With years of fishing experience, a passion for educating others and a lot of flexibility, being a professional charter fishing guide is one of those jobs where work doesn’t feel like work. In the state of Oregon, to become a charter fishing guide one will need to register with the Oregon State Marine Board. The board recognizes these individuals as Outfitter Guides. Along with registering there are a number of minimum requirements they need to meet, such as providing proof of insurance, having basic First Aid and CPR skills and having an updated Passenger Boat Operator’s certification or license. Outfitter Guides have options of choosing [More information can be found at https://www.oregon.gov/osmb/Pages/Guides-Charters.aspx]


Betty Kay fishing charter catch
Captain Kurt Smith of Betty Kay Charters











Aside from the legal side of what it takes to be a professional charter fishing guide, it is important for Outfitters to be familiar with their local area. Taking groups of people out to sea to catch fish can be more of an experience if the guide is knowledgeable about the local marine wildlife, history and weather patterns of the area.

Fishing charter companies will usually start preparing for the next days tours the night before. Getting the lines and bait ready and checking the National Weather Service are just a few of the things that need to be done before the usual 4am wake up call on the day of a tour. Guides are usually prepared to take one or two tours a day, depending on the season. On the Oregon Coast they can catch Lingcod, Rockfish, Tuna, Salmon, Chinook, Steelhead and Halibut. As unpredictable the weather can be at the Coast, flexibility is important, along with people able to communicate to clients. Think you have what it takes to be a professional charter fishing guide?

When settlers first came to the Oregon Coast, they were amazed at the abundance of salmon in the area. Commercial salmon fishing started in the 1860s and provided an influx of jobs in cities like Astoria, Tillamook and Gold Beach. By the 21sst century, it became an important part of every coastal town’s economy. Settlers and immigrants came to the area for the opportunities in both the fishing and canning industries. As the number of commercial fisherman increased, so did the competition between them. Innovations and technological advancements created higher yields with less work. Things like fishwheels and gillnets lead to unrestrained and unsustainable harvesting, rapidly decreasing salmon populations in the area.


Photo obtained from Oregon State University, Special Collections and Archives Research Center


Today, fisheries are managed by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Pacific Fisheries Management Council. They set limits, regulations and run studies to sample fish and shellfish, as well as provide fisherman with as much information as they can. It is important for fisherman to follow limits and quotas set by these agencies because they are implemented to ensure fishing is sustainable and that there will be plenty of fish for everyone and the future of fishing. With proper fisheries management, the Oregon Coast will remain a premier fishing destination for generations to come.