Best Fly Fishing Packages For Beginners

At the Missoulian Angler, we are big fans of the fly fishing packages for beginners. So many questions are answered, so many problems are solved with an outfit. The line, backing and reel come pre-loaded on the reel, so you don’t spend hours learning and tying knots you don’t really need very often. The rod comes in its own protective case for rod and reel. The rod and reel are balanced for comfortable fishing, and with the technology being used in manufacture, these relatively inexpensive outfits are very good fishing tools.

Echo Lift Kit

The Echo Lift Kit, upgraded from the Base outfit, has been our most popular fly fishing kit for the novice angler. This is probably based on price, as the Lift Outfit is our least expensive of the fly fishing combo packages. It comes in a 9’ 5 or 6 weight, and as an 8’ 4 weight. All rods in the Base series are 4-piece rods, which makes storage and carrying a whole lot easier. The Lift Rod is a mid-action rod, comfortable to cast, well made and durable. The reel is a cast composite with a mechanical drag, and is set up with a left hand wind but can be switched to right hand wind. The backing is pre-spooled, and rigged with an average fly line. The leader is 9’4X. Simply remove the protective plastic from the reel spool and rod handle, tie on a fly and you’re ready to fish. We used these beginner fly fishing outfits for our teaching and rental rods for years- they are an exceptional value in a starting fly fishing outfit and comes with a lifetime warranty for the rod and reel.

Echo Lift Fly Fishing Package

Echo Lift Fly Fishing Package


5wt Recommended For Beginners

Echo Traverse Kit

The Echo Traverse is Echo’s upgrade in our novice angler choices of fly fishing packages. The Traverse outfits are available in a 9’ 4, 5 and weight rod outfits. The rod is a bit faster than the Lift, but not so much that it becomes difficult to cast. The biggest upgrades in the Traverse kit are in the reel and line. The reel is the Echo Ion. It’s a cast metal for better durability as well as closer tolerances. Cast metal reels are a superior option to a cast composite reel because of the closer tolerances.

It’s the line that has received the biggest upgrade in this fly fishing package. The Traverse line is a couple of steps up in quality from the Lift fly fishing kit. It’s a more durable, higher floating line than in their other kits. Because the line is so critical in fly fishing performance, we feel the higher price represented by the Traverse is often worth the additional expense for an outfit that performs at a higher level directly out of the box. As with the Lift Kit, the rod is correctly balanced, and the reel comes spooled with backing, line and leader, again in a left hand wind. This fly fishing package also has a lifetime warranty for the rod and reel.

Echo Traverse Kit

Echo Traverse Kit


5wt Recommended For Beginners

Mangler Fly Fishing Package

At the Missoulian Angler, we are fans of the Douglas fly rods as well. New for 2022 is the ERA rod, available in a 5 and 8 weight. We are pairing the ERA rod with the Echo Ion Reel, a Scientific Angler Mastery fly Line, backing and a Rio 9’ 4X leader and offering this as an exclusive Mangler fly fishing kit. The ERA rod is an excellent casting rod, utilizing all we’ve come to expect from Douglas in every rod they make. The Frequency line is high floating and durable, and we’ve chosen it as the best value in a fly line. Please note the MAngler ERA fly fishing package does not come in a Rod/Reel case- the rod tube holds only the rod., and the reel will need to be stored separately. The same applies to the next fly fishing package listed as well. The Mangler fly fishing combo package reel and rod both come with a lifetime warranty.

Mangler Fly Fishing Package

Mangler Fly Fishing Package


5wt Recommended For Beginners

Mangler Fly Fishing Package 2.0

For the angler looking for a step up from the basics, we are offering a fly fishing kit based on the Douglas LRS fly rods. Available in many line weights and lengths, we are pairing these rods with a Lamson Liquid fly reel, spooled with a Scientific Angler Mastery fly line. This kit is more expensive than an introductory fly fishing outfit, and the quality will show. The LRS rod has proven to be a shop favorite, while the Liquid is our number one selling reel, based on price and performance. The Mastery line is SA’s top of the line from 20 years ago- it worked well then and it works well now. Again, the reel will be spooled with the appropriate backing, and will come with a leader attached so you’re ready to go fishing. Like all of our fly fishing packages, the rod and reel comes with a lifetime warranty.

Mangler Fly Fishing Package 2.0

Mangler Fly Fishing Package 2.0


5wt Recommended For Beginners

Echo Gecko Fly Fishing Package For Kids

Another outfit that bears mentioning is the Echo Gecko kids fly fishing outfit. The Gecko is designed for the junior angler, and is perfect for anglers in the age range of 3-10 years old. 7’9″ and a 4 weight, the Gecko rod has a narrow handle for smaller hands, and a small fighting butt/handle that a younger angler can use to add strength to their cast. Hey, two hands for beginners! If you have a young angler coming up, the Gecko kids fly fishing kit is the way to go. The Echo warranty is very good, so if an accident does befall the rod, all is not lost.

Echo Lift Fly Fishing Package

Echo Gecko Kids Fly Fishing Package


5wt Recommended For Beginners

Selecting a Fly Rod

We talk about these fly fishing packages from the standpoint of a beginner, but can say with all confidence these are excellent fly fishing tools. There are many other species to chase with a fly rod other than trout like bass and pike to name a few, but not everyone wants to drop $700 on a rod and reel for a species they might not target more than 2-3 times a year. We would have no hesitation in recommending an 8 weight outfit for those couple of times a year a pike or bass rod might be required. For those with less need for a heavier weight rod, the 4 weight outfits offer a great introduction into a lighter rod without breaking the bank. For most trout fishing, the 4 or 5 weight options are usually the best all around option. 4 weight for smaller streams and 5 weights for larger streams.

Since The River Ran Through It, fly tackle technology has advanced geometrically from what had previously been available. Rods, reels and lines have undergone incredible advances, and what was once considered cheap and less effective has morphed into fishing tools that work exceptionally well. The only place this doesn’t apply is if you are venturing into the salt for the first time. The rod and the line are fine- it’s the reel that might be problematic. The reels that come with the outfits aren’t designed to withstand the corrosive effects of salt water. They will work in an emergency, but you had better REALLY clean them after fishing, or you’re going to have a problem on your hands.

Today’s outfits are wonderful pieces of equipment- well thought out, with performance far exceeding their relatively modest price. 30 years ago we couldn’t say this, but we can now. Like every industry, fly fishing benefits from trickle down technology and the beginning angler will be very well served by the fly fishing combo kits available today.

Mangler Fly Fishing Starter Kit

Fly Fishing starter kits are a fast track to getting started correctly, and we’ve developed other bundles to streamline the beginning fly fisher’s journey. For someone looking to get started in fly fishing correctly, we built the Mangler Fly Fishing Starter Kit. It begins with a 3-pack of 3X leaders, gel floatant, tippet in 3, 4 and 5X, a box of 2 dozen flies that work in all areas of the country, 2 indicators, nippers and forceps. With this fly fishing starter kit, an angler can step into the water knowing they have what’s needed for a successful day on the water. We’ve designed this fly fishing kit to take the guess work out of starting fly fishing. It can be a tricky and intimidating process, entering fly fishing, and this fly fishing Kit can remove a lot of question marks, as well as saving a few bucks when purchased as a unit.

Mangler Fly Fishing Starter Kit

Mangler Fly Fishing Starter Kit


Great for beginners who are getting started in fly fishing

Montana Brown Trout

To net, or not to net, that is the question

Oh, to own a boat! Then using a net is not a question, because fly fishing nets with a rubber/silicon bag are a fish saving, time saving device on the water. A well-designed net allows you to land fish so much faster than hand landing, saving the trout’s energy for the best release. You’re back in the game much faster, because you’re not fighting a fish for 5 extra minutes better spent catching another fish you need a net for. The shallower rubber bag is the perfect platform for hook removal, and the unused hopper or dropper won’t stick in the bag as you remove the fly that worked from the trout’s mouth. In short, nets save time, reduce fish mortality and simplify hopper/dropper release. Fishing Nets makes a great holding pen before taking a picture- keep the net/fish in the water until ready to shoot, sweep the trout up and snap your shot. A healthier fish goes back to the river.

Despite all the positives a net has, the net can create as many annoyances as it does solutions for the wading angler. I remember struggling to carry a net in my youth. Attached to my vest under my left arm or on my back, the net bag found every branch and shrub along the river. When I carried it in easy reach, it was in the way as I fished. When I carried it where it wasn’t in the way, then I couldn’t reach it when needed. Net carrying was a dilemma. Then I learned about The Brookie, made by the Brodin Company, famous for their oil rubbed wooden nets. The Brookie was approximately 13” in length, and was advertised to hold a 20” fish due to the size of the net bag. Perfect! Tiny to carry, and it holds huge fish!

Well do I remember the first time I went to use that net on a big fish. I got the fish close, whipped out the net, and then just stared at it. The opening of the net was about 6” across- the fish was about 17” long. Not a good fit. In order to get the fish properly led into the net, I was going to have to fight it to exhaustion. I stared at this silly piece of tackle for a second more, then dropped it (couldn’t throw it as it was attached with a magnet/bungee- more on that later) and landed the fish the old fashioned way. Never used that net again.

It was a lesson learned. You don’t often truly need a net when fishing. Most of the fish we catch can be brought to hand quickly and released easily. But when you need a net, you need a NET. Not some tiny piece of tackle designed for easy carry, but a net that can easily swoop up a thrashing 18” fish. The bigger the opening, the more effective a net is. And therein lies the rub. The bigger the fly fishing net, the trickier it is to carry. That’s been made trickier by the new sling packs and fanny packs.

When I started fishing, anglers used a vest. The conventional spot for a net was on the back of the vest, handle down or handle up. Each had their proponents, and many clips/magnets were designed to hold the net while not in use, with a piece of bungee cord holding the net to the clip. You quickly learned to stop bushwacking when you felt a tug on the back of your vest. Take two more steps, and the net freed itself from whatever separated it from clip, and came ripping into the back of your head propelled by the bunjee cord. These different clips are still in use today, and other than the bushwacking thing, work very well.

But with sling packs and fanny packs, carrying a fishing net has become trickier. Net manufacturers build wading nets with longer handles that balance better when stuck into a belt. I’ve not mastered the sling pack yet, but they have net attachment points and I know anglers who use them with their slings. They make it work because having a net is important to them.

You can get a rubber bagged wading net starting about $35, and they go up from there. The less expensive nets for fly fishing are made of wood and then varnished. The varnish protects the wood from water, right up until you chip the varnish and then the net falls apart due to water damage. An oil finished wooden net lasts much longer, but needs some off season maintenance. Now the better nets are being made from graphite and tubular aluminum, and are completely impervious to water. Those will last until you lose them.

So let’s talk about losing tackle on the water. We all do it, and many of us find things on the water as well. Fly boxes, sometimes a vest or rod/reel but mostly gink and forceps. 99% of the tackle lost on a river doesn’t have a name or phone number on it! I know if most anglers found a fly box or vest with a name and number on it, they would get it back to the owner. But without that info, who’s going to go to every shop in town and put up a notice- tackle found.


A box with 40 flies in it is worth $150. Fishing Nets can be $250 for a boat model and we all know how much rods and reels are. Take a piece of masking tape and a sharpie and put your number on the expensive stuff. It will come back to you. But without that info, it’s gone for good. Something to think about, especially with nets. They get put down while releasing fish, or put down because you’re working a run and don’t need to carry it and next thing, it’s forgotten. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

I carried a net with me for the first 20 years of my fly fishing career. I carried it until the negatives outweighed the positives. How did I define that? As I started fly fishing, my fish were few and far between. When I hooked one, I wanted to land it- I wanted to touch it and hold it up to look at it. I wanted it caught, and a net gave me such an advantage in that area. Especially the rare larger fish that I didn’t have much experience with. The net made sure I didn’t lose it at my feet, when the fight got real- I could net it when it was merely frantic, not ballistic from me grabbing it. It was so worth having a net with me.

As I gained more experience, and found myself actually learning to play fish to a point of release, I found myself going less and less to the net. I was able to handle larger fish safely and quick without a net, and over time, the net became less and less useful, until I finally stopped carrying one. Which is not to say that about twice a season, when faced with a fish much larger than I usually see, I don’t wish I had a net with me. But I’ve made that decision, and I might not land that fish. It’s on me. It’s a balance of comfort on the water versus the few times I really want it, and I’ve made my choice. I still have multiple nets I could pull out and use- I just don’t.

That’s the mathematics of carrying a net for fly fishing. They make landing fish a snap, especially big ones. If you want the photo op, a net is a critical piece of equipment. It’s a bit inconvenient, but then, really, what in fly fishing isn’t! Experiment with different ways of carrying it- Missoulian Angler has a few different net attachment implements. PUT YOUR NAME ON IT. It’s going to get forgotten at least once- give yourself a chance to get it back. The fish will thank you for carrying a net, it makes their lives easier.

Final thought. If you fish with a buddy who doesn’t carry a net, and you do, make sure you fish far enough away so you can’t hear them yell, ”Hey, I need this fish netted!”

Hooks Hat Co

Stop Losing and Scratching Sunglasses

I can’t say I’m all that excited to write this blog. The Suncloud Sunglass is an excellent mid priced polarized glass, made by the Smith Company. They’re an excellent value in polarized glasses, and we sell quite a few pairs during the season. Glass lenses and quality frames make the Suncloud our best selling polarized eyeglass.

Our SunCloud sales are going to take a hit when people catch on to Chase Harrison’s Hook Hat system of keeping sunglasses on your head when on the water. Chase had gotten tired of losing his sunglasses on a fairly regular basis, and who could blame him. For those without prescriptions, it’s a very easy thing to do. When not needed, anglers put their sunglasses on the brim of their hat, held on by the pressure of the arms squeezing against the head. Hit a decent seam, or forget and take your hat off, and those glasses are gone to Davy Jones Locker, or at least to the bottom of the river.

Chase began by designing a hat with Velcro sewn onto the cap in strategic places. He paired them with slide on bands of Velcro for the arms of the glasses. Now, the glasses are velcroed to the hat. The Velcro system can be utilized when the glasses are being worn by holding the glasses tight to the face without riding down the bridge of your nose, or when they’re lifted out of the way and resting on the bill of the cap. Bumpy riffles and memory lapses no longer mean the glasses hit the river, as the Velcro holds the glasses to the hat. Chase has a very nice line of hats with the HooksHat logo, and they’ve proven very popular with our angling and recreational floating customers.

But what if the HooksHat isn’t your lucky fishing hat? Chase has solved that as well. He’s taken the main Velcro components and packaged them into a neat, simple pack, allowing you to turn any baseball cap you own into a HooksHat. The kit comes with two pieces of stick on Velcro and two bands for the arm of the glasses. Now you can wear your favorite fishing hat and save your sunglasses at the same time.

If you’re a “hat dunker”, someone who dips their hat in the river on a hot day, you might want to put a few stitches into the stick-on Velcro to keep it in place after repeated dunkings. Take a look at the photo of the HookHats so you can see the correct placement of the Velcro along the rear of the hat.

The Velcro band that encircles the arm of the glasses looks uncomfortable, but it’s not when worn correctly. Keep the Velcro band as far back as you can, and you won’t feel the Velcro when being worn. As an angler who wears prescription glasses, the pupillary distance is affected when the glasses are worn attached to the Velcro, so it may take a moment to adjust to the different focal lengths.

The HookHats saved a lot of glasses last year, and with the addition of the conversion kit to the line, many more glasses are going to be saved. There’s very little more annoying than spacing out and flinging your glasses into the water. Makes the rest of the angling day longer and less efficient, while adding an unexpected cost as well. The HookHats and conversion kit are designed to keep your sunglasses where they should be, on your head.

Sunglass retainer systems like Croakies and chums get the job done but can be very annoying to deal with and doesn’t help the fact that when wearing your sunglasses they tend to ride down the bridge of your nose. Check out Hooks Hat Co. by clicking here and try them for yourself.

Fly Fishing Floatant 101

You think to yourself, does anyone really think about fly fishing floatant? Heck, in this industry, Gink is a noun and a verb! Most people come in, say I need some floatant, we hand them something and off they go. Looking at flies or doing something more important than thinking about the stuff that keeps the fly floating. But as everyone who’s been in a fly shop knows, there’s a lot more to think about than the old tried and true. And keep in mind, as we talk about this stuff, it might be used for the same purpose, but it’s different stuff in the bottle. Each of the different floatants we carry have their champions. If one isn’t working for you, don’t be afraid to try something else. Of course, nothing is going to keep a dragging fly afloat, so keep that in mind as you tend to your leader!

Gel Fly fishing Floatant

Of course Gink works. So does Aquel and High and Dry gel floatant. Those are the ones we carry, and there’s a lot more out there as well. They all work, and they all work pretty much the same. You start with a DRY fly. That means a fly that hasn’t gotten wet yet. Because all these paste floatants work in the same way, they waterproof the fly. The best way to use them is to get a little on the tips of your fingers, and lightly coat the fly with the paste. You’re NOT trying to saturate the fly with these pastes. You can waterlog a fly with Gink as easily as you can with water. Resist the temptation to squirt a dollop on your fly and work it in. It will make the fly sink.

Liquid Fly Fishing Floatant

Fairly new to the consumer market are the liquid floatants, like Fly-Agra and High And Dry Liquid Floatant. Angler have been mixing Mucilin and lighter fluid for years and using that as a liquid floatant as well, but truthfully, these work a little better. First off, the bottles actually seal, so the stuff doesn’t run all over your vest. Mucilin and lighter fluid leaves a permanent stain, and no matter how tightly you seal the baby food jar, the lighter fluid eats at the seal and at some point, it leaks. The newer liquid floatants don’t have that problem.

To use a liquid floatant, you take a DRY fly, attach it to your leader, and dip it in the bottle. Swish it about a bit, and pull it out. Shake the excess back into the bottle, and give the fly a few quick flicks through the air and give it a minute to dry. The liquid evaporates quickly, and the fly is completely coated with fly fishing floatant. That’s the difference between Fly-Agra and Gink. The main ingredient in Fly-Agra evaporates, so your fly isn’t saturated any longer. Gink doesn’t evaporate, so a full soaking doesn’t get it done.

Fly-Agra can be used on the water because it dries so quickly, of course. But it’s even more effective when you pre-treat your flies the night before. Some of our Missoula fly shop guys keep a wide lid jar on their tying bench about half full of Fly-Agra. Once you’ve got a few flies tied, take a pair of forceps, clip the fly by the hook bend and dip it in the goo. Pull it out, and then rattle the forceps off the inner edge of the jar. This knocks the excess off. Then use the forceps to stick the fly in some sort of drying rack (We often use a Styrofoam cup with something in the bottom to keel it) and let it dry. DO NOT forget to put the flies in your box the next morning. We’ve never done that, of course, we just read about it in a magazine!

It works better because most of the actual floatant stays on the fly. No matter how gently you flick your fly on the water to dry it, your fly is traveling at a tremendous speed when the fly curls back during the cast. Applying High And Dry Liquid Floatant prior to use allows all the fly fishing floatant to stay on the fly. Hareline makes a product called Watershed that is specifically designed for pre-treating flies at the bench, and it’s fantastic.

Powder Fly Fishing Floatant

You can also buy different dessicants, which is fancy for a dust that absorbs water out of the fly. They seem to have started with people taking the crystals packed with electronics and grinding it up. Boy does this stuff work on a saturated fly, defined as a fly that’s become waterlogged, or worse, schmucked by a 4” Squawker! The dust will pull the moisture out and revitalize the sodden fly.

If you’re using a fly with CDC in it, the dust is almost a necessity. Paste fly fishing floatants don’t always work well with CDC, because if the paste is over applied it will matt the CDC feather, rendering it useless. Fly-Agra and other liquids will work on CDC, but you really want to flick that stuff out on the drying casts, again to eliminate matting. The only exception to this is Lochsa Floatant, by Loon. It is absolute magic on CDC, and is what many in the shop recommend for CDC flies. That stuff really works.

We carry a couple of different dessicants, Shimizaki and Frogs Fanny, and they are used in a completely different way. The Shimizaki has a wide lid- you drop the fly in, close the lid, and shake the bottle around. The dessicant pulls the water out of the fly. As the Shimizaki gets a bit grainy, meaning the fine powder has been removed, Missoula’s best fly fishing guides will pour a bit into the palm of their hand, rub the fly against it in their palm, and return the unused portion to the bottle. Shimizaki is designed that way. If it was all dust and no granules, it would over adhere to the soaked fly, and not last as long. The larger Shimizaki chunks are designed to crumble into dust as the bottle is shaken.

Frogs Fanny is a different style of dessicant. It resembles flakes, and comes in a bottle that has an applicator brush in the cap. Hold your soaked dry fly, dip the brush into the bottle and use the brush to push the Frog’s Fanny into all the nooks and crannies of your fly. The brush gets the Frog’s Fanny into places the dust doesn’t always penetrate. A good thing. Frog’s Fanny is very light, and on a windy day, it sometimes feels like no flakes get from brush to fly. A bad thing. Again, both have their adherents. Both standard Shimizaki and Frogs Fanny are white, and the dessicating process leaves a white dust on your fly. Not a bad thing with PMD’s and Golden Stones, but they do turn your Ants, Beetles and BWO’s a bit lighter in color, which some find annoying. Shimizaki us available in a dark dun color, so when the fly leaves the bottle, it’s the correct color. Some use the Shimizaki because it doesn’t blow away in the wind. Others use the Frog’s Fanny because the brush gets the dust where it needs to be, and uses less on larger flies. Again, try them out and see how they work for you. But, it must be said that the Shimizaki lasts longer than the Frog’s Fanny.

A quick note on Frog’s Fanny. It also has a refracting quality about it that works as an attractant to fish. Many times we will hit a fly with Frog’s Fanny, and have a fish take on the next cast. Re-Frog, and another fish. Take this a further step, and it applies to nymphing as well. Many of the Tungsten Jigs, like the Howell’s Shuck It Jig or the Tactical Fast Water Prince are collared with CDC hackle. If you take the time to dress your nymph with Frog’s Fanny, the CDC retains its air capturing qualities, and is more attractive to the fish. It can be a bit of a pain in the tuckus, dusting every 4-5 casts, but in that perfect seam, or when the fish have lockjaw, every little bit can help.

Final Thoughts

There are certain flies that require specific applications of floatant, such as a Half Down Stonefly or a Sprout. (Flies For June)These are flies where only half the fly receives floatant. The paste floatant has traditionally been used on these flies, as it is a lot more accurate in its application. However, some have taken to putting Fly-Agra into an old Frog’s Fanny bottle, giving them a brush to apply the liquid floatant to specific areas of a fly. Pretty good thinking, as far as we’re concerned. The Frog’s Fanny itself can also be applied to specific regions of a fly as well, utilizing the brush.

So when you stop by our Missoula Fly Shop for floatant, we may just hand you a bottle and say good to go. And you will be! But there are a lot of floatant options out there. Each one is extremely good at what it does, though they don’t all do the same thing. You’ll find the best guides fishing in Missoula have 2 or 3 floatants with them at all times, and there’s good reason for it. While one will get the job done, it might pay to expand your floatant selection. You’ll find your fly floating longer and higher if you do!

Missoula Fishing Report

Missoula Fishing Report 9/9

Missoula Fishing Report

September 9th 

rainbow hope

Hope with a nice bow she hooked into

Fall fishing has arrived! In addition to this fabulous news, FWP has uplifted any and all restrictions on our beloved rivers! The North Fork, as well as all Blackfoot tributaries, are Hoot Owl-free. Although we are still in the midst of some transition with our summer and fall hatches, the fishing is absolutely killer and we finally got rid of the smoke. We have nothing but good news for the fishing community today. The brown trout are getting eager to spawn, meaning they are more aggressive than they have been in quite some time. Go find out for yourself! On a side not, the water is clearly cooling down drastically. There is no need to rush out on the water like we were during the dog days of summer. It isn’t until nine or ten that the water temps drop to a decent point- and that is when the magic happens. Streamer game is starting to get really hot, as well as the terrestrial game- on all of the rivers.

Blackfoot River: Good Mayfly fishing, especially on cloudy days. Look for big fish foraging in the tail-outs of the deep runs. Try some mayfly patterns in the morning to early afternoon. Size 16-20 comparaduns, olives. Size 16 mahoganies, purple haze, and royal wulff. As before, beetles, hoppers, and ants have been a great option. Chuck some big heavy streamers and you’ll have a chance at getting a hefty fish- be sure to bring both bright streamers and dark ones.

Clark Fork River: Tricos are still hatching! Mayfly patterns on overcast days. Look for fish on those skinny inside seams. The hopper-dropper rigs are good in heavy water. For tricos, try size 18-20 (don’t forget your readers folks), hi vis spinners, olives 16-20, as well as cripples/spun dun. Size 14-16 mahoganies and red rocky mtn mint flies. Again, 6-10 hoppers have still been doing really well throughout the afternoon. We like peach!

Bitterroot: Great am trico hatches… Mayfly stuff in the afternoon. There aren’t many hecuba but they are not and the fish are looking for them. For tricos, size 18-20. For hecuba, cripples, and parachutes, go with 10-12. Mahoganies 14-16, olives 16-20. The terrestrial game is alive and thriving! Parachute hoppers are a great option. Try dark streamers!

Rock Creek: The morning seems to produce mainly risers. Again, don’t waste too much time wetting your line before about 9 am. Try some bigger mayfly patterns… 12s and 14s. Mahoganies from 14-16, and size 10-12 hecuba and royal wulff. Terrestrials: hoppers, ants, beetles. On Rock Creek, look for some wood, logs, etc. to throw these bugs. The fish will be expecting them near those! As for nymphs, throw rubberlegs and worms. We are digging the yellow streamers on The Creek– but be sure to throw some sort of streamer, as the fish are chomping on some big flashy stuff.

In The News:

-Simms outerwear 20% off!

-G4 Boa boots 20% off!

-The MAngler


Bitterroot Brown Trout

Spring Gear Essentials

Missoula Spring Fishing can be a walk in the park. Or not. A lot of the time we see weather. Wet weather, Cold weather, Windy weather. A lot of unfavorable conditions can roll over the mountains quickly. To enjoy a day on the water in the spring you have to be prepared. Prepared with layers, gear, and fishing equipment.

This is  a quick run down of some of the Essential Gear we have here in The Missoulian Angler Fly Shop right now to make your time on the water chasing Skwalas and Trout more productive and enjoyable.

Costa Del Mar Cat Cay

Glasses: New Glass can be a life changer. In the often dark light that spring time comes with it can be hard to see. If you are still wearing the same beat up glasses your wore last hopper season it might be time for some new ones. The new Costa Del Mar Glasses we have here in the shop are amazing. The 580G lenses really seem to make thing look “HD”. If you are in the market for a new pair of shades check out the new Costas. It’s money well spent. In my opinion, the most important piece of fishing gear you own are your glasses. Just ask any Missoula Fishing Guide what they couldn’t spend a day without, and I bet their answer will be their glasses.


HydroFlasks: I can’t talk about these enough. They really are amazing. Stop buying water bottles, thermos’s, and growlers that wear out, break, and don’t work. These things are bomb proof. If you want to keep your beverage hot or cold all day, buy a HydroFlask. I have 3 of them and I never get on the water with out them. They now have a pint glass as well. All the badass features of a normal Hydro, in a pint glass. What more do you want.

Montana TechWool

Simms Montana TechWool Zip Top : From Simms… “A requisite layering piece from Simms’ Montana Wool collection, the new Techwool Zip Top uses local ranch and farm sourced wool fibers for a moisture-dumping, heat-holding beast true to the company’s Made in Montana roots. The clean-wearing top features insulation against the elements thanks to 21-micron wool fibers, while a fleece-lined collar and flatlock stitching provide ultimate next-to-skin comfort for versatile performance on and off the river.” This is an awesome new layer that not only preforms on the river, but it looks nice enough that you can wear it to Plonk or Lolo Peak Brewing for a beverage when you get off the water.

The Other Stuff:

Fly-Agra. It’s a no brainer. If you haven’t switched over to it you are doing yourself a disservice. This stuff is amazing. I will bet you a dozen Skwalas you can’t find a Missoula fly fishing guide bag without Fly-Agra.

The New Zealand Strike Indicator: If you want precision in your nymphing game this should be in you bag of tricks. This system works. If you have bee on the fence about trying it out, just do it. I promise you won’t regret it.

Hoo-Rag: We are now carrying Hoo-rag here at The Missoulian Angler Fly Shop. The newest Seamless Bandana. We have a custom print that looks pretty awesome. You have been inside all winter and if you are anything like me, you look like you haven’t seen the sun in a long time. Don’t let your nose and ears get roasted during a day on the water. They are also great at keeping the wind burn down. If you plan on spending a season on the water, get one. Your ears and nose will thank you.

Flies: We have ’em! Some people say we have the largest fly selection in Missoula. We have over 60 different Streamer patterns and more skwalas than you know what to do with. If you are looking for an awesome fly selection come check ours out. It won’t disappoint. And if you can’t find the bug you have spent years looking for, we do custom fly tying. Just give us an idea and we will crank ’em out for you.

Well there it is. Some spring time gear that makes your day fly fishing in Missoula a little bit better. There is a lot more in the shop that I don’t have time to mention. You will just have to come over and check it all out.

-The MAngler

…Because you fish