Why Choose A Montana Fly Fishing Trip?
Montana is famous for being the “Last Best Place”, and for good reason. It has a small population, a plethora of public land, and great stream access laws. No wonder this state is so widely celebrated! To anglers, Montana is the perfect slice of paradise. The rivers, streams, and lakes provide some of the best trout fishing in the world along with postcard panoramas. Planning your next Montana fly fishing trip isn’t a matter of if, it’s when. Whether you have to drive across the country or fly around the world, it’s worth the trip and you’ll be rewarded for your efforts.
Like all adventures, your Montana fly fishing trip won’t be a breeze and you’ll want to make sure you’re prepared. Montana is a huge state, with dynamic waters and seasonal fishing. Your journey begins here and now, are you ready? Plan well in advance, consider the following tips, show up, and you’ll have the trip of a lifetime. Here are the ins and outs of planning your next Montana fly fishing trip!
Where to go?
As we said, Montana is a big state (150,000 square miles). So, you’ll want to pick the perfect location to have the best fly fishing trip possible. The western side of the state is where you’ll find most of our trout rivers, streams, and lakes. Head due west from Fort Smith, MT and you’ll find abundant fly fishing opportunities. The towns you should be researching are Bozeman, Craig, Fort Smith, Ennis, West Yellowstone, Dillon, Missoula, and Libby. There are countless others adjacent to great fishing, but these will get you started. During your research, talk to the local Montana fly shops and look at maps to understand each location’s unique fishing opportunities. Once you begin this research, you’ll be surprised at what you turn up.
Once you decide on a location, you’ll want to put together a budget. The #1 place to save money is lodging. Most fishing towns are going to have multiple options in-town or nearby. The easiest way to save is by camping in a national forest or a private campground near the river, but some would rather not lug camping gear around or sleep on the ground. The next most economical option is VRBOs or Montana fishing lodges. Most of the time you can get an entire house through VRBO for the same price as a hotel room! Fly shops often know about good deals or even provide local lodging, so give them a call before you book a nights stay or car camp.
Where to spend?
One place you shouldn’t mind spending your hard earned money is with a Montana fly fishing outfitter on a guided trip. Let us explain! You’ll learn so much more about fishing the local area in 1 day with Montana fishing guides than you would in weeks fishing the area on your own. Guides go out every single day. They understand where fish are holding and what fish are eating better than anyone else. Getting out with an outfitter for the first few days of a Montana fly fishing trip will teach you a strategy for the rest of your stay.
You came all way to Montana, make it count! When it comes to guides, you pay for what you get. Do the research before you book, check out reviews online, and if you have a friend or a friend of a friend that did a Montana guided fly fishing trip, ask them about their experience. Don’t be afraid to call and ask the outfitter how long they’ve been doing it, which guides are available or trip specific questions. Not every guide or outfitter in Montana is equal. There are really good ones and then there are ones who aren’t. Choose an outfitter that’s patient, knowledgeable, friendly, and is just as excited about your trip as you are.
Montana has a seasonal fishery. There are a few places where you can fish all year long, but there’s a reason fishing in December – February isn’t as popular, it’s cold and slow! Why spend all of your money to fish in marginal weather to have marginal fishing? Again, do the research and make calls to local fly shops to find out the best time to go fishing in their area. Each Montana fly fishing location is going to have a fishing season from June through October, but some locations have pre-runoff and shoulder season fishing opportunities during months like March – May and November.
Deciding when to come for a Montana fly fishing trip also depends on your own unique preferences. How do you like to fish? If you’re a nymph fisher, any time of the year will work for you. But if you’re a dry fly only type, then you’ll want to come during the summer and fall months that have the best hatches. If you’re into chucking streamers, spring and fall will be the best time to target big hungry fish. From here on out, Montana fly fishing reports and hatch charts are your best friend!
These are just a few questions you’ll need to be asking while planning your next Montana fly fishing trip. Do the research, make the most of your time and money, and remember to enjoy yourself. A Montana fly fishing trip is an experience that every angler should have at least once in their life, maybe even a few times!
We encourage you to share your memorable experiences or upcoming plans by replying below.
Please take some time to check out our Missoula guided fly fishing trips, we’d love to show you why we love fly fishing in Missoula, Montana!