I was recently talking with my good friend and Fly fishing Outfitter Trent Brown of Little Black Foot Outfitters on a recent trip to the Missouri river about what the Best Fly Rod for fishing Montanas technical rivers are. We all know that’s a really tough questions because most fly fisherman love fly rods and if we could, well we would have one of ever model! From small 3 weights for brushy creeks to a 9 foot 5 weight for dry fly fishing the Missouri or even a 10ft 6 weights fo heavy nymph rigs. All Fly rods and designs have their place when and where they excel.
A Guide Rod is a different scenario though. The Best Fly Rod for guiding is subjective. Most fishing guides lean toward rods that are versatile but at the same time excel at many different things. That is incredibly difficult while trout fishing in places like Montana where a rig can be a size 20 dry fly all the way to a heavy streamer on a sink tip. Rods like this are very rare but the Orvis H3 F 9 foot 6 inch 6 weight does it all while feeling good in the hands of both amateur and pro.
Orvis Helios 3F
I originally bought this rods to throw indicator nymph rigs. Paired with the Orvis hydros Nymph line this rod casts and fishes beautifully. The Orvis hydros line paired with the H3 performs better than many 10 footers and is much easier to handle a fish at the boat with the slightly shorter rod. The 9’6” with a fighting butt balances very well and is not fatiguing like a full 10 footer can be over a long day. These fly rods also handle short leash nymph rigs under a palsa style indicator with ease.
Fly Lines for H3
Paired with an all around trout line such as a the Rio Gold this rod still handles nymph rigs with ease but also has the ability to throw a wide range of dry flies and dry dropper rigs. The Rio Gold is my go to for larger dries such as the CHUBBY CHERNOBYL or the standard hoppers / dropper rig
While this rod will fish very well with a dedicated streamer line I most often use a 7 foot Rio trout versi leader off the end of the fly line. This fishes the small and medium size streamers that I most often fish. With a very short switch I can go from throwing dries or nymphs to swinging a streamer thru deep pools.
This really is my favorite rod for fishing with clients out of a Drift boat. The old saying “jack of all trades master of none” really does not apply to the Orvis H3. In my opinion the H3 is the Best Fly Rod for Fishing Montana.