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The Angler’s West Flyfishing Outfitters Trout School at Sage Lodge in Paradise Valley, Montana is the ultimate educational course to improve an angler’s trout fishing. Co-hosted by Angler’s West owner, outfitter and Sage Ambassador Matson Rogers and Fly Water Travel’s Pro Sales Manager Jesse Robbins, the school combines on-site instruction and education with on-the-water guided fishing, for a holistic approach to learning and improving your fly fishing for trout. The location – Sage Lodge – is paramount, offering easy access to several different fly fishing venues: the Yellowstone River, the famous Paradise Valley spring creeks, and Yellowstone National Park. Students will have guided fishing days in three distinct methods – from a drift boat, walk-and-wade fishing on a freestone river, walk-and-wade fishing on a spring creek – with location-specific instruction prior to each.

The School’s format is a mix of presentations and discussions, instruction, and guided fishing. Venue-specific educational modules prepare students for the following day’s instruction and fishing. The curriculum is designed to take any angler’s skills to the next level, and teaches students to be prepared, comfortable and competent in nearly any trout fishing scenario. The School begins with a detailed, advanced overview of tackle, equipment and applications, followed by professional fly casting instruction. We’ll take a detailed look at trout-specific entomology and use that information to help you build your perfect fishing kit to take to the water. We’ll discuss essential knots, how best to tie them and when to use each. We’ll also present and discuss the best ways to land, handle and release trout. Next, students spend three days on the water with experienced guides. Prior to each guided fishing day, students attend educational sessions to prepare them for the following day’s fishing location and methods. As example, prior to a guided fishing day floating the Yellowstone River, a presentation will be given that covers topics specific to fishing from a drift boat, such as line management, casting angles, boat safety and etiquette, etc.

Sample of topics covered:

  • Fly fishing tackle and equipment design and application
  • Fly casting for distance, accuracy and control
  • Reading water in small and large freestones, and spring creeks
  • Drifts and mending line for better presentations
  • Best practices for hooking, fighting, landing and releasing fish
  • Trout fishing entomology
  • How to put together your perfect fishing kit/pack/vest
  • The knots you need to know, how to tie them, and when to use them
  • Advanced tactics and techniques for trout
  • Fly fishing ethics, etiquette and conservation

Fishing venues:

  • Yellowstone River:  The Yellowstone is the longest undammed river in the contiguous United States and its watershed is the source and stronghold of beautiful, native Yellowstone Cutthroat trout. Anglers staying at the Sage Lodge have easy access to over 50 miles of trout water on the Yellowstone, from Gardiner to east of Livingston. Fishing on the Yellowstone is done primarily out of drift boats, though there are ample opportunities to anchor and wade-fish productive riffle sections. Tactics and techniques on the Yellowstone vary, depending on timing. The height of summer shows anglers incredible dry fly fishing with hopper and terrestrial patterns; fall and spring will bring success on streamers; there are also localized mayfly hatches in spring and fall; pre-runoff caddis fishing can be excellent, and subsurface nymph or soft hackle fishing is productive most months.
  • Yellowstone National Park:  The National Park offers a lifetime of fly fishing. It is a wade-angler’s dream, from Memorial Day Weekend through October. The headwaters of some of the West’s famed rivers lie in the park – Yellowstone, Madison, Gallatin, Snake – as well as famous smaller waters like Slough and Soda Butte Creeks and the Firehole, Gibbon, Gardner and Lamar Rivers. Hatches occur in the National Park throughout the fishing season, though in the absence of bugs on the water, subsurface nymphing is also effective. Terrestrial dry fly fishing can be spectacular in summer and spring and fall are great times to fish streamers or swing soft hackles.
  • Paradise Valley Private Spring Creeks:  The famed Paradise Valley Spring Creeks – DePuy, Armstrong and Nelson’s – are a short drive north from the Sage Lodge. The Spring Creeks offer year-round accessibility to challenging rainbow, brown and cutthroat trout. The settings are intimate, and anglers are rewarded for stealth and patience. The Creeks are bug factories, with the major hatches including Pale Morning Duns, Blue Wing Olives, Caddis, and midges. Sight-fishing is often the approach while on the Spring Creeks, and in a heavy hatch, the targets are numerous. A day on the Spring Creeks is a perfect complement to the bigger Yellowstone River and the freestones of Yellowstone National Park.

2020 Dates: Sept. 13 – 18

Rate: $3,250 per person for a 5 night/4 day package, based on double occupancy.  $4,800 per person, based on single occupancy.

Included: Five nights lodging at the Sage Lodge, and three meals per day (dinner upon arrival day and breakfast and lunch upon departure). One full day of instruction on-site is followed by three days of guided fishing.

Not Included: 8% Montana lodging tax, airfare, airport transfers, gratuities, fishing licenses, and alcohol. Waders and boots are not included, but are available to rent; advance reservations are recommended.

Travel Information: Guests should arrange to drive to Emigrant, Montana or fly into the Bozeman, MT airport. Rental cars and airport shuttles are available from the airport.

Recommended Tackle: Each of the three fishing venues visited present anglers with a variety of fishing situations, and several different techniques are utilized. Having the right equipment to match the different tactics is paramount, so we’ve listed our Favorite Perfect Setups for several types of presentations.

Fly Water Travel Favorite Dry & Dry-Dropper Setup:
Rod: 9 ft. 5-weight Sage X (590-4)
Reel: Sage TROUT Reel 4/5/6
Line: RIO Products Perception WF5F
Leader: RIO Products Powerflex Plus Tapered Leader, 9 ft / 4X
Tippet: RIO Products Powerflex Plus Tippet, 4X – 6X

Fly Water Travel Favorite Sink-Tip & Terrestrial Trout Setup:
Rod: 9 ft. 6-weight Sage IGNITER (691-4)
Reel: Sage SPECTRUM LT Reel 5/6
Line 1: RIO Products Grand WF6F
Line 2: RIO Products InTouch Streamertip WF6F/I
Leader: RIO Products Powerflex Plus Tapered Leader, 9 ft / 2X
Tippet: RIO Products Powerflex Plus Tippet, 2X – 4X

Fly Water Travel Favorite Presentation Dry Fly Setup:
Rod: 9 ft. 4-weight Sage Trout LL (490-4)
Reel: Sage CLICK Reel 3/4/5
Line: RIO Products InTouch Technical Trout WF4F
Leader: RIO Products Powerflex Plus Tapered Leader, 12 ft / 4X
Tippet: RIO Products Powerflex Plus Tippet, 4X – 6X

Please Note:  While the school intends to provide students with guided fishing on the Yellowstone River, in Yellowstone National Park and on the Paradise Valley Spring Creeks, each venue is conditions-dependent.  The chosen school dates fall within historically stable water periods, but changes to the fishing program may result from unplanned-for weather or natural events.  Our location and fishing program adapts to unforeseen weather conditions and in most cases a secondary plan can be made easily.  Only rare circumstances prevent fishing at all.  At the time of school, current fishing reports may also recommend changes to the planned itinerary.

To learn more or reserve your space please call Jesse at 800.552.2729