MONTANA FLY FISHING GUIDES GEAR LIST
Headed to Montana to fly fish, but need some gear? Need to update your fly fishing gear? Or maybe you’re looking to encourage another angler to fly fish more? Whatever it is take a look at some or our personal recommendations. This is gear we’ve used and highly recommend.
RODS & REELS
Fly rods & reels are included in all our guided trips or rentable locally. However, if you’re looking for your own set up we recommend the following:
Recommended Fly Rods
- Faster action rods in 5wt & 6wt are recommended for almost all of our western fishing.
- Budget Friendly – Echo Carbon XL – A true all around performer. Choose the 9 ft 5wt for spring creeks or dry fly only, but our recommendation for big rivers and all weather conditions is the 9 ft 6wt.
- Budget be Damned – Scott Centric – Apparent to anglers at any skill level, these rods feel very light in the hand, very accurate, and are simply a joy to fish at any distance. The 9 ft 5 wt is particularly nice!
Recommended Fly Reels
- Budget Friendly – Echo Ion Reel – A large arbor, minimalistic reel.
- Budget be Damned – Ross Evolution LTX – Ultra smooth drag, revered history and some stylish looks.
Waders are not always required for our guided trips, but if you’d like to have your own pair we recommend the new Skwala Waders, based locally here in Bozeman, MT. Eric Adams our MFG owner has been doing some product testing with them and “they are the best new waders to hit the market in years!”
- Budget Friendly – Skwala Carbon Wader – A minimalist approach that reduces weight and bulk without sacrificing durability.
- Budget be Damned – Skwala RS Wader – Set a new standard for durability and comfort. “Best new wader of 2023”, according to Fly Fisherman Magazine.
Felt soles ARE allowed in Montana, but NOT in Yellowstone National Park waters. Studded boots are NOT allowed in drift boat or rafts as they damage the boats. Please remove all studs prior to your float fishing days.
- Budget Friendly – Redington Prowler Pro – These boots are light enough to provide all-day comfort and built with exceptional performance.
- Budget be Damned – Patagonia Foot Tractors – These are the most durable, highest-performing wading boots possible.
A good rain jacket is always a must in Montana. As guides, we never hit the water without one.
- Rain Jacket – Skwala Carbon Jacket – Fully waterproof, four-way stretch shell will keep you dry and best of all it’s really packable.
- Rain Jacket – Skwala RS Jacket – The burly brother to the Carbon Jacket this is your all season, keep you dry, no matter what jacket.
- Add some Insulation – Fusion 3/2 Puffy – Features a stretch insulation and outer shell that is both water resistant and breathable.
WATER SHOES OR SANDALS
For wet wading on warmer days, these are great options for an every day boat or light wading shoe.
- Budget Friendly – Astral Water Shoes – Supreme comfort on water or on land, self draining and great grip.
- Budget be Damned – Simms Flyweight Wet Wading Shoe – A lightweight, hiking-inspired, wet wading shoe for moving fast on warm days.
SHIRTS, PANTS & SHORTS
Sun protections starts with clothing. As guides we typically are fully covered with a lightweight sun hoody and long pants, but occasionally we break out the shorts.
- Sun Hoody – Skwala Sol Hoody – These are great, breathable with SPF protection.
- Lightweight Pants & Shorts – Skwala Sol Pants & Shorts – designed with comfort, mobility and quick drying you’ll be glad you grabbed a pair or two.
FISHING VEST, FANNY PACK, OR NET
On guided trips these are all optional, but on your own a necessity. Honestly, there are so many options out there. Here’s a few that we like.
- Fishing Vests – are old school and you won’t see many guides using them any more. However, if your set on this option a FishPond Vest is a great place to start.
- Fishing Packs – are the future and most guides and anglers have gone this route. Again FishPond Packs are a good one to check out.
- Boat Bags – typically for boat owners or guides these store a lot of gear. The Cutbank Gear Bag is a great one to check out.
- Nets – this is a necessity, at least if you want to land the fish that you hook. This Nomad Emerger Net from FishPond is easy to carry and easy on the trout.
Here are a few other things you might find useful on your guided fly fishing trip.
- Layers of Clothing – As the old joke goes, Montana where you use the heater in the morning and the air conditioning in the afternoon.
- Hat – pretty much mandatory for sun protection and good visibility. Ask about our MFG Logo Hats!
- Sun Screen – an absolute must with our higher elevation and intense rays. Our personal choice is Elta MD
- Phone/Camera – while you should be concentrating on fishing and not your phone we do think they are handy for a good picture of your prized catch of the day.
- Cash – some retail locations charge more for credit card transactions on fishing licenses, some establishments do not accept credit cards and guides always appreciate cash gratuities
Quality polarized sunglasses are a must – there’s really no substitute for good vision on the water. We can really only recommend one polarized sunglass.
- Costa Del Mar – so many styles and glass choices, even prescription options. We do recommend the copper silver mirror polarized glass for the best lens for conditions in our area.
Fishing Licenses – obviously a must.
We highly recommend visiting the state website and purchasing your license PRIOR to you trip.
Montana FWP Online Fishing License
Yellowstone National Park fishing license (if needed)
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO FISH MONTANA?
We say the best time to be here is whenever you can. In all seriousness, most anglers can find excellent fishing between late March all the way through early November. Depending on your preferred style of fishing (dries, freestones, spring creeks… etc.), we suggest you contact us so we can provide you with the most up to date information, then we’ll give you a recommendation based on our conversation and 20 years of expertise.
See our When is the Best Time to fish Montana page for detailed descriptions of seasons and times that suit your fishing preferences.