I’m planning for an upcoming fly fishing road trip, actually three separate trips this summer.
If you’ve been following RiverKeeper Flies for awhile, you know we head out for some fly fishing in other areas. This year is no exception.
On our first trip this summer, we have plans to fish some or all of the following rivers: Kelly Creek, ID; Bitterroot River, MT; Rock Creek, MT; Big Hole River, MT; Madison River, MT.
Those rivers are the plan. Some of them are new to us and others have great memories and we want to return.
But we are more spontaneous these days and might stop and fish a river we hear about or drive by and can’t help ourselves.
I wrote posts in 2017 entitled Preparing for a Fly Fishing Road Trip and Lessons Learned from our Fly Fishing Road Trip to help you with your own fly fishing road trips. I decided to review them myself for tips I’ve suggested in the past and give you a sense of what I’m doing now.
I use fly fishing guide books and magazine articles (like Northwest Fly Fishing) for an initial pass on likely places to fish. These sources might have pictures of the river, information on the best times to fish, access points, hatch charts, useful fly patterns, local fly shops and guides, and lodging ideas. I’ve been known to hire a guide for the first day fishing new water to increase my knowledge and I usually let the guide know I plan to fish in the area for a few days and need tips on other access points and hatches.
Contact local fly shops by phone or using their website to find out information about their local waters and then stop by when you pass through and spend a little money as a way to say “thanks”. You shouldn’t expect to receive valuable information without helping support these fly fishing shops. Local and timely information from fly shops close to your fishing destination is worth it’s weight in gold.
You can also use RiverKeeper Flies as a source for locations and fishing experience. My fly fishing road trip posts are a good example.
Here are some links to previous posts about the waters we’ve been blessed to fish. These may help you decide where to go on your own trip.
In 2018, we fished locations in Oregon, Idaho, and Montana. Here are links to the posts I wrote about our experiences:
- Fly Fish the Madison River in Early July
- Fly Fish the Owyhee River on the Way to Fly Fishers International Fair
- Fly Fishing the South Fork of the Snake and Teton Rivers
- Fly Fishing Ennis Lake
- Fly Fishing the Madison River Valley
- Fly Fishing the Clark Fork and Kootenai Rivers
In 2017, we fished locations in Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Yellowstone National Park. Here are the links to these posts:
- Upper Columbia River Fly Fishing
- Fly Fishing the St. Joe River, ID
- Missouri River Fly Fishing
- Fly Fishing the Big Hole and Beaverhead Rivers
- Fly Fishing the Madison and Yellowstone Rivers
In 2016, we completed a Montana road trip. You can read more about our Montana Road Trip in the following posts:
- On the Road to Montana
- Montana Road Trip – Madison River
- Montana Road Trip – DePuy Spring Creek
- Montana Road Trip – Stillwater River
- Montana Road Trip – Lamar and Slough Creek
This is one of the reasons I return to the Madison River. The sunsets were spectacular and I always enjoy fishing around Raynold’s Pass Bridge and $3 Bridge.
Be sure to check out the RiverKeeper Flies post – Montana Fly Box for flies that worked for us. I should update it to include Arrick’s Parachute Ant and Galloup’s Ant Acid. These flies were the ticket on the Madison River last year.
In past years, I completed my research and made reservations where we planned to stay. This year is different.
We purchased a camper van in July 2018 and it’s our house on wheels. We plan to camp close to the rivers we fish.
Normally, our fly fishing road trips looked like this.
I decided to share the “before and after”. There was no way around it, we call it the “churn”. Seems like anything you wanted was always in the back on the bottom!
Now, we have a little more room and can stay closer to fishing.
It’s always difficult leaving our home waters, the Metolius. But I’ve accepted the fact we need to fish new places. And the Green Drake hatch is coming to an end. I’ll miss fish like this…
But we’ll create new memories.
We’re leaving soon. Be sure to follow along as we fish Idaho and Montana.
John,, boy is this a timely post…I’ll be making the trip to Bozeman this year and will benefit from these articles. Your tips are excellent and the pictures are a big help.
PS.. you guys need a little help with the van packing…