Fly Fishing Lessons in Glacier National Park: Companies and Tour Guides

Interested in fly fishing in Glacier National Park? A couple years ago, I tried fly fishing for the first time, with a lesson from a local company. If you’d like to try a lesson, read on for a list of guides!

Fly fishing is a popular activity in Montana, so if you’re like me and you enjoy immersing yourself in local activities, it makes sense to give it a shot.

But if what if you have no experience fishing at all? Never fear! You can take fly fishing lessons at Glacier National Park!

fly fishing in glacier national park

I took a one-hour lesson with Glacier Anglers and had a great experience, but there are several additional companies that offer beginner sessions as well.

This article contains current information about the companies that offer fly fishing lessons near Glacier NP, as well as photos and a recap of my own lesson. Keep scrolling for all the details!

Fly Fishing Lessons in Glacier National Park: The Options

As noted, Glacier Anglers is one of the companies that offers fly fishing lessons in Glacier National Park. Here’s a chart of the companies that currently offer such lessons.

Fly Fishing CompanyType of lessonPrice rangeOther notes
Glacier Anglers1 hr casting clinic;
4 hr detailed course
$99 for 1 hr;
$365 for 4 hr
1-hr rate is for up to two people; 4-hr rate is for up to 4 people
Glacier Institute7 hr fly fishing camp for beginners$150Offered twice per summer; for members only
Wild Trout Adventureshalf-day beginner clinic$450 per two peopleDetailed introduction to fly fishing
Great Northern Resortfull-day fishing school$650 per two peopleFishing takes place on the Flathead River; also offer half-day trips
Wild River Adventuresfull-day fishing school$650 per two peopleFishing takes place on the Flathead River; also offer half-day trips

Glacier Anglers is the company I took my lesson with. Their office is located on U.S. Route 2, very close to the beginning of Going-to-the-Sun Road, the main artery through Glacier National Park.

I would recommend them for the casual tourist who is just curious to learn how to fly fish, and maybe get in a little practice on the lake.

Some of the other companies that offer instruction offer more in-depth, all-day programs that go much deeper into the activity. But that might be overkill for someone who’s just visiting Glacier NP for a short time.

If you want to do some fishing on your own, here’s more information on fishing throughout Glacier National Park.

No fishing license is required inside the national park, but a state fishing license is required to fish outside the park boundary.

What It’s Like to Take a Fly Fishing Lesson in Montana

Aside from a couple brief fishing efforts at summer camp, I don’t have much of a history with rods and hooks.

But I’m always up for trying something new. So on a cool autumn morning in West Glacier, Montana, I met up with Glacier Anglers for a fly fishing lesson. It was a good time, and a new life experience to add to my list.

fishing montana glacier

Fly fishing is different from your typical rod and reel fishing, where you simply have to wind the reel.

To fly fish, you have to flick the rod backwards until the line is in the air behind you, then flick it forward so the hook lands way out in the water in front of you.

Mastering this flicking action can take quite a while. The lesson was set up so that we practiced first in the grass with a hook-less reel.

This was important, because it’s easy to flick too soon or too late and have the fishing line smack you in the head.

You definitely want to have a comfort level with the casting process before using a hook, otherwise you could hook yourself in the ear.

After several minutes, our group got the hang of how to do a basic cast, and then we learned how to release more line so we could cast farther out into the water. After that, it was time to head to the lake and give it a try.

Although I still had some trepidation at first (“Don’t hook my ear!,” I tried to remind myself), before long I was casting like a pro. Behold my magical form!

fly fishing

Casting was the easy part. Catching something? That was another story.

Learning about fly fishing was fascinating. When you fly fish, it’s illegal to use live bait on your hook, so instead you use little flies designed to look like tiny insects.

I don’t think any of these actually look like bugs, but then again I’m not a fish, so I’m not the target market here.

fly kit

Glacier Anglers has several small ponds at its facility. With a large supply of stocked rainbow trout in the ponds, only a real amateur could fail to catch something.

Yet I found myself failing to catch anything.

glacier anglers pond

The fish weren’t biting. Time after time, a fish would approach my hook, only to back off.

None of them could be convinced that my fly was an actual fly. “Where are all the dumb fish?,” I wondered.

Pond number one was a fail. So we moved on to pond number two, another fail.

The instructor gave additional tips on how to pull the fly slowly along the water to trick the fish into thinking it’s a real, moving bug. Soon after, I got a bite, and before I knew it, we had a good-sized rainbow trout!

rainbow trout - fly fishing in Glacier National Park
Fly fishing success in Glacier National Park!

This guy didn’t want to come off the hook, so the instructor took the time to painstakingly remove the hook and set him free. That meant I didn’t have to touch him. Everybody wins. And we returned him to the water, of course.

I enjoyed my fly fishing lesson in Glacier National Park. It’s a fun way to spend a couple hours, even if you’re not usually a fishing person.

And while you’re visiting Glacier NP, don’t forget to try some huckleberry foods in Montana, look for mountain goats while hiking, do some camping at Bowman Lake, and visit Whitefish, one of the best towns near Glacier National Park.

I strongly recommend the hike to Hidden Lake. And consider a unique visit to the Blackfeet reservation!

Would you consider taking fly fishing lessons in Glacier National Park?