Fins & Feathers, MT

Orvis-Endorsed Fly-Fishing Outfitter in Bozeman, Montana

Fins & Feathers, MT

Overview

Fins & Feathers is a full-service fly-fishing outfitter and fly shop, centrally located just west of downtown Bozeman, Montana. We offer guided trips that range in duration from a simple half-day outing to all-inclusive lodging packages. Montana fly fishing is a unique experience - one that draws fly fishers from around the world - that truly does offer something for everyone.

Bozeman is the perfect base of operation as there is simply no place like it in terms of diversity of accessible wild trout waters. We have everything from technical spring creeks to the longest free-flowing river in the lower 48 (the Yellowstone River), all just a short drive from our fly shop. Whether you are new to fly fishing or a well-seasoned expert, our guides work tirelessly to provide an exceptional guided experience that has had clients returning year after year for over 10 years.

Date Range

We are open and operate guided trips all year long. Advance reservations are suggested for guided trips from April 15 - October 15, although we are often able to provide professional guides with shorter notice as well. We have some great winter fishing in the area as well, and last minute bookings are the norm for trips in November through February.

What is Provided to Customer

We provide everything except a valid Montana fishing license and private water access fees (when applicable). Our clients can enjoy complimentary use of waders, boots, rods, and reels whenever fishing with one of our guides. In addition, our guides provide all of the terminal tackle and flies as well.

Region/Terrain Where You Fish

Our central base of operation is out of our fly shop located just a few miles west of downtown Bozeman. Although we guide Montana fly-fishing trips across the state, Bozeman is our home and we consider the surrounding watersheds our “Home Waters.”

There are year-round fly-fishing opportunities for fly fishers of all skill levels on most of our local waters. From big western rivers to the smallest of spring creeks, the various watersheds around Bozeman offer a diversity of both fisheries and landscapes that you won't find anywhere else. Bozeman fly-fishing opportunities are best characterized by drifting or wading on large western rivers such as the Gallatin, Yellowstone, Madison, and Jefferson Rivers. The area attracts anglers from all over the world in search of wild trout and an amazing Montana fly-fishing experience. In addition to the more well-known rivers, there are dozens of small streams, spring creeks, and medium-sized rivers that often offer solitude and a more personal experience on the water. The overwhelming abundance of quality, wild trout fly-fishing waters near Bozeman makes it possible for us to guide just about every day of the year. Whether you're a seasoned fly fisher or new to the sport, the endless opportunities that can be found near Bozeman have something to offer everyone. Come see us in Bozeman and learn firsthand what makes fly fishing in Montana something that every angler needs to experience at least once but brings many others back year after year.

Our guides fish throughout the region and know these waters as well as anyone, which, when combined with their professional and friendly demeanors, makes for a Montana guided fly-fishing trip like you've never experienced before! We work hard to make sure that each of our trips focuses on our guests and ensuring that they have a great time and learn a few things while catching some wild trout. Your satisfaction and safety are our only priorities—we were awarded the 2010 Orvis-Endorsed Outfitter of the Year as a result of our ability to deliver a terrific guided fly-fishing trip to hundreds of folks every year.

Typical Weather by Season

Our most popular season is during the summer, which runs from mid-June through mid-September. Evening temperatures dip into the high 40s with daytime highs being comfortably in the mid-80s to low 90s. Clear nights and mornings are often the rule with brief afternoon thundershowers being common throughout July and August.

We think of the fall fishing season beginning with shorter days and cooler nights that typically start to grab our attention with some frost in the mornings and snow in the mountains. Usually this starts sometime in mid-September and lasts through late October. The temperatures can range wildly this time of year with daytime highs in the 70s one week, followed by a few days where the thermometer barely rises above freezing. One can expect everything from sun to snow this time of year, so be prepared for just about anything. This is one of the preferred times of year for experienced anglers, as both insects and fish are exceptionally active just before winter settles.

Winters are long and cold in Montana, but each year can be quite different than the last. Our guiding is limited to walk and wade trips this time of year, as ice on the rivers can make for dangerous and difficult floating conditions. The good news is that we have access to some great spring-creek fishing, which makes for some fun winter dry-fly fishing, even on the coldest days. Spring weather in the area is much like fall except that the days get longer rather than shorter. We typically consider spring to start in mid-March and runs through early June. This is usually the wettest time of year, with snow or rain a few days most weeks, with mild daytime highs in the 50s or 60s being the expected norms.

Itinerary

Sample of Typical Itinerary

We meet at our home base, Fins & Feathers of Bozeman's fly shop, located just a few miles west of downtown Bozeman at the intersections of Highways 84 and 191. Here, our guides and guests talk together to determine the best destination for the day and get geared-up for the day ahead. The guide will already have lunches, drinks, and ice for the day ahead so everyone loads into the guide’s vehicle and heads out for the day. Typical drive time is about 30 minutes each way, but sometimes will be less than that while other days a longer drive of up to an hour can be expected. If we are floating, we will typically cover 8-10 miles of river a day and fish new water everyday with clients booking multiple days. Wade-fishing trips will usually also cover a lot of water in terms of stream miles, so be prepared for a healthy walk if this is your preference. As our guides are on the water just about every day and understand the variable water and weather patterns, we always recommend letting the guide pick the locale of the day as they will try to bring it all together to ensure that our guests have a great experience in terms of finding some fish while learning more about the area and fly fishing in general.

Gear

What Should Customers Bring?

  • Fly rod: 8½- or 9-foot medium- to fast-action 5- or 6-weight rod.
  • Fly reel: adjustable drag reel with 75 – 100 yards of backing.
  • Fly line: weight-forward floating line matched to your rod.
  • Waders: breathable stockingfoot or bootfoot.
  • Wading boots: felt or rubber soles (no studs); sandals for warm weather.
  • Flies: general trout assortment.
  • Polarized glasses: amber, copper, or brown lenses.
  • Hat: ideally a brimmed hat for sun protection.
  • Lightweight long-sleeved shirts: nylon, cotton, or a blend of the two fabrics.
  • Lightweight pants: quick-drying nylon is best, zip-offs are great for warm days.
  • Fleece: medium to lightweight tops and bottoms for layering.
  • Rain gear: a breathable/packable coat.
  • Jacket: warm outerwear jacket with full sleeves.
  • Gloves: sun gloves in the summer, fingerless fleece gloves in cold weather.
  • Sunscreen, lip balm, insect repellent
  • Camera
  • Sunglass retainers and cleaning cloth
  • Basic medicines
  • Backpack or duffle for boat
  • Neoprene socks for warm-weather wading
  • Snacks for the boat

Fly Shop

Our Fly Shop

Fins & Feathers is located just a few miles west of Bozeman at the intersection of Highways 191 and 84 (Four Corners). Whether you are coming from Bozeman or the Gallatin Field, we are right on the way to just about any fishing destination in southwest Montana. Make us your first stop on the way to the river and you’ll be sure to get everything you need, along with some helpful advice. In addition to a complete selection of gear and accessories for the fly fisher, we also rent gear, sell licenses, and offer guided fly-fishing trips across the region.

We are the largest Orvis dealer in the region and stock a wide range of fly-fishing goods from a variety of other manufacturers as well. Our fly shop is really focused on the angler—so you won't find feather earrings and camp mugs on our shelves. We are committed to the gear, flies, and tackle elements of fly fishing. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff is here to help you get everything you might need for an enjoyable and successful day on the water.

There are a lot of choices in regards to fly shops in southwest Montana. What sets Fins & Feathers apart from the competition is our friendly approach to customer service. Our emphasis is on helping our customers—both in the shop and on our guided trips—make the most of their limited time on the water. We invite you to come and check us out the next time you're in the area or heading out to the river!

FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions


Q. What should I do prior to the trip?
A. We recommend that you touch base one week prior to your scheduled trip departure. This time is used to coordinate the meeting time and place of your first guided day with Fins & Feathers. Also, this is the perfect time to make any special requests regarding diet, type of fishing, length of day, and any need for rental equipment (use is complimentary).

Q. What do the guides bring?
A. Guides provide just about everything you need in terms of fishing for the day. Please let us know in advance if you will be taking advantage of our complimentary use of rental equipment such as waders, boots, rod, or reel. Flies are included in the price of all guide trips. Lunch and non-alcoholic beverages are provided on full-day trips.

Q. What if I have questions along the way?
A. You can give us a call anytime at 877-790-5303; leave a message after hours and we'll get back to you first thing in the morning. Also, check out the rest of our site for getting up-to-date information on fishing reports, upcoming events, and general information about the area.

We are now on Facebook as well at Fins and Feathers—become a fan and stay connected!

Q. How does the deposit and final billing work?
A. We require a 50% deposit in order to secure all reservations. This deposit is fully refundable with at least 2 weeks advance cancellation. There is a $50 rescheduling fee for any changes made to existing reservations within 2 weeks of the guide trip. The balance of your guide trip is due at the completion of your trip. We accept all major credit cards, checks, and cash for payment. Also, we are happy to split the final bill between members of your party.

Q. Are gratuities customary?
A. Our guides are among the best in the area and work as hard as any guide anywhere. They rely on gratuities to supplement their income and help defray operating costs such as fuel, lunches, and shuttles. If you feel like your guide did a great job and worked hard, please consider rewarding their efforts upon completion of your trip. Gratuities are at your discretion and anything is always appreciated, we recommend $100 a day for a job well done.

Reviews

Overall: 4.7/5 starsShow Rating Distribution 4.7 / 5 based on 22 reviews

5 stars 5-star:
20
4 stars 4-star:
0
3 stars 3-star:
1
2 stars 2-star:
0
1 star 1-star:
1

21 of 22 reviewers would recommend this product to a friend.

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    Great way to start fly fishing - 7/9/2014
    By: from Payson, UT, USA

    My daughter and I had never fly fished before last week. I was advised by some old fly fishing pros that a guided trip was the best way to start. So, back in February, I worked with Toby Swank (the owner of Fins and Feathers) to pick a good time (first week of July). Turns out the advice and the timing couldn't been more on target. Our guide turned out to be Ben Jantzen - he was outstanding. Very practical and no nonsense, but also very enthusiastic and most of all, a great teacher. We floated the upper and lower Madison for two days. Even though our primary objective was to learn the basics of fly fishing, he managed to ensure we also caught fish as well. He knows every inch of those rivers. In any line of work, it makes all the difference when someone is just doing their job, or if its their passion in life - Ben is definitely in that latter category. We were both exhausted mentally as well as physically at the end of both days, but in a good way. I feel a little like a beginning golfer who just took some lessons from a great pro - sudden move from the unconscious incompetence stage to the conscious incompetence stage! Great foundation, and saw enough of the goal to be committed to getting to the next couple of stages. Oh, and a little about the Madison - we happened to catch the beginning of the salmon fly hatch the second day on the Upper Madison. My, what an experience - might have spoiled us for any other river for awhile! All in all, a great life experience and worth every penny.

  • 1/5 stars 1/5

    crude owner,better places in bozeman for flygear - 5/21/2014
    By: from tuscon, az

    While in bozeman, mt for a week vacation I visited fins and feathers on three occasions. The first visit was nice. The younger guys there seemed pleasant enough. But on the second visit there was an older guy there speaking crudely to the other workers. I don't think he realized I was in the store because the language he used was completely unprofessional. Not to mention rude to guys he was ridiculing. He left quickly afterwards. The third day we went into fins and feathers I asked the guy behind the counter who that was, expecting to hear him say a guide. To my disbelieve it was the OWNER. I can guarantee ill never enter this shop again with the other shops available

    Response from: Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing Operations
    Posted: 7/14/2014 10:50:05 AM

    Jeff - I would like to personally let you know that I am embarrassed and regretful for your experience with Fins & Feathers of Bozeman. We are a close group of folks here at the shop and tend to treat each others more like brothers than coworkers at times. I am very fortunate to have such an amazing staff and I truly appreciate all their efforts. We do sometimes get after each other with inappropriate words from time to time, but it is all meant in fun, I can see how that may be hard to see from the outside looking in, but trust that all of my employees are happy with their careers and enjoy working in this fun and enjoyable workplace. More than anything though, I wanted to apologize to you for making you feel uncomfortable in our friendly and easy going fly shop. Toby Swank - Owner

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    A Yellowstone River High - 7/7/2013
    By: from Bellingham, WA, USA

    My son and I had the great fortune to fly fish with guide Steven Rendle of Fins & Feathers of Bozeman for two days on the Yellowstone River. Although we had no fly fishing experience to begin with, Steven was extremely knowledgeable and patient teaching us. Before too long we were catching fish by the bucket loads. We hit the river during the annual salmon fly hatch and were fortunate to catch all four species of trout ; as well as each other on occasion when the wind was temperamental . We had an excellent trip; Steven was the best and we hope to be back with him again this fall.

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    Best Two Days of Fishing Ever - 5/26/2013
    By: from Ennis, MT 59729, USA

    This was our first trip on the Missouri. OMG it was fantastic, lots and lots of big Rainbows and Browns, Our guide wasToby Swank owner of Fins and Feathers, he always put us on the fish and gave us extra chances of catching more fish by rowing back up the river, Great trip, hopefully we can plan this again for next year, Toby be ready!

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    2013 - 5/23/2013
    By: from Missouri River, Montana, USA

    Toby is the most awesome guide, always gets us on big fish and lots of fish. Toby goes the extra mile by rowing back up an area where the fish are running. He gives great instruction and not too much. The perfect guide for two 70year old crazy for fishing and Toby women.

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    Wish I were still there - 5/23/2013
    By: from Atlanta, GA

    Spent three days on the Mo around Craig, MT with Feathers and Fins. Absolutely splendid fishing - I wish I were still there. We had great action from put-in to take-out and cordial help from great guides all along. Streamers, dries, nymphs... with a nice show of rainbows and browns to reward our flawless presentations :-). Feathers and Fins expertly planned the trip and ensured a good time for all skill levels and ages (30 to 70!) in our party. When are we going again? Are we there yet?

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    Mighty Missouri Mayhem - 5/22/2013
    By: from Bozeman, MT, USA

    Toby Swank is a fantastic guide and was always able to get to where the fish were holding! Best trip ever with lots of very good-sized fish. Terrific instructions and much good cheer!

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    Better than expected! - 10/12/2012
    By:

    This was my first trip to the Bozeman area to fly-fish. I have read and heard it is a great location for all types of fly fishing. I was not disappointed one bit. My guide was Steven Rendle, who over the course of the day I got to know very well. He is a bright young man willing to teach and explain all of the attributes of the Madison. We started out the morning on the Lower Madison and we had plenty of company. I counted at least 12 boats launching from the same spot. I was a little concerned with all of the traffic, but Steve explained we would have plenty of chances. We let the other boats move on down stream as we talked about what the day would bring. I don’t recall having any issues the entire day with traffic; it was if we were on the river all alone. I was able to land two 21 inch rainbows, which were absolutely gorgeous. I also had too big hits which I was unable to land, but it was worth the trip to know there are some big boys in there. Steven made sure we worked an area and if we had a few hits, we went back up and tried it again. I do not get out as often as I want, so when I do I want to get the most fishing in that I can. I typically hire the local guides to help me achieve the best chance of catching a fish. I have to say Steven did an outstanding job and has a bright future in the guiding service. He is very personable and will not disappoint you. I will be back to Montana for more…

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    Guided Fishing Yellowstone R - 10/5/2012
    By: from Augusta, Ga

    Charlie Napoli was our guide and was a very hard worker, and helped us catch fish. He had a great sense of humor and was just fun to spend that day with. I would definitely go again with this outfit and Charlie if available.

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    Great Trip and Great Guide - 10/4/2012
    By:

    We do a self guided MT trip every year this year we decided to finish the trip up with a float. We floated the lower Madison with Charlie and Paul from Fins And Feathers and man did we have a great time. There was three of us we took two boats had mixed skill levels me and my wife were on one boat and the guides were exteamly patient and helpful i will definately fish with them again

Fins & Feathers of Bozeman
Orvis-Endorsed Fly-Fishing Outfitters
Toby Swank
81801 Gallatin Road
Bozeman, MT 59718
877-790-5303
406-586-2188

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