to maintain by hiring the best guides. You can also check local forums for reviews or recommendations. I think there was a pretty recent guide recommendation thread on this forum.

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As you are all aware I'm pretty passionate about this subject. All good questions to ask (and have answered by a guide and/or shop). Another one to ask is if they have the proper permits (where necessary)! At MINIMUM a guide should have a basic (current) First Aid certification (if not something more substantial - like wilderness 1st Aid), liability insurance, business license (where applicable) and many many many years of experience fishing in a particular area (eg. the Bow). And be willing to prove this to you as a potential client/customer.

 

I always find it interesting when this subject comes up... You NEVER hear from any guides/former guides (expect from a few of us), or any of the shops about this subject!! They are obvious members of this site!. Hmmmm

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Maybe the question should be: With the population of Alberta increasing as it has with recreational opportunities becoming more difficult, crowding is an issue. The Bow is but one example. Perhaps it is time to no longer allow commercial fishing or companies on flowing water.

 

Regards,

 

Don

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Maybe the question should be: With the population of Alberta increasing as it has with recreational opportunities becoming more difficult, crowding is an issue. The Bow is but one example. Perhaps it is time to no longer allow commercial fishing or companies on flowing water.

 

Regards,

 

Don

and we wonder why the guides don't want to think about the subject..

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I've never felt that crowding was an issue on the Bow or the mountain streams. Usually those who complain about crowding are unwilling to walk an extra five minutes from where they parked. I don't think it's crowded when you float the Bow either, it's just that the few guys without manners or etiquette make it feel crowded.

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The scary part of "perceived importance" of guides was exhibited with the southern Alberta stream closures. Meetings were held by Govt & guides. Not sure if any other anglers were invited. Apparently the meeting were held at a Fly Shop providing guiding services.

 

And further, licensing guides provides them with the belief that the guided areas are owed to them. After all, if you sell a license, that implies that you will supply something that non-licensed persons do not get. In the longer term this would arrouse the angling public and guiding would be gone.

 

What has stuck in my craw is how guiding companies have to be told not do do things. A person might believe that a company would look after what supplies their income. Such appears not to be the case. If guiding companies cannot curtail their activities when the respurce is in jeopardy, perhaps they should be banned.

 

Let the flaming begin!

 

 

Don

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Anybody can float down the middle of the river without ever touching the oars and have a couple of dudes dangling bobbers and worms.

 

Some guys actually row their clients to the good spots, hold the boat, stalk fish....teach their clients how to be better anglers. Might want to find those guys.

 

Some good points Don.

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But Jay...

 

Seeing that you are a realtivley new father, would you choose a neighbourhood kid that has a babysitting course certificate or one without to look after your child? Or a daycare/day home that was licensed and had employees that required 1st aid and a specific level of training & experience or one without?!

 

 

you don't need a licence to be a babysitter in a home, why should babysitting in a boat be any different.

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And further, licensing guides provides them with the belief that the guided areas are owed to them. After all, if you sell a license, that implies that you will supply something that non-licensed persons do not get. In the longer term this would arrouse the angling public and guiding would be gone.

X2. Sounds a lot like BC.

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Uber,

My answer to both your questions is I would do my best to vet any option. Crying that we need regulations on an industry because you don't know what emptor cavete means is a waste of resources.

 

If guide A is charging $300 for a drift and every other guide B-Z is charging $500, you've got to ask questions. Any trip I have been on I have clearly listed my expectations of the charter and if I had any dietary or medical requirements I would address those in that email. To hand someone $500 for a potentially dangerous day without looking into them, in my eyes is risky and I'm not one to shy away from risks.

 

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying we shouldn't regulate guides, just not for the purpose of spoon feeding the consumer.

 

It's not hard to find a good qualified guide, it's just not cheap.

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I have to agree with Don. I have hired guides on Vancouver island that should not be in the buisness. No people skills and you know your there to pay for there boat. I'm sure the BC government doesn't care. But this guy got there first.

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Interesting points. As I stated, I do my homework when hiring a guide. And also have never been disappointed. I have heard many stories of grumpy guides, lack of professionalism, etc. I have also heard of many guides (and been a part of) who go out of their way to make your day a special one. Don't get me wrong, I am not crashing on the guides that do their job and go far beyond the customers expectations. However, it must be frustrating not only for the customer using a lousy guide, but also for the guides that do their job and have to hear about these "guides" bringing a negative reflection to the industry. I simply wonder if there shouldn't be any minimal guidelines at the least as to who can guide inclusive of: competency, training, business licence, insurance, first aid, etc. Not really sure how this could be managed but even a voluntary approach to some minimum standards may help with consistency of the service.

 

Cheers to those guides that are awesome!

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This is how its done. Guiding in my view isn't just taking a client along for a ride.

Anyone who is the guiding profession knows that it is as much about meeting the clients growth needs. As it is about anything else. The journey not alway the destination.

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You can't start up a business without a license, period! Why should guiding as a business be any different? IMO, not being licensed takes away from the legitimacy of the sport. Im surprised that its not regulated in someway, everything is, why not guiding? Its a business! It just seems so flagrantly asinine to let any jo bob with a boat to do it. I dont care what you're argument is for not being licensed, its wrong. If its a business and you're making money, you need a business license. Cro-magnon man can't argue that!

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Make sure you ask these exact things (as well as insurance and 1st aid cert, permits, etc.) of the fishing guide from your Facebook prize!!! I'd be curious as to what you find out?!

 

 

You can't start up a business without a license, period! Why should guiding as a business be any different? IMO, not being licensed takes away from the legitimacy of the sport. Im surprised that its not regulated in someway, everything is, why not guiding? Its a business! It just seems so flagrantly asinine to let any jo bob with a boat to do it. I dont care what you're argument is for not being licensed, its wrong. If its a business and you're making money, you need a business license. Cro-magnon man can't argue that!

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Funny. A lot of the posts in this thread seem to imply that if guides were licensed there'd only be good guides around. I'm sure there are lots of licensed guides in BC who suck at getting people into fish, have terrible people skills, etc. You need a license to drive a car but that sure doesn't make everyone on the road a good driver...

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