PRIME FLY FISHING SEASON IN MONTANA
It’s springtime in Montana—get your boat out, grab your fly rod and let the fishing begin! While some folks have already been out for the skwala stonefly hatch up in the Bitterroot Valley and elsewhere in Montana, there are sure to be many more anglers with boots in the water as the temperatures continue to climb.
Jim Toth, Western Ranch Brokers resident fly fishing expert, has been fishing the blue-ribbon trout streams of Western Montana for decades. In 1988, Jim started building one of the national brands in the fly-fishing industry, the Grizzly Hackle Fishing Company with its fly shop, outfitting service and lodge. Eventually trading the fly fishing business for a partnership in the Silver Bow Club, a membership-based fishing and hunting ranch on the Big Hole and Beaverhead Rivers, and then becoming a full-time ranch broker more than 20 years ago, Jim is still a passionate fly fisherman. If he’s not in the office, most weekends you can find him out on the Bitterroot River, Madison River or numerous small No-Name Creeks with his wife Cassandra (usually out fishing him) casting for trout and still living the Montana dream.
As the season gets into full swing, we asked Jim to share some of his gear must-haves and asked why they are his go-to:
1. Patagonia Swiftcurrent Expedition Waders.
These have great features and a comfortable fit, even for big guys like me. Plus I’m still loyal to my old Patagonia rep from my Grizzly Hackle days, Mark Harbaugh.
2. Bauer RVR Reel 6/7, Black and Gold.
Treated myself to this one! More than you need but nice to have. Since most good reels do a good job of protecting fine tippet while fighting a fish, I used to say reels sold on their “fondle factor”—how it feels in your hand and helps you with line management.
3. Simms Freestone Wading Boots.
These might not be the fanciest boots, but they are a good, solid boot, great stability and grip with the felt soles, especially since I spend more time in the boat and don’t wade as hard as I used to.
4. Winston 9′ 6 Wt. Air Salt Saltwater Rod.
A saltwater rod in Montana? You bet! I like throwing big nymphs and streamers in pre-runoff times but this rod is still good for something like Skwala dries. With a strong spine, you can lean into a long cast but still have feel in the tip. Bonus, Winstons are Montana made.
5. Fly Selection.
Whatever the day calls for! It’s a mixed bag right now with the sporadic runoff, new snow, and sunshine—sometimes all in the same weekend.
6. Tackle Bag.
Looking for a new one. Anyone have a good suggestion?
Want to know more about fly fishing in Montana? Contact Jim Toth to talk about everything from gear recommendations to ranch listings. There is no better way to experience fly fishing in Montana than on your own property with private access to some of Montana’s top rivers and streams. Call us to learn more about Western Ranch Brokers available listings and how we can go to work for you.