Orvis-Endorsed Fly-Fishing Outfitter in Preston, Minnesota

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The Driftless Fly Fishing Company

Orvis-Endorsed Fly-Fishing Outfitter

Phone icon507-327-4276 Phone icon435-454-3737 Email icondriftless@minnesotaflyfishing.com Link iconminnesotaflyfishing.com
208 St. Paul Street
Preston, MN 55965
PO Box 573
Preston, MN 55965

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The Story

Enlist the Orvis-endorsed Outfitter Driftless Fly Fishing Co. for your next fly-fishing adventure in Minnesota. The Driftless Fly Fishing Co. is located in Preston, Minnesota, known around the state as "Minnesota's Trout Capitol." The South Branch of the Root River has been designated as one of Trout Unlimited's 100 Best Trout Streams in the USA and flows right through town just a block from the fly shop. Mel Hayner, owner of Driftless Fly Fishing, has been fly fishing for over 40 years and stalking trout in the Driftless area for 25 of these years. His passion for the spring creeks and the streams of Minnesota started the first and only Orvis- Endorsed guide service and fly shop in the area in 2013. Since then, the shop has grown into a gathering place for like-minded people and recruited a top-notch crew of guides who grew up in this area and know the water better than anyone. His sister Monta is the first female guide out of the shop. She has mentored many other women anglers in Fly-Fishing Women of Minnesota, becoming an Outdoor Woman with Minnesota DNR, and Trout Unlimited.

Located in a restored 1905 building in downtown Preston, the Driftless Fly Fishing Co. supports chapters of TU in Iowa, Minnesota, and The Twin Cities in youth education and habitat improvements. Moreover, the Driftless Fly Fishing Co. actively supports the Fly Fishing Women of Minnesota, Fly Fishing International and Veteran's groups. Special regulations and a growing catch-and-release ethic continue to improve the fishing in these streams, often called "undiscovered gems." We are now offering drift boat float trips for smallmouth bass and trout! Join us for the experience of a lifetime in Minnesota's Driftless Area.

What is Provided:

The Driftless Fly Fishing Co. provides all Orvis loaner gear, flies, tackle, transportation, and streamside picnic or grilled lunch at no extra charge on each trip.

Gear Recommendations:

If you bring you own fly rod, a 8'6" 5-wt. is a good all-around rod. A 7'-7'6" 4-wt. is sometimes a better choice in small streams and tight situations where a short, stealthy, accurate cast is needed. We provide top Orvis rods if you don't bring yours. Waist-high waders are usually high enough but convertible waders make you more flexible. Wet wading can be done but the water is cold and some noxious weeds like nettles and wild parsnip can harm your legs.

What to Bring (Additional):

You might want to bring your canoe or kayak. The Driftless Fly Fishing Co. also rents Jackson kayaks and shuttles your boats at a reasonable price. It is good fishing the entire float.


Minnesota has year-round catch-and-release, artificial-only trout fishing in all three state parks (Whitewater, Beaver Creek and Forestville/Mystery Cave), and in waters within the city limits of Preston, Chatfield, Spring Valley, and Lanesboro. Winter catch-and-release season on all streams starts January 1 and goes until the traditional, second Saturday in April when the regular season begins until September 15.
Smallmouth bass varies in dates from May through September and catch-and-release into February.


Wild brown trout and native brook trout grow large on the cold, clear streams dense with caddis, mayflies, stoneflies.

Rainbow trout are stocked regualry in areas with more pressure and give opportunities for youth and beginners to catch trout.

Smallmouth bass are great fun on a fly rod in nearby warm-water streams like the Upper Iowa and North Branch of the Root River.


Hundreds of springs seep from he limestone bluffs of SE Minnesota and provide consistently cold, clear water for the ultimate trout habitat. Hardwood forests and towering bluffs create the unique beauty of the Driftless region. Through efforts of Minnesota DNR and organizations of anglers, public easements on private land provide access to the hundreds of miles of awesome trout water in SE Minnesota. This type of bio-dense, highly-oxygenated water is rare in the world. Bicycle trails follow many of the waterways on old railroad routes for the non-angler or bicyclist who wants to bring the rod along.

Typical Weather:

Spring: March-May. Can be cold, might snow, very few anglers and hungry fish.

Summer: Warm days, cool nights, very few mosquitos due o mostly moving water. Can be hot and humid but streams remain cool due to springs.

Fall: September-November. The colors are breath-taking and hopper time can be the best chance for trophy fish on a dry fly. Cool weather but great fishing.

Winter: December-February. Year-round winter fishing can be challenging but the beauty and solitude of spring creeks in winter can be worth it. Above-freezing days make it bearable and sometimes produce midge hatches and rising trout.

Rates start from: $350 daily. You can find all pricing information at: https://www.minnesotaflyfishing.com/guided-trips.html

Additional Activities:

The Root River State Bike trail draws hundreds of visitors along the river in the summer. Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park is just eight miles from the shop and offers cave tours, hiking, bird watching, and naturalist programs for families. It also has camping and some rustic cabins.


We can tailor a trip to suit your abilities and interest. Family and group outings are one of our strengths. We can accommodate large groups for fly-fishing school, reunion, or outing. April through September, you can keep a few trout to eat which helps maintain a healthy fisher. Our guides will clean and pack them in ice for you, if you like.

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