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Lower Owens Past Years

Float Fishing Tips & Strategies with Tony Reinhardt


Float fishing is one of the most productive and enjoyable ways to fly fish anywhere. Floating down a lovely river with a good guide on the oars is an exciting experience that demonstrates how beautiful and fun our sport can be. A trip to the Rocky Mountain West is on many anglers’ agenda each season to float some of the country’s most famous streams. But there are procedures to follow when you’re floating, no matter whether you’re in the front of the boat, or the back.

Our November presentation focuses on float fishing strategies and tips and is designed to offer insights into float fishing that will help both the first timer and the veteran angler be more efficient and relaxed when fishing from a drift boat.  The differences between float fishing and wade fishing will be highlighted, along with the roles of each angler in different float fishing situations.  All of the key aspects of a successful float fishing trip will be covered, from casting angles, line management, hooking and fighting fish and teamwork.  Advanced tips will also be covered to help anglers take their float fishing to the next level.


Our guide on this trip is one of the best in the country and a favorite of our club, Tony Reinhardt. Tony will be using easy to understand images and great video to show and teach us the best tips and tactics that will lead to more trout in the net and less frustration on your next trip.


Tony was born and raised in Council Bluffs, Iowa where his father taught him to hunt and fish on the family farm. While still a teenager, Tony was looking for different ways to catch the bass and pan fish throughout the Midwest, so he picked up a fly rod. Shazam! He has never been the same. He got his first taste of trout fishing while attending college in Oklahoma and driving on weekends to the productive tailwaters in Arkansas -- the White, the Little Red and the Norfolk.  After his freshman year of college he spent that summer fishing and traveling with his grandfather in Alaska.  They had an Airstream camper and a canoe, spending most days exploring as many fishing opportunities as they could.  It was a life changing experience, and Tony quickly traded a full ride scholarship back in Oklahoma for tuition bills and a tiny apartment in Missoula, MT.


Tony started working at Missoula’s Grizzly Hackle Fly Shop in ’97 while earning a degree in English from the University of Montana.  He was hired as a “shop rat” and by the following summer he was promoted to Outfitting Manager and started his guiding career as well.  He split time between both positions for a few years until a once in a lifetime opportunity came along.


In 2001, a guest ranch was being developed in southwest Montana, and Tony was hired as a staff guide for the initial year.  When not guiding for the ranch, his mandate was to go fishing and learn as much as possible about all the rivers of Montana.  Since he only guided six days for that whole season, he had a lot of time to explore the state.  Being paid to just go fishing was an unbelievable experience, but at the end of that year, Tony chose to return to Missoula.  While he had witnessed some great fishing all across Big Sky Country, he felt that the rivers around Missoula offered the best overall angling experience in the state, and Tony rejoined the Grizzly Hackle as a full time guide in 2002.


Since then he has spent as much time on the rivers of western Montana as any other guide in the area, averaging more than 150 guide days a season. Tony started his own outfitting business, Montana Trout Outfitters, in 2010 and his guide season is nearly filled each year with returning anglers.  During a rare day off you are likely to find him exploring some of the lesser known waters in the area or testing new fly designs for his clients to use in the coming days. Tony also serves as a Travel Advisor for Wild on the Fly Fishing Adventure Travel and has hosted trips to locations across the globe.


Fly tying started as a passion for Tony when he moved to Missoula and he has become a skilled tier who is often asked to demonstrate at local events.  He tied flies commercially for area fly shops and the majority of flies in his guide bag were created at his own vise.


Along the way, in 2002 Tony married his wife, Brandy.  They met while both working at a drug store in high school, and when Brandy realized Tony wasn’t ever leaving Montana, she moved out to join him.  They have two children, Thomas (12), and Kaitlyn (8), and a black lab, Ruby.


You can learn more about Tony and Montana Trout Outfitters by going to: