Orvis-Endorsed Fly-Fishing Outfitter / Fly Shop in Missoula, Montana

3.3 out of 5 Customer Rating
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Blackfoot River Outfitters

Orvis-Endorsed Fly-Fishing Outfitter / Fly Shop


Phone icon406-542-7411 Email icontrout@blackfootriver.com Link iconblackfootriver.com
275 N. Russell Street Suite 1
Missoula, MT 59801

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The Story

Blackfoot River Outfitters is a family-run business located in the heart of trout fishing paradise. Owners John Herzer and Terri Raugland are experienced guides and outfitters who have worked the waters of western Montana for more than 20 years and guided around the world. Our guides know the water, the fish, the hatches, the wildlife, and the landscape. With over 400 river miles within an hour's drive of Missoula, we're able to choose among the dozens of floating and wading options to ensure that, regardless of season, you have a great time and a great opportunity to catch fish. Blackfoot River Outfitters is keenly aware that their livelihood depends on clean water and healthy fisheries. Blackfoot River Outfitters actively supports catch-and-release fishing and habitat preservation.

Date Range

Blackfoot River Outfitters' typical guide season starts about mid-March and ends mid-October, give or take (weather dependent).

What is Provided to Customer

Blackfoot River Outfitters provides everything needed to have a great day of fly fishing: rods, reels, flies, shuttle, transportation, and a great riverside lunch. You will just need to have a valid Montana fishing license for the day.

Region/Terrain Where You Fish

Take out an atlas. Find western Montana. See all those wavy blue lines? That, in brief, is why there's no better place on the planet to fly fish for trout than Missoula, Montana. The Bitterroot, Big Blackfoot, Clark Fork, and Rock Creek are our meat and potato rivers, but our operation plan includes a host of other famed waters including, but not limited to: the Big Hole River, Smith River, Missouri River, Dearborn River, Beaverhead River, and Georgetown Lake. Most of these rivers are both floatable and wadeable, although we run 90% of our guided trips from either a raft or a driftboat.

Typical Weather by Season

Missoula, Montana's fishing season is quite long when you consider the opportunities of the spring and late fall fishing here. Our season usually starts mid-March with Skwala hatch—it's the first stonefly of the year and can be some of the best dry-fly fishing of the year. Spring weather fluctuates rapidly here—snow, rain, hail, cloud cover, bright sun—you name it, we've seen it. Typically though, it's cooler in the morning (waders, light jacket for attire) and then warms nicely throughout the meat of the day (t-shirt with waders) and then cools again toward evening as the sun sets over the mountains. Summer weather is usually pretty pleasant with temps ranging from the high 70s to low 80s in June and early July. Mid to high 80s and low 90s throughout late July and August are about standard with an occasional rain shower in the afternoons in July. Fall is about as good as it gets weather-wise in Montana. September starts out nice and warm, getting cooler throughout the month—typically temps range in the 70s to low 80s on a warm day. October is when we really break out the "gear" for weather; earlier in the month is usually still pleasant, but as we hit the second week of October, we notice the fishing window of opportunity is much smaller due to a lack of warmer temperatures throughout the day. Our guiding season typically concludes about October 15 due to cooler weather and a lack of bug activity.

Frequently Asked Questions


Q. What is a typical gratuity?
A. Guide gratuities range anywhere from 15 to 20 percent.

Q. Where is the closest airport?
A. Missoula International Airport is located in Missoula and services many hubs.

Q. What do you provide?
A. We provide all the gear and flies on our guided fly-fishing trips.

Q. What rivers do you guide?
A. We guide the following area rivers: Blackfoot, Bitterroot, Clark Fork, and Rock Creek as well as many others located in other drainages.

Q. Do you use driftboats or rafts on a float trip?
A. Most of our guides have both rafts and driftboats for floating.

Q. What weight rod will we be using?
A. A 9-foot 5-weight fly rod is standard for fishing our area rivers and lakes.

Species You Fish for by Season

Montana rivers are full of healthy, wild trout. We do not stock our rivers and practice catch and release on all of our guided fly-fishing trips. Westslope cutthroats, rainbows, browns, and bull trout are among the species caught in western Montana.

Our Fly Shop

Blackfoot River Outfitters is a full-service fly shop located in Missoula, Montana.

What Should Customers Bring?

Montana rivers are full of healthy, wild trout. We do not stock our rivers and practice catch and release on all of our guided fly-fishing trips. Westslope cutthroats, rainbows, browns, and bull trout are among the species caught in western Montana.

Sample of Typical Itinerary

Trip itineraries vary depending on the individual. We cater to most any trip and itinerary folks are interested in. Our guides are well versed in full-day, half-day, and overnight fly-fishing trips. A typical guide day starts about 8am, meeting at our fly shop or local hotel, fishing throughout the day, and finishing up anywhere between 5:30pm and 7:30pm, depending on river conditions and weather.

Rated 5 out of 5 by from BEST Fly Fishing Outfitter in Missoula Blackfoot River Outfitters is simply the BEST. We've fished with the same guides the past few years and have nothing but positive things to say. I'm hesitant to name them for fear that they may be booked in the future, but I'll accept the risk and HIGHLY recommend that you fish with either Kurt or Ricky. They are both incredibly knowledgeable about the rivers, they know where every big brown and rainbow trout is lurking, and are phenomenal teachers. In fact, this last trip, I told Kurt I wanted to learn how to read the water and he took the time and care to teach me what he looks for. He even quizzed me at the end! He's also the hardest working guide I know. He will row backwards time and time again to catch the big brownie he knows is there or to give us more opportunities to catch hungry fish. Kurt and Ricky love being out on the water and have a clear passion for what they do, and ensuring their anglers have the best time while out on some of the most beautiful rivers in the world. Don't even think twice about it. Book your trip today, and while I believe all guides with Blackfoot are excellent, our personal experiences is with Ricky and Kurt, who we absolutely love and will continue to fish with for years to come.
Date published: 2021-04-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great time We just had a great trip with BRO and there guide Ryan. The experience was wonderful the equipment is first rate and I can see a 9ft 5 wt fly rod in the future. Thanks for the good time
Date published: 2020-07-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Clark Fork 7/21/20 Absolutely outstanding float down the Clark Fork with Evan Youngblood Tuesday 7/21/20. My second time using Blackfoot River Outfitters and floating with Evan. Epic scenery, time on the river, absolutely stunning fishing. The Pike was a bonus I wasn't expecting, added to the experience of the float. I cant' recommend Evan and Blackfoot River Outfitters enough. Class acts, all around!! Till next July!!
Date published: 2020-07-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outfitter of every year First BRO is the most professional shop you will ever deal with. The manner in which they handle booking, accommodations, and communication is easily the best we’ve seen in forty years of fly fishing. Sage advice has always been “Listen to your guide” and that’s even more critical when you fish with BRO. Why is that? It’s because they have the most knowledgeable and competent guides around. If you are lucky enough to get in the boat with John or Kurt you will not only catch fish but have an extravagant shore lunch and a chance to converse with interesting and intelligent sportsmen who also possess great senses of humor. We not only recommend BRO, we’ll say it’s a terrible mistake not to use them
Date published: 2019-08-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The best BRO trip Yet and that say a ton. The best review I can give is that our trip to Missoula Montana every year is a direct result of having Blackfoot River Outfitters as our guide service.. I am so fortunate as to be able to travel all over the world fishing, but I rarely repeat the same locations more than once or twice. BRO is one of those exceptions. Once you fish with wonderful folks at BRO you will know exactly what I mean. Once again, fishing the week of July 1 thru 7 with BRO, left us with so many more amazing memories, laughs and great fishing/life adventures than when we arrived.. There is an amazing history and training with BRO that is transferred down to each of their guides. The level of customer service is off the hook great. The guides make each and everyone of us feel more than just clients.. From the very first bookings with BRO, more than two decades ago, we became part of the BRO family and that really means something...When others guides or visitors to Missoula find out we are being guided by BRO, they all say Kudos for choosing such a conservation minded and brilliant outfitter/guide service.. Last but not least, everyone area should stop into the well stocked Blackfoot River Outfitters fly fishing store in Missoula where advice and customer service are freely given from a vast source of knowledge.. The store has everything you need to fish the area and so much more. VERY IMPORTANT:If you are anywhere near Phillipsburg, Montana, You will do yourself a huge favor by going into the BRO store known as Flint Creek Outdoors (An amazing fly fishing store) and order up some coffee and advice.. No question, FCO now has the best coffee in Montana.. You will not believe the quality of the Cappuccino/espresso machine as well as how welcoming the store is.. I was blown away... Once again, BRO customer service comes in many forms but Maaaan, a great cup of amazing coffee, be it fancy or straight coffee, before fishing is AWESOME!!!.. Thank you once again for giving us such an amazing experience. I already am looking forward to next year.
Date published: 2019-07-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding Customer Service Myself and 7 of my friends recently floated/fished the Smith River with Blackfoot River Outfitters. The trip was outstanding!! John, Pete, Kurt and Leo worked very hard and were exceptional fishing guides. Chase, Ryan, and Robert worked very hard and made meals and camp first class. The scenery along the river was spectacular. I would highly recommend the Smith River trip with Blackfoot River Outfitters to anyone!!
Date published: 2019-05-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from First rate guide service! What awesome time fishing with John. Professional, patient and fun to be with. He really knows every hole that the fish are in. Great lunch next to the river. Would definitely recommend these guys to any level of fly fisherman.
Date published: 2019-03-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great trip ! Fished with a group of 30 anglers from Chicago in late September for 3 days. Our group had approx. 15 guides each day from Blackfoot River Outfitters. Guides were very competent & friendly. Fished different rivers each day. Entire trip was extremely well organized by John Herzer and his people.
Date published: 2018-11-12
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