Montana Fly Fishing Guide - Dry Fly Fishing


Dry Fly Fishing in Montana

You don’t have to be a purist

I have done it way too much, I see it happening way too much, guide boat after guide boat chasing bobbers. I will let you in on a secret. When you are fishing nymphs under a bobber on the Missouri River the guide is doing more of the fishing than you are. That is to say, you cast it out, guide says mend, you mend then the guide makes the boat go the same speed as your junk. You will be required to set the hook, guide will be yelling set set! Even when you are fighting the fish the guide will be moving the boat to help you fight the fish making your odds of landing fish #27 even better, cause #25 wasn’t enough.


When your guide takes you to the dam boat launch for 3 days in a row, maybe it’s time to ask if you can learn how to dry fly fish. When your guide pulls out the extendable net, maybe its time to ask if you can dry fly fish and fight a fish on anchor. When your guide circulates the same run for the 10th time maybe you should ask if we can dry fly fish and see more of the river. I mean the good shit doesn’t hit until after sheep creek man.


How about testing your angling skills? Or learning new skills? Do you want to get better? Fish the dry fly. Your guide is going to have to do more than just row the boat at the right speed. You might learn how to fight a fish on anchor, much harder. You might learn how to reach cast setting down in your chair. You are going to learn how to get a good drift on anchor. You are going to have to hit every spot your guide tells you to hit, within inches and yes it matters. You are going to have to trust your guide’s fly selection. You are going to have to look at a beautiful dry fly all day instead of an orange bobber. You are going to see the fish eat your fly. You are going to have more fun. Will you catch more fish? Likely not but the fish you catch you will remember for much longer, you caught them on a dry fly with skill.


You don’t have to ask me twice, in fact you might have to ask me if you can learn to fish nymphs. My answer will likely be why would you want to do that? Fish the dry.

Book your Dry Fly Adventure today!

Tight lines and screaming reels,


The Missouri River - Making a Plan

Make your Montana Fly Fishing Trip Plans Today


Book your 2019 Fly Fishing Trip on the Missouri River

Just a quick reminder. I just booked another trip for early September 2019. Make your plans early. Get you name in the hat for 2019 as it is going to be another great year of Fly Fishing in Montana. Get your Guides booked early as the good ones go fast.

Thanks to everyone who fished with me in 2018 and I look forward to guiding with return clients and new clients alike in 2019. We will make some memories on some of Montana’s best fly fishing water in 2019.

If you have questions or concerns please feel free to contact me at or give me a phone call with any questions, 406-560-1019.

Tight Lines and Screaming Reels,


Montana Fly Fishing Guide's Secret to More Fish


How to catch more Trout fly fishing in Montana

Slow Food - Slow Fishing - Slow Down


You have arrived in Craig Montana early to meet your Fly Fishing Guide for a day of fishing on the Missouri River. You see lots of other fisherman hustling around the small fishing Mecca. Everyone is in a hurry, and you assume the same. You are now caught up in the whirl wind of Craig Montana on a summer morning. Good Luck enjoying your day of fishing with that level of anxiety.


When you meet your guide he is going to be in a hurry. He will be grabbing lunches, flies, ice and scheduling a shuttle for the day’s float trip. If you guide’s not a seasoned pro his or her anxiety is going to rub of on you too. Your going to get to the boat launch and your guide still has to hustle around getting the boat ready. You ask if there is anything you can do and your guide will politely say no thank you, relax and enjoy the morning views. But how can you? You have been planning this trip for a whole year. You are excited to get on the water. I don’t blame you either.


In my opinion there is a level of anxiety, excited, that should be there. If you are not excited to go fishing maybe you shouldn’t be going in the first place. However do yourself a favor. When you get your feet wet or step in that boat, clam down, slow down and enjoy the day. You will see, hear, smell things you never would have if you keep up the level of anxiety you had standing in Craig.

The nice part about fishing all the time is that an angler can spare moments for just sitting and watching the water. These spells don't even have to have a purpose, but it is hard not to discover some secrets during such interludes. The fisherman without a schedule doesn't need to rush about, casting furiously in a hunt for every possible trout. For this reason, he usually catches more of them.

— Gary LaFontaine, Trout Flies: Proven Patterns


I know not everyone gets to fish all of the time like Gary might have. But you can sure try to act like you do. I have seen it a hundred times. The guy in the back of the boat kicks his feet up for a minute. He sets back and relaxes. He normally finds a few rising fish down stream that I didn’t see yet. He slowed down and the river gave him something. Try it on your next trip. You may not catch more fish, you may not catch less fish but you may enjoy your trip a little more.

Tight Lines and Screaming Reels,


Fly Fishing Montana in the Fall

How to Fly Fish Montana in the Fall

Surviving Montana’s Elements while Fishing


A few tips on making it through a Fly Fishing trip in the Fall on the best fly fishing water on the planet here in Montana. Booking a fly fishing trip in Montana’s unpredictable Fall weather is a roll of the dice but so is the fishing and catching in the July heat. If you bring your dry fly fishing “A” game and a lot of layers you are going to never regret the decision and will likely be back for years to come. There is a reason why late September and early October are historically one of my busiest time frames of the entire year.


Layers for Fly Fishing

Need I say more? Well I will. I always start with Merino Wool base layer, both top and bottom. If you found a one piece I will pay top dollar to find out who is making it. Wool socks are a must and I would pack an extra pair in the boat each day. Guides always have extra gloves, I might be the only one who packs extra socks. Trust me we have used them more than once. Wear a second layer over the base layer that you wouldn’t mind wearing if the weather hit 60 degrees, as it will after a morning in the 20s. Have your guide pull over and take the time to take that base layer off once you are hot, don’t sweat. Next, this may seam obvious but a good pair of waders. Simms are the best but Patagonia has great options for less, not much less though. You should wear a hard shell with a Gore-tex rain coat as your extreme outside layer. The hard shell helps cut the 30mph wind and the rain gear is needed every 10 minutes in the fall, much like the spring. The next item is big, Gloves. Man if your hands get cold Fly Fishing you are done and it gets to the point where it is not fun. My recommendation is bring 3 pairs of gloves. If you are catching fish you may wish you brought 4 pairs. Again Simms has great options, Orvis has always made a nice fleece option but for the money find a wool fingerless glove and buy 4 pairs. Wool stays warm even when it is wet. Toss them in the dryer each night and get them dry for the next day. The final items go on your head. Bring a billed hat that is small enough you can throw a sock hat, beanie or toque, if you are a neighbors of the north, over the top of.


Comfort Items for Fly Fishing in the Cold Montana Falls

Ear plugs. If the cold, wind or both bother your ears bring the plugs and plenty of them. Your fishing partner might saw some logs too. Hand warmers are great, most guides should have them in their boat this time of year but just in case buy a big case at Costco or Sam’s Club. Speaking of hand warmers, they work in your socks, chest pockets and even the back of your neck. Think outside the box when you get cold. Lastly bring yourself a coffee mug that keeps drinks warm longer than 30 minutes. Make sure you fill it up at the hotel or fly shop at the very last minute and maybe save it to stave off that cold you get before noon.

Bright Ideas for Fly fishing in a Montana Fall

I learned this one from some clients of mine. Take a day off in between guide days. Stay inside and get extra warm all day, or go wade fish during the warmest part of the day. Giving you a solid day of staying warm will make you more willing to go out on the water for a full guide day. This is a big one so pay attention. If you are cold, tell your guide. We have tricks for warming you up. Ever have a guide make you get out and do jumping jacks? I have done it and will again I’m sure. I have also rowed out because we were too cold. No shame. I got this tip from Kelly Galloup, bring a towel to wipe your hands each time they get wet. The next one will change your world, ready? Stay seated. Yep, you are less exposed to the wind and nothing puts the chill on your body like the wind cutting through your entire exposed torso. Stay low and bundled. You can fish out of your chair trust me. If not have your guide teach you some tricks. Its all possible.

Items you should request from your Fly Fishing Guide for a Fall Fishing Trip


If he or she brings you a cold sandwich, give me a call as soon as you get off the water. I normally bring hot Soup or Elk Chili plus a thermos of hot coffee. It better be warm, even on those high 60 degree days because it didn’t start out 60 degrees. Who wants another cold sandwich anyways? Request a hot lunch, especially if you are bringing your lady along. A fire at lunch if it is legal. A Mr. Buddy Heater, these can be a game changer. Hand warmers if you didn’t get the chance to grab some. How about a split day, you could go eat at the local burger joint in between and warm up. Book your lodging right on the river, tell your guide where it is and suggest to stop there for lunch. Think outside the box.

It’s not always 30 degrees Fly Fishing in Montana’s Fall


That cup is half full man, and hopefully mostly whisky. Take the chance. I have had a few t-shirt days this fall, just perfect weather. It happens more than you think. My biggest piece of advice is do more than one day. In Montana’s Fall we can have snow for two days in a row then highs in the upper 60s for a few days. It would suck to fish in snow for a day then get on the plane wearing a t-shirt, right? Give her a few days. Some of my best fishing in Montana has been in the fall. Some of it has been during 12+ inch snow storms. But hell that will keep you warm too.

Book your Fall Fly Fishing Trip and Lodging Early


Yep believe it or not this time of year books up early. I already have two weeks booked for 2019. I would imagine that lodging is the same way too. There is a reason that this time frame fills up, the fishing is great, the cold weather camaraderie even better, plus we do hot lunches. If you have any questions please feel free to ask. Email me at and I will be happy to respond asap, after I get off the water.

Book for 2019

Tight lines and screaming reels,


A Montana Guided Float Trip


Fly Fishing Float Trips in Montana

More than just Fly Fishing

Planning a guided float trip in Montana? Fly fishing from a raft or Drift Boat can be an excellent way to spend a summer day in Montana. Just remember it’s not all about catching fish.


Go on the guided trip to Learn. Not just about fly fishing. I’m sure your guide will have information unique to himself or herself. Information about the river you are floating, history of the area and even geology, something Montana is rich with. Do yourself a favor and learn some fly fishing tips and tricks too.

Go on the guided trip to take in the scenery. It’s called “Big Sky Country” for a reason. Are you a birder? Like taking landscape photography? Need some quite time to just get out of the daily pace of life? A float trip is perfect for all of these things and more. Take it in.

Go on the guided trip to unplug. That’s right put that phone in Airplane mode, that’s if your selected float even has cellular service. No really forget about the phone unless you are taking pictures with it. You will feel a sense of release/relief that you will not realize until after your day on the water. You will want to come back and do it again sooner.


Most importantly go on the guided trip to have a day on the water. That’s it, enjoy the day on the water. The fish catching, sight seeing, birding, unplugging and learning are all a bonus. Make memories.

Tight lines and screaming reels,


Missouri River Guide Ties Flies


Montana’s Missouri River

Fishing Guide Ties Flies for Fall Fish

When I think of tying flies for the Missouri River in Montana for the fall I typically think small. Small Blue Wing Olives, Pseudos maybe even Midges late. This year was different for me.


This year I wanted to fish the biggest dry fly in any and all situations, all year. So this fall I was trying to decide what pattern to tie for early October on the Missouri River near Craig, MT. How about the October Caddis? I have seen them in years past. I have fished them in years past, with not great success. The decision was made. I’m tying big October Caddis and I’m goin to commit to fishing with them. So I did.

To my surprise the Big Caddis did well, really well. I had big brown trout move feet, not inches, feet for a big dry fly. If you fish the Missouri River below Holter Dam you know that fish don’t move for flies, that is what all of the books say at least. Well, we got big fish to move for a big meal. A week later and I’m still all jazzed up about it. I can’t wait to do it again next year. I will have more caddis ready by then too.

The video on how to tie this great fly will debut soon, keep an eye out for that in the coming weeks.

Tight lines and screaming reels,


Gearing Down - Fly Fishing Guide Montana


Montana Fly Fishing Guide Gears Down

Every year the fly fishing Guide Season comes to a close. It is always ending at a different time, some years in November other years in late September. This year was this last week, the beginning of October. I have a handful of trips left but I’m starting to think about “gearing down”.


After a long windy day on the water the last thing a fly fishing guide wants to do is go through the flies used and reorganize them into their appropriate spots among all of the fly boxes. They usually end up in the fly shop cups or a huge tangled mess. After 7 days straight in the drift boat office you have 7-8 cups of messy flies, flies that didn’t make it into the cups and a nightmare of organization needed. Now multiply that by a whole season and a fly fishing guide now has a weeks work of organizing needed to be done at the end of the season.


This is the time that I usually start to clean fly fishing reels, fly rod corks, clean fly lines and give the rods in the quiver a good cleaning as well. I take mental note of lines needing replacement. Some of my reels will need to be cleaned and possibly serviced. I start to get ideas on rods and reels I would like to have in the quiver for next year. A new Winston, yes please.


My truck. Yikes. This is the biggest piece of gear a fly fishing guide or outfitter owns. Take care of it, it’s a big investment. Time to give it a good vacuuming, I’m sure I will find a few flies. I run a truck with a topper and built in diy truck bed storage. Truck Vault has yet to sponser me. The amount of trash that slips in the cracks is building up. It will fill a trash bag for sure.

Boats. Well time to wash, clean out and 303 the raft. A product that helps protect from the sun and adds a great shine for winter storage. I will find lots of mono in the floors, flies that are beyond help and other random trash. It does feel good to start next season with a fresh boat.


Here is the one I hate doing. Coolers. Those heavy and spendy Yeti Coolers. They are the best you can buy but still need cleaning once and a while. They are an investment I need to take care of. I use four different Yeti’s depending on the day. All of which need a good bleach bath and drying. Again it is nice to start the season off with fresh and clean coolers.

Lastly through this process I usually start to build a list of gear needed for the next season. I mean the 2019 fly fishing season is fast approaching. Have you booked your trip yet? I should have all my gear ready by then, i hope.

Tight lines and screaming reels,


Fly Fish Bitterroot River


Fly Fishing the Bitterroot River

We love all the rivers Montana has to offer.  The Bitterroot river is one of those special rivers.  We love fishing the "Root" in the fall.  Great dry fly hatches and fewer people, sounds great. Fly fish the Bitterroot River with some of the most knowledgable guides in the business.  That's us.  Why the fall you ask?  Your chance to catch a brown trout of a lifetime is why.  Every year I hear stories of 26" plus browns in the Bitterroot River, I have seen a few too.  Fly Fish the Root with us!

A Fly Fishing Vacation in Montana

Netting another trout on the Missouri River

Netting another trout on the Missouri River

Fly Fishing Vacation in Montana

A few things to think about before your fly fishing vacation in Montana.  What is the best time of year?  I believe it is when you can get here.  We have great hatches from as early as April that last until October.  That should be your time frame.  I always say that the shoulder seasons are best as we have less traffic on the rivers.  Once you have the time of the year locked down you have to pick an Outfitter, not just a guide.  What outfitter is right for you?  My suggestion here is to get on the phone, I know this is old school, and talk to the outfitter.  Both you and the outfitter will benefit from being on the same page from day one.  Know what your objectives are and know how the outfitter will help you achieve these objectives.  For example if your idea of a great day on the water is catching fish, relaxing and taking in the whole experience then you may not want the "Drill Sergeant" guide for that day.  Finally who are you going to bring with you on your Montana fly fishing vacation?  For me this is an easy one.  Friends and family.  However you may also have the need or desire to bring a business contact, a future son-n-law or maybe even a co-worker.  As long as you both have the desire to enjoy a day on the water the decision is not going to be a bad one.  When you are ready to book your Montana fly fishing Vacation feel free to let me know.  To book a trip click here.  Fishing Vacation

Fish of the Missouri River


Missouri River Trout

The fish of the Missouri River are some of my favorite fish to fly fish for. Fly fishing from a drift boat for rising fish in Montana is what I live for. The Missouri River trout seem to do this a little more than fish of other waters.

That big brown trout sipping dry flies all by himself in the small side channel below Craig, MT. I have fished to him a thousand times. Well maybe about 20 times. In my dreams, thousands of times I have casted a H&L Variant to this big bruiser brown trout. That big Variant riding high, drag free and then it disappears. The shit hits the fan. I usually wake up.

The pod of rainbows feeding so crazy it looks like a rifle in the water. I picture this happening just below the Gary Cooper Bridge. Put the drift boat on sneak mode and move into position. Cast downstream with a monster reach cast and hopefully pick a few off before the pod is put down.

Maybe my favorite is an afternoon spent throwing attractor flies to the banks. This requires many different types of cast and loads of skill. You are not casting to any particular fish, just fishy spots. Then out of the blue you have an eat. The hair on the back of your neck stands up and again the shit hits the fan.

Just setting at my house on a snowy December day and dreaming about the summer ahead. Dry Flies and Good Times.

Fly Fishing in Montana never gets old.