Fly fishing out west

noelg11892noelg11892 Posts: 210 Deckhand
Hey guys so im very familiar with inshore fly fishing but for my graduation my fam is wanting to take a trip starting in washington to wyoming, montana, yellow stone places like that. I just wanted some input on what gear i would need to do that? I have 2 8wts but i feel like that is too big for that area. I dont have set plans so i dont know what rivers or areas exaclty i would be hitting. All i know is it would be june. 


  • MistermtdMistermtd Steinhatchee Posts: 76 Greenhorn
    Depends on what your fishing but for trout a 4/5 weight is probably more appropriate.  As to rivers there are tons of sources.  Check out the rocky mountain fly highway app for beta on a bunch of rivers in the Idaho/Montana/Wyoming area.  
  • mustang190mustang190 Posts: 10,104 AG
    A good site,
    I'm going in September, can't wait!
    2013 Pathfinder 22 TE , 150 Yamaha,
  • noelg11892noelg11892 Posts: 210 Deckhand
    Mistermtd said:
    Depends on what your fishing but for trout a 4/5 weight is probably more appropriate.  As to rivers there are tons of sources.  Check out the rocky mountain fly highway app for beta on a bunch of rivers in the Idaho/Montana/Wyoming area.  
    Sweet thanks! im not really lookign for rivers or anything like that as ill figure that out closer to the trip right now im focusing on gear. But that app will definitly be useful
  • MistermtdMistermtd Steinhatchee Posts: 76 Greenhorn
    Well waders and boots are pretty useful.  Many places have banned felt and the new aluminum traction devices are pretty sweet.  A net is handy and some sort of vest/pack where you can easily reach the things you need w/o getting out of the water.  Of course, if your fishing from a boat none of that stuff is needed.  

    Some places, like Yellowstone or Deschutes river in Oregon don't permit fishing from boats.  Regs can be pretty complex in places.  Washington just confuses me, so do your homework.  Access can be weird too. Again, do your homework.

    Have a great time.  
  • idlerickidlerick Posts: 229 Deckhand
    There are several books entitled "A Fly Fisher's Guide to -------" published that are great references. They give detailed info on streams, lakes, time of year, bugs and flies, access, motels, etc.  Amazon should have them, or a library. Great info for a visitor. 

    Rods - a 9 ft 5 wt is typical and gets 75% of my usage. Maybe a 6 for larger rivers and lakes and a 4 for small streams. Reels to match. Floating lines 99.9% of the time. Leave your 8's at home unless you target pike in a high lake somewhere. Leaders 9 ft 3X with 4 and 5X tippet, maybe a 6X in small, clear waters.
    Breathable waders are a must, as are wading boots. Or at least hippers. A vest is handy for flies, gear, etc. Get a 2XL size, regardless of what you normally wear. When it's full it'll fit. A decent net and forceps for fly removal. Barbless flies make release a lot easier. 

    Timing - June can be iffy. In the West we have what's called "runoff". That's when the snowpack starts seriously melting and flooding the rivers, sending them out of their banks and ruining the fishing. It happens in May/June in Colorado and moves later as you go north and the temps stay cooler longer. Lasts usually 3-6 weeks. Here's a site that relates snow amounts relative to average for all the western ranges. It will give you some idea how much runoff a given area will see.

    There are also sites that give real-time stream flow data. In Colorado it's called Water Talk
    and much of the data is USGS provided. You might look for that data in other states. Trouble is, it doesn't predict, just reports.

    You can end-run the snow melt by fishing below major dams, where the runoff will be held until the lake is filled. But fish there are PhD's and bugs are 18-22's. Tough fishing for a SW junkie.

    Hope you have fun. Contact me if you have specific questions and I'll try to help.

  • Rich MRich M Posts: 1,267 Officer
    Congratulations on your graduation!

    I've only been out west once but my parents have gone a few times - my mom uses a spinning rod and spoons primarily and she had the fly fishing guys following her around.

    Don't get me wrong - I've got fly rods, used to tie flies and all that - we even made some fly fishing only vacations.  I always regretted not bringing a spinning rod.  

    Bring your fly tying equipment so you can match the hatch, and if you aren't gonna eat them, put them back for the next guy. 

    You're gonna love it. 

    The fishing is great, the scenery and animals are great, the stars are brighter than down here, it is a win-win.  Don't be afraid to fish the little creeks - some will open up in the meadows and there are a lot of brook trout.

    For spinning tackle - little cleo spoon 1/8 oz (gold & silver), 1-inch sinking Rapala (whatever you like - just remember to twitch it while retrieving), Mepps 0 or 00 spinner with red sleeve on hook (work it with or across the current for best results).

  • noelg11892noelg11892 Posts: 210 Deckhand
    Great information guys! if im used to tying my own SW stuff should i give it a shot for the fresh? or would it be better just to buy them seeing as its a one time trip. (atleast for now)
  • Rich MRich M Posts: 1,267 Officer
    If you buy it will be a buck or two per fly, but you could get some advice on what works at the fly shop while you are there.
  • idlerickidlerick Posts: 229 Deckhand
    Agree with the above. Stopping in to a local shop is the best way to learn the area fast, but to try to milk them of their knowledge and then walk out without spending money is bush. You'll need to drop a few bucks, and they'll be showing you flies to match their advice, so start putting them in the little cups as they talk and you'll get a lot more help. 
    I would absolutely NOT spend the money (or the time) it would take to tie small trout flies for a single trip.

    Here's a company that sells very well-tied flies at a reasonable price. I know a number of people who use them. If you have a little advance knowledge of the flies and sizes you need, you could order a few here and then supplement that at the shops.

  • ZT3006ZT3006 Posts: 3 Greenhorn
    I have gone out west three times but only fished twice. Some of the rivers hold some very nice sized trout so I would recommend a 5/6wt rod. There are lots of shops you can stop at to talk to them but as everyone else said you would need to spend alittle money first. 
  • Alex from GAAlex from GA Posts: 1,334 Officer
    If you know your itinerary ask on a local forum and maybe you can join someone for a day or so.  Say you'll reciprocate in FL.
  • remo_5_0remo_5_0 Posts: 277 Deckhand
    Runoff maybe tapering off by June, depends on what rivers you may fish. When it gets closer hit me up and I can give you some info. On where you might be fishing.
  • Team SabatageTeam Sabatage Posts: 12,889 AG
    edited May 2018 #14
    I agree with remo, not much snowpack this year, so run off will be minimal with as mentioned above, places below dams being highly fishable no matter what.  If you want to tie some up, I say go for it.  Keep it simple and forget matching the hatch. Look on y-tube for , Killer Bug, foam hoppers, anything with a pheasant tail tail, dubbed body in olive, tan, brown, black or yellowish, a hackle collar and your good to go. Bead heads for sure are dominate. I like wets and nymphing the most. 
     We have a lot of Osprey and Eagles, if a fish spends to much time near the surface feeding on floating flies, it is not long before they are taking a flight in the claws of a bird. I live in Salt Lake City, if you get this way PM me.  I'll take you around for some wild cutthroat, and big browns.  
    For rods and such, 9' 5 wt as your all round, a 9' 6 wt for streamers and a 10' 4wt for nymphing.  We do a lot of indicator fishing with either commercial indicators or a simulator or hopper as the float with a nymph drifting below it.
    Strap me in, tie me down and roll me a bone, I'm getting on an airplane and I'm flying home...
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