Bitterroot Cutthroat
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During these uncertain times it can be difficult to see many positives to our situation. COVID-19 concerns and shelter-in-place recommendations seem to be consuming much of our waking hours. However, living in Missoula we’re very fortunate to be able to still get out and enjoy certain outdoor adventures. As mentioned in this Forbes article, we’re still able to hike, fish, and explore much of the public land and waters surrounding us.

I’ve had a wonderful time with my kids over the past month. Mara tied up some skwalas and we hit the Bitterroot to take advantage of less traffic on the river and some excellent fishing. We’ll certainly remember these days for a variety of reasons. Thanks Ben and Mara, I enjoy it every time we go out.



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Rock Creek Season

Rock Creek Fly Fishing

Many thanks for another great season on Rock Creek. Some rain in the middle of the month caused a big bump in the water around the Missoula area but we made it through.

On that note- CAUTION: Please do not float the creek if you have not been down it with an experienced person at the oars, someone who has rowed it at several different levels. Sweeping log jams and swift currents make navigating the Creek a challenge. Please respect the water.

Fly Fishing Rock Creek Montana

A big THANK YOU to Johnny and the folks at The Rock Creek Fisherman’s Mercantile. If you haven’t stopped in on your way up the creek, you’re missing out on a true gem. Every morning you can count on good information, flies, and a details about where the salmonflies, and other hatches, are on the creek.

Bighorn Sheep on Rock Creek Montana


Anglers had some good sized brown trout rising to salmonflies early in the month. Another thank you to those who are helping some of the browns get a little bit bigger each year (you know who you are!).

Brown Trout Fly Fishing on Rock Creek

Brown Trout Fly Fishing on Rock Creek

Brown Trout Fly Fishing on Rock Creek

Missoula Fly Fishing Rock Creek Brown Trout

Rock Creek Brown Trout Fly Fishing

Rock Creek Fly Fishing Raft

Bitterroot Skwala Fly Fishing

Missoula Fly Fishing Gratuity

How Much Should I Tip My Fly Fishing Guide?

Great question, get asked it a lot. Here’s the deal, recognizing what your guide should, or should not, do for you is very relevant to this question. Experienced clients will tell you it often doesn’t come down to how many fish you caught.

Expectations Of Guides At Missoula Fly Fishing Outfitters

Guides are expected to be professional and completely prepared for your trip before you meet. That means gear for clients should be in good shape and ready to set up. Boats and vehicle should also be reliable and clean.

They should have received client information from the Outfitter regarding any food issues and prepared an appropriate lunch for the day.

Depending on your experience level, your Guide should also have a plan in mind about where to fish for the day. In Missoula, we have such a variety of water to select from, we can cater to your needs.

Be Flexible

All of that being said, sometimes things happen. Broken client rods from the day before lead to a scramble for replacements. Flat tires on Rock Creek Road make for unexpected delays. And quite frankly, a beautiful lunch may get left in the truck!

Even the most professional Guides make mistakes, it’s how they handle it that counts.

Your Day On The Water

This is your fly fishing experience and your Guide should help make it the best one yet. Guides have a unique skill set. On a daily basis they are expected to navigate different expectations, personalities, weather, fishing conditions, and experience levels while still producing a great experience in a relatively short period of time.

If your guide clearly communicates the plan on the water, works to get you and the boat into the best angle for fishing, rows back up to hit a good run again, changes flies when times are tough, does it again, and again, teaches you something about your cast, or bugs, or the river ecosystem, they are actively engaged in creating a positive experience for you.

Gratuity for hard work is much appreciated by our guides and is certainly up to the client’s discretion. Average gratuity seems to range between 20% – 40% of the cost of the trip, or $100 – $200. Unlike some service industry professions, Guides are Independent Contractors and expected to cover their own costs for your experience on the water. Gratuity assists them in making it a viable profession.


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WKU Fly Fishing Program

University Groups Fly Fishing In Missoula

Thanks to Dr. Raymond Poff and the Western Kentucky Fly Fishing group for the 7th Annual trip to Missoula this year. Sure was nice to have some returning anglers and to see some new faces! September fly fishing in Missoula is an exciting time to be out. Looking forward to next year!

We’ve got many years of experience working within University settings, specifically within Outdoor Recreation/Education Programs. If you’re interested in setting up a Missoula Fly Fishing University trip with your Outdoor Recreation Program, please contact us to make arrangements.


University Outdoor Recreation Programs

University Outdoor Recreation Programs

Clark Fork Fly Fishing
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Foot Doctors Strike Again

Corporate Groups Go Fly Fishing In Missoula

Another great year fly fishing Missoula with the Pennsylvania Podiatrists. Dr. Ed Hart and the crew from PA had good water, good tricos, no smoke, and the creation of the ‘Biohazard Bag’ this year. Many thanks for pulling it all together again Ed, sure enjoyed fishing with your son also! Keep up the good work for the Monocacy Chapter of Trout Unlimited

If you are interested in bringing your group to fly fish in Missoula, please contact us to make arrangements.


Clark Fork Fly Fishing

Corporate Groups Missoula Fly Fishing

Doubletree Hotel Missoula

Smallmouth Fly Fishing Missoula

Smallmouth Bass Fly Fishing

Try Something New Around Missoula

Everyone knows about the trout in Montana. People fly across the globe to fish for Rainbow, Brown, and Cutthroat trout in the Big Sky State. The trout are the reason that we are all here. We love them. That being said, there are fish in Montana that are overlooked and under appreciated.

Smallmouth Bass Fly Fishing

The bass. Specifically the Smallmouth. These fish inhabit waters throughout the state with some high concentrations in western MT. Pound for pound, smallies are the strongest fish we have in the state. They are aggressive eaters and love to go air born when they’re hooked.

Lower Clark Fork River Smallmouth Bass

The beauty of the smallmouth fishing in western Montana is the timing. When the trout fishing in not the best, the bass fishing shines. Run off is a great time to explore new water for smallies. Late summer is also a great time, when the water is too low and too warm for excellent trout fishing, the smallmouth are hungry and eager to showcase their athleticism.

Montana Smallmouth Bass Fishing

I’ve had more than a few clients turn their noses up at the idea of spending a day in Montana fishing for bass. I understand that. You’re here for the trout fishing. however, if you can give up one day of your trout trip for the Smallies, you’ll get an experience that not many other folks have had. After a day I hear most people say “I had no idea fishing for these fish would be so much fun” or “I can’t believe I’ve been here this many times and never done this”. I’d be willing to bet you’ll be eager spend another day on the the bass water.

Fly Fishing For Smallmouth Bass In Montana

If you find yourself in Western Montana with water too blown out with snowmelt runoff, or low and warm water, get out of your comfort zone and give the smallies try.