Our anglers ask us all of the time: what gear do you and your Montana fly fishing guides use? We fly fish the waters of Bozeman, MT year-round and when you’re on the water day-in and day-out throughout a Montana fly fishing season you learn quickly what gear can stand the abuse. Here are some of the products we can’t live without and help make our Montana fly fishing trips great rain, snow, wind, hail, or shine.
Montana Fly Fishing Guide Approved Rods: Scott Fly Rods Flex Series
There are a lot of fine rod makers out there making great fly rods. We’ve used them all but few others can match up to the quality, durability, and personal touch found in Scott Fly Rods. All of their rods are made in the USA right in Montrose, Colorado. The Flex series is what you will find on my boat. Well priced, two reel seat locks, smooth casting, and enough back-bone to beat up on big Montana brown trout, this rod has quickly become a go-to for our Montana fly fishing guides. We like the 4-weight for Montana Spring Creek fly fishing where finesse and delicate presentation mean success for our anglers. The 5-weight is our go-to-rod for big river dryfly fishing. Mid-summer in Montana often means fishing large dryflies from boat ramp to boat ramp on our blue ribbon rivers. We trust our Flex rods to deliver the goods. The 6-weight Flex rods are our workhorse rods. They throw dryflies, dry-dropper rigs, nymph rigs, streamers, and anything else you’d tie on like it’s their job. And for us, it is. You can find two Flex-series 6 weights on my boat everyday, no matter what. From our seasoned anglers that have fished across the world, to our anglers that come to us to fly fish for their first time, the Flex series offers forgiving action and high-end quality that can be appreciated by every angler.
Montana Fly Fishing Guide Approved Reels: Hatch Fly Reels 4-Plus Finatic
We’ve been fishing with Hatch fly reels for 13 years, across the world, for both freshwater and saltwater fish, and they’ve more than proven themselves to us time and time-again. Our Montana fly fishing guides feel the Hatch 4-Plus Finatic is the perfect Montana trout fly fishing reel. The Finatic is durable, smooth, packs the fish stopping power to handle the even the hottest of runs our wild trout can dish out, and made in the USA. We are tough on our equipment. Our reels are wet, cold, hot, dropped, submerged, frequently dirty, and rarely cleaned. Despite all of this, Hatch fly reels keep performing and exceeding expectations. I still have my first Hatch fly reel that has seen more than 1,000 days on the water, and it still pulls the same as day 1. If quality and durability are what you value and you demand consistent performance from your fly fishing equipment, Hatch Fly Reels is your company.
Montana Fly Fishing Guide Approved Tippet: RIO Products Powerflex Tippet Guide Spools
When it comes to tippet we have tried it all and RIO Powerflex is what we count on. Their guide spools are the best balance of quality and price on the market. $9.99 for 110 yards of some of the most durable and high-tensile tippet around is a deal you’d be hard to beat. While we do use their fluorocarbon tippet for spring creek nymphing, Powerflex monofilament is what we count on for everything else. From 0x to 7x, we have found that it holds well and great for dryfly, streamer, and nymphing applications. We go through spools and spools over the course of our Montana fly fishing season and it has never let us down.
Montana Fly Fishing Guide Approved Waders: Simms G4Z Waders
When it comes to our waders we count on the wader makers at Simms and their G4Z waders to keep us dry on the river all year long. Bomb-proof, breathable, comfortable, and guide-tested, the Simms G4Z waders have proven themselves in every situation we have thrown at them. The zipper allows us to stay dry even when wade fishing deeper than would should be, but un-zip and be comfortable while rowing or during the summer when the water is cold but air is hot. We have found they will protect you against everything short of barbed wire. And it may handle that too. I have a pair of Simms waders that are still kicking after 14 years. While my G4Z are newer, they seem to show no sign of wearing out any sooner. When you throw your waders through the ringer, tears and leaks will happen. Simms waders stand the abuse better than the rest and are easily patched to last for years after your leg rubs up on the barbed wire fence on the way to wade fish the Bighorn River. We would know.
Montana Fly Fishing Guide Approved Wading Jacket: Simms G3 Guide Wading Jacket
Just as important as a good pair of waders is a good wading jacket to go with them for when the Montana skies turn from sun to rain and snow. The Simms G3 wading jacket is our Montana fly fishing guides’ first choice for reliable and durable protection against the worst that nature can dish out. Simms doesn’t skimp out when it comes to materials and design: Gore-Tex weather protection, adjustable hood, intuitive pocket layout, and built-in gear zingers make this jacket an indispensible fly fishing tool. Like my Simms waders, my G3 guide wading jacket is what I bring on my boat and on the river everyday. From cold and rainy days on the Missouri River in the spring to a Madison River October north wind, I count on my jacket to stand up to all of this and more. From personal experience it’ll handle anything short of a bored bird dog chewing it up. But count on Simms customer service to take care of you when it does.
Montana Fly Fishing Guide Approved Drift Boat: Adipose Boatworks Flow Driftboat
The Adipose Flow is our driftboat of choice for floating and fly fishing the blue ribbon rivers of Montana. I count on my Adipose Flow to handle the use and abuse of guiding 150+ plus days a year. From banging off rocks on the Madison River to holding a line against a Missouri River north wind, the Adipose flow does it all. The interior is comfortable, intuitive, and made with the professional guide and fly fishing angler in mind. Adjustable seats, removable casting braces, and custom interior storage options allow for personal fit. Adipose boats are made by hand in Helena, Montana and you can count on their team to deliver a quality boat and great service. We know their attention to detail is what separates their boats from the rest of the pack. One look at their premium trailers and you will too. If you need a driftboat that rows smooth, handles abuse, and fights the Montana wind, checkout the Adipose Flow.
Montana Fly Fishing Guide Approved Sunglasses: Smith Optics Guide’s Choice
A good Montana fly fishing guide can be spotted in a crowd by a raccoon-eye tan line earned from time on the water. Our tan lines are the shape of the Smith Optics Guide’s Choice. Durable, comfortable, and great lens options make these sunshades our first choice. We prefer plastic lenses to glass lenses for the weight saving, but plastic lenses normally means scratches and poor construction. Smith Optics’ polycarbonate ChromaPop lenses are anything but. Durable and high-quality construction means great color contrast, great scratch-resistance, and hinges that won’t wear out. We need sunglasses that will protect us against a hot Montana summer sun, flies flying through the air, and hold up to the corrosive combination of sweat, sunscreen, and bug spray. The Guide’s Choice handles all of this with style and we count on them to help us spot rising trout for our anglers all season long.
Montana Fly Fishing Guide Approved Cooler: YETI Cooler Tundra 65
You can’t beat the durability and reliability of a Yeti Cooler. A Yeti Tundra 65 lives in my Adipose Flow driftboat, outside, 365 days a year. It gets thrown around, beat up, stood on, and handles it all. It holds ice for days on end in the Winter, Spring, and Fall. This cooler is the workhorse of boat coolers and what every other cooler wants to be. Do yourself a favor and if you need a new cooler for your boat or the back of truck, buy a Yeti. It could be the last cooler you ever need to buy.