stillwater anglers fly fishing gear must have

[GUIDE] 8 Must Have Items: Fly Fishing Gear to Protect You from the Montana Elements

Fly fishing in Montana is a dream come true for anyone who has ever held a rod and reel. There are so many fishing accesses here that it can take you quite a while to make a decision. But every paradise has to have a small flaw. For us, it’s the unpredictable weather. Forget about forecasts; Montana weather can go from sunny to pouring rain in a heartbeat. This is where packing the right fly fishing gear comes into play.

The Essential Guide to Fly Fishing Gear that Protects You From the Montana Elements

If you are new at this, you may be tempted to over pack. OK, let’s be honest: we’ve even seen the most experienced anglers who pack a lot of junk but forget the essentials. This guide is designed to help you select the fly fishing gear needed to protect yourself from the Montana elements and leave all the junk behind. Because, yes, there is more to fly fishing gear than your rod, reel and flies.

1. Waders

Waders don’t just protect you from the cold water. They also ensure that you stay safe from anything that may sting or bite you and from picking up leeches. This is why it’s advisable to wear them even during the warm summer season. Don’t worry; you won’t have to melt in rubber waders. Gore-tex or dri-plus are breathable and comfortable wader materials for any weather.

2. Wading Boots

When it comes to fly fishing gear, wading boots are second only to your rod and reel in terms of importance. If you are on a budget, then wading boots are where you should spend most of it. They’re not just to protect you from the water. Good footing and foot protection is imperative. A good pair of boots will keep you safe even on the slipperiest of rocks while they keep you comfortable – you’ll get what we’re saying after spending half a day on your feet. We personally recommend felt soles for Montana fly fishing. The river rocks in our area are extremely slippery, and while not perfect, felt provides the best traction.

3. Fly Fishing Vest or Pack

You know them – they’re iconic for any type of fishing. You may argue that, while great for organization, they won’t protect you from the Montana elements. However, if you get a mesh fly fishing vest, it will help you stay cool during the hottest of summer days. Even more, a quality vest with plenty of pockets in different sizes will protect your investment of fly fishing gear by allowing items to stay put, rather than scattering everything about. There are also a variety of different gear packs available from chest packs, to waist packs, to integrated backpack systems for carrying more gear for an extended trip. Find what works best for you.

4. Fly Fishing Bags

A lot of anglers think that dedicated fly fishing bags are a waste of money. After all, a regular bag can do just as fine, right? Wrong! A dedicated bag has, among other things, a round tube that protects your rod no matter how you travel. Always put your rod in some sort of protective tube or case, as a broken rod tip will ruin your day. We’ll also recommend you get a separate bag for carrying your waders and wading boots so the rest of your gear doesn’t get wet. Always be sure and clean your boots and waders before leaving the river then dry them thoroughly to avoid transporting any invasive species.

5. Waterproof Cases for Your Phone and other Devices

Yes, I know, ideally you’re here to reconnect with nature. But, let’s face it, very few of us have the luxury of leaving our phones at home while fly fishing. Most anglers use their phones as their camera too. In order to avoid a major expense, keep your phone in a waterproof case at all times. Don’t worry; you’ll still be able to use the touchscreen even with the case on!

6. Fully Waterproof Jacket and Hat

Once again, you never know when it could start to rain. Always pack a hat (useful for both sunny and rainy days) and a waterproof jacket even if you’re fishing in July.

7. Sunscreen, Polarized Sunglasses and Insect Repellant

Get a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 (during the colder seasons) and 50+ during summer. Don’t kid yourself, Montana summers can be quite scorching. Polarized sunglasses are also a must. Not only do they cut down the glare on the water and provide better vision of what’s below the water’s surface, they also provide eye protection. Insect repellant should also never be missing from your “arsenal”.

8. Head Lamp or Flash Light with an Extra Set of Batteries

Yes, pack them even if you don’t plan to fish during the night. You never know if you’ll end up out on the river later than expected, a light source is crucial for finding your way back safely.

This is all the fly fishing gear you need (except for your rod and reel, of course) for a successful trip on the Montana streams. Is anything missing from your luggage? Stop by our Columbus shop and get it!