With record-breaking numbers of people embracing the outdoors, it’s never too early to lock in your fly fishing lodge or ranch vacation dates.  

We bring to you our top tips for planning an epic fly fishing vacation – at any time of the year!

The best seasons for fly fishing

Understanding when is the best time to go fly fishing is very important for your enjoyment and success on a fly fishing ranch vacation

The North American seasons are all very different and the timing is flexible as far as the fish are concerned. 

Fisheries are shut down during winter for the most part, but the early-season fish are often more aggressive and easier to catch, as they pack on calories following a long winter.

The spring and early summer seasons are great for targeting trout that are feeding on big stoneflies without any fishing pressure. Summer is always a great time to travel to a fly fishing lodge and you can expect caddis, mayflies, terrestrials and hungry trout at all of our North American destinations. 

The summer is reliable in terms of flows and conditions, and is really the best time to go on a fly fishing ranch vacation. 

But take note; you will need to book your summer fly fishing vacation early because they fill the fastest; spending a day in the sunshine with trout enjoying a grasshopper dry fly is pretty hard to beat!

two people fishing in a river surrounded by golden trees

Photo: Brush Creek Ranch

Fall is also wonderful; expect changing colors, fewer crowds and aggressive brown trout feeding ahead of the spawning season. 

The kids are back in school and many of our singles and couples capitalize on the wonderful fall fishing and crisp fall air. September is a safe month for weather and October is a great time, too.

If you’re still wondering ‘Where can I fly fish in the winter?', then we have the answer! 

Fly fishing in the Northern Hemisphere's winter might be difficult, but New Zealand summers coincide with North American winters and most New Zealand fly fishing vacations are run from January through March. Perfect if you want to escape winter in the U.S..

Choose your fly fishing lodge destination

Choosing the best location for your fly fishing trip is no easy task; there are so many wonderful places, all offering unique fly fishing ranches and lodges.

Here’s our pick of some of the best fly fishing places in the world:

Colorado fly fishing lodges 

One of the best Colorado fly fishing lodges is C Lazy U Ranch. Offering a family-friendly experience with myriad activities, as a premier fly fishing ranch it’s well priced with exceptional lodging and world-class cuisine. Guests can utilize expert guides or fish without a guide, too. 

The ranch pond and Willow Creek are private, ensuring a low pressure fishery that produces some surprisingly large trout. Proximity to the Colorado River also makes for a great off-property excursion.

Montana fly fishing lodges

Three distinct Montana fly fishing ranches are each located in idealistic western landscapes: 

Person wearing hat and sunglasses casting fishing line into river under cloudy blue sky

Photo: Big Hole Lodge

Big Hole Lodge sits on the banks of one of Montana’s famed fisheries and is hosted by fly fishing legend, Craig Fellin. The classic western landscape is backdropped by mountain peaks and lush ranches on the valley floor.

This Orvis-endorsed fly fishing lodge is made for dedicated anglers who want an intimate, fishing-focused experience. With only an eight-guest capacity, privacy and exclusivity are guaranteed. 

The Ranch at Rock Creek has exceptional wade fishing on Rock Creek. Westslope cutthroat trout, brown trout, rainbow trout and the occasional bull trout offer anglers consistent action right out the front door. 

Adults-only fly fishing lodge, Triple Creek Ranch is located in the Bitterroot River drainage, float trips on the West Fork and main stem place anglers in touch with one of the country’s best dry fly fisheries. The luxury accomodations and cuisine make this a favorite destination for couples and friend groups.

Wyoming fly fishing lodges

If you’re seeking solitude and a world-class fly fishing vacation, Wyoming is the place to visit. 

The luxurious French Creek Sportsmen’s Club has a 12-guest maximum on the historic Sanger Ranch and very few places offer so much space with so few people. It’s a fishing and hunting paradise, and drift boat and wade trips are offered on Wyoming’s premier fisheries. 

Brush Creek Ranch is a larger luxury operation with private access on creeks and some of the best trout fishing in Wyoming. The ranch is also known for amazing scenery and numerous activity options.

New Zealand fly fishing vacations

Luxury interior of white wooden building with vaulted roof and sofas

Photo: Huka Lodge

Fly fishing vacations to New Zealand are perfect for escaping the North American winter, as they offer an alternative season destination. If you choose a fly fishing lodge in New Zealand, you’ll chase massive brown trout in an incredibly rugged landscape. 

Owen River Lodge is a multi award-winning, stylish fishing lodge where you can relax in wonderful surrounds, enjoy unpretentious service, dine on some of New Zealand’s finest food and wine, and be guided by our fabulous team of fishing guides.

Relais & Chateaux property, Huka Lodge is located in the beauty of the Taupo region, and is a bucket list dream for most anglers; the food and lodging are on par with the best in the world.

The best fly fishing lodge for you

Spend some time getting familiar with each fly fishing lodge or ranch before settling on the perfect destination for you, your friends or family. 

Many guests will visit multiple properties, opting to experience the best of everything over the course of several years.

If you’re still having a hard time choosing, contact us and we can help you select the best fly fishing lodge for you. 

We’ve also created a handy ‘Check Availability’ tool to help make your search faster and easier, just fill in your requirements and we do the rest!

Get ready for your epic fly fishing trip!

While most fly fishing ranches and lodges offer gear and expert guides, it never hurts to have your own equipment in order. 

If you’re new to fly fishing, that’s ok! Most properties have guides who love teaching. 

Three people standing by a river in fishing gear on a sunny day

Photo: C Lazy U Ranch

If you are an intermediate fly fisher and your skills are rusty, spend some time casting in a field to get the rhythm down. Showing up with casting skills will help you catch more trout. 

When booking a fly fishing vacation, inquire about weather expectations, and ask for clothing and gear recommendations. Here’s a useful guide on other items: what to pack for a ranch vacation

And as they say: ‘Wishing you tight lines’, and lots of fun and excitement ahead!

We at The World’s Best Fly Fishing Ranches and Lodges are here to help you ultimately settle on your next dream fly fishing trip.

Our fly fishing ranches and lodges are among the most renowned on the planet, and are known to book fast. 

Each property is hand-selected for the high quality combination of opportunity, experience and service, and all are united by the same passion, offering unforgettable experiences.

With travelers exploding out of the cities, fishing popularity and outdoor pursuits mean it will be a banner year. 

Get your dates early, especially for the very exclusive properties like Big Hole Lodge and French Creek Sportsmen’s Club. 

The fishing season is fast approaching and it’s time to start planning!

Original article written by Freelance Writer and fishing afficionado, Zach Lazzari.
Edited and created by Freelance Writer, Editor and world traveler Kate Hammaren

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