Fishing guides are respected as opinion leaders of the recreational angling community, but little is known of their influence on angler behaviour. Given their social-standing, fishing guides may be perceived as role models by fishing clients – thereby potentially shaping the practices of many through their extensive networks of fishing clients. This influence may promote the adoption of best and/or worst environmental behaviours, depending on their individual knowledge, attitudes and actions. To understand if fishing guides are perceived to be role models by the recreational angling community, a digital survey containing a nine-question role model perception scale was designed to assess fishing clients’ attitudes towards fishing guides. The survey was designed to assess whether angling guides served the three role model functions proposed in the Motivational Theory of Role Modelling, which posits that role models function as Behavioural models, Representations of the Possible and Inspiration. Of the 492 fishing clients (27 countries), most agreed that fishing guides were competent, skilled, and worth emulating (91.1 %), suggesting they are perceived as Behavioural Models. Less agreed that fishing guides were Inspirational or Representations of the Possible (54.8 %), suggesting they are less likely to motivate anglers to adopt and/or pursue new goals. As Behavioural Models, fishing guide behavioural practices are likely to be emulated. These findings suggest that fisheries managers have an opportunity to influence general angler behaviour through focussed behavioural interventions with angling guides.