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On this page I discuss rates, deposit and cancellation policies, and other common "pre-booking" concerns. You should also check out the guided trip FAQ, which answers other common questions.


Rates

With the exception of lessons, the following rates are for one or two anglers. Three-person walk/wade trips are available on half-day trips only, for an additional $105. Additional anglers require additional guides.

While I am eager to book clients for multi-day packages, the rates below do not include multi-day packages, for one simple reason: in order to give my clients the best package for their ability and interests, I want to plan out packages with each group of clients on an individual basis, after talking things through. Generally speaking, my packages are based on the standard rates below, with additional discounts kicking in for packages of 4+ consecutive days, with the exception of Missouri River trips from April through early June, where discounts apply to 2+ days of fishing.

While most of the waters I guide are available for single-day bookings, some destinations require multi-day bookings due to their distance from Livingston, MT. These bookings may be for either full-day or half-day trips. These fisheries are noted on the waters page as well as mentioned when appropriate on the other guided trip pages in the website.

Not all fisheries and not all trip types (walk/float/combo) are available all year, with weather and water conditions and regulations the key factors involved in determining the trip types that are available. In addition, checking out the waters page will give an idea on the specific fisheries available at specific times of year.

Full-Day Trips

$495

Full-day trips are available on all waters on which I operate and are my most popular trips. They begin between 5AM and 10AM and run until 3PM to 7PM, with precise hours depending on weather and water conditions and travel time to the water we'll be fishing. They run about 8-10 hours including travel time after I meet you. Full-days are available from March through October. Lunch is included. Add $50 for "double half-day" floats. See the river floats page for details on these specialty trips.

Half-Day Trips

$395

Half-day trips are available on waters within about an hour of Livingston, MT. They may begin anytime between 5AM and 4PM, depending on trip location, travel time, client goals, and the weather/season. They run 4-6 hours including travel time. Half-days are available year-round, though they aren't popular in the dead of winter. Lunch is not included.

Combo Trips

$550

Combo trips include a half-day in the boat and a half-day on foot. Most often, these trips combine fishing in the northern part of Yellowstone Park and on the Yellowstone River, though trips on the Boulder, Stillwater, Madison, and Missouri Rivers are also available. Trips start between 5AM and 8AM and run until 3PM to 7PM and include about 9-11 hours of my time. Combos are available from May 15 through early October, weather and water conditions permitting.

Spring/Fall Special

$45-$100 Discount

Spring/fall discounts apply during late fall and early spring. Take $45 off any half-day trip or $100 off a full-day trip. Note that full-day trips will run 7-9hrs including travel under these rates due to slow fishing and uncomfortable weather early and late in the day. Standard rates apply to longer trips. Discounts apply from October 15 through May 14 on all waters except the Missouri River, though in the dead of winter my winter special is a better bet. Meeting times in spring and late fall will generally be around 10AM to noon, or a bit earlier in early May.

Missouri River Spring Special: $800 for a full-day trip and a half-day trip on consecutive days, offer valid March 15 through June 14.

Winter Special

$250

In the dead of winter, fishing opportunities are limited to the warmest part of the day on most waters and most days. For this reason, I offer a special low rate for short (2.5-3 hours on the water) half-day walk & wade trips on the Yellowstone River or private spring creeks near Livingston. Trips will generally meet around noon and be off the water by 4PM. These trips and rates are available from November 1 through April 14, with the first half of November and February and March prime time.

Fly Fishing Lessons

$175 & Up

Fly Fishing Lessons are available year-round and take place at a wading access near Livingston. Add $25 per student after the first, with a maximum of six students. Trips include 2 hours on the water. Please note that I do not accept reservations more than 72 hours in advance for lessons from May 15 through October 15, and availability during the summer will be limited except for evening lessons taking place after I'm done with my normal guided trips.

Note that I am happy to take beginners on normal guided trips. The lessons are just "a taste" for those without the time or budget to take a full guided trip.

Fly Casting Lessons

$50/hr and Up

Fly Casting Lessons are available year-round and take place on dry land in Livingston, MT, generally at a public park. These are not fishing trips in any sense, with the focus only on casting and line management. I can teach both rookies and experienced fly casters new tricks. Add $15 flat fee per additional student, with a maximum of eight students. Rod/reel combos are included for all.

Note that I am happy to take beginners on normal guided trips. The lessons are just "a taste" for those without the time or budget to take a full guided trip.


What's Included?

All trips include the following:

  • The use of a rod/reel, if needed
  • Flies, though you're encouraged to bring favorites
  • All leaders, tippet material, shot, etc.
  • Water and soft drinks
  • Transportation from a prearranged meeting point. While I am based in Livingston and therefore it makes the most sense for my clients to stay here as well, I can meet at/near client lodgings in the Yellowstone River Valley, Gardiner, Bozeman, Yellowstone Park, or Helena/Craig, with the precise location depending on where we'll be fishing.
  • River shuttles, gas, and other transportation costs associated with the guide's vehicle(s)

Trips do not include the following:

  • Montana and/or Yellowstone Park fishing licenses, if applicable
  • Yellowstone Park entrance fees, if applicable
  • Private water access fees, if applicable
  • Wading gear (note: no felt soles in YNP, no metal studs or bars of any kind in any boats)
  • Hiking gear (light backpack and hiking boots), if applicable
  • Required personal attire (rain gear, hat, polarized sunglasses, clothing suitable for weather and terrain)
  • Alcoholic beverages (BYOB, cans only in boats please)
  • Guide gratuities

Reservations, Deposits, and Final Payments

Reservations

Reservations are required. For trips from mid-October through mid-May, I can often be booked a day or two in advance, or can find a guide who's available. During the June-September absolute peak season, I am often booked many months in advance, as are the independent guides I use when I am not available and for multi-guide bookings, so I suggest calling or e-mailing ASAP to book. The tighter your available dates, the more important it is to give as much notice as possible.

To begin booking a trip, fill out my trip booking and information form, call, or e-mail. Your booking is not confirmed until you hear it from me verbally and later in writing.

Deposits and Cancellations

To confirm your booking and hold your date(s), I require a deposit of one half the total trip price or $1000, whichever is less within 7 days of booking. This deposit may be paid via personal check or credit card (VISA/MC/AMEX/Discover, processed via Square). If paying the deposit via card, I can either take your credit card number over the phone or send you a Square involce. A valid credit card number is required to hold all dates, whether this is the preferred payment method or not. For bookings made less than seven days before the trip date, the deposit must be made upon booking via card.

If you book a private water trip and I am reserving the water with the landowner on your behalf, I will add the required access fees to your deposit.

Since my business is highly seasonal and cancellations are difficult to rebook, particularly when notice is given late, I have adopted the following cancellation policies. They are comparable to those of my competitors.

  • Deposits for cancellations received in writing prior to one month before the trip date (or first date of a multi-day trip) will be refunded in full minus a 3.5% cancellation fee to cover my time spent processing the booking and any credit card fees. This policy is effective March 13, 2019.
  • From one month to 7 days prior to a trip, cancellations will forfeit the deposit unless I am able to rebook the date for a trip of equal or greater price.
  • Trips canceled within 7 days of a trip require full payment unless I am able to rebook the date for a trip of equal or greater price.
  • Changing the scheduled trip date or dates within 30 days of a trip may be treated as a cancellation and rebooking or allowed without penalty, at my discretion, depending on whether or not I have turned away business for the date originally booked.
  • Deposits I take to reserve private waters on your behalf may or may not be refundable. This depends on the specific policies of each landowner.
  • Unless weather or water conditions are dangerous or unfishable, I do not cancel trips due to weather or water conditions. We fish rain, shine, snow, or wind. At my discretion I may offer to cut a full-day trip to a shorter-duration trip without penalty, if conditions warrant. Clients are expected to have raincoats, clothing appropriate to the weather, and otherwise be prepared for changing weather conditions.
  • While I am more than willing to take client preferences into consideration in regards to the body of water we fish and the techniques we use, I do not guarantee that we will fish any specific body of water or use any specific fishing techniques. In other words, if there is a body of water suitable for the type you have booked (e.g. river float vs walk-wade), you should expect your trip to go forward. I will not accept cancellations if your preferred body of water becomes unfishable, your preferred techniques are unlikely to produce, or the weather is unpleasant but safe.
  • I reserve the right to cancel or reduce the duration of any trip due to dangerous or unfishable weather or water conditions, truck or boat breakdown, or illness. If I have to cancel a trip, I will attempt to reschedule the trip or will offer a full refund of the deposit. If trips are cut short, I may refund a portion of the trip fee depending on how much time is lost, solely at my discretion.
  • If you are concerned about your ability to take a trip based on the above conditions, I suggest purchasing a travel insurance policy. Travel Guard is a good choice.

Final Payments

The balance of the trip must be paid in full before the first day of your trip, or when we meet in the morning for the first day. For final balances, I accept cash, personal checks, and all major cards (cards are processed using Square). No-show clients will be charged full-price for the entire booking using the card on file.


Other Expenses & Gratuities

Other Expenses

Other possible expenses may include the following, with the precise additional expenses depending on where and when we fish:

  • Montana or Yellowstone National Park fishing licenses
  • Yellowstone Park entrance fees, if we're fishing inside the park
  • Private water access fees
  • Wading gear if you lack your own (seldom required on summer float trips, generally required on other trips). When required, I will suggest a local shop to patronize for your rentals. I do not have the financial resources to provide wading gear for the various shapes and sizes of potential clients. My rates reflect the fact I do not provide wading gear.
  • All clients must have or be ready to purchase polarized sunglasses! No exceptions! Clip-on or gas station grade polarized shades are acceptable, but a lack of any polarized glasses is the single biggest reason clients fail to recognize when fish strike, and lacking something to shield your eyes invites losing them to an errant hook. This is the sort of nightmare scenario that makes guides wake up sweating.

Gratuities

Whether you choose to fish with me or another outfitter, average gratuities for Montana fly fishing guides average $50 to $100 for half-day trips and $80 to $150 for full-day trips. Gratuities can be handled ahead of time via your preferred payment method if there's no other option, but cash is most certainly king. Note that gratuities average about the same amount whether you are fishing with the business owner or a guide working on behalf of the business.


General Guided Trips Policies

Policies and common questions are discussed in much greater detail on our Guided Trips FAQ. This is just a quick rundown.

  • Trips are catch and release only except where must-kill regulations are in place.
  • All fishing is barbless and artificials-only. No natural or synthetic bait. Spin fishing is permitted on river float trips only. Spin-fishing clients must remove one hook point from any treble hooks.
  • We do not intentionally target or disturb actively-spawning wild trout. Trips fishing for "fall-run brown trout" target only pre-spawn trout in deeper water, not spawners on their shallow redds, for example.
  • All plastic and aluminum containers used on our trips will be recycled.
  • We follow "leave no trace" guidelines on all trips.
  • We follow Yellowstone Park guidelines on animal interactions on all trips, inside the park or not. Animals get the right of way...
  • We attempt to follow "visual rule of crowding" guidelines on all walk trips, when it is at all feasible. Basically this means fishing out of sight of other anglers whenever we can.
  • We accept clients aged 10 and up, or 12 and up for trips from October 15 through April 15 (the latter is due to cold temps and dangerous water conditions for younger children).
  • No more than five guests may join us on any trip except lessons unless additional guides are booked. This includes non-angling observers who are not being charged, even on lessons. Yellowstone Park regulations do not permit us to supervise more than five guests at a time, and anyone with us on a trip is a guest whether we are charging them or not.
  • All guests must sign acknowledgement of risk and acceptance of responsibility forms at the beginning of the trip, including notes on any physical or mental considerations the guides must know about (eg non-obvious injuries, fear of animals or heights, inability to swim, etc.). Refusal to do so will constitute a late cancellation and require full payment.
  • Clients must wear eye protection at all times (with polarized sunglasses strongly encouraged).
  • Wading gear worn in boats must not include any metal studs, cleats, or bars. Wading gear worn in Yellowstone Park must not include felt soles. Wading gear will be cleaned before moving between water bodies in different river drainages.
  • We ask that our clients leave their firearms at home, even when they possess valid concealed-carry permits. To be frank, we don't know how clients will react to bears and virtually all concealed-carry weapons lack the muzzle energy to do more than make bears angry anyway. Our guides carry bear spray on all walk trips and we have additional canisters available for client use, on request. Bear spray has been proven to be far more effective at deterring bear attacks than firearms. For what it's worth, most of our staff own firearms of one type or another and some are concealed-carry permit holders, so this isn't a political statement of any kind.
  • No illegal drugs on trips, please. This includes medical marijuana in client possession while traveling in our vehicles in Yellowstone Park. Since this is a federal park, state legalization laws do not apply (including Montana medical marijuana laws) and our guides may be considered responsible if we get checked by a ranger or cop and clients are in possession. Clients will be sued in civil court for any violations of this policy that impact Yellowstone Country Fly Fishings, its operations, its property, or its guides in any way.
  • No smoking or other open flames in rubber rafts (for obvious reasons) or during periods of High or Extreme fire danger as declared by Yellowstone Park, the Custer-Gallatin National Forest, and/or the state of Montana. All tobacco ash/waste must be handled in a way that prevents litter and the potential for fire. Some guides may have respiratory issues and ask you to refrain from smoking or vaping in their presence, but subject to fire restrictions in late summer we can always stop for a smoke break.
  • No glass containers in boats, though wine bottles stowed in gear bags or the cooler except at lunch are fine. No open alcohol containers in our motor vehicles except obvious refuse stowed in the cooler.

Yellowstone Country Fly Fishing

Walter Wiese

113 Altair Drive

Livingston, MT 59047

(406) 223-8204

E-Mail Walter

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