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Five Montana Fly Fishing Taboos you should Break

Five Montana Fly Fishing Taboos you should Break

Five Montana Fly Fishing Taboos you should Break


Fly fishing has become an almost color by number sport. Go to X spot tie this fly on this leader and cast here to get fish. This myth has been perpetuated by the big gear manufacturers as well as the outfitting and shop industry as a whole. If you follow their directions and do not break any of the rules you will be as successful as the Instagram hero’s, we can’t stop following. Like a drug when a person is successful following the main stream advice they in turn try their hand at social media stardom hash tagging big brother and the cycle continues. What is left is fisherman that have trouble thinking and solving the puzzle themselves. This is the greatest joy I feel in the sport. Here are a few ways to break the big taboos and you just might find a new kind of love for the sport. 

It’s about fishing not fashion. You do not need to look like you stepped out of the Orvis catalog complete with quick dry shirt, buff covering your face, matching pack, flat brimmed hat, a rod that cost more than your first car, and the latest in waders with super breathable technology. One of the best fisherman I know you might mistake for a homeless person on the river. He uses a rod he got at a garage sale, waders with duct tape patches, and torn well used clothing. The thing is he slays the fish and has more fun than most fisherman. 

Fish flies from the dollar bin. In every fly shop there is a dollar fly bin. Here is where old patterns that are deemed useless on local trout go to die. For whatever reason these don’t sell and need to be moved out. You know what they still catch fish but not fisherman. Some might be missing a rubber leg or are dusty but they still work. Live on the island of reject flies for a day and see if the body count changes.

Fish streamers during a great may fly hatch. When tiny sailboat bugs are hatching it is almost sacrilege to fish anything other than a dry fly on spider web tippet. If you’re lucky enough to hit a hatch of little stuff and there are heads up everywhere most think they have been granted access to the holy land and are commanded to follow the purist rules. When there are lots of bugs in the water all the smaller fish are active but so are the fish feeding on the smaller fish. Go ahead and toss a streamer, the nastier the better. You might turn some heads and get some looks from other fisherman on highbrow sections of blue ribbon waters but you will be coming home with bigger fish. 

Fish near town. In many trout towns next to the storied blue ribbon waters of Montana there is a mass exodus each morning. Everyone gets up, grabs a shot of Joe and gets in the car and heads out. Most try to be the first person to the farthest access point away from any civilization. Funny you all ended up in the same spot 50 miles from town. On two very famous Montana rivers some of the best and most underutilized fishing is on the town stretch. This section of the river gets overlooked and written off. In fact, it is the secret spot of locals not wanting company and looking to stay bent. Yes, you might be looking into backyards and hear traffic but you will most likely find big dumb uneducated fish living the easy life.

There is more to do in Montana than just fish. When a traveling fisherman gets to Montana they treat it like the holy land and to pay homage they must only Eat, Sleep, Fish. If they don’t go home with blood shot eyes from lack of sleep and moldy feet from being in waders to long, it was not a success. In fact, Montana is full of great unique towns, interesting history, beautiful places and tons of fun activities. Plan a day on your next fishing vacation to not fish and just explore all Montana has to offer. Be a tourist for a day, take a horseback ride, visit a historic site or just take a good long drive in paradise. It might be the best day of your trip. 

Montana is a great place full of fly fishing traditions that were developed from generations of anglers. Bask in these traditions and accept them for what they are then go ahead and break them. It is more fun.

John Way Posted by John Way

Guide, Outfitter and chief bottle washer for the Tackle Shop.  Recently developing his inter web ninja skills. 

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