Fishing out West

Thread starter #1

J-Rod

Senior Member
Alright Gents. Fairly new to fly fishing. Have gotten bored catching trout on power bait and a rod and reel. The wife tells me today we should plan a trip to fly fish out west together.... Heck yeah! I know this site is geared to GA fishing but can anyone shed some light on fishing for trout in Montana, Wyoming, Or Utah. That’s where she wants to explore first so I’m not poking the bear on this one. Colorado will follow after these. Should we go with a guide or cross our fingers and DIY? If so, any recommendations on a guide? I’ll need a new fly rod to go out there. My hand me down South Bend from my FIL isn’t worthy of such a trip. Any info is appreciated fellas. Looking forward to doing this with the wife. Looking at going next summer sometime. Thanks in advance.
 
If you're new to fly fishing, and you are going to the expense of heading out west, I would definitely hire a guide. First of all, he will usually provide all the equipment-rod and all. Second, you will learn a lot if you pay attention, and will get a better idea of what equipment you need to buy to do it yourself.
 

Triple C

Senior Member
Alright Gents. Fairly new to fly fishing. Have gotten bored catching trout on power bait and a rod and reel. The wife tells me today we should plan a trip to fly fish out west together.... Heck yeah! I know this site is geared to GA fishing but can anyone shed some light on fishing for trout in Montana, Wyoming, Or Utah. That’s where she wants to explore first so I’m not poking the bear on this one. Colorado will follow after these. Should we go with a guide or cross our fingers and DIY? If so, any recommendations on a guide? I’ll need a new fly rod to go out there. My hand me down South Bend from my FIL isn’t worthy of such a trip. Any info is appreciated fellas. Looking forward to doing this with the wife. Looking at going next summer sometime. Thanks in advance.
Just fished the Lower Provo River in UT last month. Stayed in Park City, which is now very touristy, but still has old mining town flavor. Definitely hire a guide. I'd recommend a float trip. Only a few guides do it but it is similar to fishing Alaska where you cover a lot of river and have a good chance at 20 plus inch bows n browns. Where we were at, if you don't float then you're basically bank fishing and just casting the same run for several hours. Pretty boring. River was very crowded. It's just about all public land out there. I absolutely loved the float trip. Caught a 22" bow. Didn't care at all for the bank/wading fishing. Felt like i was on a pay per pound pond.
 

Cmp1

Senior Member
There's some good Trout fishing up here in N MI also,just saying,,,,I don't personally trout fish but would like to learn to fly fish,,,,
 

northgeorgiasportsman

Moderator
Staff member
Guides deal with beginner fly fishermen all the time. They consistently put people on fish, regardless of their level of expertise.

There's all kinds of water out there, and practically all of it has trout in it. Big water, little water, it doesn't matter. Take what gear you have and find a place to use it. If your budget can stand it, by all means, walk into one of the many great flyshops out there and let them outfit you and your wife. If not, don't think your hand me down rod isn't "worthy" of the trip. If it catches fish here, it can catch them there.
 
Just fished the Lower Provo River in UT last month. Stayed in Park City, which is now very touristy, but still has old mining town flavor. Definitely hire a guide. I'd recommend a float trip. Only a few guides do it but it is similar to fishing Alaska where you cover a lot of river and have a good chance at 20 plus inch bows n browns. Where we were at, if you don't float then you're basically bank fishing and just casting the same run for several hours. Pretty boring. River was very crowded. It's just about all public land out there. I absolutely loved the float trip. Caught a 22" bow. Didn't care at all for the bank/wading fishing. Felt like i was on a pay per pound pond.
I'm the exact opposite. I don't want to be in a boat, but some folks love it. I usually cover several miles in a day wading. Maybe two-three casts in one hole, and I'm gone. I'm not going to fish the same run all day.
 
Guides deal with beginner fly fishermen all the time. They consistently put people on fish, regardless of their level of expertise.

There's all kinds of water out there, and practically all of it has trout in it. Big water, little water, it doesn't matter. Take what gear you have and find a place to use it. If your budget can stand it, by all means, walk into one of the many great flyshops out there and let them outfit you and your wife. If not, don't think your hand me down rod isn't "worthy" of the trip. If it catches fish here, it can catch them there.
This also. You don't need an expensive rig to catch fish. I catch thousands of trout every year on flies, and have for decades. I don't own a single expensive rod.
 

Triple C

Senior Member
I'm the exact opposite. I don't want to be in a boat, but some folks love it. I usually cover several miles in a day wading. Maybe two-three casts in one hole, and I'm gone. I'm not going to fish the same run all day.
You're not in a boat. You're in a raft. 70% of your fishing is wading. Maybe 30% from the raft while floating to the next run. Guide knows the river and floats to proven runs. Exit raft and wade the run.
 
You're not in a boat. You're in a raft. 70% of your fishing is wading. Maybe 30% from the raft while floating to the next run. Guide knows the river and floats to proven runs. Exit raft and wade the run.
Most of the time, I would rather fish the creek that you can't get a raft, boat, or other craft on.
 
Thread starter #10

J-Rod

Senior Member
Well it sounds like guided is the way to go. That’s what I figured. If the guide will provide gear I will def use his stuff and see what I will really need and prefer before making a purchase myself. Any further info is still welcomed and any recommendations for a guide service would be great as well. Thanks for all the help so far.
 

Triple C

Senior Member
Most of the time, I would rather fish the creek that you can't get a raft, boat, or other craft on.
NCH - You are a rare breed. Someone could blindfold you...drop you into the wilderness out west and you'd read the hatch and be catching trout within minutes with your own hand tied flies.

Us up n comers that took this sport up late in life wouldn't know how to read water if our life depended on it need all the help we can get, including someone to not only tell us what fly to use but also tying it on. :oops:
 
NCH - You are a rare breed. Someone could blindfold you...drop you into the wilderness out west and you'd read the hatch and be catching trout within minutes with your own hand tied flies.

Us up n comers that took this sport up late in life wouldn't know how to read water if our life depended on it need all the help we can get, including someone to not only tell us what fly to use but also tying it on. :oops:
I wish. :)

Actually, the smaller streams are much easier than those big ones that have constant pressure, guide traffic, and a drift boat going by every five minutes. The fish in there are the ones that are going to be hard to catch.
 
Two that I encountered a few years ago that I would recommend would be:
Wild trout outfitters in Big Sky, MT, &
Three Rivers Ranch in Warm River, Wyoming.
Didn’t actually use them as a guide service, but it was my first time trying to fly fish and I popped into Wild River for some advice. They asked me to bring my setup in and they rigged it up with their gear at no charge and provided some flys to me that were good for the time of year. They gave me very sound advice and areas that I should target in the are while there.
Although I didn’t catch anything on the fly, I feel they were very helpful and honest and would use them if ever back out that way. The fish were definitely there, because I cheated and broke out the backup spinning rod and caught my first brown and a few rainbows.
Similar experience with TRR. Great group of guys that were very helpful and knowledgeable.
I really don’t think there’s a way to have a bad experience out there regardless. It is absolutely beautiful out there. Just taking it all in is worth the trip in and of itself!
One lucky guy to have a partner that wants to experience this as well. My wife could care less about going back out there. I personally can’t wait to go back!
 

Dean

Senior Member
Just a warning....fly fishing anywhere out west is addictive...I have been going every year for the past 30, there are too many waters to fish in a lifetime in just MT, then add WY, UT, CO...just my suggestion: 1) determine the dates (pay attention to spring run off) 2) determine the area and if it is 100% fishing trip or some mix of sight seeing - non fishing days and fishing 3) determine if you are camping (tents), RV, hotels, motels, lodges 4) determine if you want easy access water (by the road) or if you want to hike a little (include miles max) 5) determine if you want a float or walk and wade guide trip - lakes, big blue ribbon rivers, smaller tribs streams....
Anyway, you have literally 1,000's of options between MT, WY, UT, CO. Maybe focus on the "type" of trip and experience after you determine area...
As far a gear - its a "what is your budget?" type thing - not unlike most things - you can get in entry level ---or anywhere in between entry level and high end. Several manufacturers offer combos, but I would suggest spending more on the rod, the reel is not as important on most rivers out west: start research by looking for 9' or 8'6" 5WT, find you budget and go from there.
 
NCH - You are a rare breed. Someone could blindfold you...drop you into the wilderness out west and you'd read the hatch and be catching trout within minutes with your own hand tied flies.

Us up n comers that took this sport up late in life wouldn't know how to read water if our life depended on it need all the help we can get, including someone to not only tell us what fly to use but also tying it on. :oops:
I have fly fished for decades, and consider myself fairly good at it, at least small-stream fishing. But, if I could afford it, I'd probably still hire a guide a couple times a year just to learn some new tricks, techniques, improve my casting, or any number of things. Old dogs still learn new tricks if they pay attention and don't get to thinking they don't need to learn other things. :)
 
What time of year are you planning on going? May and early June can have swollen streams due to snow melt. August can get into low water if you are heading to an area with irrigation. Do not leave Idaho out of your possible locations. The South Fork of the Snake coming out of Palisades Reservoir is an awesome tail water and the Teton River is a spring creek.
 

flyrod444

Senior Member
I would recommend a good bit of practice before going. Get someone local to help you work on your casting skills and hit the local water for trout or bream to practice SETTING the hook and casting. Setting the hook correctly is by far the hardest part of flyfishing for most new flyfisherman. Your trip should prove to be better if your skill in these two areas are improved before. It is best to learn casting from someone who knows how to properly so you don't learn bad habits. One last thing is make sure and practice some casting on moving water. Big difference between casting up stream and line drifting back towards you and casting on pound or lake.
 

Triple C

Senior Member
practice SETTING the hook and casting. Setting the hook correctly is by far the hardest part of flyfishing for most new flyfisherman.
You said a mouthful there. For someone that grew up trying to yank the head off of a bass when setting the hook, it's a whole different ballgame in setting the hook on a trout when flyfishing. 1st instinct is to set upstream and hard. Lose the fish every time. Happened to me several times on recent trip. Old habits die hard.
 

Buckstop

Senior Member
You said a mouthful there. For someone that grew up trying to yank the head off of a bass when setting the hook, it's a whole different ballgame in setting the hook on a trout when flyfishing. 1st instinct is to set upstream and hard. Lose the fish every time. Happened to me several times on recent trip. Old habits die hard.
Man, did I learn fast that was the steepest part of the curve. My first fly-fishing trip to the San Juan in NM a couple years back I did a lot of that in the little bit of time we dry fly fished. Even worse was my reaction time while nymph fishing. Those fish see so many presentations, they only have the fly for a mili-second. Fortunately, there was a ridiculous amount of bites to work with. Day 1 was pretty embarrassing, but the guide was patient. Day 2, it started to click a bit. Guide was worth his weight in gold, for sure.
 

TurkeyH90

Senior Member
Yes, get a guide if you are new to flyfishing. Im not a rod snob by any means but I will tell you that the wind blows hard and often out west. Different ballgame than fishing some of these creeks and small rivers in Ga. A cheapo rod will make the learning curve a little more difficult. For the most part I found the fish easier to catch out west than in GA. Way more water that hasnt been beat to death if you are willing to walk a little.
 
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