Fishing Adventures

Becoming A Licensed Fishing Guide Part 1 – Guide School

I decided to open an Ice Fishing Guide Service and in NH guides are required to be licensed.


NH has one of the more rigorous testing  requirements in the country.

Here is an excerpt from the NH Fish and Game Website


Testing procedures for applicants may take several months to complete. All new applicants must successfully pass a written examination with a passing grade of 75% and pass an oral board examination graded as pass or fail. Any applicant unsuccessful in passing the written examination shall be allowed to reapply for a retest after 60 days from the date of original examination. Any applicant failing a second written examination shall be allowed to reapply after 1 year.

All testing procedures are conducted at the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department’s Main Headquarters located at 11 Hazen Drive, Concord, New Hampshire.

In addition to passing the written and oral board examinations, each applicant shall have successfully completed and be currently certified in, at a minimum, a basic first aid course and basic CPR course which requires individuals to perform the practical skill in the course to be certified. First aid and CPR certifications from online courses will not be accepted. Only classroom-style first aid and CPR courses where physical demonstration of acquired skills (mandatory) will be accepted.

All applicants for a guide license shall have a personal record free of convictions preceding the date of application as follows:


  • Fishing, hunting or trapping violations – 2 years
  • Misdemeanors – 5 years
  • Felonies – 7 years

Guide Resource List

Applicants must be ready to identify various animals, birds and fish found in New Hampshire and have general knowledge as it relates to their biology. Other questions will be asked regarding safety, all watercraft regulations, handling of boats, canoes and kayaks, watercraft technology, rescue techniques, aids to navigation, navigation rules and map and compass. In addition hunting guide applicants must possess a valid hunter safety certification and a current hunting license; fishing guide applicants utilizing motorized boats require a commercial boat operators license from Marine Patrol and a current fishing license.

The following materials can be utilized as study guides in becoming a licensed New Hampshire Guide. These materials should be utilized as reference materials only:


  1. New Hampshire Hunting and Fishing Laws Digest or Laws Annotated and Fis
  2. New Hampshire Off Highway Recreational Vehicle Laws Digest
  3. The Boater’s Guide of New Hampshire
  4. USDA/Guide Permits – Forest Service Fact Sheet
  5. Migratory Bird Hunting Regulations
  6. Outsmart Outback II (first aid procedures and back country skills)
  7. Fishes of New Hampshire by John Scarola
  8. The Peterson’s Field Guides
  9. Staying Found – The Complete Map and Compass Handbook by Jane Flemming
  10. The Essential Wilderness Navigator by David Seidman
  11. National Audubon Pocket Guides
  12. Le Master Method of Waterfowl Identification
  13. Birds of North America
  14. AMC River Guide
  15. LL Bean Guide to Canoeing by Ken Stone
  16. River Rescue by Leo Betchel and Slim Ray
  17. The Outdoor Leadership Handbook by Gil Gilpatrick
  18. Be An Expert With Map and Compass by Bjorn Kjellstrom
  19. You Are Alone in the Maine Woods – The Lost Hunter Guide


Oral Board Examination
As part of the original application process all applicants for a Guides License shall pass an oral board examination graded as pass or fail. The oral board examination will test an applicants practical skills, knowledge and abilities as it relates to the specific guide license requirements. Map and compass knowledge is a must for all guide license applicants. Applicants should also have knowledge as it relates to lost person techniques, survival and first aid procedures.


After reading all that there is no question, I needed to go to guide school.


So I called Scott Jackson at NH Outdoor Learning Center. Scott allowed me to come to class and record parts of the class for this podcast.



I enjoyed the three day course and learned more than I can explain, and I passed the test. There is no chance I would have passed the exam without this course.

Stay Tuned for Part II of becoming a guide where we will explore the business side of guiding.

If you want to book a trip with me… Click the logo

Fish Nerds Guide Service





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