Smith River Montana sign
Smith River Montana
Copyright 2015 James Marsh
Fly Fishing Gear and Trout Flies for Smith River
The gear you need for fishing the Smith River depends greatly on how you are going to fish
the river. If you are going to fish the 60 mile drift in a canoe, for example, you would want to go
as light as possible on the gear because you will also have to take along the camping gear,
food, water and drinks. If you are going with an outfitter, it will depend greatly on what the
outfitter allows you to take along. Here we will list the ideal gear.

The Smith River has some large trout, especially in the lower sixty mile section of the river.
The ideal fly line size would probably be a 5 weight, floating fly line. You could probably get
by with just this one fly line size. Many anglers would prefer something heavier for large
nymphs and streamers. A 6 weight fly line would deliver most of the streamers and heavy
nymphs better than the 5 weight. You may want to use a sinking tip line for the streamers.
If you fished only the upper section of the stream, you may prefer a 4 weight line, especially for
the brook trout.

Fly Rod:
You would want a fly rod to handle each of the above line sizes you choose to use.  The five
and six weight rods should be ideal at a length of nine feet. We think a medium to medium fast
actions would be best for these rods.

Fly Reel:
The reels for either of the fly lines should have good drags. They should be smooth and adjust
to fine increments. Lighter reels are preferred over heavier ones.

A nine foot length would probably be the best all around length. The only exception would be
when you are fishing streamers. You may want a shorter leader in that case. Make sure
you have leaders in sizes ranging from 0X for streamers, up to 6X for small midge flies. You
may want a twelve foot leaders in 6X size if you fish the Trico hatches.

You should also have plenty of extra tippet in sizes ranging from 0X to 6X.

Waders are necessary about anywhere you fish the Smith River. We prefer the
breathable type but you may need neoprene waders if you are fishing in very cold water.

Wading Boots:
Felt soles would be our choice. The new rubber soles may work well. They have at other
similar waters where we've tried them.

Wading Staff:
The use of a wading staff would be an optional accessory you may want to consider.

Landing Net:
A landing net would be preferred by most anglers. It is an optional item, however.

Trout Flies:
We always recommend "Perfect Fly" trout flies. We have specific imitations of every
important insect that exist in this stream. It is best to use the hatch chart and select the
flies to use for the period of time you will be fishing. If you haven't already done so, we ask that
you give our Perfect Flies an opportunity to perform for you. We feel confident that you will be
glad you did.
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Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (
with the dates you will be fishing this
stream and we will send you a list of our
fly suggestions. Please allow up to 24
hours for a response.

2. Call us 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.

3. Email us (
with a budget for flies and we will select
them to match the budget and get them to
you in time for your fly fishing trip.

All orders are shipped free in the
U. S. Orders over $100 are shipped via
Priority Mail.