Every year I go on a fishing trip to Montana for rainbow and brown trout. One of the best parts of the trip is our guide—Eric Ederer of Renegade Fly Fishing Outfitters. (flyfishmissoula.com) We usually go in August or early September and start in Missoula where Eric lives. Then, we just go day by day depending on where Eric feels the best fishing is.
First, if you have never fished in Montana it is simply spectacular. Everything is just big. The rivers are big, the fish are big, the options are many and the beauty is endless.
My friends and I are pretty much dry fly snobs and that is what we look for and Eric knows it. We fish the Clark Fork or the Bitterroot. This year we fished in mid-September and there was not enough water in the Bitterroot. We have also fished Rock Creek and others. Rock Creek is great in June.
Renegade Fly Outfitters fish the Bitterroot, Clark Fork, Blackfoot, Rock Creek, Big Hole, Yellowstone, Missouri, (and a bunch of unmentionables for the sake of privacy). They now have a new “Nomad” trip where they fish 5 rivers in 5 days for $2,650.00 per person all-inclusive.
One thing about Eric is that he likes to go the extra mile and looks for floats where there won’t be other guides. We don’t see other boats very often.
This year we started late and right after the first big cold front which put the fish off but we still caught fish. We fished the Clark Fork for three days and then over to Missouri. We generally fish floats down below the dam and away from the nymphing crowds.
We generally reserve the first night or two in Missoula and stay at a Motel Six that is quite clean and functional. From then on we go day by day. We generally fish 5-7 days.
This year I fished streamers one day, which I am new to, on the Clark Fork and I moved lots of fish but caught only a few. My friend nymphed and did well. We had to work hard for our fish that day.
Another day we fished dries on the Clark Fork and did acceptable but not great. We always do better than the other guides, however. Eric’s poor day is most guide’s good day.
Fishing was tough this year because of the cold front, however, I am sure we caught as many, or more, trout each day than most others.
In the past, we have also fly fished for Pike and Small Mouth Bass in another river. That is great fun and I am sure we will do it again.
It is easy to get to Missoula. Of course, there is an airport in Missoula and if you live in the west it is a reasonable drive from almost anywhere.
We bring our own fly rods and Eric provides all the flies. I hate it when guides charge for each fly. (Don’t lose too many in the bushes though.)
Eric has a drift boat and a raft to fish rivers with less water. We can also fish lakes with the drift boat and wade if advisable. Eric is prepared for anything.
The full day rate for 2016 is $500.00 per day. In the event Eric is booked, he also has other great guides to accommodate all comers. He also books week-long trips and excursions. We are talking about fishing in Canada next year.
Would I go again? We have two trips planned next year already.
(Considering a fishing trip to the Florida Keys? Here’s my experience with Captain Joe Harley.)