Frequently Asked Questions about Montana Fly Fishing Trips

Are you getting ready for your Montana fishing adventure and are wondering what you need to do to be fully prepared? We can help with that.  Below are some of the basic questions to ask and get answered, but if you have more just contact us and we'll help get you squared away and ready to roll.

When is the best time to plan a Montana fly fishing trip?

We always say the best time to come is "when you can." However true that is, there is no denying the summer and fall months are the most consistent fishing, and through the season there will be a handful of peak periods that are somewhat predictable and worth our focus of attention. Beginning in late May and early June we begin to see hatches of considerable size on most rivers. Because of these hatches and the abundance of food they provide, the fish are more active for a longer period of the day. Insect hatches of substantial size will run through October.

During summer it is more common to see other anglers. More and more clients are coming in the spring (March, April, and May) and late fall (October and November) to experience the solitude so often associated with fly fishing. It can be a trade-off though, as the daily feeding duration of fish is not as long as in summer, but many times the feeding tends to be more intense during the early and late season months.

What will the weather be like?

Weather can change by the half-hour in Montana, so come prepared for everything. Bring sunscreen and your raincoat no matter when you come. We have had snow in August and sunburns in November. Typical temperatures range from the 30's to 60's in April through June and September through November and 60's to 80's in July through August. The best advice we have is to check the forecast before you are coming and plan accordingly. We think the best way to beat the weather is with a good attitude while wearing the right gear. We've had some of our best fishing in the nastiest weather, and we've had some of our worst fishing in the even more nastiest weather!

What clothing should I bring? Do I need polarized glasses?

Polarized glasses are a must! As for clothing, think in layers. We have large temperature swings in montana, so it is always nice to be able to add or remover a layer when the temperature dictates. Fleece, polypro long underwear, and a raincoat are all essentials. A wide-brimmed hat is also important for sun protection and glare reduction.

Early and late season days can be cold, so breathable waders are essential, and in some instances neoprene can sure be nice. They can be either boot-foot or used with felt-soled wading boots. In the summer 80 and 90 degrees days are common and we are typically in the driftboat or raft most of the day, so waders are hot and uncomfortable. Therefore, we 'wet wade' in shorts or pants. Many manufactures make light-weight quick drying pants that are great for sun protection and dry quickly.

Check the forecast before you travel and prepare according - you might have to pack flipflops and t-shirts or ski hats and gloves, it just depends on the season and current conditions.

You don't have a lodge, right? So, where will I stay?

Montana Fishing Outfitters does not operate a lodge. We don't like to be tied down to one particular place; we are free to travel to the rivers that are fishing best and sleep where we wish. Because we are typically fishing the same rivers at the same time year-after-year, we are dialed in on all the worthy lodging options in the locations we fish. Options run through the entire spectrum from the budget minded motel to the high-end hosted lodge. We are happy to make reservations and arrangements for you, but you are always free to make your own lodging plans as well. Either way, we will be ready to pick you up at your accommodations and hit the river for a great day of Montana-style fly fishing.

What is there for non-fishing guests?

A better question would be "what isn't there for non-fishing guests?". Depending on where our fly-fishing adventure takes us, non-fishing activities that can be arranged include horseback riding, white-water rafting, scenic hikes, Lewis & Clark historical tours, art galleries, live-theater, mountain biking, and many others. Check out our Friends page for more ideas.

What fly rod and reel outfit should I bring?

For driftboat and raft fishing we recommend a 5 weight or 6 weight, 9' long flyrod. In the fall we might also suggest a 7 weight for casting weighted streamers. For our secret creeks and spring creeks, you might want to bring that 3 weight you've been dying to cast. For fly lines, weight forward floating lines are the norm. Sinking lines are sometimes nice to have if we are fishing streamers, but not essential. Be sure to have plenty of backing on your reel!

What about flies, fishing licenses, and other equipment?

Our all inclusive guided trips mean we provide the flies and tackle you will need for a successful day on the water. If you want to bring your own rods that is great, and your own flies even better, but your guide will be prepared for you to show up with no fishing gear.

If any other fly fishing gear is needed before getting out onto the water, we have many fine local flyshops that can take care of your needs. Waders often fall into this category as they are size specific and you want them to fit right, so renting a pair for your trip is often the best way to go.

A Montana fishing license is required by law on any water we may fish, and are available for purchase at our local flyshops, sporting goods stores and online. Montana fishing licenses are generally very affordable compared to other states, and license dollars go directly to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks to help manage our fisheries.

Purchase your fishing license here.

What is the guide to client ratio?

Western driftboats are specifically designed for fishing with 2 anglers and 1 guide rowing the boat, so that is how most of our trips go.  If you want all the fish to yourself we can arrange for a one-to-one trip for you, and on family and wade fishing trips we can go three-to-one but it definitely affects the focus of the experience. 

Do you have more questions? Then by all means give us a call and we'll be happy to try and answer them for you.