Favorite Montana Trout Flies:

By MFO’s own Patrick Straub

  • Parachute Adams. Does well on just about every mayfly hatch and even midges in the smaller sizes. Works as an emerger or adult dry fly.
  • Sprout Emerger. It has a foam parachute post that you can see and the fly then sits just under the surface. Very effective for a downstream-angled drift.
  • CDC dunn. A little CDC winged parachute pattern that works for a lot of hatches. Great as an emerger or fished totally dry to imitate an adult.
  • Black, olive, or brown wooly bugger. Can be a baitfish, crawdad, or nymph. A dark colored wooly bugger is one fly that you should have in your box when fly fishing in Montana.
  • Beadhead Prince Nymph. Almost every Montana fly fishing guide carries a selection of these. For good reason: they are buggy looking and catch fish. Period.
  • Royal Wulff. An oldie but a darn goodie. From Blue Winged Olives on the Missouri River near Craig to spring on the Yellowstone River, a Royal Wulff is royally deadly. 
  • Elk Hair Caddis. See number 6, but they work great on the Madison River near Ennis.
  • Foam grasshoppers. There are bazillions of foam grasshoppers tied onto the fly lines of guides fly fishing in Montana, but they all work, so have an assortment.
  • Beadhead Pheasant Tail. Small sizes work wonders on the Bighorn and Paradise Valley Spring Creeks. Big ones catch fish on the Blackfoot River and other Western Montana rivers.
  • Any fly you have faith in. Just because it’s not on this list or in a Montana fly fishing shop, doesn’t mean it won’t catch a fish. Tie it on. Have fun. And hang-on!

About the Author
Patrick grew up fishing the Gallatin, Madison, and Yellowstone Rivers near Bozeman, Montana. After he graduated from Beloit College in Wisconsin, he returned to live near Yellowstone National Park where he began writing and fishing full-time. Today, Patrick lives outside Bozeman at the foot of the Bridger Mountains where he fishes and skis full-time.  He is the author of the following:
The Orvis Pocket Guide to Streamer Fishing
Montana On the Fly: An Angler’s Guide
Montana: An Explorers Guide
The Frugal Fly Fisher: Bending the Rod Without Breaking the Bank
It Happened in South Dakota
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Fly Fishing But Where Afraid to Ask (2012)