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

Waiting At Missoula River Boat Ramp

“Don’t Do That Shit Any More!”

Fly Fishing Guide Stories

Oh, how I remember that comment. Looking back at the many people I’ve been lucky to fish with over the years, I’m not sure I would’ve pegged Peter as one that I always look forward to. His initial review of lunch on the first of nine days did not instill confidence in our future together. However, Peter continued by explaining the particulars of making a pastrami sandwich. In detail. It was immediately obvious my lengthy, grilled, multi-course, lunch was not going to cut it for the next eight days. Only a Pastrami Sandwich. Made to order. Exactly.

Missoula River Guide Lunch

Riverside Lunch

That first lunch only scratched the surface of this ol’ retired tank commander. Peter slowly let me get to know him over the course of the next week, as he flopped his line out in the perfect drift each day. Actually, it is a beautiful flop. Right over the zone where the fish are, big sloppy mend upstream, and a crazy drag-free drift right through the run. Man, can he catch fish. It’s not pretty, but it is very effective. Rarely does he let me take a picture of fish he caught, and I only have one with him in it. That’s not what it’s about.

Fishing The Clark Fork River

Fly Fishing Life

Peter was in several conflicts and wars, but he always carried something to fish with in his tank. I’ve heard the stories, multiple times. The beats in Germany. The sturgeon. Decades of trips fishing through Yellowstone National Park with his late wife. Steelhead. Salmon. Bass. More trout than you can shake a stick at.

His favorite float is on the Blackfoot River. When he was young, walking up the unimproved take out at the end of the day was a mild challenge for him. It became a difficult hill to help him up over the last few years. But he loved it, and we did it. Until last year, he said he couldn’t get it done and didn’t think we should do the float. “No problem, Peter. We’ve got many other options.” Well, that lasted about two more days. The third day when he got in the truck he said “Screw it, I want to do that float. Just leave me at the take out if I can’t make it up that damn hill!” I had an idea, and we got him out with a nice raft ride up the hill.

Blackfoot River Takeout

Gratitude For Years Of Fishing Together

I write about Peter because he couldn’t make it out this year. At 92 years old he thought his legs couldn’t handle driving himself from California anymore. I’ll miss the stories of all the travels and life experiences accompanied with the crumpled photos in his wallet.

Steelhead Fishing                      Sturgeon Fishing

Peter, thanks for putting up with me over the years, the many memories on the water, and for teaching this young buck how to make a Pastrami Sandwich.

Missoula Fly Fishing Boat Ramp

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.

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Fishing Report: March 2018

The snow is melting and the warm temps are coming around. The fish are waking up hungry.