Weather in this great state of ours is quite unpredictable, so we suggest packing for a couple of seasons, rather than just one. No matter what time of year it is, always bring a raincoat to help keep you warm and dry. We highly recommend high end raingear that will withstand substantial downpours, a “rain slicker” often times won’t cut it. Another necessity is some sort of pullover pant, even in the summer temperatures and conditions can change quickly. We recommend always dressing and packing in layers – the old rule of thumb is it’s easier to take something off than put it on and our guides have plenty of dry storage in their boats to handle your gear.
During the colder months of the year we recommend some sort of fleece and all weather gear such as Under Armour as synthetics insulate better than cotton fabrics. Also, if you are coming in the colder months we suggest having a pair of wool or fleece gloves to keep your hands protected from the elements, we carry a full selection of gloves specifically designed for fishing. Skull caps or warm hats are also a good idea for early spring and late fall.
During the summer months be sure to have some quick dry shorts or pants that you don’t mind getting a little wet. Also bringing along sandals or shoes that you are comfortable getting wet is a good idea for the warmer periods. A nice long sleeve fishing shirt with UPF protection can help protect you from the sun, remember you’ll be on the water sometimes for 8+ hours!
A billed or brimmed hat and polarized sunglasses are items that you should bring along regardless of the time of year. The hat will shield you from the sun, and also protect your noggin from the occasional flying wooly bugger – most guides won’t let you in a boat without one. Sunglasses aren’t an option; they are a requirement for your safety. If you don’t have any polarized lenses, let us help set you up, we carry a full line of affordably priced and specialty eyewear to fit every anglers budget. Sunscreen and bug repellent are pretty much a necessity at certain times of the year, so if you forget it at home, we can help you out when you get here.
Depending upon the fishing conditions and time of year, waders will either be a necessity or an afterthought. Wet wading is possible during the mid summer months as water temperatures heat up. However, early summer water temps can be quite cool due to run off and the high mountain snow that feeds our rivers, so we suggest packing waders at all times of year if you have them. If not, we carry a full line of Redington breathable waders at the store for rental as well as Patagonia to purchase.
Many states across the country in an effort to stop the spread of Aquatic Nuisances Species have banned the use of felt wading boots, however Montana does not currently have a felt ban. From our 25+ years of experience fishing in Montana, we strongly recommend a pair of studded rubber/aluminum barred wading boots or sandals. Rubber soles simply don’t grip the rocks as well as felt or studded/barred boots, and you will have a much easier time wading with a good pair of boots than in tennis shoes. Boots are available for rent or purchase. We do ask that all anglers visiting us in Montana please thoroughly clean your gear so as to not bring any unwanted visitors with you.
For more info on Clean Angling visit our friends at Trout Unlimited by
We have fished nearly every rod length and weight from the Big Hole to the Madison to the Missouri and we still can’t find a better all around rod than a 9’ 5WT or 9’ 6WT. If you plan on bringing only one or two rods, make sure one of them is a 5WT or 6WT – the 6WT is more equipped for windy conditions and big rivers, but a 5WT is nice for smaller dry fly fishing. If you'd like to fish some streamers on our bigger rivers we'd suggest a 7 or 8WT and a sinking line. Floating lines are recommended for most fishing conditions and a weight forward line is much easier to cast - if your line is cracking and not casting like it used to, get it replaced! For reels we suggest only that it have at least a well functioning click-pawl drag, adjustable disc drags will help you with larger fish.
We have a full selection of Sage, Winston and Echo fly rods and Lamson and Ross reels. We also carry a full compliment of only the best fly lines from Scientific Anglers, Rio and Airflo - so if you don't have what you want for your trip, then just leave it up to us and you can try out some new gear on your trip. We offer several high end rods from Winston and Sage for you to demo on your trip – simply ask us or your guide!
A full selection of only the finest local and traditional patterns is available for you to purchase at any point from our extensive collection of over 1,400 fly patterns. Your guide will also have a selection of what’s working for the area available for you to use throughout the day along with leaders, tippet, floatant and anything else you'll need. Generally speaking 2X, 3X, 4X, and 5X in 9’ and 7½’ leaders will cover most of your fishing needs, but your guide can advise you of what you'll need at the time of your trip.
If you tie your own flies, let us know before your trip and we will be happy to email you a list of patterns that we recommend for the time of year you’ll be visiting us.
If you have any questions regarding what to bring or what is working locally, feel free to email or call us. At Montana Troutfitters, we have been taking pride in providing quality advice and gear since 1978.
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