20 Ways to Avoid Disaster on Your First Fly Fishing Trip
Montana has plenty of things to offer for every type of traveler, from the lonely wolf to the party enthusiast and the large families roaming together. Fly fishing on the Stillwater River ranks high among these attractions. If you’ve just finished planning your first fly fishing trip here, congratulations for a wonderful choice.
Majestic as it is, the Montana nature can also be unpredictable, especially for a rookie angler. So let’s see how you can avoid disasters on your first fly fishing trip.
Avoid Disaster on Your First Fly Fishing Trip with these 20 Tips
1. Hire a Fly Fishing Guide
There is no better (and safer!) way to enjoy the Montana streams than hiring a local fly fishing guide. A guide will help you not just to find the fish and perfect your casting technique, but also to do so safely.
2. Find a Local Fly Shop
Even if you already have your own gear, you might need some directions or advice. Or perhaps some flies. Locate a fly fishing shop in Montana just to be on the safe side.
3. Get a Fishing License
It’s easier than ever – you can get one on the spot in our Columbus, MT fly shop.
4. Check the Weather
Don’t assume you’ll get great weather just because it’s summer. Montana can be unpredictable. Check the weather reports before you hit the road to avoid unpleasant surprises.
5. Pack for all Types of Weather
Although you already check the weather, but Montana weather is quite fickle, so make sure you have clothes and gear for sunny and rainy weather.
6. Don’t Forget about Sunscreen
You may not perceive the heat if you keep your feet in the river, but the Montana sun can burn your skin in as little as an hour. Always wear sunscreen even if you see clouds in the sky!
7. Always Wear a Hat
Come rain or come shine, a hat is a Montana angler’s best friend. Ideally, you should have one from a water-resistant and breathable fabric so it can be useful in any kind of weather.
8. Pack and Wear Waders
Yes, even if your first fly fishing trip is in July. They don’t just protect your from cold water, but also from leeches and water insects that might sting or bite you.
9. Wear Wading Boots
Never ever go fly fishing without wading boots. Aside from protecting your feet from the water and the insects in it, they also prevent you from slipping on rocks.
10. Get Waterproof Cases for Your Devices
We don’t advise you use the phone on the river. However, most folks nowadays are using their phone as a camera. If you do bring it along, do it in a waterproof case.
11. Always Bring Insect Repellant
Mosquitos and other insects will have the time of their life if you forget this! You, however, won’t!
12. Always Wear Polarized Sunglasses
Even if you are not photosensitive, polarized sunglasses are extremely helpful. They reduce the glare on the water as well as help you see what’s below the surface. As much as anything, they provide eye protection in the event of an errantly cast fly. Good sunglasses are as an essential piece of gear as the flies. Don’t scrimp on them. Also, be sure and have a retainer with them.
13. Carry at Least one Flashlight
Yes, even if you plan for a day trip, a flashlight is crucial. You can never know how late you’ll end up staying on the river. A small penlight or head lamps packed in the pack or gear dry bag is recommended.
14. Bring Extra Batteries
In case you have to spend the night by the river, you need to have reliable power sources. Once again, the river is unpredictable!
15. Get a Fly Fishing Vest or Pack
They are a cliché for a reason. If you want to move quickly and avoid losing your flies, tools, or other gear, a vest or pack is your best bet!
16. Find out Where the Best Spots Are
Again, a local fly shop may come in handy for this. You don’t want to spend half a day looking for good spots! Ask for directions instead!
17. Learn the Basics
Even if this is your first fly fishing trip, it doesn’t mean you have to be an absolute novice. If you practice your cast in your yard, you will save some time when you are on the river.
18. Learn a few Knots
This is also a big time saver. Plus, these knots can help you in a lot of other situations, not just when you are on the river.
19. Get the Right Flies
They don’t have to be expensive. They just have to be right for the area you are fly fishing in and for the species you are trying to catch. Ask for directions from your Montana fly fishing guide.
20. Learn to Release Correctly
You don’t want to harm the fish when you release it. Ask your guide how to unhook it and how to make sure it is able to swim on its own before your next cast.
We know, 20 tips seems like a lot. And the truth is that a lot can happen on the river. But, as you can see, these are just basic, common sense rules and pieces of advice. Good luck on your first fly fishing trip!
Good advice Chris.