Saturday, June 06, 2009

Oklahoma Fishing Guides to be Licensed

Fishing guides who operate on Oklahoma waters will be required to purchase a fishing guide license from the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation beginning July 31.

At its June meeting, the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission approved emergency rules to go into effect July 31 in accordance to Senate Bill 277, which recently was signed by the Governor.

“The new fishing guide license was requested by the fishing guide industry in Oklahoma and will help ensure our state's fishing guides have a strong set of safety and first-aid skills as well as properly functioning equipment and insurance,” said Greg Duffy, director of the Wildlife Department.

The annual license will cost $132 for both residents and nonresidents, but Wildlife Department officials are only going to charge $66 for the remainder of 2009 since the requirement will only be in effect for half of the year. The license is required of all persons, resident or nonresident, who charge or accept consideration to take someone fishing. The only exemption is for landowners or lessees who provide such services on their own property and those who assist a licensed guide in the same boat.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2010, fishing guides applying for a license must provide the Wildlife Department with documentation stating they have completed boat training through the National Association of Safe Boating Administrators, which is available readily online or at locations throughout Oklahoma. They also must provide the Wildlife Department with proof of commercial general liability insurance covering services as a fishing guide with policy limits of at least $500,000 per occurrence.

Additionally, fishing guides must maintain current boat inspection by any governmental agency or entity authorized to perform such inspections, and they must be certified by the American Red Cross in CPR and basic first aid.

“Other states, including Texas, have guide license requirements, and I am confident this will benefit our anglers and guides,” said Barry Bolton, chief of fisheries for the Wildlife Department. “We hope to maintain a list of licensed guides to help anglers identify guides and get ‘hooked up,' so to speak.”

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