fly fishing

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,


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

A Fly Fishing Guide and Craig Montana

Launching a dirty boat in Craig, MT

Launching a dirty boat in Craig, MT


A Guide

Craig Montana is the Fly Fishing Capital of the World. If you want a guided fishing trip I'm sure most days an available guide is a stones throw from one of the three fly shops in town. Craig Montana has more drift boats than vehicles, animals, maybe even people. Beware the Fly Fishing Mecca of Craig Montana is a Black Hole too. Get here, buy your license and take the trip man.

Don't stay too long in Craig Montana. You could end up a fishing guide, shop rat, outfitter, bartender or maybe even a fish bum. What you won't be is rich but instead highly successful in your pursuit of fly fishing.

Come to Craig Montana to Fly Fish with Montana Drifter and have a trip you won't soon forget.

More to come on this idea in the future. Craig is a special place to my little family.