Fly Fishing Gear

We are happy to answer any questions you might have on fly fishing gear. Like any other outdoor activity, there is a wide range of gear that is practical depending of the conditions at hand. From fly rods to rain gear, there are endless options of functional equipment. To help you get started, here is a brief overview and list of rods, reels, and gear manufacturers that we feel are top notch. Also our local fly shop, Anglers West, is excellent at answering any of your questions and has these products available.

Required Gear

For the summer season, all we require you to have is a pair of polarized sunglasses, a hat, a raincoat, appropriate layering for the weather, sunscreen, and your current fishing license. We can take care of the rest. If you have your own fly rod and fishing gear, great. If not we have boat rods for your use. For the colder shoulder seasons, we add breathable waders or rain pants to the list.

Fly Rods

For most trout fishing applications in Montana, we use medium to fast action 5 and 6 weight rods. We prefer the 9 foot length in both weights. There are plenty of good rods out there, but make sure whichever brand you choose has a solid warranty program as you may need it. Here are some rods we use and recommend: Sage, Echo, Winston, Scott

Fly Reels

Reels for trout fishing are not as important as your choice of fly rods. It mostly boils down to personal preference. We recommend a practical large arbor reel with a reasonable drag system and good warranty. Here are some reels we use: Ross, Lamson, Nautilus


Rain jackets, layering, waders, and clothing are all important to your day on the water. From cold weather layering for spring and fall fishing to warm weather shorts and shirts, quality gear will make your fishing experience more enjoyable. These brands treat us well: Simms, Patagonia

Fly Lines and Leaders

Fly lines are a very important piece of your fly fishing gear. You can have the best rod and reel on the market, but its performance will be noticeably limited with a sub-par line. For floating lines, we prefer both Scientific Anglers GPX and RIO Gold weight forward lines. If you are fishing a fast action rod and need some help loading it, the RIO Grand line is a half a weight heavier and casts well with the fast 6 and 7 weights. If you are looking for a sinking line, we use the RIO DC sink tip lines. They come in different lengths and weights to suit your needs. For leaders, the majority of our applications are met by a few 7.5 foot 2x or 3x leaders and a few 9 foot 3x and 4x leaders. If you are planning on fishing the spring creeks, 9 foot 5x leaders will do the trick.


Polarized sunglasses are arguably one of the most important pieces of gear in fly fishing. Not only do we require sunglasses to fish for safety, but having polarized glasses allows an angler to see the water, to see the fish, to see the fly, and ultimately fish better. Being able to see through the glare of the water is imperative to see the structure and to know where your guide is asking you to cast. They help you spot fish and see smaller dry fly patterns. Most importantly, they protect your eyes from the suns harmful UV damage. There are many good brands out there, but Maui Jim, Smith, and Sun Cloud are some popular brands we use and recommend. Don’t overlook this piece of equipment, you will be thankful you didn’t.

Fly Shop

Westwind Guides does business with Anglers West Fly Shop.They carry all of these brands and are very knowledgeable about gear, flies, local attractions, and pretty much any other questions about the area and how the fishing has been. Feel free to give them a call.
406 333 4401