I offer beginner fly fishing trips in Montana and Yellowstone in addition to trips for experienced fly anglers, and place a heavy emphasis on instruction on all of my trips. For those without the time or funds to take a full guided trip, I also offer basic fly fishing lessons at a wading access near Livingston, as well as casting lessons.
Please note that since the focus of my business is on guided trips, availability for lessons is limited. I do not take reservations for lessons more than 72 hours in advance between May 15 and October 15, in order to keep my schedule open for guided trips as long as possible, and lesson availability during the summer and early autumn peak season will often be limited to early morning or evening, before or after I'm done guiding for the day.
Rates for lessons vary by lesson type.
Beginner Fly Fishing Lessons teach the very basics of learning to fly fish: casting, line management, and recognizing where trout are likely to live. They are ideal for those who want to take up fly fishing but lack the funds for a full guided trip, those who want to hit the ground running when they go on a true guided trip (especially a float trip, which are often a bit harder for total rookies), or those who aren't sure they want to fly fish or not, but want to see what the fuss is about. I can handle a maximum of six students on these trips, though fewer is better. Unlike my full guided trips, which include all tackle and flies, I include a maximum of three flies per student on these trips and charge for flies used beyond this number.
All beginner trips include two hours of active on-water time and take place at a wading access near Livingston, MT. We'll fish one spot, where I'll explain why the fish will be there, why what we're using is likely to work at that time of year, and work on the basics of casting and line management. This will prepare students to move on to either trying the sport on their own or be ready to rock without the "basic training" when they go on a full guided trip. With luck, students get a few bites or catch a fish or two.
Basically beginner fishing lessons involve the same topics as any other beginner guided trip, but in a much shorter timeframe and with less chance of angling success and mastery of skills due to the short duration involved (around half the active time of our shortest guided trips).
Please Note (aka disclaimer): Because the duration of a beginner lesson is so short, and because the location where we fish on these trips is chosen because is nearby and convenient, rather than because it is a particularly productive fishing spot, I do not consider these lessons to be full "guided trips." In other words, these lessons are ideal if you're looking to learn about fly fishing. They're not ideal if you're looking to learn about fly fishing while catching lots of fish. Most of the time students who take part in beginner lessons wind up getting some bites and catch a fish or two, but the numbers of bites and fish caught are guaranteed to be far fewer than on our full guided trips. For guided trip options suitable for beginners where catching fish is almost a guarantee, check out my "beginner brookie" trips.
All beginner lessons are taught by a full-time licensed fly fishing guide, generally me personally since it is hard to hire competent guides when lessons pay so little. Unlike general tourist companies who offer beginner fly fishing lessons, I do not stack parties. In other words, your group will be the only one going out with me, so unlike similarly-priced trips from some raft companies and others, you will not wind up fishing with ten or fifteen people and just one overworked instructor.
I have been fly fishing for more than 30 years, and guiding/outfitting for almost twenty. As such, I have sufficient experience to help most anglers improve. While I emphasize instruction on all guided trips, a casting lesson is a great opportunity for complete beginners who don't have time for even the on-water fishing lesson mentioned above to learn about fly casting or for experienced anglers to focus on improving certain small aspects of their game, whether that's learning to double-haul or roll cast better or fish a certain type of fly in a new way.
Casting essons generally consist only of dry land instruction, usually at a park in Livingston. Regardless of whether or not lessons take place on the water, these are not fishing trips. They're the equivalent of hitting balls in a batting cage or playing catch compared to a real baseball game.
Walter Wiese is Montana Outfitter #22001 (formerly guide #9530) and Madison River SRP Holder #297. Yellowstone Park trips are run in cooperation with and under the permit of YNP CUA holder Richard Parks.
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Website, text, and graphics by Walter J. Wiese. Photos generally by Walter J. Wiese unless noted.