Best GPS with Radio

Top Models:

Don't be without a GPS with Radio in the Backcountry

Garmin Rino 530HCx : $356

Garmin Rino 520HCx : $342

Garmin Rino 130
: $277

Garmin Rino 120 : $199

Garmin Rino 110 : $140

GPS with radio is a concept that has only been available to the average outdoorsman for the past 10 years or so. Both GPS and 2 way radio have forever changed the way we navigate and communicate, but until GPS with radio became a reality, outdoorsmen were forced to lugboth units around. Not only that, but now the units are strides abovewhat they once were. Below is a list of the top GPS with radio manufacture’s products, and below that we will discuss the benefits and applications of a GPS with radio and which one may be best for you.

Garmin Rino 520 GPS with Radio

Garmin Rino 520

Garmin Rino 520HCx Two-Way Radio and GPS :
Top of the line radio with GPS. Waterproof, 22 channel, 5 watt, 14 mile radio range, 10 foot GPS accuracy. Many more features discussed below and at the link below.

Click here for more info or to buy:Garmin Rino 520HCx Radio and GPS: Best Price: $342

Garmin Rino 530 GPS with Radio

Garmin Rino 530

Garmin Rino 530HCx 2-Way Radio with GPS:
Has all the features of the Rino 520HCx, plus 7 channel NOAA weather receiver with weather alert detection, Electronic Compass and Barometric Altimeter; great additions for small price.

Click here for more info or to buy: Garmin Rino 530HCx 2-Way Radio with GPS: Best Price: $356

Garmin Rino 120

Garmin Rino 120 2-Way Radio with GPS:

A smaller radio with GPS version that has been around a long time. 4 mile radio range, 8 mb internal memory to store maps.

Click here for more info or to buy: Garmin Rino 120 GPS with 2-Way Radio: Best Price: $199

Garmin Rino 110 GPS and Radio in one

Garmin Rino 110

Garmin Rino 110 2 Way Radio with GPS:
All the capabilities of the Rino 120, except the ability to store maps. The base model of the Rino products.

Click here for more info or to buy:Garmin Rino 110 GPS with Radio : Best Price: $140

Choosing the Right GPS with Radio
The GPS with Radio market is basically cornered by Garmin and their Rino product line. People have been relying on them for more than 10 years now, and they have only gotten better. So then, the decision lies in which Garmin Rino to buy. The answer comes down to the amount of money you want to spend. The Rino 530, at the top of the list, offers the most features but also costs quite a bit more than the bare bones Rino 110 model. Use the points below to decide which GPS with Radio unit will be best for your situation.

All Rinos: The entire line of Garmin Rino’s are all GPS units and 2-way radios combined in one easy package. Each have the ability to display to one another, their location, making it easy for people to find each other.

Rino 110: this is the bottom of the Rino line, but will do almost anything the average outdoorsman will want it to. The radio is somewhat short range when compared to the other models, but works well and can be used with other hand held radios that run on the FRS/GMRS bands. The biggest difference between this and the other products in the line up is that it does not have the ability to download maps. When I first bought my Rino 120 I thought it I probably should have stuck with the 110 as I did not think I would ever download the maps. Finally I did download them onto the Rino 120 for a backpack trip, and now I would not buy a unit without that capability. For more information on the Rino 110 GPS with 2 way radio, click on the link above.

Rino 120: This Unit has everything the Rino 110 has, but also has the capabilities to download 8mb worth of topographical maps from Mapsource Maps.

Rino 520: Garmin took what they had going with the Rino 120, and blew it out of the water with the 520. First of all, the two way radio is powered by 5 watts, extending the useful radius out to 14 miles. The internal hard drive is 56mb, so you can store a huge area of topographic maps and view them on the color display. They have also added a micro SD card slot so you can store more maps and information. The only notable downside to the Rino 520 is the fact that it is a little bigger than the previous models making it 2 ounces heavier.

Rino 530: This GPS with radio unit has all the features and looks as the Rino 520, plus it comes with a few other features that make it worth spending the extra money to have. These include a seven channel NOAA weather band and electric compass and barometric pressure gauge. The weather band and barometric pressure will let you know what type of weather is coming your way, and the compass works without moving (without an electric compass you have to be moving to show a direction of travel).

Benefits of Having a GPS with Radio
There are many advantages of having a GPS with a radio. When exploring the backcountry a person should never go without some type of communication. Until cell phones work in remote areas or satellite phones become more reasonably priced, 2 way radios will have to work. Also, once you have used a GPS and become proficient with it, you will see why it is an important item to pack along. It is almost impossible to get lost with a functioning GPS, especially if you mark your starting location. The problem is though, most people carry both units or one or the other. With the Rino, you have both in one unit. If you have a broken leg, you want to be able to communicate your exact location to emergency personnel; with a radio you can tell them the exact coordinates that you read from your GPS. There is no need to pack around both a GPS and 2-way radio. Also, the cost is not terribly more, and you may even save a little by not buying both units separately.

MapSource Software
MapSource is Garmin’s mapping software that is downloadable to all their GPS with


Radio units except the Rino 110. All the units come standard with a basic map of North and South America, but it only shows key landmarks such as highways, state lines, rivers, and a few natural landmarks. With MapSource installed in your Rino, you will be able to read the land with contours, creeks, lakes, trails, and city streets. It is nice not having to carry a map with you while backpacking and to never worry about getting lost, because with MapSource and on a Garmin Rino GPS with Radio, you will always know exactly where you are.

For most people, the standard MapSource will have more than enough detail. If you are after more detail, then you might want to consider buying the region specific mapping software by following the link below.

For more information or to buy Mapsource, click here: MapSource Topographical Maps

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Best Waterproof Digital Camera

Waterproof Camera: Why Not?

Waterproof Camera

Don't be here without one of the Best Waterproof Digital Cameras

You don’t have to be an avid snorkeler or fisherman to reap the benefits of having a waterproof digital camera. Considering you can get the Best Waterproof Digital Camera for the same price as a digital camera that will be ruined if it gets more than a splash of water on it (or any liquid for that matter), it only seems logical that if you are going to buy a digital camera that it be waterproof as well. Waterproof digital cameras can stand up to much more than a splash, and chances are that if you have one, at some point you will use it to its potential which could include fishing, snorkeling, swimming, watching your kids play in a fountain, or anything that involves water.Also, Images are not the limit these days for compact point and shoot cameras, with HD video capabilities you can record stunning video both above and under water.

After spending a lot of time researching and reviewing a number of waterproof digital cameras, and going through a few of them, I have determined that the one sticks outabove the others and comes in different price ranges to suit different needs, is the Olympus Stylus Tough.

Olympus Stylus Tough 8010 14MP Digital Camera with 5x Wide Angle Zoom and 2.7 inch LCD

Front View of the Olympus Stylus Tough

List Price: $379 Amazon Price: $289.00 Price Varies and not shown by Amazon due to it being lower than the MSRP. Price listed here is what it was at the time of this writing.Check with Amazon to get the latest price by clicking the link below:

Click here for current price or to buy now: OLYMPUS STYLUS TOUGH 8010

This camera will do it all in and out of the water, at least all that you can expect out of a compact point and shoot, waterproof digital camera. It is rated waterproof up to 33 feet (pressure increases with depth), which makes it ideal for nearly all snorkeling and many scuba diving adventures. Olympus didn’t stop there though, in addition to being waterproof, this camera is shock, freeze, and crush proof (all to an extent, do not attempt to drive a car over it or throw it from a building, obviously), making it a perfect camera for anybody with an adventurous spirit. Check out the 14 Mega Pixels (MP) this camera takes images in! Less than a decade ago, 3 mp was considered a high quality image. With 14 mp images, you can enlarge a picture to poster size without compromising photo quality. There is no need to run out and buy extra memory cards with this camera either, as it has a 2 gigabyte internal memory, which can store hundreds, possibly 1000+ photos. If you take a lot of photos and especially video though, you may want to consider an additional xD memory card just to be on the safe side.

BOTTOM LINE: This camera has definitely amazed me. I will never buy another camera that is not waterproof, and until I think something better has come along ( I will let you know here) I will need no other waterproof digital camera. I spend as much time outdoors as I can and the Olympus Stylus has surpassed all expectations and is incredibly easy to use and understand. I am confident that almost anybody who buys this camera will agree.

Olympus Stylus Tough 6020 14MP Digital Camera with 5x Wide Angle Zoom and 2.7 inch LCD

Best Waterproof Digital Camera

Back View of the Olympus Stylus Plus

List Price: $279 Amazon Price: $194 Price Varies and not shown by Amazon due to it being lower than MSRP. Price listed here is what it was at the time of this writing. Check with Amazon to get the latest price by clicking the link below:

Click here for current price or to buy now: OLYMPUS STYLUS TOUGH 6020

The Olympus Stylus Tough 6020 is very similar to the 8010 model in looks, functionality, and photo quality, but is not made quite as tough or with as much internal memory. It is still waterproof, but is rated to only 16 feet, which is still more than most other manufactures, as well as it is still shock and crush proof but will not withstand quite as much abuse as the 8010. For most people and most applications, this waterproof digital camera will exceed any expectations. Like the 8010 model, it takes images with 14 mega pixels, has the wide angled lens with 5X zoom, and the same look and size (a touch smaller actually). The Stylus 6020 also has an internal memory, but it is half the size of the 8010′s. At 1 GB, it still has plenty of room for hundreds of photos and several minutes of video. An additional xD card may also be installed to gain more memory space.

Bottom Line: The Olympus Stylus Tough 6020 is one of the Best Waterproof Digital Cameras on the market and priced to fit a budget conscious person with adventure on their mind. It is up to the individual to determine which model is best suited for their situation, but if you are wanting to watch the price a bit, then this is a good choice.

Choose Your Color and Buy Now

Olympus gives you the choice of several colors so that everybody in the family can have their own without mixing them up.

Click on one of the following links to buy now:

Olympus Stylus 8010

Olympus Stylus 6020

Available in several colors
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Best Fly Fishing Rod: Things You Need to Know Before You Buy a Fly Rod

Fly fishing is a hobby that has seen huge advancements with technology throughout the years.  While the fish and flies are still the same, the advances in the fly rods, reels and fly lines have improved tremendously, especially in the last 30 years.   As the popularity of fly fishing has increased exponentially, the competition to produce the best fly fishing rods has heated up with many manufactures competing to produce the next best fly fishing rods.  It takes time on the water to develop a feel for what a person will like the most, so to speed up the process, below is a quick guide to ensure you start you fly fishing career the right way with the right gear, starting with a fly rod.

Fly Fishing Rod Basics: Fly fishing rods vary from standard fishing rods in that with a fly rod you are casting the line compared to a standard rod that casts the lure.  It takes much less to build a rod that casts a weighted lure than it does to cast an almost weightless line that is designed to lay on the water with maximum delicacy. Therefore, a fly rod of any quality will be a bit more expensive than your standard fishing rod.  In fact, for a person just starting out bait fishing, a cheap rod will work just fine.  It is quite the opposite with fly fishing rods.  A quality made rod will enhance your experience tremendously when compared to a superstore combo pack where you get a complete setup, including rod, reel, line, tippet, and even flies, for under $50.00.  If you are expecting to continue to fly fish, that will be money well wasted.

Materials: Throughout the years, fly rods have seen many changes in the materials that are used to construct them.

  • Bamboo has been a longtime favorite for its action and nostalgia, but is expensive and not typically the best pick for someone’s first fly fishing rod.
  • Fiberglass, though strong with lots of action, is heavy and almost nonexistent in the fly fishing world these days.
  • Graphite: The best bet for a first fly rod, as well as the top pick for experienced anglers, are rods made out of a type of graphite.  Graphite rods are light and can be designed to put the flex where it is needed, which change depending on the situations an angler plans to put themselves into.

Weight: The size of line that a rod is designed to cast is known as the weight (wt) of the rod.  This also signifies the size of fish you will most likely be targeting where the lower the weight of rod, the smaller the fish you will be after.  For example, a 4 wt rod is ideal for dry fly trout fishing, where as a 10 wt rod is designed to cast big flies at big fish such as King Salmon.  Follow the link below at the end of this article to see what weight rod will be best designed for the type of fly fishing and size of fish you will most likely be encountering.

Length: With different types of fish, in many different types of areas throughout the world, different length of rods must be developed to handle the varying conditions one may find themselves in.  For trout in small streams with lots of brush and trees, a six or seven foot rod may be ideal, while on a big river fishing for steelhead a 14 foot spey rod might be the best option.  For most situations though, a 9 foot rod will be the most popular and most versatile in the most situations that a beginner will encounter.

Rod Sections: Most fly rods will be able to be broke down for times when not in use and for travel, much like standard rods.  Due to the length of the rods though, a rod that breaks down into two pieces is still going to be long and not travel all that well, especially if you are to be backpacking or flying with your rod.  That is why it is advised to go with a rod that breaks down into 4 pieces.  The connections for the sections, called ferrels, are so well made these days that you will not know it is 4 sections.

A fly rod is the first and also the most important item in a list of things that will be needed to get into this hobby.  Once you decide on a rod, you will then need to choose a line and reel to go with it.  To ensure you get your money’s worth and the Best Fly Fishing Rod setup that you will be able to use for a lifetime, make sure to go to where we will be able to specify a certain fly rod designed for the situations you will be dealing with and tailored to your budget.

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Montana Trout Fly Fishing Guide – Things to Know Before Going Fly Fishing for Trout in Montana

Montana Trout Fly Fishing Guide – Things to Know Before Going Fly Fishing for Trout in Montana

*** For more information on gear to buy, water flows, and insect hatches all important to Montana trout fly fishing go to the main website at: ***

Montana is home to some of the best trout fly fishing in the United States.  People come from all over the world to fish its legendary waters.  Some fly fishermen seek the expertise of a Montana trout fly fishing guide while others are determined to go at it alone.  Regardless of how you do it there are certain things that you must be prepared for.  This is a quick guide to Montana trout fly fishing that is aimed at helping ensure a successful trip to one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Even if a person was to fly fish Montana for a year and never catch a fish, the trip would still be a success.  You cannot believe the sheer beauty of this place until you have been there.  The wildlife alone is enough to get people coming back for more; throw a few 20 inch trout into the mix and you are in for one of the best trips of your life.  To make this trip as successful as possible, there are items that you will not want to leave behind and situations that you will want to be ready for.  Read on to get a general idea of what you need to be ready for, the essential items that you need to bring, and ideas on how to make this a great trip, and hopefully a successful one at that.

Where to Fly Fish in Montana

Montana is one of the biggest states in the U.S. and is home to the Rocky Mountains and other massive mountain ranges that feed thousands of rivers, streams and lakes.  With all of this water, it can be a daunting task to pick a particular body of water to fish.  I have had to decide where to fish on several occasions, and I’ll tell you, it is not easy.  For the most part, all you have to do is find some cold clear water and you can bet there are trout in it, probably big trout.  From the northwest to the southeast corners, and everywhere in between, fly fishing for trout can be good.   A good portion of the Montana is not so mountainous and more so desert, but even in this 2/3 of the state, an experienced fly fisherman can find big trout if he or she knows where to look.  This is an area where a Montana trout fly fishing guide can come in handy.

Southwest Montana is by far the most popular part of the state for fly fishing.  It is home to some incredible rivers that are fed from the numerous mountain ranges that can be seen in all directions.  This area is unique in that a person can fish many different bodies of water in a short trip.  From one blue ribbon trout river you can drive over a mountain pass and be fishing in another blue ribbon river in an hour or two.  Here is a quick list of the rivers that you have to choose from in SW Montana:

  1. Madison
  2. Big Hole
  3. Bitterroot
  4. Ruby
  5. Rock Creek
  6. Beaverhead
  7. Jefferson
  8. Yellowstone
  9. Gallatin
  10. Missouri

All of these rivers hold a large number of big trout, but are just a few of the bigger named rivers that Montana has to offer.  It takes many trips to Montana to really determine a favorite river.  A person could fish Montana for a lifetime and still have new rivers to fish.

When to Fly Fish Montana

I have been to Montana and experienced both great and not so great fly fishing.  Whenever the conditions are right though, the fishing has consistently been on the great side.  A good way to better your chances of experiencing good fishing is to time your vacation around both weather and insect hatches.  Most of the hatches are dependent on weather though, so if you come during the time of year that weather is most predicable (summer), your chances of having a successful trip will increase.

Here is a quick break down on each season and what can be expected.

  • Winter: Cold!  This is the time of year to book a trip to do some tropical fishing.   Many of the rivers in Montana freeze all the way across or are made up of big dangerous ice shelves.  There is some fishing in some tail waters near the dams, but unless you are a local, the fishing is not worth going out of you war to be freezing.  If you do come this time of year, bring your skis, the skiing is better than the fishing.
  • Spring: The fish this time of year are less fearful than they get once they have had a few hooks in their mouth a little later in the year, so great fishing can happen.  The problem becomes the water flow and clarity.  There is usually a small time frame when the snow and ice clear in the valleys, but remains in the mountains, making for clear water.  This is a good time to fish but the window of opportunity is very small.  If you can get away with short notice, as soon as you here the fishing is good, you’d better get on it because as soon as the snow starts melting and the spring rains start coming down, the rivers will rise and clarity will drop.
  • Summer:  This is the most popular time to be fly fishing Montana’s trout rivers.  The temperatures are comfortable and the river levels drop and become clear.  The Salmon Fly hatch is the first hatch to really start off the season.  It happens usually after June 10th.  This is a busy time of year for a Montana trout fly fishing guide, but the trout love to eat these significantly sized insects.  From the middle of June and throughout the rest of the summer, there will be hatches of either caddis, mayflies, hoppers and many more.
  • Fall: After the summer crowds leave, the fall gives way to cooler temperatures and less crowded rivers. This is a favorite time of year for many hardcore fly fishermen.  The fish are ready to fatten up for the winter and some big insects begin hatching.  The main attraction this time of year is the Fall Caddis hatch.  These supersized caddis are a trout’s main entree and can be taken with ease off the top with large floating flies such as stimulators and caddis in size 6 – 10.

Being Your Own Montana Trout Fly Fishing Guide

For an experienced fly fisherman, Montana can be effectively fished without the help of a guide.  This will certainly cut down on the budget, but is only advised for those that are proficient at casting and working flies.  There is a huge learning curve in fly fishing and if you are not over that curve, then it will be beneficial to have someone to help you out, either a friend or a guide.  Before you go, you will want to know what you will need as for as gear and fly patterns.  At the link at the end of this article there is an insect hatch chart for Montana that can help you decide what flies to take.  Another good way is to stop at a fly shop on the river you will be fishing and ask.  Most of these people spend a lot of time on the river and will be able to steer you in the right direction.  You may also want to ask them if they have any guides available as sometimes you can book a trip last minute for a discounted price if the guide has nothing else to do.  If you are going to fly fish Montana on your own, then make sure you read the gear guide at to make sure you have all you will need.

Hiring a Montana Trout Fly Fishing Guide

One of the best ways to ensure a successful fly fishing trip to Montana is to hire a Montana Trout Fly Fishing Guide.  It is amazing how much knowledge most of these guys have after putting fly fisherman on trout every day.

Here is a list of the benefits that a fly fishing guide can offer:

  • Knowing the insect hatches:  Yes, Montana is full of big trout, but the way these trout get so big is because they are smart.  They know which insects are hatching, the color and size they are, and how they float in or on the water.  Knowing these key features is exactly what a guide is paid to do, so he or she had better be good at it or they will not make it in this business.  When fishing these smart trout, you need to have everything perfect; a guide can definitely help to make this happen.
  • Where to Fish: Trout have certain conditions that they prefer.  Fishing in the right spot is a crucial factor to success on any trout water.  Insects and other organisms that trout feed on collect in certain areas and this is where you will find big trout.  A good Montana trout fly fishing guide will be able to put you in the right place at the right time
  • Access: Getting to the trout waters is sometimes half the battle.  Much of Montana’s trout fishing is best accessed by a boat or by walking through private property.  Not everybody has a boat and even if you do, it may not be feasible or possible to bring it.  A guide will get you where you need to be one way or another.
  • Equipment: Most guides will have a high quality fly fishing rod, reel and line set up for you to use that is designed to cast the flies you will be using and fight the fish you will be fishing for.  It is very important that you use the right equipment as this will greatly improve you fly fishing efficiency.
  • Knowledge: A Montana trout fly fishing guide will be able to offer clients so much more than just fishing advice.  A good guide also knows the history, geology, anthropology, and stories that make this part of the world so interesting and beautiful.

Gear to Bring:

Montana is a demanding place, both in fly fishing gear and clothing alike.  To make this the best trip possible it is advised that you come prepared for anything that Montana can throw at you.  I have seen it snow in July, and I’ve lost several fish due to size that I was not expecting.  Let’s go over some items that you should not come to Montana without.

1. Fly Fishing Gear: Things you will need if not hiring a Montana Trout Fly Fishing Guide

  • Fly Fishing Rod: It is very important that you bring a fly rod that is of high quality.  The Wal-Mart combo set is not recommended and will lead to headaches and a far less successful trip.  A well made fly rod is much easier to cast, more accurate, and stronger leaving you much less likely to break it.  Two rules of thumb are: 1. Buy the best rod you can afford.  2. Only consider rods that offer a lifetime warranty.  For more information on buying a fly rod and all other fly fishing gear mentioned here, click the link at the end of this article.
  • Fly Fishing Line:  Fly lines are a close second to the importance of a fly fishing set up right behind a quality fly rod.  With fly fishing, you are casting the line which delivers the fly to where you want it.  This means the line has to work with the rod.  This is why it is advised to use a high quality line in addition to a nice rod.  Also, you will want to be able to fish many different situations as the fish are not always willing to take an insect on the top.  You may need to use a sink tip to get bait fish imitations to the fish so it is also wise to go with a line that has interchangeable tips of different sink rates from floating to fast sink.
  • Fly Fishing Reel: a fly reel is less important and receives far less use than the line and rod, but a smooth drag system is very helpful if you hook into any trout 16 inches or more.  It is not a good experience to lose a fish of a lifetime over a cheap piece of equipment.  Again, it is suggested to buy the best reel you can afford, but if you must skimp on either a rod, reel, or line, this is the place to do it.
  • Waders and Boots: These are an essential.  Most Montana fly fishing is done at elevations well over 6000 feet making for cool mornings and cold water even in August.  Having owned a couple pairs of cheap waders in my early fly fishing days, I can tell you how important a quality pair can be.  Although they may cost twice as much, a quality pair can last 3 times as long before they start leaking in the seams and cutting in to your fun.  Also, a good pair of wading boots is a must on the slippery rocks of almost all Montana Rivers.  Good support and traction are what you should be after.  There are many types of soles to choose from.  A big push in Montana is rubber soles as opposed to felt in an effort cut down on transporting invasive aquatic organisms that can live in a felt sole that does not have time to dry out before using them in a second river system.  Nearly all quality wading boot manufactures have come out with rubber soles designed to grip slippery rocks and many have removable cleats that can add a lot of stick to your traction.  Check out the gear guide link at to help you decide on all equipment you will need.
  • Flies, leaders, tippets, floatant, and line cutters: These are all necessary if you are going to be your own Montana trout fly fishing guide.  It is important to know how to tie all this together and what types of flies are effective during the time of your adventure.  One would think a trout would take any fly that it sees, but even the small fish are smart and will mostly only take flies that match the insects that are hatching at the time.

2.  Things to bring guide or not:

Hiring a Montana trout fly fishing guide will definitely cut down on the amount of gear you will need to pack as far as fly fishing equipment.  Still there are several items that you will not want to leave home without that your guide will not provide, especially if you are not hiring one.  Here is a quick list of items that should not be left home.

  • Rain proof coat: have it ready too.  The weather in these mountains can change in an instant from sunny and warm to cloudy, rainy, and sometimes even snow.
  • Binoculars: the areas are home to some incredible wildlife and you never know what you are going to see.  Deer, elk, big horn sheep, moose, wolf, coyote, bear, and many more species are all possible.
  • Camera: Make sure you have one handy when you real in that fish of a life time.  The surroundings are picture perfect as well.
  • Sun Screen: The sun is intense at these altitudes and the rays will reflect off the water.
  • Sun Glasses: Sunglasses are very helpful when spending all day on the river.  Polarized sun glasses are recommended as they cut down on the glare coming off the water and enable a person to see through the water much better than with just regular sun glasses.

Handling of Montana Trout

All trout are very delicate.  It is best not to touch them at all, but if you do need to take a picture, wet your hands before touching, take a quick photo, and get it back in the water.  It is best to let it swim away as soon as it has the power to do so.  Please do not caress it and rub its belly like you see them do on fishing shows.  Get the trout out of your hand as soon as possible.  Most of Montana requires Barbless hooks, but do it because it is the right thing to do as it is so much easier to remove the hook this way.  Barbless hooks get a bad rap for loosing fish.  I think it is more of an excuse.  Many times that hook is going to come out barb or not, the key is to keeping the line tight.  Many experienced fly fishermen including many Montana Trout fly fishing guides will agree that the barb actually makes it harder to get a good hook set on a fish because it has a wider shank to seat it firmly in the mouth tissue.  The final argument against barbed hooks is the fact that it is not smart to have a barbed hook flying around your head, or any part of your body for that matter.  A barbed hook in your eye is not a pretty sight.  Just hope you still have sight from that eye when you get back from the hospital.


No matter how many big Montana Trout you do or don’t catch, you are sure to have a good time.  Like I said before, the scenery alone is worth making a trip here. Typically my drive home to Idaho is spent planning out the next trip to Montana.  Every time I make the trek to these legendary waters I am faced with not having enough time to fish all the water I would like to.  That is because a lifetime is not enough time to fish all of this state.  On the drive to Montana it always seems like I have more than enough time to be fishing, but before I know it, it is time to pack up and head for home.  I guess time flies when you are having fun, luckily there are many more trips to come if I have things my way.  I hope to see you all there, and please be respectful of the fish so we all can enjoy fly fishing Montana together for years to come.

To make sure you are properly equipped with the right gear for fly fishing Montana, go to this gear guide where you will find advice on fly rods, lines, reels, waders, and all necessary gear related to fly fishing: and click on the gear guide. For more information on hatches, river flows, and other important articles about fly fishing, click on this link: Montana Trout Fly Fishing Guide.

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Selecting a Fly Rod

By Chris Jackson

Published at : Hub Pages

If you are new to the sport of fly fishing, then the fi

Selecting a Fly Rod?

rst thing for you to do will be selecting a fly rod.  Selecting a fly rod is not difficult, but is very important as there are many different sizes, lengths, and tapers to choose from.   Many people think that all you need is a fly rod and that will cover all of your fly fishing needs, but that is not true.

There are several factors that will determine what fly rod you will want to buy, but to keep it simple we will focus on the three main factors: size, action, quality.  To help you in selecting a rod, let’s take a look at these factors and narrow you search down a bit so you can be confident that you are selecting the right fly rod so you can enjoy the sport and learn the fastest.

*** To skip this valuable information and to find out exactly what we recommend, go straight to our gear guide by clicking here:   The information below will help prepare you to make a decision on a fly rod, so you can read it and then click the link at the end if you would like.***


There are many different sizes of fish, so there are many different sizes of fly rods to choose from.  The same rod that you use for trout will not be ideal for salmon, or vice versa.  Fly rod size uses a scale from 1 – 15 and higher, and is denoted by weight (wt) where a 1wt is very light and for small fish and a 15wt is heavy and made for huge fish like Marlin and Sharks.  Here is a generic list of fish and the rod size you will need for each.  Most fish species vary in size, so your situation might be a little different but this will get you close.

2wt        small trout, pan fish

4wt        trout, pan fish

6wt        bass, trout,

8wt        steelhead, bass, saltwater

10wt      salmon, steelhead, tuna, saltwater

12wt      saltwater, dorado, sail fish

14wt      saltwater, sail fish, marlin, shark

The most common rod size for a first fly rod is a 6wt, as it is light enough to cast dry flies to trout with delicacy, as well as cast bigger flies to bass and even steelhead, and has enough backbone to fight larger fish.


Fly rods are designed with different Actions.  This means they bend at different areas throughout the rod and make the line behave differently as a result.  When selecting a fly rod, you will want to pay special attention to action because some are much easier to cast than others.  Here is a list of the types of action you will choose from.

  • Slow Action: whole rod bends when casting.  Made for small streams and short casts.
  • Medium Action: rod bends in the mid section of the rod.  This is the easiest rod to cast but will lack the distance and accuracy of faster action rods.
  • Fast Action: rod bends mostly at the tip.  These rods are best suited for experienced casters and are built for high line speed good for long casts, accuracy, wind conditions, and casting large flies.
  • There are also actions in between these actions such as medium slow, medium fast, and even very fast action (or whatever the fly rod manufacture wants to call it)

For a beginner, a medium action rod will be the easiest to cast, but will limit you once casting becomes comfortable.  The solution is a rod between medium and fast, and is known as a medium fast action.  This will give anybody the benefits of both and is my recommendation for a first fly rod.  If you are selecting a fly rod designed for saltwater, then you will want to stick with a fast action rod as most likely you will be casting big flies and doing so in the wind.


When selecting a fly rod, a good thing to remember is that you get what you pay for.  Sure, you can go to Wal-Mart and pick up a cheap combo set for under $50, but once you hold a quality rod in your hand you will probably end up with your own sooner than later.  Fly Rods vary in price exponentially with quality.  In other words, as quality goes up, price goes up even faster.  Here are my two recommendations: Go with the best fly rod you can afford and buy a rod with a lifetime warranty.  Any rod with a lifetime warranty is going to be of good quality and one that you will own for life.  At some point you will break a rod and the warranty will come in handy.  At my website, all rods that I recommend come with a lifetime warranty and the manufactures are very good about honoring them.  To buy a rod with such a warranty you will need to spend around $200 or more, which is quite cheap considering a graphite rod can run up to $1000 + and a Bamboo Fly Rod can be over $3000.

Here is a list of the Benefits that you will have if you select a quality fly rod:

  1. Easier casting
  2. Light weight
  3. Great feel
  4. Lifetime warranty
  5. Stronger than cheap rod
  6. Long and accurate casting
  7. Proud
  8. Quicker learning curve


Now that you have an idea of size, action and quality of the fly fishing rod that you need to buy, it is time to narrow your search down to specific brands and models, which is another daunting task.  For help picking out the exact rod you will be happy with for a lifetime, go to where there is a complete gear guide designed to help you with selecting a fly rod, reel, line, and other fly fishing necessities.  If you are considering purchasing your first fly rod, then good luck to you.  You have many new experiences to come.  I wish I had never caught a fish on a fly rod, just so I could do it for the first time all over again, although it is sure nice to be over the learning curve and soon, with the right gear and a little practice, you will be too.

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Best Travel Fly Rod

By Chris Jackson

When traveling any distance at all to go fly fishing, it helps to have a fly rod that packs into a small storage tube.  Trying to do anything with a standard two piece rod is difficult.  When backpacking it catches everything overhead and when flying it is awkward and annoying.  There are many considerations that need to be taken into account when looking for the best travel fly rod from how long do you want it to be during travel, how thick during travel, and how well you want it to fish while fishing.

Travel fly rods can be considered as any fly rod that breaks down in to more than two pieces, usually four, but there are some that break down even more.  To choose the best travel fly rod is actually not quite possible because there are many different situations that fly fishing involves, and unfortunately there is no “one size fits all” rod.  Likewise it is important that you buy the right rod as your good experience will depend on it.  The main factors that you will want to take in to account when selecting a travel fly rod are length, diameter, weight, and quality.

*** To skip this valuable information and to find out exactly what we recommend, go straight to our gear guide by clicking here:  Nearly all of the rods we recommend are great for travel, all you need to do is choose the fish and size that you will be after to be sure you get the right rod weight.  The information below will help prepare you to make a decision on a fly rod, so you can read it and then click the link at the end if you would like.***


The number one factor to look at when looking for the best travel fly rods is length of the rod tube that it breaks down into.  The most common travel rods bread down into 4 pieces and are 9 feet long.  That makes for 2 feet 3 inches of rod when folded up plus a couple extra inches for the tube, we’ll say two and a half feet.  That is much better than a two piece rod at over 4.5 feet.  They do make rods that break down into even more pieces, but with shorter length come other factors such as diameter.  In my own opinion, a 4 piece rod is not only the best travel fly rod, it is the best for all fly fishing.  Besides, unless you only walk out you back door to go fishing, you will have to transport it somewhere.


The diameter of the rod tube will be dependent on how many pieces the rod breaks down to.  The more sections of rod the thicker the tube will have to be.  At some point the benefit of the shorter length tube will be overshadowed by the thickness of the tube.  Once a tube gets too thick it gets cumbersome and is actually tougher and more awkward to strap onto you backpack or luggage.  This is another reason why I prefer to stick with a 4 piece rod.

Fly Fishing

With today’s fly fishing rods and the great technology that has come about, rods that consist of several pieces actually do not fish much different than two piece rods.  The ferrules are the parts of a rod that that slide into one another.  At one time, ferrules were the week point of the rod and the least amount you had the better.  These days that just is not the case anymore.  There is one downfall to consider with ferrules that we should definitely mention.  When fishing, especially using a lot of power by casting a lot of line or a heavy fly, rod sections tend to spin a little at the ferrules and cause the eyes to not line up.  It is not a big deal because all you have to do to fix it is rotate it back to where the eyes realign,  but it can get annoying sometimes.

Weight and Quality

When looking for a good travel fly rod, weight is definitely something to take into consideration.  The way to get is rod that is lightweight is to go with a quality rod.  The cheap combo rods are not only a pain to cast, especially learn to cast, but they are made with heavy materials.  On the contrary, a quality rod will be much easier to learn how to cast and will weigh a lot less, which is a good thing not only when traveling, but also when out fishing all day long.

Another reason why it is important to go with a quality rod is the fact that most rods over about $200 will come with a lifetime warranty.  This makes the purchase of a fly rod a lifetime decision so do yourself a favor and go with one you will want forever.  A good rule of thumb is to buy the best rod that you can afford and you will not be disappointed.  And oh yeah, and make sure it is a four piece.

So, What is the Best Travel Fly Rod?

With so many different fish and so many different situations, there is no way to pick out any one particular rod that makes it the best travel fly rod.  First off, I suggest making all fly rod purchases travel rods, meaning four pieces and quality.  If you buy a rod that is designed for the type of fish and fishing and is of high quality and is made up of at least 4 sections, then you have a perfect travel fly rod.  At we go over all rod weights and give recommendations on fly rods for a wide range of different budgets.  Any of the rods that are promoted at this site are what we consider the “Best Travel Fly Rod” and are what we travel and fish with.

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West Slope Cutthroat Fly FIshing – Yellow Sally

I went fly fishing this weekend in Idaho for West Slope Cutthroat on the Clearwater River System.  Fishing was respectable with the biggest fish, which I lost at my feet before I could snap a quick picture, was close to 20 inches.  These fish are beautiful and willing to take an aquatic insect.  Both dry flies and nymphs were effective, but dries actually saw more action.  There was quite a hatch of Yellow Sally Stone flies going on and small dries that resembled them seemed to work pretty well.  At some times it even looked like a caddis hatch until you could see they were all yellow.  The Yellow Sally fly tying instructions and videos that are on the website are of the same fly that was the most effective.  Here is the link:

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New Fly of the Week

The Stimulator is the Fly Of the Week at Click on this link to check it out complete with stimulator information and fly tying instructional video.

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Fishing In Venomous Snake Country: Snake Gaiters

Check out this site for information on Snake Bite Prevention:

Summer is upon us and with that the waders will get pushed to the side and the neoprene socks will take their place and wet wading will be the way to go. Unfortunately where I fly fish is also home to rattle snakes. Once I had a snake bite the sole of my wading boot as I was in mid stride. Why it did not strike the leg that was on the ground is unknown to me. I just felt a tap on the bottom of my boot and then I heard the rattle. Another time I was fishing 5 miles and a couple thousand vertical feet in a hole with a river in the bottom. As we were walking to the river in the morning my buddy behind me says look at this. Underneath the weeds coiled up on the trail was a good sized rattle snake that I had just walked over. Luckily it rained all night and it was still cool, which maybe the only reason he did not strike. It would have been a long hike out of there with a snake bite. It was bad enough with our backpacks on.

Anyway, these instances are what led me thinking about snake bite protection. I did a google search and found a site that has information and reviews about Snake Gaiters, Snake Boots, Snake Chaps, and Snake gloves. The site is I would suggest going there and easing your mind like I did. I went with the best pair of snake proof gaiters that the site recommends and would suggest you do the same. They are TurtleSkin SnakeArmor Snake Gaiters. They are a very lightweight fabric that is puncture proof. They are comfortable,tough, and though thank God I have not had to test them as of yet, they appear to be effective and well made. They have surely saved my legs from thorns and other things that can tear up some skin.

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Hello world!

This is the blog devoted to where we will post what is going on at the website and what us members have been doing in the fly fishing world.  Please check back here in the near future to see what’s new!

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