Montana fly fishing is a bucket-list trip for many anglers, but as we all know, fishing trips can start to add up if you’re not careful. If you want the fishing trip of a lifetime at a price that won’t cost a lifetime of work to pay for, we’ve put together the best trip itinerary for fly fishing Montana on a budget below!
Where To Go
Montana is full of amazing rivers and streams that house world-class trout. You’ll have an amazing Montana fly fishing experience whether you’re able to fish the entire state or choose one specific region to focus on while you’re here. Since we’re focusing on fly fishing on a budget, we’re going to stick to the region we know and love best.
Western Montana Fly Fishing
We might be slightly biased, but Missoula fly fishing is some of the best fly fishing you’ll find and it’s also one of the state’s better-kept secrets. The rivers around Bozeman are great, but they get a lot of traffic. You’ll be battling waders and floaters alike for trophy trout and it’s not always easy to find a secret spot just for yourself. Missoula sits at the confluence of three of the West’s greatest river; the Clark Fork, the Bitterroot, and the Blackfoot. Each of these rivers is renowned for their unique characteristics and the special fish you’ll find in them. Not only are these rivers less crowded, you’ll have the opportunity to fish all three of them on your trip. To learn more about the rivers, check out these pages.
Gear To Grab
Every fly fisherman knows that the gear you have will make or break a trip. If you want to grab gear without breaking the bank, here are our favorite products.
- River Rat Maps – If you’re new to the area, we definitely recommend you grab a couple maps so you know where you are and where you can fish! These maps include every detail you’d need to know, such as mileage, access points, GPS coordinates, and more.
- Simms Felt Rock Creek Boot – The Rock Creek boot is a lightweight boot that still has the long-lasting durability you’ve come to know from Simms. It’s a real steal at less than $100, and it’s one we own ourselves!
- Goertzen Flip-Down Fly Fishing Lanyard – This lanyard holds the necessities, and when you’re on a budget, that’s what you need. Locally made, this lanyard is not only useful, it’s also a great talking point for when you need to make friends.
Where To Refuel
Missoula is full of great restaurants and breweries, and no matter how tight your budget is, you’ll want to refuel with some good food after a long day on the river.
This BBQ joint is consistently named as one of Missoula’s best restaurants, and they really are. This is real BBQ, people, and their generous portion sizes will fill you up before or after a day on the river. If you want to enjoy their burnt ends (slightly pricier, but worth every penny), make sure you get there for lunch as those babies go FAST.
Draught Works is one of Montana’s best breweries, so there’s a good chance you’ve seen or tasted some of their beer at some point if you live in the West. They have reasonably-priced pints, but the best thing they do is a free pint with a growler fill on Monday nights. Make sure you have a good growler with you (glass isn’t allowed on the river) and head over on a Monday night to get your fill. Our favorite beers are My Ruca, Pineapple Express, and Shadow Caster.
Visit The Grizzly Hackle
At the end of the day, you can’t beat local fly shops as the best resources for your trip. We’ve got guys on the water every single day so we’ll be able to give you the most up-to-date information for water conditions, flies, and more. We’re located right in downtown Missoula (next to P.I.G., just sayin’) and you can find our store hours here. We’ll be happy to give you the inside scoop on all the rivers around us and get you set up with the flies you’ll need out there. Call us today for more info or stop by the shop!