It’s mid December in Montana and the weather has been about as good as it gets for fishing this time of year. Rivers are very quiet and the days are short but there is some excellent fishing to be had. This time of year more than ever good gear is important. When packing fishing gear for Montana I always recommend bringing more than you think you will need. Once a chill sets in it can be very difficult to warm up. In this blog I will cover fishing gear we recommend. This is a list of gear I use. I’m on the water a lot of days all year so I try to get the best equipment I can. You can supplement most items you already have for the things I am using.
Good shades not only protect your eyes from the sun they also protect you from a stray fly. This is a critical piece of fishing gear when sight fishing. I prefer amber polarized lenses. If you are new to fly fishing polarized is not mandatory but some sort of sunglasses are. A hook to the eye would be quite unpleasant. If you’re serious about fishing I would get a good pair of polarized glasses that fit close to your face. This blocks the glare not only on the front but on the sides as well.
Rain gear serves 2 purposes. First is keeping your dry and second is a shell for warmth. I use a Simms G3 guide wading fishing jacket. It’s pretty heavy duty and not necessary for most anglers but I do recommend a heavier jacket than usual. I like the extra warmth most days the Orvis Pro wading jacket is excellent as well. For bottoms there are several options If you are wearing waders none are required but for much of our fishing waders aren’t necessary. Here’s a post specifically about waders. When not in waders I always carry a pair of Simms Pro Dry fishing Bibs. The Simms challenger bibs are also great. For a more packable and lighter option the Simms vapor elite rain pants are great. I like bibs because I find myself wearing them in almost all cooler weather as a shell.
Spring – Summer
The warmer months are much easier to pack for. The only extra thing besides rain gear that I recommend is a thin fleece or down jacket. This will be all you will need for cool mornings or cold snaps. Then again this is Montana and a blizzard may come in July! I usually wear light long pants or shorts that dry quickly and a pair of Chaco, Keen, or Simms sandals that have support while wet wade fishing. We don’t always get out of the boat but it is a nice option to have. Cool breathable shirts are nice. I’m a big fan of then new technical shirts with a hood.
These seasons require a little more gear. Many days are beautiful and can be very warm but sometimes bad weather blows in especially early spring and late fall. This is the max amount of gear I carry and is not necessary on all days. Along with my rain jacket and bibs I carry a down jacket with a hood. I like the Patagonia down sweater jacket. This under a good base layer or two will keep you very comfortable. For lower extremities I have a pair of down pants that are warm in about any conditions I’ve ever been in. Several companies sell fleece or wading pants that are very warm and comfortable.
I wear a pair of Simms G3 guide pull on boots. They are extremely warm and provide a ton of support. Boggs and Muck boots sell similar insulated boots. There are plenty of warm options but are only necessary very late season in November or into December. Most other spring and fall days normal footwear is fine. If you have any questions about fishing gear for Montana, drop us a line at the contact form