My husband and I are planning a trip to Montana for the third week of October. We're both fly fishing virgins and in need of some lessons. I'm afraid the fees charged by the regular outfitting places are a bit above our budget. Would there be anybody in the Bozeman area interested in teaching us the basics, just to get us started? Of course we'll pay for the services.
Where are you located now? If you and your husband are totally new to fly fishing, there might be some local fly shops near home that could give you some help with the basics like casting lessons for a small/reasonable fee if you and your husband are totally new to fly fishing. And there often free casting clinics or intro clinics offered by shops and/or fly fishing clubs --- or perhaps some folks more local to you now could give you some pointers.
This would at least give you the opportunity to practice a bit before your trip even if you don't live in trout country, you could always find some bluegills to terrorize just to get some of the basics down.
Getting some help once you hit MT is a great idea too, but if you jump start things a bit with some experience and practice, it would be to your advantage.
So tell us a bit more about any FF experience you might have and where you are located now. We have a bunch of folks that live and/or fish out there and hopefully they'll weigh in too with some specifics advice. In the meantime, browse around the website of Troutfitters in Bozeman: Montana Troutfitters -- Bozeman's oldest and most trusted trout shop
You are very right. Thank you for your swift response. We live in Eastern Pennsylvania, not exactly fly fishing heaven, but there's trout, and rivers here. In fact, as per your advice, I will check out the local fly fishing scene. I never did before, as my work doesn't allow me much time off. But you're right, it does make sense to get a bit of a head start.
I've been to Montana once before, about 15 years ago. It was my first trip to the US (I am from the Netherlands). That trip blew my mind. Everything, the landscape, the sky, the vastness, the emptiness, the people. It was a life changing experience. It was also my first introduction to fly fishing. It intrigued me how something so beautiful, could be so frustrating at the same time. I fished a couple of rivers, and, with sheer luck, I caught a few fish. Can't wait to go back!
Lottie: Send a PM to Ard (Hardyreels) he has fished quite a bit in PA and might be able to steer you in the right direction. I know he has talked a lot about the great trout fishing that PA offers, but it might not be in your area but it is worth a shot.
MT is beautiful you’ll have a great time--- it’s a great time to hear elk bugling, and the colors should be magnificent. Be prepared for some low temps and the possibility of some snow.
It would help a great deal to know a little more about your experience level.
Do you and your husband already have some gear – 5 or 6 weight fly outfits (rod, reel, line), waders etc?
Can you tie some of the useful knots like Improved Clinch, Double Surgeons etc?
Do you have any previous experience fly casting? If so how far can you comfortably cast with reasonable accuracy? Any fly fishing experience on streams? (If so how did you do?
If the answer is no to any of these questions it’s not a deal breaker, there’s a ton of resources you could use to study up a bit to at least get a sense of some of the lingo and basic theory down--- and the General Forum here on NAFFF is a good place to ask questions as they come up. There’s also a bunch of stuff in our FAQ section and a browse through some of the previous posts on the General Forum should help too with a lot of basic info.
If you’re starting from scratch, this is a pretty good investment or look for it in your local library (libraries might have a similar books instead like Orvis's Guide to Fly Fishing, Dummy's Intro to Fly Fishing etc that are also decent ):
And if you’ve mastered the basics and are more of an intermediate we can point you to some more resources
Where are you in Eastern PA? —we have a bunch of members in PA and NJ that might be able to give you some suggestions or help you out a bit.
Although there’s not a whole lot of time left before you’re trip, it might be worth checking out a local Trout Unlimited Chapter, or a club affiliated with the Federation of Fly Fishers. They are generally very welcoming to newbies, have casting clinics, group trips to local waters and informative meetings. If you can find one near you, it’s worth checking out their website and newsletter at least to find if they have any instructional activities thing coming up, and or the names/addresses of . Depending on where you are, you could search in both PA and NJ
and FFF here: Locate a Club
(the FFF site also has a link to a searchable database with contact info for “certified casting instructors” that offer lessons—to find it click on the “Instructor certification” tab for a drop down menu and choose “Find a Certified Instructor”
And here are some links to fly shops in eastern PA that offer classes (mostly offered in Spring) and or personal instruction—I’m sure there are others too.
Location: White City (tad north of Medford) Oar-E-Gone
Bit of change of direction here Lottie, but the folks above have given you lots of good information (as in what would I add?).
I'd just add one suggestion: for one early part of the trip, hire a guide for a float trip. Most are a wealth of information and have had a wide range of folks in their boats .... 'ability wise.'
As an aside, Texan's like to say their State is 'big,' it's obvious they've never been to Montana (Alaska doesn't count ... there's damned little 'up there' save for mountains, bush and biting bugs). With a population of (roughly) .1 per square mile, there 'tain't many of them there.' Don't go anywhere without a full gas tank.
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Forgot to add: 'Thanks for the quick reply. Lottie, we folks here take darned good care 'of our own.' You call, we haul.
...We live in Eastern Pennsylvania, not exactly fly fishing heaven, but there's trout, and rivers here.
In the SE corner of PA you will find the White Clay Fly Fishers Club. If you are close to the area several members in the club would most likely be very happy to get you and your husband started in fly fishing with plenty of time to spare before your trip next month.
The club meets the 3rd Tuesday of each month, 7 PM, in the meeting house in the White Clay Creek Preserve, corner of London Tract and Sharpless Roads, near Kemblesville, PA. The next meeting is Tuesday, Sept. 21.
Feel free to send me a PM for further information, specific names & contact info, etc.
I just read this thread and if you contact me I can steer you to some very beautiful areas right there in Pennsylvania. I have been around America a little bit and can assure you that your home state has some of the best and most prolific trout fishing I have ever had the privilege to enjoy.
Thanks so much for all your great responses! Pfff, I guess I really should have gotten started much earlier, and be better prepared for a trip to fly fishing walhalla, such as Montana...
Mark, thanks a lot for your splendid tips. I'll check out the links, and I just ordered the LL Bean book. I feel embarrassed that I had to answer 'no' to pretty much all your questions. I waded some streams, but that was 15 years ago.
Larry, thanks. Ard and I are PM-ing now.
Fred, I always wondered about those float trips. But yes, I'll have to go with one. I'll keep that gas tank filled. (By the way, is there still no speed limit in Montana?)
Jimmie, thanks for the link to the videos. I watched one already. Just what I need!
MBWCC, thank you. I checked out your link. Unfortunately, the White Clayers are more than 2 hours away from me...