MRFC Fly Fishing School Itinerary
Over the years we have dialed in a fairly routine schedule for our fly fishing school. Still though, each class' schedule will vary slightly depending on many factors. One major influencer is weather. We see it all here in SW Montana. Weather plays a big role in where we decide to fish each day. For example, scorching heat is best dealt with by fishing the Madison River, whereas unseasonably cooler weather may prompt us to relocate to the typically warmer Ruby River. This is just one example of how flexibility plays a big role in our day to day decisions on where and when to fish. Fortunately, flexibility is a valuable skill to be learned in the process of becoming a well-rounded fly fisherman!
Day 1 (Evening Introduction):
We meet for the first evening at the shop where we will move to the El Western motel. Chris and John are kind enough to let us use their beautiful grounds and patio to do the introductory fly casting and knot tying. The first night we cover equipment, knot tying, fly casting and the four inevitable events of fly fishing. For those that already have some gear we recommend they bring this to the first evening as we can help them get familiar with their equipment and prepare students for what they need to have with them for the first morning. This setting is relaxed and back dropped by the famous Fan Mountain of the Madison Range. We'll provide appetizers and beverages, and try to get you finished in time to grab a bite to eat.
Day 2 (Wading the Ruby River):
Day two starts off at the Madison River Fishing Co at 7am with coffee, juice and breakfast from The Picinic Basket. This will be the first full day of fishing for the class. This day is normally spent on a smaller piece of water to help students gain some comfort for wading and moving around streams and rivers. Safety is a priority and we use small streams to give students the basics on wading techniques and safety. Depending on conditions we spend the day on the Ruby River, local spring creek and or small lakes and ponds. This is the day we start to apply some of the casting fundamentals to a practical approach to fly fishing. This day we focus students in on the different water loading casts like the roll cast and downstream water loaded cast. This is also a great time to work on approaching small water and stealth. On small streams it is easy to introduce high stick nymph techniques and basic dry fly presentation. Proper fish fighting and landing techniques will be introduced on this first day. We often get to watch feeding fish on this day and will try and introduce everyone to feeding trout behavior both on the surface and sub-surface. The basics for reading water, bug selection, and streamside entomology are also introduced on this first day. We will prepare a sit down lunch for you to break up the day of instruction and fishing.
Day 3 (Wading the Upper Madison River):
This is the second full day on the water and we generally start the morning at the fly shop at 7am. We will select flies for the day and give students a chance to pick up any essentials they need before we head out to fish. On the second day, we will transition to wade fishing tactics for larger rivers and streams. Typically we spend a day wade fishing the upper Madison River. As stated before, safety is a priority for us at Madison River fishing Co and we will introduce more techniques for wading and wading safety on this morning. On the second full day on the water we will emphasize reading water and currents, nymphing techniques for pocket water and will add various fly setups and strategies for successful fly fishing. An aquatic insect sample and more in depth entomology lesson will be given around lunch. We will also add onto the previous day casting and fly fishing techniques including the introduction of streamer fishing. We will provide a nice streamside lunch and beverages to break up the day fishing.
Day 4 (Floating the Madison River):
On the last day of the fly fishing school we will fish the Madison River via drift boats. This will be a traditional western float fishing experience. We will add guides/instructors and will pair of anglers two to a guide and boat. The casting requirements for drift fly fishing change somewhat from the previous day's wade fishing. Emphasis will be placed on proper casting techniques, accuracy, reading water and drift boat fishing strategies. Drift fishing is a team sport and our knowledgeable guides will help you to understand the anglers roles in the boat.