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,