Guide trip on the Madison

The What, When, and How of booking your fishing trip 

The What, When, and How of booking your fishing trip 

By Jim Bob Terry

Going out with a Montana Fly Fishing  guide is pretty great…. It can take the confusion out of new water, solve the “no boat” problem, take the legwork out of the day, and even grow your list of bad jokes. Overall, booking with an outfitter or lodge should make your trip a care and stress-free deal, but there are a few things to do on your end to ensure this. Let’s talk What, When, How…… 


It is vital to communicate what you want when booking your trip and meeting your guide. If you’re a dry fly nut and prefer dry or die, tell them that! If you’re scared of big water, say something! If still water is your jam, just say so! Talk to them about what water you want to fish, how you like to fish, what type of guide you enjoy, anything you want to get better at, really anything that falls into the “expectations” category. The outfitter you book with and the guide you fish with really want to provide you with the day you want, but you need to tell them what that is! 


When you go to book a fishing trip you probably have a “where” in mind but remember, “when” is equally important. From Ennis, Montana to San Pedro, Belize, any destination is going to offer a unique experience depending on the season. Do some research on your destination and decide when the best time to go is for you. When is that hatch you’ve always dreamt of hitting? When is that Fly Fishing Festival in Ennis? When do those tarpon run? When is Mardi Gras? I try to get a good idea of what is going on both on and off the water during the different seasons before I book my trip. The most important thing once you’ve figured out the “when” is to get it locked down! Especially during peak season, guides book fast and far in advance.  


Once you’ve booked a few days with a guide you don’t need to worry much about fishing logistics. As long as you’ve got any items they recommend you bring packed, you’re ready to fish. The only legwork you have left to do is transportation and lodging, but keep in mind that just like guides, these things book fast! Plane tickets typically aren’t any trouble, but it does typically save money to book asap, which I recommend anyways just for the sake of having it done. Rental cars are a different story, especially since Covid-19 rental cars are no longer something you can count on being available on short notice, same with lodging! As soon as you book your fishing trip, take care of your transportation and lodging. Talk to whoever you book your fishing with about recommendations and ask if they offer any kind of inclusive packages. At The Tackle Shop we offer packages that take care of everything except transportation, and I get great feedback from clients I guide on how nice it was to not have to worry about anything beyond a plane ticket, rental car, and what bar they’re hitting after the river.  

At the end of the day, putting a little fore thought into these few things can ensure a fun and stress-free trip. It all comes down to a bit of planning and effective communication with whoever you’re booking with. If you can stay on top of these few things, you’ll have a stress-free, care-free, and most importantly fun trip.  



Fishing Reports and Trips

  • Fishing Reports

  • Want to know the most up-to-date information to find where the fish are biting? The Tackle Shop Fishing Reports provide you with a comprehensive look at current water conditions, recent hatches and flow data from the U.S. Geological Survey.

  • View Reports
  • Float Trips

  • The Tackle Shop offers a range of full-day and half-day float trips in the Madison River Valley area. The trips are all-inclusive and cover files, rods, reels, waders and boots. Leave your worries behind and let us give you the fly fishing trip of a lifetime.

  • View Trips
  • Walk/Wade Trips

  • Enjoy one of our full-day or half-day walk and wade trips for a more immersive, slower-paced fly fishing experience. The Tackle Shop will cater to your individual needs so you are able to take in the sights and sounds of the best waters in Montana.

  • View Trips
Scroll to Top