Tips for planning a Montana Fishing Vacation

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					                             Fly fishing in Montana should be on the
short list for any angler that enjoys chasing trout in beautiful mountain
rivers. Montana is home to an astounding number of high quality blue
ribbon rivers, lakes and spring creeks. It's northern latitude and
proximity to numerous mountain ranges that produce and ample source of
cool snow melt that help to make the state a trout factory. Montana's
trout streams are filled exclusively with wild fish. Montana Fish
Wildlife and Parks has a very limited hatchery program and stocking is
restricted to high mountain lakes and reservoirs where trout reproduction
is limited. Montana fly fishing guides are some of the best in the
planet. Hot beds for fly fishing like Bozeman, Missoula, Ennis, West
Yellowstone and Dillon attract some of the worlds best professional
guides and outfitters. The combination of productive rivers, great
scenery, and high quality outfitters make Montana a prime destination for
anglers from around the world. With the vast number of high quality trout
rivers, outfitters, fly shops and lodges in Montana planning a fishing
vacation to Montana can be overwhelming. Here are five tips to help you
plan the perfect Big Sky state fishing trip.Tip 1: Choose your lodging
accommodations carefullyYour choice of lodging will be a big factor in
your enjoyment of your Montana fly fishing vacation. Lodging can be
broken down into fishing lodges, hotels, vacation rentals and outfitted
camping trips. Fishing lodges are the most expensive option, but also
provide a lot of amenities. Lodges are often located in beautiful rural
settings and frequently have direct access to rivers. Montana fishing
lodges usually include all meals (generally very high quality dining!).
Since all of the guests are also fly fishing lodges provide for a social
atmosphere with like-minded guests. Hotels are a great option to save
some money and explore Montana on your own. Many Montana towns like
Bozeman and Missoula have a vibrant night life that many guests enjoy by
staying at an in-town hotel. Vacation rentals are a great option for
families and larger groups and allow your crew to cook your own meals.
Vacation houses and cabins are often located in beautiful settings and
can offer a lot of room. If you have four our more people in your group
they can also be cheaper than hotels. Many outfitters in Montana also
offer overnight camping trips either as float trips on rivers or as
wilderness horse pack trips into the mountains. Outfitted camping trips
are surprisingly "deluxe" and guests enjoy great food while still
"roughing" it. Tip 2: Decide which rivers or regions you would like to
targetDo you have a specific target river in mind or do you want to
sample a lot of different fishing options. Rivers like the Bighorn are
world famous, but do not have many other high quality trout fisheries
nearby so if you plan a vacation there you will be fishing the same river
each day. Other regions like Dillon, Bozeman and Missoula have numerous
rivers in their prospective regions allowing angler to sample different
rivers each day. If variety is important, make sure to ask outfitters or
lodges what the different fishing options are in the region. Tip 3:
Decide what type of fishing is most importantThere are a variety of
different techniques used in the sport of fly fishing including nymph
fishing, streamer fishing and dry fly fishing and many anglers prefer one
over another. Each river also has its own character, some stretches have
huge trout but lower numbers and others provide fast action with small
fish. Fishing conditions also change during the course of the year and
different seasons showcase different styles of fishing. Beginning anglers
generally are most interested in having some action and experiencing the
sport. The perfect trip for an entry level angler will most likely center
around nymph fishing on rivers with a high fish count that produce a lot
of action. Seasoned fly fisherman may prefer to target dry fly fishing.
As an outfitter, I always try to determine what a client is looking for.
Do they want to target big trout, dry fly fishing, lots of action, etc.
Make sure you discuss your ideal style of fishing and what is important
to you when you talk to a lodge or outfitter. Tip 4: Consider non-fishing
activitiesWhat do you plan on doing during your down time on your Montana
fishing trip? Will you fish every day of your trip or do you want to take
off a few days to sight see? Do you enjoy larger college towns or want to
be as remote as possible? Are there any members of your group (like a
spouse) that won't be fishing? There is such a large quantity of great
fishing in Montana that you should be able to target exactly the kind of
trip that you are looking for. Often non-fishing activities are an
important part of the equation. Some areas, like Ennis are great fishing
towns, but do not offer as many non-fishing activities as a place like
Big Sky or Bozeman. This is an especially important consideration if you
have a non-fishing spouse or if your group takes some time off from
fishing.Tip 5: Book as early as possiblePrime dates and the most
experienced and knowledgeable guides begin booking as early as a year in
advance. While we still book trips as late as a week out even during the
summer, the longer lead time we have the more flexibility there is in
designing a trip and the better the odds that we can match clients up
with the perfect guide.

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