Location: Flathead River, Montana
Season: Spring, Summer & Fall
Species: Native Westslope Cutthroat Trout
Follow Hilary on Instagram @outsidehilary & @larysfly
What is your favorite water?
Upper Middle Fork Flathead in the Great Bear Wilderness. I love guiding whitewater. Scouting rapids with the team, choosing the best line through the run then hiking back up to the boat and sending it with all the grease is the best feeling in the world and something I love sharing with guests. It's a part of fly fishing that not everyone gets to experience because there are so few rivers with the Wild and Scenic federal designation.
What is your favorite way to spend a day off?
I don't take regular days off during my season, so I have a few months in the winter to fish for myself. That's when I love going to tropical salt flats for permit, tarpon, bonefish, snook, etc.
What’s some advice that you're most likely to give?
Don't forget to look around.
What’s an easy hack for catching more fish?
Prep your gear the night before.
What’s the one thing that would increase someone's chances of catching fish overnight?
It is the zombie apocalypse – where are you staking out and fishing to feed
I'm actually quite far along in prepping for this, and have the prime location picked for years. There are a few people who know the coordinates, but they are sworn to secrecy. The location is in my local zone and has a hidden fresh water spring, resident wild elk herd, huckleberries and a shitton of whitefish. I'm certain that the currently-scorned whitefish will have the last laugh by saving our family from starving as we hide out from the zombie apocalypse.
"I'm a big fan of the Amadou Patch. Since I'm mostly fishing whitewater, dry flies get tossed around a ton in the pocketwater between rapids and we have to dry them off a lot. The fastest way I've found to dry off a fly when it's been saturated is to squeeze the water out with the Amadou Patch. I have it on a Rogue Zinger in my kit box for easy access and definitely use it every day. "
"I've been using the Loon Ergo Bodkin to get knots out on the river. If the knot isn't pulled tightly, the bodkin works great by poking in there and opening the knot so I can untangle it."
"I use the Rogue Quickdraw Mitten Clamps every day, I keep one on the front of my lifejacket, one clipped to my waders, one on a lanyard and one in my kit box so I always have a pair no matter where/how I'm fishing. I love having a cutter and forcep in one, and the clamp style is more comfortable for small hands than the traditional grip."
"I have an entire Tippet Holder full of Rigging Foam. The night before a trip I'll rig up a couple with my favorite dry-dropper rig, then I'll leave two more rigging foams empty so hold a retired rig. It cuts down on waste -- both the waste of tippet material from constantly re-rigging and the waste of time."
"I've been LOVING the Quickdraw Rod Sleeve. I use them as rod holders on the rafts and drift boat, and since they are so brightly colored, clients are no longer stepping on rods or leaning on them and breaking them. Finally! I'm also using them as extra protection inside the truck rooftop rodbox. We're seeing much less wear and tear on rods and I sent back fewer rods for repair than any year ever."