I was recently talking with my good friend and Fly fishing Outfitter Trent Brown of Little Blackfoot Outfitters about what the Best Fly Rod for fishing Montana’s technical rivers. We all know that’s a really tough question. Most fly fisherman love fly rods and if we could, well we would have one of ever model weight and length offered. From small 3 weights for brushy creeks to a 9 foot 5 weight for dry fly fishing the Missouri. All Fly rods and designs have their place of when and where they excel.
A Guide Rod is a different scenario though. The Best Fly Rod for guiding is subjective. Most Montana fishing guides lean toward rods that offer versatility while deploying different disciplines. Finding the magic trout fly rod can difficult for Montana’s rivers. Rigs can vary from a size 20 dry fly all the way to a streamer on a sinking line. While I don’t believe in a one size fits all but out of a drift boat its hard to beat a 9′ 6″ six weight. I feel is does a good job of covering most sceneries one may encounter.
One Fly rod to do it all
I originally bought the Orvis H3 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 play 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 and accuracy.
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.
The H3 also fishes very well with a dedicated streamer line. Ive been enjoying the 7 foot Rio trout versi leader tips off the end of a floating fly line. Its super quick to make a change and go deeper is you want. These tips fish small and medium size streamers that we mostly using fishing around the Missouri River. With a very quick switch you can go from throwing dry flies to swinging streamers. I think for all these reason theH3 has really become a guide favorite for fishing Montana.