I want to thank you for taking the time to visit our Washington State Guides Association website and I hope you consider becoming a member as a professional sport fishing guide or charter operator.
My name is Doug Saint-Denis, the President of WSGA. I am the owner and operator for Ridge to River Outdoors and 365 Charters and I am the President of WSGA.
I started my guiding career part time on the rivers, from the Skagit to the Columbia. I now operate full time and I guide the rivers and operate a charter in Puget Sound. In the past 29 years I have seen our fisheries dwindle and I definitely feel like there is less opportunity. 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. It was suggested to me that we start a WA Chapter of NW Guides and Anglers Association. Knowing we could get started quickly, we did it. We started having meetings with Fish Program Managers at WDFW to include meeting with Director Susewind. We quickly realized that one of the reasons our fees were increased is because “we did not have a seat at the table.”
Ultimately the Executive Board resigned the WA Chapter of NWGAA and created the WSGA.
Through the Executive Boards hard work, we got the 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. We succeeded in doing so and the Guide Advisory Committee has already had 5 meetings. We have 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 logbooks.
I have learned that we cannot get anywhere by pounding our fist on the table and saying “no.” Why? Because no one will listen. But 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.” We 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. We are very organized; we constantly communicate with the membership. We routinely put polls and questions to the membership to see what direction they want the Executive Board to go. 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. Paid members receive the meeting minutes of each board meeting.
Lastly, I will explain that the Executive Board is made up of 5 members spread throughout the state. We meet via phone conference monthly. We also have advisory members from around the state who also meet with us monthly on our phone calls. We do this so we have broad input on issues going on throughout the state. If you want to be more active with our association. I am sure we can accommodate you!
Thank you for your time.