Fly Tying

fly fishing, Montana hatches, bug hatches, fishing in Montana
Adelman, Jake
When to fish what in southwest MontanaFiguring out what the fish are eating is one of the hardest parts of fly fishing. Here’s a look at the best hatches around southwest Montana. Read more >>
Chubby Chernobyl, fly-fishing in Montana, dry fly
Way, John
Top ten fly patterns
McPherson, John D.
Tying the ghost prince nymph.
Bloch, Paul
The Yellowstone is a great place to fish streamers. Often, we’ll be running #4 sculpins or baitfish patterns sporting heavy lead eyes in front of a sopping wet bunny strip. This is often very effective for big brown trout, yet it cannonballs the water, spooking shallow water predators. Read more >>
Lum, Mike
It’s about that time of year when non-skier types start pining for the longer, warmer days of spring. With lingering sub-zero days, constant wind-chill discomfort, and icy roads, the jonesing can set in hard. Read more >>
Sculpted Streamer, Spring fly fishing Montana
Peavey, Beau
Streamers in the spring? You bet! As the water warms up, the bigger fish will be looking for a substantial meal. This is a great sculpin imitation for both pre- and post-runoff fishing on the Yellowstone or Madison. It can be dead-drifted, swung, or stripped. Read more >>
Armijo, Jimmy
When fall returns, so do the hatches of Blue Winged Olives (BWO). As with most fly patterns, this BWO cripple is an adaptation of many proven patterns—and possibly something I unknowingly borrowed from another fly tyer. Read more >>
Shark & Yankee Jim
If you’re looking for a go-to summer and fall attractor pattern, then look no further than the Purple Parachute. A long-time favorite among Missoula guides, this fly was fished west of the Divide for many years before making its way over the pass a few years ago. Read more >>
Kumlien, Kris
The Cheerio Plugger is a cool carp pattern that is similar, but with a few tweaks and an addition or two, to Jay Zimmerman’s Backstabber. I like this pattern better than Jay’s and it’s great for taking carp in every water condition, on lakes, ponds, sloughs, and rivers. Read more >>
Self, Willy
The Double G is a sweet little pattern that can be used any time there are midges clustering up on the water. It is a must from late fall all the way through to late spring—with its simple materials, it floats well and, like clustered midges, is easy to see. Read more >>
Kumlien, Kris
When I think of fishing in the fall, I think of one thing: streamers. There’s something almost romantic to a streamer addict about fall, with the leaves turning colors and fish getting aggressive as the brown trout begin their courtship. Read more >>
Bailey, John
The Tan Cicada Foam has proved very effective, especially as a second fly behind a salmon fly. In fact, last year I used this fly behind a large salmon fly pattern and caught more fish on it than on the larger fly. Read more >>
Shark & Yankee Jim
The Tungsten Bead Goomie Worm is a go-to fly in the spring. This worm pattern is great when the bugs aren’t hatching, the water is off-color, or the fish are slow and lethargic. Those truths said, let us also disclose that this fly pretty much works all the time. Read more >>
Jones, Gary
The spruce bud worm is no friend to the forests, but after a decade or so of this "late-summer-early-fall" phenomenon, trout everywhere are conditioned to the late-season treat. Read more >>
Self, Willy
The UV Chewy Crayfish pattern is a great year-round pattern on the Yellowstone and Madison rivers as well as our local lakes. Its lifelike movement, silhouette, and softness draw many species of fish—they like to chew on it for an extra second or two, allowing time to set the hook. Read more >>
Cowardin, David
When it comes to tying dry flies, nothing is more important than how realistic a fly looks and how well it floats. There are many fly-tying techniques that can produce an almost unsinkable dry fly, but they usually require large quantities of foam, animal hair, and hackle feathers. Read more >>
McKnight, Doug
A winter fly.
Spartas, Dale
100 Best Trout Flies for Montana Trout ($25; by Tom R. Pero and Ted Fauceglia, is a fascinating and beautiful little book with the best fly photographs I've ever seen. Read more >>
Rogers, Matson
I take no responsibility for this fly whatsoever. It's been around for several years, and guides continue to rely on it because it's just one of those patterns you can't do without. The Shop Vac, as the name implies, seems to hoover fish from all parts of the river or lake. Read more >>
McKnight, Doug
I can’t think of a more productive winter fly than this version of the Disco Midge. A good friend of mine from Victor, Idaho turned me on to it years ago, and countless good fish have fallen victim to its small, innocuous imitation. Read more >>
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