I want to thank you for taking the time to visit our Washington State Guides Association website. Moreover, I hope you consider becoming a member as a professional sport fishing guide or charter operator.
My name is Doug Saint-Denis and I am the President of WSGA. I am the owner and operator for Ridge to River Outdoors and 365 Charters.
I started my guiding career part time on the rivers, from the Skagit to the Columbia. Now I operate full time and I guide the rivers and operate a charter in Puget Sound. In the past 30 years I have seen our fisheries dwindle and I definitely feel like there is less opportunity. Subsequently, I want to change that.
In 2017 when we saw our fees increase over 80% in some cases.
This was my tipping point to start doing something about it. We started the WA Chapter of NW Guides and Anglers Association because we were able to get up and running quickly. We started having meetings with Fish Program Managers at WDFW to include meetings with Director Susewind. I quickly learned that one of the reasons our fees were increased is because “We did not have a seat at the table.”
In January 2020, the Executive Board resigned the WA Chapter of NWGAA and created the Washington State Guides Association.
Through the Executive Board’s hard work, we got the guide license fees adjusted with the help of WDFW. We pushed hard for WDFW to create a Guide Advisory Committee, to allow us a place at the table to be heard as an industry.
We succeeded in doing so and the Guide Advisory Committee now meets quarterly. WSGA has been at the table for the entire process of the logbooks. Had we not been there, we would have had a substantially different outcome in regards to the amount of information required for logbooks.
As president, I have sat in a lot of meetings on a wide variety of issues and I have learned that we cannot get anywhere by pounding our fist on the table and saying “no.” Why? Because no one will listen to an angry person. When we work together in a respectful manner, giving each other time to speak and be heard we get so much more done. It also creates respect and trust.
The truth is, sport fishing guides are the “Boots on the Ground.”
Guides and charter operators have information that can help WDFW and our fisheries. WDFW actually wants our input and they want us to help them.
There are so many moving parts to our fisheries. I won’t get into that here, but maybe through some upcoming articles here on the website.
Seriously consider being a member. If all you do is pay dues, you have helped. WSGA is very organized. That is to say, we constantly communicate with the WSGA membership. Join Today.
We routinely put polls and questions to the membership to see what direction they want the Executive Board and WSGA to go. You may wonder why do we do this? The Executive Board believes we work for the members. It’s that simple. Being more transparent so the membership knows what is going on.
Lastly, I will explain that the Executive Board is made up of 11 members spread throughout the state. We meet via virtual conference monthly. If you want to be more active with our association. I am sure we can accommodate you!
Thank you for your time.