Booking a fly-fishing guided trip can be confusing as the experience is quite different than traditional "charter" fishing trips and other guided, outdoor activities. Here is a list of the most common questions we hear during the booking process which will hopefully help in your planning process. Please e-mail us with any additional questions or for clarification as well.
Yes, a Montana fly fishing trip is a great family activity for experienced and novice angling families alike. It is recommended that children under 12 be accompanied by an adult. Life jackets are required to be worn by all children 12 and under while floating. These activities are not appropriate for infants or toddlers.
No, fly fishing in Montana is an immersive experience, catching fish is only a part of the overall trip.
Weather and water changes can happen quickly and cause changes in fish-feeding behavior.
The Bozeman fly fishing rivers have robust populations of wild trout and native whitefish and our guides are some of the most talented fly fishing guides anywhere. That combination ensures that we consistently do catch fish on our guided fly fishing trips in Montana.
Although rare, we have seen days in which a combination of weather and bad luck come together and keep fish from successfully reaching the net. Thankfully, these days are rare!
Yes, alcoholic beverages are allowed on your guided fly fishing trip.
You are more than welcome to enjoy a drink while enjoying the beautiful landscapes that Montana has to offer!
We do ask that you drink responsibly and respectfully while out on the water.
Yes! Our Montana fly fishing guides enjoy having experienced anglers fishing whatever fly method they prefer. Fish your own flies, or use ours. We tailor each day to our guests' skills and interests.
No, we only practice catch and release fly fishing on our guided Bozeman fly fishing trips.
Yes, by all means, let us know if you have a preference. We recommend being flexible as weather and water conditions can change quickly. The variety of rivers around Bozeman ensure that we almost always have a few good options for the day when conditions change.
The Fins and Feathers Bozeman fly fishing guides typically recommended a day trip destination on the morning of each trip based on weather, water conditions, time constraints, and crowds - so be sure to let your guide know if there is a fishery near Bozeman that you prefer or would if there are any that you wish to avoid.
No, we do not offer guided trips using conventional tackle - we only offer catch and release fly-fishing trips as that is our expertise.
We do not cancel day trips due to weather. We fish in a wide range of conditions, including rain and snow, so be sure to check the weather before your trip to and dress accordingly. Sometimes, days are cut short due to unexpected, inclement weather creating unsafe conditions beyond our control. View our deposit policy.
Absolutely! All of our Montana fishing guides are patient instructors that work with anglers of all skill levels, everyday. Guests are often amazed at how quickly they pick up the basics of Montana fly fishing with just a few minutes of training at the start of the day.
Fins and Feathers Guide Service highly recommends float trips as the best way to experience Bozeman fly fishing. This is because floating enables our guides to take full advantage of the diverse local fisheries.
Wading in Montana fly fishing rivers requires long walks on slippery and unstable river bottoms to get away from popular access points. Many visiting anglers find his much more challenging than they anticipate.
Floating allows our Bozeman fly fishing guides the luxury to choose from a variety of blue-ribbon waters, ensuring flexibility when conditions change.
We have been outfitting Montana fly fishing trips for 23+ years and have learned that wade-specific trips are very difficult for most visiting anglers, regardless of their skill levels.
For anglers that prefer to wade-fish, we tailor the day to emphasize wade-fishing opportunities by using drift boats or rafts to move from one spot to the next. These day trips are a combination of fishing while floating and wading.
The truly unique aspect of Bozeman fly fishing is the abundance of wild trout fisheries within an hour's drive - all of which are best suited for fishing from a drift boat.
Our guide to client ratio is always 1:1 or 1:2 - we cater to larger groups of up to 20 anglers, with advance notice. Floating allows these groups to fish near one another and have lunches together while also ensuring that everyone has access to good water.
3 person groups will want to book 2 guides for their Bozeman fly fishing day trip.
Montana fly-fishing guide services typically handle 1-2 anglers per guide. This is to ensure a quality and safe experience. The guide provides "hands-on" approach instruction, which is most effective with 1-2 anglers at a time.
The boats used for drifting and fly-fishing are small (16 feet long) drift-boats that can accommodate a total of 3 people, including one seat in both the front and back of the boat for anglers. The Montana fly fishing guide rows the boat downstream while coaching and navigating the diverse waterways to maintain a position in favorable trout-holding water.
Each day trip is reserved for 1-2 anglers, the pricing remains the same whether there is 1 or 2 anglers in the booking. Group trips that consist of 3-10 anglers are common and easily accommodated. To keep groups together on the river, our guides float the same stretch of river on group bookings.
We do not put more than 2 anglers with one guide as it compromises the quality of the experience and the safety of our clients. Our guides are responsible for the safety of their clients, and having 3 anglers on board or under their supervision is not feasible while rowing or wading across a river.
We have been outfitting Montana fly fishing trips for over 23 years and have phased out offereing 3:1 client to guide ratio trips based on those years of experience.
Bozeman has some of the best restaurants Montana has to offer. There are plenty of options for dining no matter where you stay while on your visit. Here are some of our favorite local eateries to grab a bite after a long day of fishing.
Black Bird - Wood-fired Pizza & Pasta dishes, Wine Bar
J.W. Heist - Iconic steakhouse & Cocktail / Wine Bar
Open Range - Upraised steakhouse & Artfully crafted dishes
Montana Ale Works - Locally sourced pub fare & extensive bar
Roost - Eclectic Southern comfort food with Western influences
Hooked Sushi - Adventurous Sushi & other Japanese dishes
Revelry - Locally sourced creative pub-fare dishes
Use of all gear (waders, boots, rods, reels, terminal tackle, and flies), drinks, transfer to and from the fishing destination, and lunches on day trips for 1 or 2 anglers fishing with our Bozeman fly fishing guides. Fishing license and gratuities are not included in the standard rates.
Having the correct clothing and outerwear before heading out on your fly fishing guided trip is very important and we advise that you plan according to forecasted weather as well as time of year.
Refer to our recommended pre-trip Packing List for a general overview of what you should bring in preparation.
The length of the trip depends on the Bozeman fly fishing destination, water conditions, Montana fish activity, and angler fishing requests. The standard day trip is usually a 7-9-hour experience with 5-7 hours on the water - we can tailor the length of the day around your schedule.
Day trip meeting times vary throughout the season. Spring and fall trips usually meet between 8 and 9 am. Day trips during the summer start between 6 and 7 am. We can adjust the meeting and return time to fit your schedule on our guided fly fishing day trips.
Half-day trips are 4 hours in duration from start to finish and only offered with early morning starts, when available.
Montana fishing guides work long hours, row boats down many miles of river each day, and cover their own expenses such as gas, shuttles, lunches, drinks, ice, flies, boats, insurance, and equipment.
Spend a day trip with one of our crew and you will have a deep appreciation for the effort and skills required to keep everyone safe and to catch some Montana fish. Ensuring that our guests have a great experience is paramount; our guides work hard to ensure that this is the case, every day.
The recommended gratuity is $150-$200 per day/per guide (1-2 anglers) for a job well done. This is at our guests discretion and anything is always appreciated.
Cash or Venmo paid directly to the guide at the end of the trip is the standard practice.
Specially designed drift boats are 16’ long fiberglass with one seat in the front and one in the back. The guide rows the boat from a seat in the middle of the boat.
Some guides also use rafts with custom-built frames with similar layouts to drift boats.
Wild trout are the cornerstone of fly fishing in Montana. We target trout and whitefish on our Montana fly fishing trips.
Wade fishing requires that the angler is in good condition with excellent balance.
Float trips are less demanding physically, but anglers need to be able to sit comfortably for several hours and to be able to stand up/sit down without assistance. We are able to accommodate anglers with disabilities and poor mobility with advance notice. Contact Us if you have any questions related to any physical limitations or mobility challenges, our experts will be able to tailor a trip around most limitations.
Most of our day trips are float trips with some optional opportunities to get out and wade fish throughout the day when situations present themselves.
Day trips include lunches and non-alcoholic drinks, (1/2 day trips only include drinks).
Simple deli lunches include a main such as a sandwich, salad, or wrap packed along with a small side and dessert. Gluten-free, vegan, low-carb options and special requests are available upon request.
Typical fly rod sizes used around SouthWestern Montana are 4,5, & 6 weights ranging from 8' 6" - 9' 6" with a 9'- 5 wt being the most universal for differing trout techniques.
Fly patterns heavily depend on time of year and location, refer to our detailed Montana Fly Fishing River Guide to better understand the appropriate flies for when your guided trip is scheduled.
The best times for a fly fishing trip are from mid-March to mid-October, excluding the period of runoff which occurs sometime in May and ends either mid-June or early July to September.
Spring, summer, and fall in Southwest Montana offer different experiences for anglers, make sure to look at the Montana River Fishing Guide which breaks down each month on local rivers to assist in planning your trip.
Fins and Feathers Guide Service is based in Bozeman, Montana.
We have a small office that is not open to the public and meet our guests at convenient locations around the area - typically at our former fly shop located just west of Bozeman in four-corners (now Yellow Dog Fly Shop).
We have been outfitting fly fishing trips in Montana for over two decades and service a wide range of the Treasure State, including: