Fishing Charters and Guides

Fishing charter near Deception Pass in 2012
Photo by Brett Rosson
Fishing charter near Deception Pass, 2012.

Guides and charter boat operators are integral parts of our communities. They introduce our kids to fishing, advocate for public access to our natural resources and bring millions of dollars in tourism into Washington’s small local communities.

In 2019, Washington State had 563 licensed guides and 181 licensed charter boat operators. By licensing guides and charters, the state helps thousands of Washingtonians and out-of-state visitors to get on the water with guides and charter services every year. 

Also see our 2022 blog post: How to select a fishing charter/guide: tips for securing a memorable experience

Fishing Guide Advisory Committee

In 2019, the agency established a fishing guide advisory committee to help advise the agency on projects and decisions impacting the guide industry. The committee is made up of full-time and part-time, gear guide and fly fishing guides from throughout the state. Visit the Fishing Guide Advisory Committee webpage to learn more about this committee and its work. 

Guide Logbook Reporting

In 2019, the Fish and Wildlife Commission passed a rule initiating logbook reporting by guides to collect additional data on species encountered, locations fished and the number of anglers fishing with guides. The agency developed three reporting tools to help guides comply with the new rule; a paper logbook, a web reporting application and a mobile reporting application. Visit our guide logbook webpage to learn more about this project and the decisions this data will inform. 

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Operating as a Guide or Charter 

Washington’s fishing Guides and Charters follow regulatory guidelines to comply with Washington laws, fishing rules and to keep their customers safe. Here’s a list of the licenses and permits needed to operate as a guide or charter in Washington State:

For more information on state regulations for guide and charter businesses in Washington State see the Department of Revenue industry guide: