Our season usually starts March 15 and extends until November 1 depending on the weather. The high season is from June 15 to September 15.
On all of our guided trips including full and half day trips all rental rods, reels, waders and boots are provided. If you have your own gear, please feel free to bring it.
Our fly shop is just one long cast away from the world famous Madison River. We guide from the shop on the Blue Ribbon Madison, Yellowstone, Jefferson, Ruby, Big Hole, and Beaverhead Rivers. We also love to travel for great fishing and spend considerable time on the Missouri, Blackfoot, Bitterroot and Clark Fork Rivers depending on the season and hatches.
The one thing you can say about the weather in Montana is that it is non-typical and can change in an instant. Spring has warmer days with cold nights. The summer season we are consistently sunny and warm with highs in the 80's during the day and cool evenings. The falls are spectacular with warm sunny days and brisk nights. Remember to always have rain gear and a fleece jacket along no matter what the season.
Most fishing days start with guests arriving at the Tackle Shop. A hot cup of coffee is provided as we work to get your fishing licenses and take care of needed paperwork. Our guides will be picking out the flies you need for the day from the impressive selection. Once the flies, licenses and rental waders or rods are secured our guides will discuss expectations for the day as well as plans with you.
You will then leave the store with the guide for the river. Once at the launch location you will get your gear ready as the guide prepares the boat for the day. We will also do a quick casting lesson to freshen up your skill. After a quick boat safety lesson the float is under way. As you float the guides vehicle is moved to the take out location so that it is ready when they arrive. We usually stop multiple times during the day to fish a promising run and to have a delicious streamside lunch with table and chairs. Our guides are really proud of their lunches and many are nicer then you will find in a local restaurant. These are no soggy sandwich on Styrofoam lunches. We are constantly asked how do you pack all this in that cooler.
Once at the take out your guide will work to get the boat out of the water quickly while you store your gear. Our guides will return you to the store or any local hotel or lodging. Our full day trips are usually 8 hours on the water with half days about 4 hours of water time.
This is just a sample itinerary and we pride ourselves on being extremely flexible. Want to start late and sleep in great. Want to stay out late to hit the evening hatch we can do that as well. Need to be back in time for dinner with friends we can do that as well. Only have a few hours to get out on the water we can help.
Because we fish multiple river systems on both sides of the Continental Divide our species list is quite long. Depending on the river we choose to fish each day, we routinely catch Rainbow trout, Brown trout as well as Bookie, Whitefish, Grayling and Bull trout.
We provide all the gear you need for our guided trips free of charge. If you wish to bring your own gear here is a list of what we recommend.
Rods: We like 9 foot rods in either a 5 or 6 weights. We routinely fish both big dry and wet fly’s so the added length of a 9 foot rod comes in handy.
Reels/Line: We prefer floating line for most of our fishing. We also like weight forward line to help turn over big flies on short casts. For nymphing and streamer fishing out of a drift boat we really like Orvis Bank Shot line.
Sunglasses: You will need a good pair of polarized sunglasses. These not only let you see and fish better but protect your eyes from errant casts.
Rain Gear: No matter the weather forecast rain gear is a staple on our trips. A lightweight rain coat and pants will save you from being cold and wet during and after an unexpected shower.
Waders/Shoes: During the spring and fall we wear waders on our trips. Bring lightweight waders with felt sole boots. During the summer we usually wet wade. You can do this with just felt sole wading boots, sandals, or tennis shoes you don’t mind getting wet.
Camera: You will take a lot of pictures on your trip. Bring a quality camera with plenty of memory or film. Also bring a waterproof case. If you do not have one ask your guide to store your camera in a dry box or bag. If you do not bring a camera our guides routinely take pictures during your trip and these are available to you.
At the time of your booking we will send you a document titled You and Your Guide that answers these as well as other frequently asked questions guests have.
How long are your trips?
Generally our full day trips are 8 hours on the water with half day trips about 4 hours on the water. We are extremely flexible and our stock in trade is working with your schedule.
What rivers do you fish?
Out of our fly shop The Tackle Shop, we routinely fish the Blue Ribbon Madison River, Jefferson, Yellowstone, Big Hole, Beaverhead and Ruby Rivers. We also love to travel for good fishing and hatches and spend a good deal of time on the Missouri, Blackfoot, Bitterroot and Clark Fork.
I would like a casting lesson prior to the trip is this possible?
Yes. We do free Fly Fishing 101 classes each Tuesday, Thursday and, Saturday at the store during the summer season. We can also arrange for a private lesson for your group ahead of your trip.
I have never fly fished before, is this a problem?
We love teaching beginners how to fish. All of our guides are Orvis Endorsed and excel in teaching the fundamentals of fly fishing while making a fun trip.
What is provided?
On our trips we can provide everything you may need. This includes all rods, reels, waders, boots, flies, rain gear and glasses. We also provide a gourmet streamside lunch and drinks on full day trips. On half day trips we provide snacks and drinks. We cannot provide alcohol on our trips. If you wish to have alcohol along you must provide it.
In our group we have a non-fisherman that wants to go along, is this OK?
That is perfectly fine. The non- fisherman will have a great day in nature and will be a big part of your experience.
How much should I tip?
We get asked this a bunch. Our guides work hard each and every day and gratuities are completely up to the guest. Tip what you feel comfortable. As a general rule I suggest tipping the same percentage as if a restaurant exceeded your expectations.
How far is your store from Yellowstone National Park?
We are approximately one hour from the west gate of Yellowstone National Park in West Yellowstone. Our guests routinely combine their family Yellowstone vacation with a day of fishing.
Our fly shop, The Tackle Shop is located a long cast from the banks of the world famous Madison River in Ennis, Montana. We are located only an hour from both Yellowstone National Park and the Bozeman Montana Airport.
The Tackle Shop was established in 1937 and has been helping fly fisherman in the same location since that time. Many of our guests are fourth generation and have made the Tackle Shop their home on the Madison River. Stop by our website and read the fascinating history of the Tackle Shop.
There are more great fly shops in Montana than anywhere else in the world. What sets us apart is not just our history but or friendly attitude and world class customer service. Our shop staff and guides are all highly educated professionals who chose this profession because they excel at sharing their love of fishing and Montana with others.
Our fly shop is a full line Orvis dealer and if we do not have it we will happily get it for you. We also carry all the popular fishing and outdoor gear from many manufacturers. We pride ourselves on having the area’s most complete fly selection along with waders, boots, apparel and terminal tackle to keep you out on the water.
We are happy to be your Montana concierge. We book other activities such as hiking, horseback riding, white water rafting, airport shuttles and Yellowstone and Virginia City tours. We have a large list of lodging providers we work with to create your Montana dream vacation. From rustic all inclusive elegance to local clean hotels and guest ranches to the perfect camping spot we can help. Our local Big Sky/Ennis airport only a few miles from town, can handle most private planes and jets and we provide services right from the tarmac.
Come on down to the old west town with a serious fishing problem and walk through the same doors that fisherman have been walking through for generations, in the heart of down town Ennis, Montana. Look for the world’s largest dry fly on the roof.