Fly Fishing For Beginners

Missoula Fly Fishing Guide Scott Stanko

You’ve decided to approach the water with a fly rod in your hand. We think it’s a good idea. But as you begin your research in fly fishing for beginners, it feels like there’s a lot of information out there, loaded with opinion that sometimes clouds a simple path to get started with the right fly fishing knowledge and setup for beginners. The Missoulian Angler believes in an uncomplicated, common-sense approach to beginning fly fishing, and we’re going to start with some common sense right now.

We’re located in the heart of the best fly fishing for trout in the world, the Rocky Mountains. We focus on trout, because that’s where we live. There are many paths to learning how to fly fish, and the path we take is starting fly fishing for trout. If you live on the East Coast, and your quarry is Striped Bass, know that some of the information you find here might not be applicable to your situation. And that’s important, because all fly fishing is local. If you plan to enjoy fly fishing, it’s going to take a bit of practice. If you believe fly fishing can only be done in trout streams, you’re going to limit the fun you can have with a fly rod.

The Missoulian Angler has been in business for 35 years, and the staff we employ has a combined experience of over 125 years fly fishing from freshwater to saltwater species, across the country and around the world. We view our job as education, helping anglers of all experience levels get better. We know how to clear out beginners fly fishing misconceptions, and get right to the heart of the matter. We know how to break fly fishing down into understandable blocks of information, allowing a beginning fly fisher to burrow down into what’s important as you get started fly fishing. 35 years of angler education gives the Missoulian Angler the foundation to simplify learning to fly fish. There’s more to the story, but as you start fly fishing, it’s easier to work with smaller blocks of info. Make a foundation, then build. We’re here to build that foundation with the small blocks of info found at the bottom of this page. With that said, let’s go to the movies . . . . . . .

The Good . . . .

We could tell you why we love fly fishing, but we won’t. You’ll discover that yourself. What we will say is it’s a lifetime sport- a challenge that never ends. The skill set is varied and interesting, with so many opportunities for discovery. Trout are found in the most beautiful places, and every time you get to the water is a privilege. You never HAVE to go fly fishing, you always GET to go fly fishing!

The Bad . . . .

A lot of people sugar coat this- we don’t. It takes a monetary commitment to start fly fishing. You need a rod, reel and line. Waders and boots(depending on the time of year you fish). Flies- more than you think. Boxes for flies. Polarized glasses. Leader, floatant, tippet, dangles and a way to carry it all. Maybe a net. A license. A stupid hat. Gas money. Cigars (OK, those aren’t really crucial, but you get the drift). It all adds up. If you’re beginning fly fishing from scratch- no one lending or giving you tackle, at a minimum you’ll probably spend $500 in your first 365 days of fly fishing. It could be more.

Don’t say you weren’t warned!

The Ugly . . . .

As Brad Pitt works his way along the river, Shadow Casting beautifully in the reflected, dappled light on a soft summer day, you can feel the joy of fly fishing in your soul.

When you’re waist deep in water on a cold March day, surrounded by rising fish ignoring your fly, rain trickling down the back of your neck, your cast failing from the deadly combination of excitement and wind, fingers freezing as you try to remember how to tie a Surgeon’s knot, you start thinking this was NOT in the brochure.

Fly fishing isn’t easy. No one tells you this, but you’ve chosen the most difficult method of catching fish. It takes diverse skills and dedication to get self sufficient on the water. Be ready for frustration, disappointment, missed meals, cranky spouses/SO’s and a whole host of things you never even thought of when you happily bought your fly rod. Fly fishing is going to take some time and effort. But this is the most rewarding way of fishing in our opinion.

Still with us? Start clicking the boxes below to learn everything you need to know to start fly fishing!