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Fly Fishing Gear List — What To Bring

Big Hole Lodge is an Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing Lodge and there is a well-stocked fly shop on the premises to meet your piscatorial needs. The latest Orvis rods and reels are available, along with a variety of other Orvis gear. Leaders, tippet material, flies and other accessories can also be purchased there. We suggest that you arrive with a small selection of trout flies, with your personal favorites included, but flies are included in the package and Craig always has a good supply of flies you will need for the particular week that you are there, with some very unique patterns designed for the local rivers and streams.

See below for our recommended gear list and buy directly from Orvis.

Gear List —

See list below with decriptions of what you need to bring.

Fly Rods

A 9’ rod for a #6 weight line will cover most conditions you will experience in Montana and we recommend it for the Big Hole River. A #5 weight or even a #4 weight rod in lighter line works fine on the numerous mountain streams in the area.

Fly Lines

Presentation is the key word on the Big Hole and Beaverhead; consequently, a double taper floating line is recommended. Floating lines are recommended for all fishing except streamer fishing in the early part of the season when a sink-tip is helpful.


A proper leader is the most abused piece of equipment in the sport of fly fishing. A 9-12’ tapered leader with a stiff butt section is almost mandatory in Montana in order to handle the conditions. A good all-around leader is a 9' with a 4X tippet. If you are fishing “far n’ fine”, a 12' with a 5-6X tippet is recommended. For windy days and large hairwing and hopper patterns, a 7.5' 3X leader works well. There is always a good stock of leaders in the fly shop.


Lightweight chest waders are the favorite of most guests. Neoprene waders are fine on cold days but are generally too warm for most summer fishing. Felt soles are a must in Montana and a wading staff is recommended. Please don’t wear metal studded wading boots in the rafts since they damage the bottom. Also, metal studded wading boots are not allowed in the cabins since they damage the floors. Thank you! Wet wading in the warmer weeks of the season with wading boots and neoprene socks has become very popular. It is still a good idea to bring chest waders though and be prepared if the weather does turn.

Angling Accessories —

The following accessories will help you enjoy your trip. Most of what is listed is available in the fly shop.


Polarized lenses protect your eyes and help you spot fish underwater.

Rain Coat

You never know when a storm will roll through in Montana.

Dry Fly Floatant

Gel is best.

Surgical Forceps

For releasing trout unharmed and bending barbs.

Landing Net

Soft netting does not harm the fragile gills of the trout.

Rain Jacket

Bring a good one because temperatures can drop 20 degrees in a bad storm.


The Montana sun is bright, especially with the reflection off the river.

Fishing Hat

A cowboy hat, bonefish hat or baseball cap is perfect.


For walking back to your cabin after dinner (important in August-September).

Angler's Clippers

Essential for trimming knots or tippets.

Insect Repellent

Mosquitoes are pesky in June and July. Buzz-off shirts work well also.


Dress at the lodge is casual and comfortable. The weather can change abruptly in Montana so you should be prepared. The nights and mornings are cool, sometimes in the 40’s, and the daytime temperatures can climb into the 80’s. It’s best to dress in layers such as a flannel shirt, fleece, vest or jacket.

Recommended Fly Patterns —

Your guides will have all you need, but if you tie your own here are our recommendations.

Dry Flies

  • Royal Wulff: #10, 12, 14, 16, 18
  • Parachute Adams: #12, 14, 16, 18
  • Blue Winged Olive: #18, 20, 22
  • Wrights Royal: #12, 14, 16
  • Goddard Caddis: #12, 14, 16
  • Elk Hair Caddis: #12, 14, 16 (size #14 for spruce moth-slightly larger body)
  • Henryville Caddis: #16, 18
  • Trico Dun and Spinner: #20  
  • Pale Morning Dun: #14, 16, 18, 20  
  • Green Drake: #10  
  • Stimulator: #10, 12, 14
  • Rusty Spinner: #16  
  • Black Ant: #14, 16, 18, 20  
  • Adult Blue Damselfly: #10  
  • Salmonfly: #4, 6, 8  
  • Golden Stonefly: #6, 8, 10  
  • Parachute Hopper: #8, 10, 12, 14  
  • March Brown: #10  
  • Hoppers: #10, 12, 14  
  • Beetles: #12, 14, 16  
  • PMX Royal: #10, 12  
  • Purple Haze: #12, 14          


  • Dark Hare’s Ear: #12, 14, 16, 18
  • Flashback: #14, 16, 18
  • Beadhead Pheasant Tail: #14, 16, 18, 20
  • Pheasant Tail (traditional): #14, 16, 18, 20
  • Stonefly: #4, 6  
  • Prince: #12, 14  
  • Soft-hackle Beadhead Hare’s Ear: #14, 16  
  • Copper John: #14, 16, 18, 20  
  • LaFontaine Caddis Emerger (tan): #14, 16
  • Yuk Bug: #4, 6  
  • George’s Stone: #6, 8

*Note: Bring weighted nymphs  


  • Wooly Bugger (black & olive): #4, 6, 8
  • Yellow Marabou: #4
  • Muddler Minnow: #4, 6, 8

Recommended Patterns by Month

May: March Browns, Caddis Patterns, Blue Winged Olive, Stimulator.

June: Salmonfly, Golden Stone, Stimulator, Pale Morning Dun, Caddis Patterns, Parachute Adams, Royal Wulff, Green Drake, George’s Stone, Wooly Bugger.

July: Pale Morning Dun, Parachute Adams, Royal Wulff, Caddis Patterns, Green Drake, Wrights Royal, Rusty Spinner, Stimulator, Blue Damselfly, Hopper Patterns, PMX Royal, Purple Haze and all nymph and streamer patterns shown above.

August: Tricos, Hopper Patterns, Ants, Parachute Adams, Royal Wulff, Terrestials, Rusty Spinner, Midges, Elk Hair Caddis, Purple Haze, PMX Royal,  Prince Nymph, Soft-hackle Beadhead Hare’s Ear, Flashback, Pheasant Tail, Copper John.

Blue Winged Olive, Royal Wulff, Parachute Adams, Hoppers, Terrestials, Midges, Wooly Bugger, Prince Nymph, Soft-hackle Beadhead Hare’s Ear, Flashback, Pheasant Tail, Copper John.