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Old 01-30-2010, 08:12 AM
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Default Which Guide to use?

I am planning on going to Montana in July and have spoken with 3 different outfitters and would like some input from folks that are familiar with them and which one they would recommend and why.

1) Four Rivers Fishing Co (Twin Bridges).

2) The Stonefly Inn & Outfitters (Twin Bridges).

3) Grizzly Hackle (Missoula).

Thanks for any and all input. P.S. If you know of someone that I missed that you feel I need to speak with then please let me know.
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Old 01-30-2010, 09:43 AM
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Default Re: Which Guide to use?

ferggie: First off welcome to the forum! I'd suggest that you PM Biggie, he is a forum member and he guides out of Boseman. He may have some good information for you on outfitters in the Twin Bridges and Missoula areas.

Larry
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Old 02-02-2010, 12:11 PM
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Default Re: Which Guide to use?

I spend a good deal of time on the Jeff and have sort of come to know Greg at Four Rivers over the years.
He strikes me as a more traditional old school Montana guy which I think would be preferable to a younger guide or group of guides who have not lived in the area for long.

I assume you've researched what waters are available in the Twin Bridges area? You are not exactly right on any high quality stretch of any major river but you do have a central location to hit the upper Madison, the Beav and the Big Hole and a host of quality smaller streams.

The Beaverhead and the Big Hole right through town are at the end of their runs and about to become the Jefferson. They have significantly more productive water much higher up, about an hours drive from Twin.
However, the water around town gets far less pressure than elsewhere and does have fish. Big fish.
It kind of depends on what you're looking for.

If you were looking to get lodging with Four Rivers or the Stonefly the Stonefly looks like the more typical place for out of staters looking for a classic sort of fishing lodge experience.
However Greg has a couple of cabins on the Jeff that I would chose simply because they are less glitzy Montana and more do it yourself and RIGHT on the Jeff. Snowpacks are looking low, by late July the Jeff could be really low and wading could be easy on this relatively large river.

Greg also has really the only shop in town. It's big with retail stuff, you can get shuttles, guides all the usual stuff. I've never stopped at the Stonefly. It's shop is tiny, the kind that looks like it's really just catering to their clients. I'm not knocking them, they may be a great outfit but as a regular Montanan they're not providing what I'm looking for since I live here.

Finally Twin Bridges is a pretty little town in the middle of NOWHERE.
If you haven't spent much time in Montana you might prefer places like Livingston and Paradise Valley, Ennis and the Madison Valley, Bozeman and the Gallatin Valley, the Missoula area and other classic areas. If you are looking for how Montana used to be Twin Bridges is about as close as it gets. It's a real, typical, rural Montanan town. I really like it but then I'm trying to escape the more heavily traveled and used areas of Montana.

Hope this helps some.
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Old 02-02-2010, 04:28 PM
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Default Re: Which Guide to use?

I really appreciate the feed back. I am not looking for the glitz, I like the idea of the small town feel. I grew up in Saratoge Wyo (pop.1200) and left in 1976. I miss the pace some times and that is what I am looking for on this trip. We are going to travel up to Glacier National park and Flathead lake to spend several days with a friend as well.
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Old 02-05-2010, 04:46 PM
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Default Re: Which Guide to use?

blackbugger hit the nail on the head explaining poppa Greg. Guy is a fishing animal and has a killer personality. He is a long time friend of my dad's and a killer guide. I spend a lot of my spare time (and his) fishing with him in the greater twin bridge metroplex. He has cabins on the Jeff for rent as well as an upstairs and downstairs condo that he has converted right in downtown for rent. His shop and guide service blows The Stonefly's out of the water bar none. They used to be business partners but things went south, the fate of the stonefly shop is still teetering on staying open.

In the Missoula area Grizzly Hackle is my main base. The guys who work there are killer and super friendly. We fish the skwala hatch each year with Dave Huffman and last year we spent a day with Drew and had a blast. Evan is a great guy and from what I hear a killer guide as well, so is Carl, but he runs a much different operation than most.

Another outfitter with an amazing lodge right on the Clark Fork outside of town is Joe Cumming's A Classic Journey Outfitter. Joe runs a solid operation and offers fishing on all of Missoula's local rivers and the Missouri. His website is Montana Fly Fishing, Missoula Montana, Montana Fly Fishing for Trout. Classic Journey Outfitters.

If you decide to go with Joe, ask specifically for Blake Gallagher. He has been one of my best friends up here and we fish together every possible day that he is not guiding here or in Chile. The kid knows these rivers and has some incredibly sneaky (vow of silence) runs that no one else fishes, that we spent years figuring out. He is a young kid (25) with a huge passion for fishing and his sense of humor is top notch. The kid has devoted his life to fly fishing this area and is known to be one of the best guides in the area hands down. Plus he has the sickest boat in town!

With both Grizzly Hackle Guides and with Joe's expect a cooked streamside lunch, clean boats, killer techy/stealth patterns and a great guide. When in the summer are you planning on rolling through and what would be your main focus and goal in the trip? This would make it easier to decide on which part of the divide to fish. Feel free to PM any questions you have!
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Old 02-06-2010, 06:41 PM
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Default Re: Which Guide to use?

Another person/ area to fish if you are heading up to glacier would be Chris McCready out of Big Fork Anglers and takea trip down the swan river if it is in its prime (or even floatable/fishable) hands down the coolest float I have ever done
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Old 02-09-2010, 05:47 PM
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Default Re: Which Guide to use?

Fergie,
I have guided for Rooster at the Stonefly and he is awesome. He really knows the Bighole, Jefferson, and the Madison. Real laid back, he has real enthusiastic guides and he's real good guy, So is Greg down the road, you won't go wrong with either.

You are hitting two excellent areas, I am an Ennis native and grew up on the Madison but I now live and guide out of Missoula. Twin has 4 great rivers and so does Missoula, we have the Clark Fork, Bitter root, Blackfoot, Rock Creek and the Missouri is only 2 hours from Missoula.

We have less boat traffic and a longer season, guiding is my only income and we start here on the Bitteroot in March. I guide about 150 days a year so western MT works better for me, it seems like we have more dry fly fishing also, and it is easier to find my own floats without a ton of other anglers with so many 400 miles of river within and hour/ 4 directions out of Missoula. I live here so I obviously know it better than the Beav/ Madison, Jeff/ Bighole.

The Grizzly Hackle is a real good shop, Huffman, Miller, Tony Rhinehardt are all real good guides, they are vets, patient and will all treat you right. The Kingfisher/ Damon Cox/ fly shop is real good and so is the Missoulian Angler with Russ and Casey Hackethorn all right here in Missoula.

I've worked and still work for all three of those shops on occasion, my main outfitter is Joe Cummings www.classicjourneyoutfitters , he made me his lead guide 4 years ago, Blake Gallagher and myself work most of the days around here for Joe Cummings. I do a few more days on the Missourri than some of the Missoula guides, I've had so many epic days over there, but my favorite river here is the Bitter Root, sometimes the Clark Fork is incredible too.
I hoped I helped you out a little and I hope you have a great fishing out here, give us a call if you have a chance or have any more questions
Brooks Jessen
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Old 02-10-2010, 02:09 PM
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Default Re: Which Guide to use?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mtflyfishguide View Post
Fergie,
I have guided for Rooster at the Stonefly and he is awesome. He really knows the Bighole, Jefferson, and the Madison. Real laid back, he has real enthusiastic guides and he's real good guy, So is Greg down the road, you won't go wrong with either.

You are hitting two excellent areas, I am an Ennis native and grew up on the Madison but I now live and guide out of Missoula. Twin has 4 great rivers and so does Missoula, we have the Clark Fork, Bitter root, Blackfoot, Rock Creek and the Missouri is only 2 hours from Missoula.

We have less boat traffic and a longer season, guiding is my only income and we start here on the Bitteroot in March. I guide about 150 days a year so western MT works better for me, it seems like we have more dry fly fishing also, and it is easier to find my own floats without a ton of other anglers with so many 400 miles of river within and hour/ 4 directions out of Missoula. I live here so I obviously know it better than the Beav/ Madison, Jeff/ Bighole.

The Grizzly Hackle is a real good shop, Huffman, Miller, Tony Rhinehardt are all real good guides, they are vets, patient and will all treat you right. The Kingfisher/ Damon Cox/ fly shop is real good and so is the Missoulian Angler with Russ and Casey Hackethorn all right here in Missoula.

I've worked and still work for all three of those shops on occasion, my main outfitter is Joe Cummings www.classicjourneyoutfitters , he made me his lead guide 4 years ago, Blake Gallagher and myself work most of the days around here for Joe Cummings. I do a few more days on the Missourri than some of the Missoula guides, I've had so many epic days over there, but my favorite river here is the Bitter Root, sometimes the Clark Fork is incredible too.
I hoped I helped you out a little and I hope you have a great fishing out here, give us a call if you have a chance or have any more questions
Brooks Jessen
Totally spaced Brooks of my list my bad man! From what I have heard he/you are a killer guide. We have met a few times, my names Dexter (Blakes buddy that drives the big blue Tundra).
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Old 02-10-2010, 06:16 PM
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Default Re: Which Guide to use?

Hey Dex,
I met you on the MO with Blake, are you ready to do some skwala fishing, its real close? Have you heard from Blake, the kid is a great guide, real smart, competitive, and energetic. I'll do some fishing before I start guiding in March, get ahold of me if you want to hop in the boat.
later
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Old 02-11-2010, 12:35 PM
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Default Re: Which Guide to use?

I have talked with him a few times while he has been down south, they have been having a killer season so far. Im sure you saw this pic already but I will post it again.
Click the image to open in full size.

Skwala's are definitely gonna pop off pretty soon, midge fishing on the root has been pretty decent so far this year and the root has finally started turning into a streamer river somewhat which I am pumped about. Give me a shout whenever you wanna go hit the streams man 303-910-9400. Would love to get out and nail some slabs soon.
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