What to take for your day on the water
Walk into any fly shop, and the quantity, diversity, and variations—not to mention price tags—of fishing gear can be overwhelming. Luckily it’s not all essential to having fun or catching fish. A good all-around setup will keep you casting and catching all season, without breaking the bank or needing a river Sherpa to carry it all. Here’s what we recommend.
A good 9-foot, 5-weight, fast-action rod should handle everything from dry flies to nymphs and streamers; match it up with a 5-weight reel and a WF5 (weight-forward 5-weight) fly line. A 9-foot 5X leader and a range of tippet material, from 2x-6x, should accommodate most of the scenarios you’ll encounter on the water. Organize your flies in a fly box or sleeve. Bring nippers for trimming line, floatant to keep your dry flies on top of the water, and pliers or forceps for removing hooks. A simple pack or vest keeps all this gear consolidated and accessible.
For much of the year, waders and boots are essential, but during the warm summer months, wet-wading is fine. (Be sure to use a wading belt so your waders don’t fill up if you fall in.) Polarized sunglasses reduce glare and help you see fish underwater, and a net makes landing fish easier for you and safer for them. Strike indicators and split-shot are important when nymphing, and some kind of light keeps you in the game when the fish keep rising after sundown. A hat protects your face and improves vision on sunny days, while a raincoat keeps you dry during those late-afternoon thundershowers. Sunscreen and insect repellant are staples for any summer outing in Montana. A carry bag is nice for hauling all your clothing and equipment to and from the vehicle. And there’s no better culmination to a long day on the water than a frosty cold one sipped on the bank of the river, while you swap stories and plan your next excursion.
- O/B Store