This FAQ are the most frequently asked questions we receive from someone who is looking to book a fishing trip here in the greater Seattle Area.
It is important to get your questions answered. After all, we want you to have a great fishing experience. If you have a question that is not listed here, please ask.
If you have book the boat for a private charter we can adjust the departure times to suit your needs. Either way, your trip conformation will have the departure time listed.
River trips last 7 hours.
Private charters can be structured to meet your time schedule.
We provide all fishing tackle (rods, reels, lures and bait). We clean and bag your fish at the end of the day.
The main cabin on our Puget Sound boat is heated, with an enclosed marine head (bathroom). The sled has heaters during cold months only. While we do not have a bathroom on the sled, we make accommodations for you to use the bathroom during the trip if needed.
Our boats are licensed to accommodate a maximum of six passengers. You will fish with a hands on approach using the best methods for catching fish in Puget Sound and our local rivers.
When we fish the river or a lake, we typically stat fishing almost right away.
If you have booked a private charter of at least 4 anglers, you can expect to have only your party on the boat.
River - When we fish the river, we often use a free drifting technique, but not always.
Bottom line is, we use the technique we think we have the best chance of helping you be successful landing fish.
We do not sell fishing license for river and lake trips.
Types of Licenses to Buy Online from WDFW.
Buy Your License Online Now.
Sometimes, we can have you on the water the same day you call.
By making a reservation you are agreeing to our cancellation policy. We prefer cash or credit card for final payment. We will accept all major credit cards.
Reservations are required; and a credit card is required in order to guarantee you a seat for your fishing trip.
If you must cancel you are required to give us at least 14 days notice for a full deposit refund. If you notify us between within the 14 days before the trip you will be charged a $50 per person cancellation fee. (Essentially, you will lose your deposit.)
Unlike some areas around the US and abroad, the boat does not keep fish.
If you want to ship your fish home, please know it can be very expensive. As an example, it can cost as much as 150.00 to send 10 lbs of frozen fish. If this is something you want to do, we can assist you.
Properly licensed guides and charters will have the following;
1. Appropriate WDFW guide or charter license (Salmon Charter, Food Fish, or Game Fish License) Not only is there a sticker on the vessel, but they also have a card which matches the sticker.
2. Insurance. The state of Washington requires a 300k insurance policy to be licensed. We carry 1.5 Million in coverage.
3. US Coast Guard License & TWIC card. Many of the waterways we fish, are considered "Navigable". That means your guide or charter captain must maintain a valid US Coast Guard License with a minimum of an OUPV rating and a TWIC card. This must be renewed every 5 years. Any fishing in saltwater requires the operator have a USCG license. Other common rivers that require this license are; Snohomish, Skagit, Cowlitz, Columbia rivers.
Captain Doug holds a valid USCG Masters License with an endorsement in towing, in addition to a TWIC card, as well as all state licenses.
It is important to point out, Washington State has some awesome rivers and lakes that are not navigable and do not require the guide have a USCG license. Examples, are; Skykomish, Yakima, Methow, Klickitat rivers and countless lakes.
Use a trusted web search engine to find your guide or charter for the area you want to fish. Properly licensed guides and charters will put a great deal of effort into their website and marketing. They will try to be as informative as possible on their website.
Sometimes, the guide or charter may be rated on a travel website, like Trip Advisor. This is a great indication they are a legitimate business. However, not all guides and charters have figured out how to get their business on these travel websites. We suggest you do not use that as your main decision.
Similar Prices. Properly licensed guides and charters rates for trips will be similar to others in the area they operate. When you find a guide or charter that is $50 to $100 per person less than other guides fishing the same water and the same amount of anglers, this should be a red flag. That said, it is absolutely possible you will find a properly licensed charter that charges less than other charters. Why? These charters are running inspected vessels, which allows them to carry more than 6 passengers. They work hard to max out the passengers, thus they can charge less, depending on the type of trip.
If you show up to fish with a guide or charter and they say, "If anyone asks, we are just fishing as friends." This should be a warning they are not licensed. If they are not licensed, they most likely do not have insurance.
If at all in doubt, ask to see their license when you show up for your trip. Guides and charters are required to carry the documentation when on the water.
The bottom line is you need to feel comfortable with your guide or charter and know that in the event of an incident, there is insurance. Or if you are stopped by WDFW enforcement, the trip will not suddenly come to an end because the guide or charter is not licensed.
Guides in Washington State may hold one or both of the following licenses; Foodfish or Gamefish. The Foodfish license allows the guide to guide for Salmon in freshwater. The Gamefish license allows the guide to guide for Steelhead, Trout, Bass, etc. (essentially any fish) in freshwater that is not salmon.
Charters in Washington state hold a Salmon Charter license, which allows them to fish for any species in saltwater areas of Western Washington and some limited freshwater rivers and lakes.
As an example, a Salmon Charter license would be required to fish in Puget Sound, and any ocean waters. The Salmon Charter license would also be required to fish Buoy 10 on the Columbia River, if the charter picked up the customers in Washington State. (ie. Chinook, Illwaco) Salmon Charter license are also required to fish for Salmon in Lake Washington.
There is also a non-salmon charter license that a few charters hold. They are allowed to fish in the saltwater for all species except Salmon and Tuna. There are not too many companies who hold only this license by itself.
The guide or charter knows and understands the rules of where they may operate. But this explains why each has a different designation.
We provide both Guide and Charter services and we hold all of the aforementioned licenses, except the non-salmon charter license.
In 2007, I started Ridge to River Outdoors, LLC and we offered sport fishing trips for several Western Washington rivers and waterfowl trips in the north Puget Sound. We stopped offering waterfowl trips in 2014 and began the process of moving to the saltwater to offer salmon and bottom fishing trips. Since we no longer provide waterfowl trips, creating 365 Charters just made sense.
Because we have created such a strong business and brand with Ridge to River Outdoors, we decided to keep it.