Guide Trip FAQ


While our guided fly fishing trips are pretty straight forward, we frequently get asked a few common questions that we'll do our best to answer for you here.  We don't consider this list of questions complete or comprehensive so if you have further questions or need more information about any aspect of our guided fishing trips here in the Bozeman area, please don't hesitate to pick up the phone and call us at either 406-586-5373 or 406-284-2401 or send us an email.

  • When is the best time to come for fly fishing in Montana?  This is a question we get asked a lot.  While there is probably no bad time to come fishing in Bozeman, MT, there are some time of the year that are certainly better than others.  Some of this really depends on what type of experience you are looking for.  Probably the prime of our season is from late June (after spring runoff which usually begins in early May and runs through June) to mid October with the most consistent fishing being during the months of July, August and September.  Unfortunately, that is also probably the busiest time to be here in Southwest Montana so if you don't mind fishing with a few other folks around and that fits into your schedule, you can't beat July through September.  If you are looking for a little more peace and quiet and aren't afraid of the possibility of a little weather, the shoulder seasons can be spectacular.  By that we mean April to early May and mid September to late October.  These can be great times to be here as the rivers are typically a little quieter and the fish still seem to want to eat.  These months are a little bit risk/reward in the fact that while the fishing can be simply awesome, the weather can not be.  Most of the time we have great weather in the spring and fall, but there is always the chance of rain or snow here in Montana and more so during those times.  With all of this said, we run guide trips 12 months of the year and have had great fishing during all of those times so if your schedule only fits a certain date, give us a call and we can discuss the options.

  • How long is the day?  As long or as short as your like!  It was not all that long ago that when our clients showed up for fishing trips, we fished from early in the morning to late in the day.  As Montana has changed and become more of a destination for families rather than just die-hard fisherman, we've changed our schedule a bit and really rely on you to let us know what works with your schedule for a day on the water.  We now offer two types of guide days.  Our Standard Guide Trip day is really built around the 2/3 day which allows you to get a good day of fishing and still be back to clean up and have a nice dinner in Bozeman.  These trips usually meet at 8:00 am and are back to the shop between 3:00 and 4:00.  Our Deluxe Guide Trip day is a little more open ended.  Those days typically start at 8:00 AM in the shop and the guides are usually back to the shop between 5:30 and 6:30 PM, but can go shorter or longer based on your needs and destination.  Bottom line is if that's too long for you, let your guide know in the morning and we can adjust the day to whatever you plans may need. 

  • How much do I tip my guide?  This might be the most common question asked in the shop after our trips.  While tips are up to each individual person and not mandatory, they are appreciated by our guides.  When asked in the shop, we'll tell you our recommendation is to us whatever percentage you typically use in a restaurant.  So for example if you are a 20% tipper when you go out to dinner and the guide trip is priced at $500, that would be about a $100 tip.  If you had a great day on the water and want to tip higher, go ahead, our guides appreaciate it.  On the flip side, if the trip wasn't up to your expectations (thankfully this rarely happens), you can reflect that as well.

  • I've never fly fished before, do I need a lesson before I go?  You are our ideal guide trip client!  You have no bad habits!  The reason many people come to Montana is to learn to fly fish and experience a great day out on the water.  All of our fishing guides are excellent instructors and love to teach new anglers the sport of fly fishing.  If you're brand new or have only been fly fishing once or twice, there is no need to worry as you've just joined the ranks of about 70 to 80% of our Montana Guide Trip Clients.  We are here to invite you into the sport that we all love.  

  • Do you offer classes?  Certainly! If you are new to fly fishing and don't want to commit to a full day of fishing, we offer private classes designed to teach you the basics to get you started. These 3-hour classes for individuals, families or small groups focus on the learning aspects of the sport. With one of our Montana licensed instructors, you'll learn how to set up your gear, tie some knots, cast a line, pick the right flies, read the water and typically have some time to put it all together and try your luck. Catching fish is not the priority here. Learning the basics to get you hooked on the sport we love is our objective. After your class, we hope you'll enjoy it as much as we do. *Note, classes can be tailored to your learning experience so if there is something you are struggling to learn, let us know in advance and we can cover that.

  •  Will we catch any fish?  Of course, the most obvious question.  There are a lot of factors that go into a day of fishing such as angling skill, water conditions, weather conditions, having the right fly, etc...  All of these factors can influence a day one way or another.  While we can never guarantee that someone will catch fish, it is a very rare occasion that they don't.  How many you catch is up to the day, but even first time anglers are almost always successful at catching a few fish when out on the water.  Remember, our fishing guides are professionals who spend a tremendous amount of time on the water so they will always take into account the various factors and conditions and do their very best to make you successful.

  • Can we keep our fish?  Unfortunately, no. Trout in Montana are one of our precious resources and are for the most part, all wild fish.  There is very little stocking done in our state in rivers and streams and with a successful population of wild trout, it's our policy to practice catch and release fishing only on our guided fishing trips.  While the Montana fishing regulations do allow for some keeping of fish and we don't think that's a bad thing, we prefer to put them back on our guided trips to catch again another day.

  • Do we still go if the weather is bad?  Weather is simply a part of fly fishing in Montana.  To be honest, some of the best of fishing are often during some of the worst weather.  Our guides fish in rain, snow, wind and hail on many occasions and while they prefer to fish in nice sunny weather, that's just not possible all of the time. Our recommendation is for you to come prepared for any type of weather.  No matter the time of year, a light fleece jacket or sweatshirt and a raincoat should always be in your bag. Keep in mind that Bozeman sits in the Rocky Mountains.  The weather changes often and fast and weather reports are often inaccurate.  Like the old saying goes, "If you don't like the weather in Montana, wait 5 minutes."  This is a lengthy answer to a simple question, but yes, we still go fishing if the weather is bad.  

  • With so many options, which river do we fish?  It is true that Bozeman is known as a mecca for fly fishing.  We are just a short drive from the Yellowstone River, the Madison River and the Gallatin River.  In addition, there are literally hundreds of small streams and other locations that can produce quality trout fishing opportunities within a short distance from town.  With so many options, how do we pick?  Our expert guides are on the water almost every day during the busy months and know where the best fishing opportunities lie.  With that said, usually one of the first questions they ask is if you have a destination in mind.  If you have always dreamed of floating through Paradise Valley on the Yellowstone River or wade fishing on the Gallatin River in the canyon, they will certainly try and accommodate.  If your answer is simply "take me where the fishing is best," they will always have a location in mind where they feel they can provide a great experience.  Communication is key when planning your day with the guide so if you have certain preferences, please speak up so we can provide you the experience you've been dreaming about. 

  • Can I request a guide?  One of the biggest compliments any of our guides can receive is a guide request.  In fact, many of our guides fill up the majority of their season with requested trips.  If you've fished with one of our guides in the past or were recommended by a friend to fish with so-and-so,  we'll do our very best to try and get you with that guide again.  We can sometimes shift trips around to accomodate guide requests but unfortunately, we have a limited supply of quality Montana fishing guides so there are times when there is nothing we can do.  Also, if a guide is already booked on a requested trip, they are simply unavailable for that day.   

  • It looks like the weather is better another day, can I move my trip?  As stated earlier, we do fish in all weather conditions. The best answer to this question is to refer you back to our cancellation policies.  Per our policies, within 14 days of your your trip date your guide trip is already paid in full. If you choose to not go on a scheduled guide trip due to bad weather, an additional $100.00 rebooking fee will be charged to move to another day. We will do our very best to reschedule your trip. However, when a trip needs to be moved on such short notice, rarely can the same guide accomodate the new trip and during peak seasons we may not have another guide available in the short term. Again, check the forecast and come prepared to fish in varied conditions.

  • How long in advance should I book my trip?  The earlier the better.  Like we've said before, our season is actually fairly short so we do fill up our calendar fairly quickly as the summer moves on.  With that said, we often have holes here and there where we can accomodate last minute bookings so if you are a true procrastinator, you can sometimes get lucky and find an available day.  If you have a specific guide you like to fish with, the earlier you book, the better chance you'll have to find them available.  Please keep in mind that we do require a deposit to book a trip which is fully refundable if the trip has to be cancelled outside of 14 days of the date of the trip.

  • Where do we meet?  We typically clients meet our guides at the shop at 8:00 AM the morning of your trip.  We do have 2 locations, one located on Main Street in Bozeman, Montana next to the Bozeman Public Library and one in the 4-Corners area West of Bozeman right next to Simms Fishing, and will gladly meet at whichever location is more convenient to where you are staying in town.  If you are coming down from Big Sky and don't want the hassle of driving through town, we'll gladly meet you at our West location or if you're staying at one of the hotels in Bozeman, the Main street store may be more convenient.  Bottom line is its up to you. 

At Simms The River's Edge Fly Shop, the primary goal of our guided fishing trips is to provide you a great Montana outdoor experience.  The day is all about you! Communication is key.  We strive to give you an experience you'll take home and remember for a lifetime.  Give us a chance and I'm sure you'll be pleased.  If you have any further questions about our guided trips, need more information or want to go ahead and get a day or two on the books, feel free to send us and email or give us a call.  We are here to help.