We offer the use of drift boats on most rivers listed. The drift boats or rafts allow us to cover a larger area and access waters that are inaccessible or unsafe for wading, which is an advantage. The boats also allow us to bring extra gear that might otherwise be left behind on walk-n-wade trips. Some rivers have regulations that mandate fishing only by wading. Although we cannot fish from the boat, we use the boat to drift through these areas and access fishing holes that one cannot access on foot because of private land.
The drift boats are designed to float through shallow waters. With our knowledgeable guide staff in the center of the boat rowing, he or she can safely navigate you into position for the perfect drag free drift. All boats can accommodate up to two anglers at most. For example, if you have six anglers you would need three guides, and we are happy to arrange for as many anglers and guides as you need. When booking trips, especially large groups, we highly recommend booking one year in advance to ensure we have enough guides for your group.
Most of the drift boats are fiberglass construction, although some are wood, and the rafts are PVC (polyvinyl chloride). If you have wading boots with metal cleats please let us know when booking your trip(s) so we can arrange for protective mats that will help protect our vessels.
No boats are allowed in Yellowstone National Park, park law. All float trips will be on our Montana waters.
We are not a brick and mortar fly shop. Upon booking trips with Trout On The Fly, we will make suitable arrangements to pick you up at your vacation rental, lodge, hotel, campsite, or the airport. If your place of lodging is out of the way, we will ask you to meet your guide at a convenient location for your day(s) on the water. This applies regardless of where you are staying – Bozeman, Ennis, Cameron, Helena, Livingston, West Yellowstone or Fort Smith Montana.
- Wader and Wading Boot Rental – Let us know when booking a trip if you need rental gear and we will arrange to have them upon your arrival. Prices with Trout On The Fly LLC are $20 for half day rental and $30 for a full day wader and boot rental.
- Montana Fishing License – To save time we recommend you purchase your license(s) online before your trip at the Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks website. Any angler 12 years of age and older must have a Conservation License ($10-nonresident) plus a Fishing License ($25 for 2 consecutive days, $56 for 10 consecutive days or $86 for season-nonresident), plus an Angler AIS Prevention Pass (AISPP) ($7.50 for non-residents). No license is required for angler’s age 11 years and younger IF accompanied by an adult who holds a valid Montana fishing license. Click here to buy a Montana Fishing License Online
- Guide Gratuity – Gratuity is not mandatory, but is well appreciated to help with the guide’s fuel, flies lost on the trip, and reflects the hard work of the guide. Average gratuity is 20-25% of the price of the trip. However, if you feel the guide deserves more or less, please adjust the amount according to your experience.
- Transaction Fee – All credit and debit card payments add 3% of the total amount.
Deposit & Cancellation Policy
- A 50% deposit is required at the time of reserving your fishing guide. The remaining balance will be due 60 days before your scheduled trip(s)
- Cancellations made 61 days or more from your scheduled trip will be refunded the full amount.
- Cancellations made between 60 and 31 days before your scheduled trip will forfeit $100 of the trip amount.
- Cancellations made 30 or fewer days prior to your scheduled trip will forfeit 100% of the trip amount.
Please understand that these trips are difficult to re-book on short notice, and that our focus is on providing the best fishing experience possible. If you have any concerns about attending your booked trip, please look into trip insurance.
- “First a little back info - I guided my first customer in 1974 and for 20 years guided fresh water and on the White River in Arkansas before any fly fishermen set foot on the river. I have been fortunate enough to be friends with, and have fished with guides, both great and real rear ends, from the Great Barrier Reef, Colorado, Oregon, Belize, etc so I am well versed in what a good guide should be. I have towed the boat and fished from Key West to Canada, and fished on really busy waters and interacted with guides from one end to the other in this country. Been there done that so that said here are my thoughts. Over the years I have found the occasional guides to be great, others to be particularly self important and full of themselves, especially in the fly fishing world. (That attitude seems to be present in many fly shops I have stopped in as a compulsive tackle shop junkie.) Several have an attitude that is well beyond their place in this world, in other words freakin' jerks who have somehow decided that their rights and place on the water take precedent over the common dude just trying to catch a fish. That attitude disturbs me, guides do not own the water and have a duty to rise above that attitude. So here we go with Nathan Anderson. My expectations were exceeded, I would give him and the experience an A+ and both my wife and I had a great time. Nathan was beyond all of that nonsense. Not only did he go above and beyond trying to help the wife get a fish or two, he got that done, but his attitude to others on the river was what a real guide should be. My wife appreciated how he made her feel safe on the water, fishing with me she has certain expectations and he met them. Being a Saturday it was busy as it is everywhere on the water. His ramp behavior was great. When a couple of guide boats on our trip cut us off and just acted like they somehow own the river (See above) he was the bigger man. We let folks go past us, he did not get stupid when regular folks did the stuff they do because they do not understand "the RIGHT way to fish". He was a true professional and is the kind of guide that is a credit to the profession. He was the antithesis of the I am a big shot guide and my rights on the water somehow take precedent over the rest of the world. How could you improve? (Since I know nothing about your business not sure what to say but here goes.) Make dam sure that anyone who you use through your service fishes and guides like Nathan. That your guides treat others on the water as Nathan did. That others understand that with the pleasure and honor of being a guide come the responsibility to be the bigger guy, to be patient, and understand that guiding gets a bad name with the attitude that seems to affect some guides. That just because you own a Sage and fancy Simms means nothing in the grander scheme of things. I know that is quite a long answer to your inquiry, but I felt the context was important. Nathan was professional, patient, smart, and as far as the "technical" aspect of fishing was a real pro. As you can tell I have strong feelings and do not hesitate to express them good or bad to my readers. That said when I post it will be beyond positive and include much of the above about his ability and his love of the water and teaching others. As I begin the fly fishing part of my fishing journey part of hiring guides is to learn and I learned a ton. I would fish with him again in a minute and I hope that your other guides have the same attitude and respect for others. Over the last 40 years I learned we hard core fishermen or guides, do not own the water and have a greater responsibility to the resource and others and should be held to a higher standard. Nathan is a credit to the profession and your company. So thanks for the experience and your follow up. It was how it is supposed to be.“
- “Nate, I had a great time! Everything I wanted to have happen did. I have never done any fly fishing before. Nathan Anderson was a great guide and very patient with me. I’m sure the last thing a professional guide wants to put up with is starting from scratch (This is how you hold the rod, this is how you cast, etc.) but he went thru it all and gave me two great days of fishing on the Madison River. I caught Rainbows and Browns that were in the 16-20” range for all but two of the fish I caught. I had a great time and would like to try it again sometime. Thanks for everything. Tim“
- “Hi Nate – Garrett was great. He deserves special kudos for taking two strangers out on the river during freezing weather with rain, sleet, and snow! We are glad he did. In spite of the weather, Garrett put us onto some nice fish through our 3 days, and he kept his spirits and humor. Like George, I really appreciated the thorough and prompt way you handled the booking and follow-up. It made planning and execution pretty easy from our end. As for recommendations, I think you should be sure that the weather is always in the 70s with good cloud cover so that we only have to throw dries . . . ! 😊 It truly was an experience, and I am glad that I was able to have it, but I will also be glad to come back a little earlier in the season (smile). Cheers, Doug Lawrence“
- “Our fishing trip with Trout On The Fly more than met our expectations! All guides were professional, supportive cheerleaders, and skilled instructors. We appreciated the timeliness of pick up, the lunches, and your gentle guidance in fishing as well as getting in and out of the boat! Our guides, Nate, Aaron, and Doug were so very patient-even when I had my line tangled or wrapped around my boots! We appreciated the careful balance between direct instruction, processing time, and the learning curve. We gained new knowledge, and by the third day, I felt like I was finally able to begin applying what I was learning. I wish I could return sooner than a year from now! We so enjoyed The Noble Bison and every detail of comfort provided. We especially appreciated coming “home” to a fireplace, hot shower, and cozy space after that cold, rainy Friday of fishing. The decor and artwork contributed to a warm, inviting experience. Nate and Trout On The Fly provided the perfect fishing experience. Your organization and attention to detail clearly contributed to our most successful adventure. Thank you so much for all you do, Gary and Judy“
- “Jeff Johnson was extremely professional, knowledgeable, and patient. Even though the activity was slow, he kept our lines in the water and kept changing flies to find something the fish would bite. He had a positive attitude throughout, offering instruction and encouragement all day. I especially appreciate your flexibility in allowing me to add an angler at the last minute. Thanks again. I hope to be back someday.“